'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, July 26th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: July 26, 2015
Guest: Genevieve Wood, Ron Insana, April Ryan, Will Pierce, Andrea
Bernstein, Niels Lesniewski, David Itzkoff
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am proud to be the first
American president to come to Kenya.
OBAMA: And, of course, I`m the first Kenyan-American to be President of
the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. Thanks for getting up with this
Sunday morning. President Obama`s big Kenyan speech. We`ll take you to
Nairobi to bring you all the latest on what he said.
Plus what Hillary Clinton has to say about that new e-mail controversy.
And now her testimony before the Benghazi Committee in the House. It may
have a date although there is some dispute there. Those details coming up
Also we`re waiting on brand new poll numbers. We`re going to have for you
just a little bit later this morning on the 2016 race on the Republican
candidates, on the Democratic candidates, Republican candidates.
Did Donald Trump`s remarks about John McCain hurt him with Republican
voters? Very interesting and maybe complicated answer there. We`ll have
all the numbers for you in about an hour from now.
But we begin this morning in Kenya, President Obama delivering a major
address in an arena packed with 5,000 people this morning, a speech billed
as the centerpiece of his visit to his father`s homeland, Obama using his
popularity in Kenya as a bully pulpit, saying the country has come far in
his lifetime but it still has far to go.
He called for Kenyans to commit to peace in the face of terrorism and he
compared oppression of women to the Confederate flag, saying just because
something is tradition doesn`t mean it`s right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The evidence shows that communities that give their daughters the
same opportunities as their sons, they are more peaceful, they are more
prosperous, they develop faster, they are more likely to succeed. That`s
true in America and that`s true here in Kenya. It doesn`t matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We`ll bring in our panel this morning.
We have with us Genevieve Wood, senior contributor at "The Daily Signal,"
part of The Heritage Foundation; CNBC contributor Ron Insana, editor of
"Insana`s Market Intelligence Report," making his UP debut this morning as
And then April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief
of American Urban Radio Network.
So we`re going to go live to Nairobi in just a few minutes. But let`s talk
here with the panel to start.
And April, I know you were up live and tweeting early --
KORNACKI: -- particularly close attention to what the president was
What did you make of the speech we heard?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Well, I made of the speech that
the president once again, when he`s traveling overseas, he wants to make a
point of human rights and talk about things that are current, particularly
issues of women and girls.
One of the things that he is really championing in Washington and in the
states. It was interesting to hear him talk about genital mutilation.
That`s a big issue in Africa. He talked about that`s not right and the
crowd kind of -- they didn`t clap as much on that one. That one came after
the Confederate flag issue.
I was surprised to hear him bring up the Confederate flag and talk about
that as well as it relates to old traditions that don`t bode well in either
country, Kenya or America.
I thought the president carried on what he does. I saw an infectious
crowd, so happy to see him. I mean, he is a native son, to a certain
extent. His dad is from Kenya, born in Kenya. For him to be there, it`s
amazing. To watch the crowd sit on every word he has to say.
KORNACKI: And it was interesting. In talking about women, genital
mutilation, there were a couple of other issues he took up where he was
basically expressing differences, issues of corruption, poverty.
KORNACKI: There`s another one; we`ll play this, too; yesterday he had this
press conference with the president of Kenya, the issue of gay rights came
up. The president basically trying to take Kenyans to task for their
policies and the Kenyan president didn`t seem to appreciate what he had to
say. Let`s play that exchange for a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you
start treating people differently, not because of any harm they`re doing
anybody, but because they`re different, that`s the path whereby freedoms
begin to erode.
UHURU KENYATTA, PRESIDENT OF KENYA: But there are some things that we must
admit we don`t share. Our culture, our societies don`t accept. It`s very
difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves
do not accept. This is why I repeatedly say for Kenyans today, the issue
of gay rights is really a nonissue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s interesting. When presidents go overseas typically they`re
still performing for the domestic audience. A lot of times when presidents
go overseas, and give a lecture to another foreign leader they`re really
performing for the folks back home.
But in this case, I wonder does President Obama, given the personal
connection to Kenya and given how much he means to Kenyans, his ascendancy
in American politics, is there a chance that in this role he could actually
change the culture a little bit in Kenya?
RON INSANA, CNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Maybe over time. But you also don`t want to
overplay your hand when you`re making your first visit to an East African
nation, which China is looking to expand its economic interests throughout
And so there`s a point at which -- and listen, I fully support his position
on this but by the same token maybe you want to move more gently into the
space. You just can`t go to another country, give a lecture and then hope
to get the type of response that you want. You bring others along slowly.
And, again, I think China is a central issue when you look at Africa and
the number of countries with which they are cutting deals on resources, on
economic development. We want to be a player there. There is growth in
the future. So I think you go incrementally and you try to avoid the
lecture circuit, if you will.
KORNACKI: I guess, also but that`s where domestic politics comes in, too.
There`s people in the United States, Washington is looking at Kenya, for
instance, on gay rights issues and saying, well, this is appalling. And if
the president doesn`t say something, then he`s delivering a message --
GENEVIEVE WOOD, "THE DAILY SIGNAL": Well, let`s also keep in mind, the
president just made a deal with Iran, who probably oppresses homosexuals
far more than Kenyans. So let`s look up at a double standard here.
But look, I think you`re absolutely right. Focusing on the economic side
of things, Africa is an increasingly a larger player in this role. I think
nine of the fastest growing economies are in sub-Saharan Africa, in the top
RYAN: Nigeria is number one.
WOOD: And Nigeria is right there. So -- but if you look at place like
Kenya, and The Heritage Foundation, "The Wall Street Journal" does an Index
of Economic Freedom every year and Kenya is around 120, 122. A lot of that
has to do with corruption, which the president touched on.
But trade policy, entrepreneurial policy within the country. That`s what`s
would help the most women in that country and others, would be opening up
those areas in those markets.
RYAN: Three points here, when we go talk about gay rights and particularly
in Africa, there are many nations in sub-Saharan Africa that ban
homosexuality. It is a criminal offense. Homosexual sex is considered a
crime as well.
Then also let`s got to the issue of trade. China is the biggest trading
partner in Africa right now. And we lost a lot of ground because they came
in trying to build the infrastructure and saying we`ll build
infrastructure. In turn we`ll have some oil or whatever and take what they
needed, because they have a booming economy that`s thriving on oil as well.
You`ve got more people in China driving now. Also -- then when you come to
the issue of corruption, it`s a huge issue. East Africa doesn`t have the
footprint of terrorism as much as West Africa.
But when you find countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa that have a
government that is not democratic rule, that is not a country that you can
rely on, that`s accountable, you`re going to find you have more insurgents
and problems coming in.
Look at Nigeria. We have issues right now that we`re dealing with in
Nigeria when it comes to Boko Haram. And that is a fear in East Africa as
well, that it could become more of a problem. So there are so many
different components when you look at sub-Saharan Africa.
KORNACKI: I want to play this, too, the president`s state dinner in Kenya
last night. He actually addressed -- he made a joke about some of the
conspiracy theories involving him and Kenya. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I suspect that some of my critics back home are suggesting that I`m
back here to look for my birth certificate.
OBAMA: That is not the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I mean, somebody was saying they half expected Donald Trump to -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just going to say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
KORNACKI: -- I`m going to find it one of these day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s the birther king.
KORNACKI: I guess this is his first visit to Kenya as the president, this
is the first visit of any American president to Kenya. I think this is his
third trip --
KORNACKI: -- fourth in his lifetime to Kenya.
I also wondered if we`re getting here a bit of a preview of the post-
presidency, we`re getting into the wind-down phase of the Obama presidency.
There`s still a lot on the table obviously.
But if this is somebody who -- we have seen the limits of the bully pulpit
within the United States. But he does have a bigger international audience
than probably any foreign president we`ve had.
INSANA: Well, since President Clinton, who still has a rather large
foreign audience no matter where he goes.
The one thing I`d say is we might be jumping to conclusions on that with
respect to where President Obama ends up post-presidency. If, for
instance, Hillary Clinton were to be taking the White House next year,
might she appoint him as a Supreme Court justice? There`s a lot of
discussion about that and whether or not he would -- as a constitutional
scholar, fill that need.
And then also to a certain extent pack the court in one way or another. So
I think it`s early. It might be one of the things on his post-presidency
agenda. It may not be the dominant one.
WOOD: You just mobilized every Republican in the country right now.
KORNACKI: The Hillary-Obama, two for the price of one. I have heard that
theory before. He would not be the first former president to sit on the
RYAN: He`s a young man and he is still a rock star. He`s definitely a
rock star in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, they gravitate to him. They
call him their own. But I was just in London recently, within the last
three weeks and they still love President Obama. They still love President
Obama there. Members of Parliament, they were talking about how they love
KORNACKI: That`s the other thing. There`s a news report here in Kenya,
this visit was such a big deal. Babies born in the past week in Kenya have
RYAN: Barack Obama.
KORNACKI: How about this? Air Force One.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s great. That`s the same thing that happened
with Clinton. There was a child born when Clinton went back in 1997, Bill
Clinton. So there`s a euphoria.
WOOD: -- he could probably do more for Kenya after he`s president. He
said this in an article before going over. He made it the trappings of the
presidency. There is so much you can do from the bully pulpit. But at a
certain point to be able to go in on the humanitarian side, he can probably
do a lot more and he said he`s going to go back.
KORNACKI: Right and Bill Clinton probably a model there as well.
KORNACKI: Still ahead, Hillary Clinton responds to new questions about her
private e-mail account. Those details are coming up.
But first, Bernie Sanders tries to make amends with the Black Lives Matter
movement. That is next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A person
who commits a minor traffic violation, I think she forgot to put on her
turn signal, should not be yanked out of her car, assaulted, handcuffed,
put in jail and die three days later.
That`s not what should happen when you commit a minor traffic violation.
We must reform our criminal justice system. Black lives do matter and we
must value black lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Bernie Sanders last night, addressing the case of
Sandra Bland at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a long-time
civil rights organization once headed by Martin Luther King Jr.
Last night`s speech by Sanders comes just one week after a rocky reception
he received at a gathering of liberal activists. Sanders, along with
fellow Democratic candidate Martin O`Malley, was disrupted and booed by
Black Lives Matter`s protesters at Net Roots Nation last weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Shall I continue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Hold on one second. Hold on. Hold on.
SANDERS: It`s OK with me. Listen, I have -- black lives, of course,
matter. And I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for
But if you don`t want me to be here, that`s OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton, who skipped that event and avoided those
protesters last weekend, seemed to sense an opening after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s heartbreaking to read
about another death of a young woman, Sandra Bland in Texas, another young
African American life cut short. And that`s why I think it is essential
that we all stand up and say, loudly and clearly, yes, black lives matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And joining me from New Orleans, MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald. He
was at the Sanders event last night.
Alex, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning.
So we saw the response last weekend at Net Roots Nation.
What was it like yesterday for Bernie Sanders?
ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Steven. Definitely a
much warmer reception for Bernie Sanders. The Southern Christian
Leadership Conference was very happy to have him, he was the only
Democratic presidential candidate who showed up. He touched on a lot of
the right issues, criminal justice reform, as we saw; voting rights. And
he also had a lot to offer on his economic message.
So people were very open-minded. He came willing to learn. He
acknowledged that he was not very well known in the black community and he
started with a very basic explanation of where Vermont is. It`s a small
state, that Burlington is the largest city and trace a little bit of his
history in the movement.
But two important caveats here. I think this was the perfect group for
him. There are a lot of civil rights groups. But this is a group that is
of his generation. It`s one that remembers and appreciates his work in the
`60s civil rights movement but it`s several generations removed from the
current Black Lives Matter movement, a much younger group.
And also he fell back on and really defended his economic world view. This
is a guy who spent a lot of time looking at the world through a class-based
lens. An what the Black Lives Matter folks wanted him to do was look at
the world through a racial lens. And we didn`t start to see that last
night for Bernie Sanders.
Some of the people that I talked to, including the president, Dr. Charles
Steele, acknowledged that there`s kind of a sensitivity issue for Bernie
Sanders. A key statistic here: Vermont has just 7,500 black people in the
entire state. There have been more people at Bernie Sanders` rally than
the entire black population.
So I think this is still a learning curve. This was a good down payment
for him. But I think he still has a long way to go.
KORNACKI: Yes, no, that`s true. Vermont is a small state to begin with
and the share of the black population is very, very tiny up there.
Let me bring in the panel here. I`m curious about a bit of a controversy
this whole week, that this Bernie Sanders speech last night is the
culmination of, we saw what happened at Net Roots Nation.
The other thing that happened on that stage last weekend, Martin O`Malley,
the former Maryland governor, he was booed by those protesters as well.
They were saying black lives matter, he said, "Black lives matter, white
lives matter, all lives matter."
He got booed for that, then later apologized.
Then Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate was out there this week, we can put
this up, he was -- responded to that exchange with Martin O`Malley. And he
said this is Jeb Bush`s words here, he said, "We`re so uptight and
politically correct now that you apologize for saying lives matter."
He was dismissing the Black Lives Matter line as a slogan.
Just curious, April, what do you make of what`s happened in the last week
RYAN: One thing I know for sure, all lives matter. But when there are
pervasive problems and you`re now seeing the problems, you need to be made
aware of the problems. Your team needs to help you understand the problems
before you go out on the stage, particularly talking about black issues,
So the problem is some of these presidential candidates need to understand
that we`re not just focusing in on one group. And yes, the black
community, the black vote tends to vote Democratic. But you cannot take
the black vote for granted. And you have to understand what are the
problems specifically in the black community.
The Hispanic vote is up for play, but the black vote is very important in
this country as well.
And Martin O`Malley, you said he was the Maryland governor; he was also
Baltimore city`s mayor as well as Maryland`s governor. He, in part, is
partly to blame for some of the problems, some of the riots that stemmed in
Baltimore because of the Freddie Gray death. He promoted that zero
So for him to say white lives matter is kind of a slap in the face to many
people in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore, who are still suffering from
the aftermath of his reign as mayor.
KORNACKI: "The New York Times" this morning has a really interesting story
looking at the incident at Net Roots Nation last week, looking at the Jeb
Bush comment I just read and basically putting it in the context of the
changing demographic face of America and what this is doing.
It`s emboldening some activists at Net Roots. It`s also creating some
Pat Buchanan, the former presidential candidate, was quoted in this "New
York Times" article, and he was trying to diagnose what was happening on
He said, "It`s not only illegal immigration, but mass immigration and the
changing character and composition of the country that unsettles people."
WOOD: I would say looking at the Democratic Party, I think this is a
problem for them right now. Because I think whether it`s the Black Lives
Matter campaign or it`s the sanctuary cities that`s another debate, you`ve
got activists there who really want candidates to take a hard line.
The fact that you`re booing Bernie Sanders off the stage, wow. There may
not be a lot of black people who live in Vermont, but he has a lot of
policies that he would say would help a lot of black people --
RYAN: It`s also a problem for the Republican Party as well. You`ve got
Rand Paul that`s talking criminal justice --
WOOD: And criminal justice reform, I`m all for it. I think it`s a great
But my point being is that`s a base constituency that seems to be somewhat
divided within the Democratic Party. And I think sanctuary cities, that`s
another whole policy where you`ve got folks in the Hispanic community, who
want to say let`s protect those.
But when you look at a larger electorate, the larger public, they`re like,
wait a minute. Come on. Let`s revisit this thing. So I think there`s a
couple of issues like that there`s more of a problem right now for them.
And you see a Bernie, and a Governor O`Malley and Hillary now kind of
taking different stances of who do I represent here.
RYAN: And Jeb Bush messed up with that as well.
INSANA: It`s a problem of both substance and style. I mean, on the
substance issue, of course black lives matter. And I`m old enough to
remember the riots of the 1960s, unlike maybe some of you here.
I think we`re approaching the level of maybe an incendiary environment,
where we may see something big on the race front in a relatively short
period of time.
From Bernie`s perspective, part of his problem was a bit tin-eared, in the
sense that he didn`t understand the way in which you would typically
respond to an outburst in a political environment, where this taking it
personally, being somewhat thin-skinned about how you deal with a protester
at a rally, you sit back. You take into account the person`s point of
view, you respond to it appropriately and you don`t get flustered by these
interruptions. They happen at campaign rally --
KORNACKI: And I wonder, Alex in New Orleans, in the last week, do you
think Bernie Sanders -- is there a sense that he learned something from
what happened last week in Arizona?
SEITZ-WALD: Absolutely. I think, Steve. The day after the Net Roots
incident, he said the name Sandra Bland, he talked about her case. His
Twitter account tweeted out the names of a lot of the people who -- the
black young people who have been killed by police officers. So I think he
definitely is coming around to it. He has been injecting race and racism
and economic issues related to African Americans much more into his stump
speech, which if you go back to the day he launched up in Burlington, we
were there, Steve, it was almost entirely economic focus. He didn`t
mention immigration. He didn`t really mention racism.
So he`s definitely learning -- Tad Devine, his top strategist, has told me
that this is an explicit goal of the campaign.
One key thing, though, that I think he needs to do is find people around
him, bring people onto his staff who can speak to that point of view. His
staff is over 90 percent white, according to the group Inclusive. And
that`s going to be an issue for him. He has a lot of long-time people who
have been with him for a long time. So it`s going to be harder for him to
incorporate those views. But I do think he`s heading in that direction.
INSANA: Steve, real quickly, if you look at the way Hillary responded,
Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, responded to this, she did a very
presidential platform-oriented statement, which takes her out of the fray.
She`s doing things that frame her in a way that she`s not sitting there --
WOOD: And she doesn`t put herself in a situation where you have a live
KORNACKI: She learned. Because in 2007, the last time she went to Net
Roots, she was booed. She has not been back since. I think she suspected,
if not that, then something like that might happen if she went last week.
Anyway, thank you to MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald in New Orleans for taking a
few minutes this morning.
And still ahead we`ll talk to one of the people behind the effort to get
Vice President Joe Biden into the race for president against Hillary and
Bernie and all those others.
And next, Michelle Obama`s role in the largest gathering of Olympic
athletes in Los Angeles in more than 30 years.
KORNACKI: While President Obama is in Africa, first lady Michelle Obama is
also traveling this weekend. She traveled to Los Angeles last night to
help open the Special Olympics World Games. First lady said the games show
that we can, quote, "lift our friends and neighbors and bring out the best
in each other."
Some 6,500 athletes with intellectual difficulties from 165 countries
marched into the L.A. Memorial Coliseum for last night`s operating
ceremony. This was the largest gathering of athletes in Los Angeles since
the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Remember, there were a lot of gold medals for the U.S. that year because
the Soviets boycotted.
Still ahead, Donald Trump on the stump in Iowa, and next, Democratic front-
runner tries to change the conversation. A live report from the Hawkeye
State is next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The facts are pretty clear. I did not send nor receive anything
that was classified at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Hillary Clinton in Winterset, Iowa, yesterday,
responding to the recent controversy over the private e-mail account that
she used while she was secretary of state to inspectors general, saying on
Friday that classified information was transmitted on the private server
that she ran out of her home. But they added that it was not marked
classified at the time.
That was not the only piece of drama for the Democratic front-runner
yesterday. Clinton spokesperson announcing in the morning that she had
accepted an invitation to testify in front of the House Select Committee on
Benghazi on October 22nd.
But Republican Committee Chairman Trey Gaudy then disputed that claim,
saying that no agreement had been reached.
NBC`s Kristen Welker is live for us this morning in Ames, Iowa.
So, Kristen, two different issues here but what is the latest on both?
Do we know if this testimony will be happening October 22nd?
And do we know this issue of did she send classified information, did she
know she was sending classified information, do we have any clear answer
KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC HOST: Well, to your first question, it sounds like
that date is still being discussed. As you point out, the Clinton campaign
came out yesterday and said it`s going to be October 22nd. Then the
Benghazi Committee pushed back on that.
There hasn`t been a final determination yet. I think that`s still up for
As to your second point, Steve, this is becoming a big political problem
for Secretary Clinton, every time she wants to talk about one of her
policies, it`s overshadowed by more questions about her use of a private e-
mail account when she was secretary of state.
Yesterday I was with her in Winterset, Iowa, yesterday, when she insisted
she did not transmit any classified information knowingly or receive any
classified information. And I asked her specifically, Steve, about the
fact that one inspector general said that four e-mails did contain
Take a listen to that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: Are you confident that those four e-mails were not classified at
the time that you were transmitting them, sending them and receiving them?
CLINTON: Yes. What you have here is a disagreement, which is not all that
uncommon in the government.
WELKER: But, Secretary Clinton, doesn`t the fact that we`re having this
debate underscore the fundamental problem of using a private e-mail server
when you were secretary of state?
CLINTON: Not at all. No, no, because this would be the same debate if it
were -- just the vast majority of everything that I sent and received was
already on the State Department system, the unclassified State Department
In order to respond to FOI requests, you would have to go through the same
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: Now, Steve, I spoke with some voters after that event yesterday.
They are divided about how much of an impact this is actually going to
have. Some of her supporters say it`s not that big of a deal but others
say they are concerned that this could ultimately hurt her chances, for
example, if she were to win the nomination.
If you look at the polls, though, the polls do show that the e-mail issue
has helped to erode some of the public`s trust in her. So that`s going to
be a challenge moving forward. She`s going to campaign here at Iowa State
University in just a few hours, where she`s going to try to shift the
conversation away from these ongoing questions about her email. Today
she`s going to start to lay out her plan to attack climate change -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker, live in Ames, Iowa.
Let`s bring in the panel to talk about Hillary`s latest controversy.
So I know what she says there, this is not a problem to have that email
server. I bet inside she`s probably thinking, yes, maybe I shouldn`t have
had the e-mail server.
INSANA: Can I offer an unconventional defense for use of a private server?
The Office of Personnel Management was hacked presumably by the Chinese
government. They got data on every government employee in the United
States, including Social Security numbers and other private data.
To me it seems that if you`re worried about the reliability of government
computers and their safety, as a secretary of state, you might want to have
an alternative because the government is getting hacked every single day by
the Russians and the Chinese and they`re not doing a great job of
KORNACKI: You just gave her a better story.
WOOD: That`s fine except that was not Hillary`s explanation for why she
did it, something about personal devices and not carrying so many.
One of the problems I think for Hillary that wasn`t in the report here.
The inspector general took a random sampling of 40 e-mails and found four
that they said were actually classified. There`s 30 some-odd thousand that
they could go through. If it`s four out of every 40 at this point, that`s
a very high number if the percentages continue to play out.
And whether or not people who like Hillary think this is a problem or not,
this will continue to dog her campaign. We are seeing in the poll numbers
that her trustworthiness in key states where you`re first starting out,
Iowa being one, is being eroded. And I have to believe some of this has to
do with the e-mails.
KORNACKI: This is very confusing in certain ways because the inspector
general is saying she transmitted these four message that were classified.
She`s saying one of the procedural things here is can be classified long
after the fact.
WOOD: But they came back and said they were classified then and they`re
KORNACKI: But then she`s saying they didn`t have the markings on them to
say they were classified.
KORNACKI: -- to further complicate this, the initial reports that came out
about Friday said that this was a criminal investigation into Hillary
INSANA: Which were retracted.
KORNACKI: We now know it`s not a criminal investigation. It`s not
specifically about Hillary Clinton. So it`s --
RYAN: But it`s still serious. It`s still very serious and the American
public wants some answers.
And as Kristen said in the piece, this is eroding her support and her
numbers. And she has got to get this dealt with as soon as possible --
October, whenever. It has to be dealt with swiftly. And if she`s found
wrong she has to fix it. And if she`s right, she`s got to move --
KORNACKI: I guess the question is how can this ever really be dealt with
when you`re dealing with a situation where she took control of the e-mail
on her own, their own server out of their place outside the White House.
She has turned over a lot of documents but also it`s selective. She`s not
turned over everything. She`s not turned over the server --
INSANA: For her opponents this is the gift that keeps on giving. It`s all
different than Benghazi insofar as there have already been multiple
hearings on Benghazi. Republicans were briefed on the situation prior to
us having a presence in Libya. So I thin that one may be slightly more
This is a problem of her own making that now could last a significant time.
KORNACKI: And you see in this, the back-and-forth, the Benghazi Committee,
that`s the other thing interesting to me about this because when that
"Times" story came out on Friday, the Clinton campaign said this is the
work of -- this a leak from the Republicans on the Benghazi Committee.
They sold a bill of goods to "The Times," that`s what happened.
Now yesterday when it came out that Hillary Clinton will testify maybe on
October 22nd before the Benghazi Committee, the Benghazi Committee says
this is being leaked by Hillary. This is not accurate. It`s been leaked
by Hillary to take attention away from the e-mail thing.
So you`ve got this war going on here between those two sides.
RYAN: But the bottom line, spin is always going to be spin. Someone is
leaking some information from somewhere. That`s what we do know. But the
way that she can fix this, she has already accepted responsibility to a
certain extent. But if she is found wrong, someone will fall on the sword
so that campaign can go on.
WOOD: And I`m going to guess it`s not going to be Hillary. But the
reality is she could come forward, she could give over everything she had,
she could turn over the server, she could stop being so defensive every
single time she is being asked the question and stop acting as though we,
the public, and those who are asking questions, such as the reporter here,
are the bad guys.
You have every reason if you`re running for president to have to be honest
with the public.
RYAN: But she`s been answering questions lately. Before she wasn`t
answering. She allowed Kristen to ask her a question and a follow-up.
WOOD: She did.
RYAN: And typically she`s not been doing that.
WOOD: She`s getting better now.
RYAN: She`s getting better, yes.
KORNACKI: And we mentioned that she was in Iowa yesterday, and we
mentioned the questions of trust, that we have some new polling numbers on
that front in Iowa, in another state as well. We`ll be unveiling those for
you 20 minutes from now, some very interesting numbers about Hillary, about
the Republicans, about Trump, about Jeb. Stay tuned for that and much
And still ahead, the Senate is up against yet another deadline. What you
can expect from today`s rare Sunday session.
And next, the one person who is in the 2016 polls but not in the actual
race. We will talk about him with someone who wants him to run, right
after the break.
KORNACKI: A new political ad appeared this week from a small Chicago-based
group with one mission and a catchy tag line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2016, I`m ridin` with Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2016, I`m ridin` with Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- I`m ridin` with Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m definitely ridin` with Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And that group is called Draft Biden, their goal is to convince
the vice president to run against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and
the rest of the 2016 Democratic field. Draft Biden held their first
national day of action yesterday, organizing events in 15 states. The
group already has paid state directors in Iowa and New Hampshire.
In a new Quinnipiac poll this week, Biden did noticeably better than
Clinton when it came to issues of honesty and how much the candidates care
about the needs of voters.
Last week unidentified sources told the "Huffington Post" that Biden is
considering a bid for the White House with a final decision to come at the
end of the summer.
Despite those faint rumblings, there have been no clear signs from Biden
that he`s planning a run. Plus, he has had a lot on his plate, obviously,
both at work and at home lately. This upcoming Thursday will mark just two
months since the vice president lost his eldest son, Beau, to brain cancer.
And Biden is a vital part also of the administration`s effort to sell that
Iran nuclear deal to Congress.
So given all that`s up against then, what is Draft Biden`s next move?
Joining us now is Will Pierce, the executive director of Draft Biden `16.
He joins us now.
Will, thanks for being here. Let me ask you this. When I see the polls
taken of Hillary Clinton versus Joe Biden in the Democratic race, I`ve seen
Hillary Clinton ahead by 30, 40, 50 points, something like that. And I
always say a sitting vice president to be that far behind somebody else, I
can`t think of another example like this, given those numbers, what is the
draw to get Joe Biden into this race?
WILL PIERCE, DRAFT BIDEN PAC: Firstly for me, Steve, is the fact that
basically his commitment to the military as well as his 30-plus years
experience as United States senator and as vice president.
What have we been seeing for the past few months is momentum, momentum,
momentum. The poll that you just quoted, on top of that, there was another
poll that came out, 43 percent of the people who were polled said that they
could potentially support the vice president. On top of the rate, he was
already polling at 14-15 percent. You do the math. This is an open game.
Hillary, she`s been running for a while. She`s been running behind the
scenes for a while.
The vice president, he has been doing his job. He has been vice president.
KORNACKI: Do you think that Hillary Clinton -- I mean, she started out, we
said, at the very beginning, we`ve never seen a front-runner like this
before in either party.
Do you think Hillary Clinton has not lived up to the expectations as a
PIERCE: I don`t think she has. And basing on top for it, this past
weekend, like you said, we had, on our first day of action, we had people
draw at the home type country club. A lot of them were Hillary supporters
and some of them were just Democrats who were just not happy with the
If we look at the Republican side, they have 16, 17, who knows how many
On the Democratic side, we only have four or five --
PIERCE: We only have four or five candidates running right now. Basically
a lot of people, they said, you saw in 2008 and 2007 when Obama ran, they
felt this new feel of energy. They thought this was the next John F.
Kennedy. It`s not in this election. We`re going to see a tremendous
dropoff of voters if we do not have a competitive primary.
KORNACKI: Let me ask the panel what they think of this.
April, the idea of a late entry by Joe Biden, is it fantasy or is there any
possibility you see?
RYAN: Well, right now we don`t know what Joe Biden is thinking right now.
He`s a person, when it comes to telling his business and getting it out
there, he holds it close. I`ll never forget when he was up for the vice
presidentship (sic) and I saw him at the White House during the Bush years
and I said something about vice president. He took off in the other
direction. You know.
But one thing that Biden does bring, he`s a real person. He will tell you
the truth and tell it in a way that only Biden can do. He has likability.
But the problem is, I think, is the fact that he`s so late into the game
and the fact that the money -- where would his money come from this late?
So it`s a good notion.
KORNACKI: Is Hillary Clinton the -- President Obama obviously is
officially neutral in this thing, but is Hillary Clinton the de facto
anointed candidate of this White House?
INSANA: Look, I don`t want to go that far because in 2008 she was the de
facto anointed candidate.
WOOD: That`s right.
INSANA: She had similar poll numbers, by the way, going into this time of
year back then.
Now from Biden`s perspective, if he`s actually seriously considering
getting in, I wait for an implosion somewhere. I don`t think that you come
in here and challenge Hillary when she`s that far out in front -- or I
should say Secretary Clinton -- we`ve gotten into this habit of saying
Obama -- we never did this prior to the Obama presidency.
Secretary Clinton would have to stumble in a major way and I think that
would give an opening for him to be a savior of the Democratic Party as
opposed to a challenger in what everybody expects is already a decided
WOOD: That`s the big thing. We were talking earlier in one of the breaks,
if something were to happen to Hillary, who would pick up the pieces at
WOOD: Not Martin O`Malley.
And I don`t think Bernie Sanders is going to get it across the line. So
who is that person? And I think Biden has already got the name
You guys have been sending stuff to my inbox for months now. So there`s an
organized effort out there, whether Joe Biden is behind it or not, he may
have an organization that`s ready to step in. So we`ll see.
KORNACKI: The comparison I heard before, Will, is 1968, Eugene McCarthy
goes up against Lyndon Johnson, the sitting President of the United States,
in the New Hampshire primary, anti-war Gene McCarthy. He doesn`t beat him
officially but he basically beats him because he does so much better than
everybody expects. LBJ gets out and that clears the way for Bobby Kennedy
to come in.
And of course, Bobby Kennedy was later killed but had it not been for that
bullet maybe Bobby Kennedy becomes the nominee.
Is this the scenario maybe you`re thinking of, with Biden, Hillary loses to
Bernie Sanders in Iowa or New Hampshire and then suddenly that`s the
opening Ron`s talking about?
PIERCE: It`s not that. It`s just the fact that the vice president is just
a great candidate. Going back to the point that April said about money,
early on what happened was a bunch of Obama bundlers actually came to us
and they said they`re not happy with the Clinton campaign. They`re not
happy with a potential Clinton presidency.
And one bundler, for example, one of our huge supporters, he sat there and
he said I was trying to write a letter about why I was supporting Hillary
Clinton and it took me hours and hours and hours. He could not figure out
a reason why he can tell his friends and his associates to support Hillary
Basically when we came to him, we said the vice president, literally an
hour later instant letter, great letter about why he is supporting the
vice president, why basically he has been a champion for LGBT rights, why
he`s been a champion for his family, why he`s just been a champion all the
way around in all the different issues.
So that`s what we`re seeing --
KORNACKI: By the way, have you talked to Biden about this?
RYAN: If he steps in, if he were to step in, how much money --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give you his cell phone number.
RYAN: Love you really well right now.
But if he were to step in, how much money do you think he would have right
off the bat?
PIERCE: I think there would be just a windfall of money. What we`re
seeing on the finance end of things, basically a bunch of donors are
basically saying I love what you guys are doing. I`m supportive. The
minute you hear something about what`s going to happen, let us know.
It`s kind of weird, like we have a contingency plan. If we hear an
announcement, there would be a windfall of money. These donors are ready
to go. And --
KORNACKI: I tell you, Will, the minute you hear something is coming, let
us know, too.
KORNACKI: -- to Will Pierce and the group Draft Biden, thanks for joining
us this morning.
And still ahead, 2012 had the bridge to nowhere. This time around it
wasn`t -- 2008, the bridge to nowhere. Anyway, this time it`s a tunnel
that`s making headlines and next what really caused that mysterious
explosion at a Rhode Island beach.
KORNACKI: 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. Let`s take out
one of our first index cards; this is from the "USA Today," the headline,
"Mystery Beach Blast in Rhode Island Blamed on Hydrogen Gas."
Do you remember this, we showed you this a week or two ago. There was a
woman who was on a beach in Rhode Island, minding her own business, last
weekend I think this was, and suddenly she was thrown across the beach into
a jetty. And they couldn`t figure out what had caused this, something
So the Coast Guard was saying there was an old Coast Guard copper cable,
there was corrosion on it. It caused some kind of hydrogen blast. The
woman was OK. But the mystery is solved so just be careful on those Rhode
Island beaches. I guess that`s the -- there we see the picture. That was
where the blast came from.
You were in the war, there`s probably sharks in there, if you stay on the
beach, there`s hydrogen -- this is why I don`t go to the beach.
KORNACKI: Let`s see what else we have here. This is from "The New York
Times." The headline, "For ransom, bitcoin replaces the bag of bills."
Look at this, criminals, especially hackers are now increasingly demanding
payment in bitcoin instead of cash.
Bitcoins can be held in a digital wallet that doesn`t have to be registered
to any government, can be easily exchanged for real money. A single
bitcoin can be sold online on the street for about $290.
Anybody here ever buy a bitcoin?
INSANA: Absolutely not. One of the things that`s great about a bitcoin
traded as high as $1,300 and it`s back now at $290. And so.
WOOD: Bad investment, it sounds like.
KORNACKI: Some people have lost big money on the bitcoin.
INSANA: Absolutely. Look, there`s a problem with cryptocurrencies insofar
as governments do not like giving up the power to mint their own currency.
And bitcoin in the United States has been deemed by the IRS as property,
not currency. And so this is the reason, and it will be the reason that
this happens around the world, that this will be used for criminal activity
as opposed necessarily always to legitimate transactions. There are some
advantages to bitcoin in the sense that it reduces the cost of financial
transactions, it`s called frictionless transactions.
But I still think it has a long way to go before it`s legitimized. And you
may see MasterCard or Visa or someone else come in, Apple Pay, with
something that reduces the cost of buying something to just a very small
fraction. You don`t get these big percentages.
KORNACKI: You talked me out of pouring all my money into bitcoin.
We got one more money themed headline here, too, this also "The New York
Times," passing on wedding gifts. Millennials prefer cash. Young couples
registering for cash, home repair gift cards and honeymoon experiences
instead of traditional gifts.
Researchers say it may have to do with large student loans, later marriages
and houses already purchased.
I don`t know. Since I`ve been 5 years old I`ve been asking for cash for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a song about it. Money, money, money,
INSANA: My father-in-law offered me cash instead of the wedding. It`s now
coming up on 20 years ago. And I said I`ll take the cash. He said your
mother-in-law would kill me.
KORNACKI: It`s seen as not good form. I never knew why.
Anyway, still ahead, another full hour of news and politics, including
those brand new polling numbers we`ve been teasing. We`ll have them for
you right on the other side of the break. You`re not going to want to miss
that. Are they going to be good or bad for Donald Trump? Maybe they`re
both. A little bit of a hint there. That`s next. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Is Donald Trump holding up?
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning.
We have brand new NBC News polling on the presidential race being released
at this minute. We`re going to have all the details for you on whether
Donald Trump`s comments about Senator John McCain have hurt him with
Republican primary Republican voters or have they helped him? All the
numbers in just a minute.
Also coming up this hour, the good news and more troubling news that those
numbers hold for Hillary Clinton.
Also at this hour, it`s been an absolutely horrible week for commuters in
New Jersey and anyone who travels by train on the East Coast. What does
Governor Chris Christie have to say about that, five years after he killed
a project to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River that would
ease a lot of that traffic?
And our breakfast interview with Chuck Schumer gets "The Daily Show"
Much more ahead on that.
But we`re going to begin this hour with those brand new polling numbers
from NBC News and Marist that we have been teasing all morning. These
numbers giving us an updated look of where things stand in the critical
early states of Iowa and New Hampshire in the race for president.
Let`s get right to them. In Iowa, the bottom line here, Hillary Clinton
leading Bernie Sanders, nearest Democratic challenger, 55-26 percent right
now. Again, brand new NBC News-Marist numbers here -- Martin O`Malley, way
back at 4 percent. There you see Jim Webb at 2 percent. Clinton Chafee
apparently not registering.
In New Hampshire, the race looking much closer. Of course, New Hampshire,
Bernie Sanders, the next door neighbor there from Vermont, Clinton`s lead
was once more than 50 points in the Granite State. Now, it just 13, 47
percent to 34 percent.
Sanders was polling at 13 percent in New Hampshire in February. Now, he
has almost tripled that to 34 percent. Again, Martin O`Malley far back at
5 percent. There`s Lincoln Chafee at 2 percent.
Now, the real story in both places when it comes to the Democratic race,
though, might be Hillary Clinton`s favorability numbers among voters or
really her unfavorable ratings in these states, 56 percent and 57 percent
of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire saying they have an unfavorable opinion
of Hillary Clinton. That is 19 and 20 points higher than the number who
have a favorable opinion of her in those states.
Now, in comparison, only 27 percent with unfavorable view of Bernie Sanders
in Iowa. Again, this is all voters we`re talking about now, not just
Democrats -- only 29 percent in New Hampshire.
So, that the story on the Democratic side. Now, let`s turn to the
Republican side, where we have new insight on Donald Trump`s comments about
John McCain may be hurting him.
Donald Trump, of course, now leading the Republican field nationally. You
see it here, too, in New Hampshire.
New numbers in New Hampshire, Donald Trump in first place at 21 percent,
that`s seven points ahead of Jeb Bush, his nearest competitor. That is
well outside the margin of error. Scott Walker back at 12 points in third.
The new entry, Governor John Kasich of Ohio, he is in fourth place in New
Hampshire at 7 percent. You see Chris Christie right behind him at 6.
Now, take a look at the numbers in Iowa, you see Scott Walker, the
Wisconsin governor, with a slight lead there in Iowa at 19 percent. That`s
only two points ahead of Trump who`s at 17 in the first elimination caucus
state. Jeb Bush in third with 12, Ben Carson in fourth with eight.
Now, it is important to note that these polls were conducted both before
and after Donald Trump made those comments that questioned John McCain`s
And here is an interesting finding contained inside those numbers. It`s
that after Trump made those comments, his support among those voters
surveyed did begin to drop. In New Hampshire, 26 percent of voters who
were questioned before Trump`s McCain remarks supported Trump. But after
those McCain remarks, Trump support fell to 14 points, nearly cut in half.
Again, among those who were questioned after his comments about John
However, here is the other twist. Trump`s Iowa numbers did not contain the
same change. There was no apparent damage to Donald Trump in Iowa among
Republicans because of the John McCain remarks, only in New Hampshire.
Trump, of course, has refused to apologize for what he said about McCain
and he`s doubled down on his strategy of attacking nearly everyone in the
Republican field. It`s a strategy he continued to deploy yesterday as he
campaigned in Iowa.
His target yesterday? Scott Walker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve been nice to Scott Walker.
You know, he`s a nice guy. He came up to my office three, four months ago,
presented me with a plaque because I helped him with his election.
And then, today, I read this horrible statement from his fund-raiser about
Trump. I said, oh, finally, I can attack. Finally.
He`s the only one beating me in Iowa is Scott Walker, and not by that much.
And he grew up -- you know, he grew up next door. I mean, he`s like right
next door. It`s a little advantage, right?
Except Wisconsin is doing terribly. It`s -- first of all, it`s turmoil.
I can`t believe I`m in second place. I finally am second place in Iowa.
But he is next door. But, folks, will you please put me in first place so
I feel better?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Let`s bring back the panel: Genevieve Wood with "The Daily
Signal", CNBC contributor Ron Insana, and April Ryan with American Urban
So, let`s take a look at both sides here. Let`s start on the Republican
side and Trump.
That finding is so interesting, that split between Iowa and New Hampshire
in terms of did these John McCain comments have any effect? And, of
course, you think of the difference between the electorates in those two
states, Iowa, much more conservative, activist oriented, evangelical. New
Hampshire -- New Hampshire is a state that made John McCain in 2000.
McCain in many ways the president of New Hampshire, so that might explain
some of this.
WOOD: Yes. Well, I think you got to play -- let`s remember how this whole
feud started. It started because John McCain called some activists in
Arizona crazies. While there`s probably some activists in Iowa who think
he would say the same thing about them as well.
So, I think in the long run, this probably didn`t hurt Trump as much as
many people thought it would and also because, look, Trump is doing, in my
view, as well as he is, because he`s sticking it to people and he`s
sticking it to the establishment and they don`t know how to deal with it.
And while a lot of folks ultimately, I don`t think, would vote for him for
president, they`re enjoying watching the show of kind of him putting a
thumb in the eye of Washington. And I think that explains a lot of his
KORNACKI: And we can say, we also have other numbers we could tell you
about. Now, CNN just came out with its own new polling on the 2016 race on
the Republican race nationally. They have Donald Trump running in first
place on the Republican side.
They also asked Republicans nationally, do you want Trump to stay in the
race or get out? Fifty-two percent of Republicans saying they want Trump
to stay in the race. That`s the new CNN poll, also out right now.
Ron, the interesting thing, to pick up on Genevieve`s point of what Trump
is tapping into here, I think it`s not just that he says this stuff in the
first place, because we have seen politicians say bombastic things. It`s
that when the entire political and media world then rains down upon him, he
doesn`t give an inch. He throws it right back and I think there`s
something about that style that`s resonating with the big chunk of that
INSANA: Oh, absolutely. And, look, he`s kind of many ways the inverse of
Bill Clinton, you know, who gains energy when people come to him in a
positive manner. Trump gains energy when people come to him in a negative
manner. And so, he`s grown larger and larger in that regard.
And, look, I mean, he`s not by any means the person he presents himself to
be. He`s had numerous business failures. He has a constituency of one.
If you were to talk to his shareholders and his bondholders, they don`t
like him nearly as much as everyone else. He has made money for Donald
Trump. What he is doing is -- and, you know, people talk about him tapping
into this anxiety, using the `let`s make America great again" slogan, one
of the ironies there is America -- the United States is in reasonably good
shape when you look at a variety of different metrics and compare it to the
next of the world. China is about to implode, Russia is in recession.
Brazil is in recession and inflation. Europe is in turmoil.
The U.S. is a bastion of stability, economically and politically, when
compared to the rest of the --
WOOD: When compared to the bad guys.
INSANA: No, but there are very few other places that can compete in a
meaningful way with the U.S. but people have this feeling, as they did in
1980, that the U.S. has been degraded and this resonates with them.
KORNACKI: The anxiety is out there. April, let`s turn to the Democratic
numbers here. So, Clinton is far ahead of Bernie Sanders in Iowa, not much
of a surprise in New Hampshire, much closer, but also it`s these numbers
with all voters, asking if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of
There were some other numbers out earlier this week that showed her in a
few swing states, I think it`s Virginia, Colorado, Iowa. Those numbers
looked shaky. Maybe it`s a little early on those. Maybe this is a bit of
Here, we`re looking at it. Look at Iowa. Critical swing state of Iowa.
New Hampshire is a swing state. And those numbers, also, the other
candidates are in there. No one, except Trump in this poll, is doing this
poorly in terms of favorable/unfavorable number.
RYAN: One of the problems is that Hillary Clinton, secretary of state,
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton peaked very early. That`s one of
Another big problem is the fact that she`s got these controversies weighing
over her head. They`ve got to be dealt with and moved on so she can come
back and re-create herself, so she can stand out there and push forward for
the Oval Office that she wants.
I mean, people in these initial states, they know the weight that they
carry by their thoughts about Hillary Clinton and they`re concerned like
every American. What they`re doing in those poll numbers are really
showing America what America really feels.
KORNACKI: And Bernie Sanders aspect of this, too, we talked a little bit
about it with him. I mean, the idea of he could win one of these early --
those are his favorable, unfavorable numbers you`re seeing with all voters.
But I mean, you know, Iowa is the kind of state that`s geared towards
somebody like Sanders. And, look, I mean, he`s sitting there 13 points off
the lead in the New Hampshire right now, and we`re summer before the
WOOD: Well, as Ron pointed out earlier, Hillary has been out this before.
Let`s go back to 2008. She couldn`t pull it out in Iowa.
But, look, I think the challenge here, too -- I mean, Bernie Sanders, he`s
getting, what, 24 percent? That`s the numbers?
KORNACKI: Twenty-six in Iowa.
WOOD: He`s doing as well as Donald Trump is on the Republican -- or on the
Democratic side. And I think for the GOP, what will be interesting is to
see -- look, Donald Trump has the stakehold here. But then you have all
these other candidates. If there were only five candidates on the
Republican race or four, like there are on the Democratic side, I think you
would have a much different story with Donald Trump, because the Marco
Rubio crowd, Walker crowd and Jeb Bush crowd, some of those people would be
coming together. You would see a much more level playing field and that
may be what -- how it kind of plays out to get into --
INSANA: Although it really depends how long Donald Trump can stay in and
dominate the media conversation.
INSANA: This is the issue. This is the problem Mitt Romney had five days
before the election when the Sandy hit and all of a sudden he disappeared
from television for the five days before the election. You didn`t see him.
You didn`t hear from him.
You are not hearing from anyone else in the Republican field. There`s just
so little coverage.
WOOD: Even with Rand Paul`s chainsaw with the tax code.
KORNACKI: Right, there`s real consequences of that for these Republicans -
KORNACKI: -- because that first debate is coming up. You have to be in
that top ten. If you`re not being heard right now, you might not get in
that top ten. So, that`s another aspect of --
INSANA: And remember the nontraditional way in which I`m sure Donald Trump
will approach this debate.
INSANA: This is not going to be anything -- you know, I did a Democratic
debate back when Wesley Clark had just gotten into the race. Brian
Williams was moderating. We had Jerry Seitz (ph) from "The Wall Street
Journal," Gloria Berger.
And that time, you know, we were told not to make news, right? So, as the
moderator of the debate, it`s all going to be very low key. There`s going
to be nothing low key --
WOOD: About this.
INSANA: -- nothing polite, nothing civil about the entire process.
RYAN: The problem is we`re reading that Donald Trump is not prepping. All
the other candidates are prepping for the debate.
KORNACKI: Are you surprised Donald Trump is not --
RYAN: I thought he was going to prep. Someone close to him told me he has
problem with his memory. So, that might be some of the reason he`s not
prepping. But you do not want Donald Trump on that stage just going for
WOOD: All he`s going to have to do is what he has been doing thus far,
attack every other single member of the Republican Party running.
RYAN: He`s going to come with a binder, with all sorts of bones to throw
WOOD: Right. What, you`re going to have 10 candidates up there, what is
it, 90 minutes long? You can`t get into deep discussion of policy and what
your answers are --
INSANA: Three or four minutes per person.
WOOD: That`s right.
KORNACKI: And he doesn`t want to.
WOOD: No, he doesn`t want to.
KORNACKI: He wants to name call. If you get in with him, he`s going to
shout you -- the only one who might have a chance of kind of making him
quiet down for a minute is Chris Christie. Imagine the specter of Chris
Christie and Donald Trump getting into it.
I am so excited about this debate.
RYAN: Do you know the strategy for all the candidates. They`re all going
to get together and say, look, let`s ignore him. They`re going to shun
KORNACKI: Good luck with that.
Trump and the other candidates are in Iowa this weekend.
KORNACKI: President Obama is in Kenya, part of his historic trip to Africa
and -- oh, excuse me. Actually, we do not have that report. I thought we
were going to have a report from Nairobi for you. Unfortunately, we don`t.
So, turning now to Louisiana, also big news, of course. Tragic news in
Louisiana, where this past week`s deadly movie theater shooting is sparking
another heated debate over gun control.
Federal authorities say that the gunman, John Russell Houser bought the gun
he used in that shooting legally in Alabama last year, despite having a
history of mental illness.
MSNBC`s Jamie Novogrod is live this morning in Lafayette.
So, Jamie, you`re on the ground there. What`s the latest you can tell us?
JAMIE NOVOGROD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Steve.
That`s right. The shooter, John Russell Houser bought the gun legally in
2006. Today, experts and gun control advocates are wondering how it was
that he was able to purchase the gun legally. What does it mean to
purchase a gun legally? That means that a background check was done.
Experts are wondering why his history, his mental health history didn`t
come up during the course of a background check. What do we know about
We know that in 2006, he tried to buy a gun in Alabama. The sheriff`s
department there in Russell County, Alabama, turned him down for a
concealed carry permit because of a prior arrest on arson charges and
because of domestic abuse complaint by his wife. What we know about him is
this long slide into a kind of brushes with the law, into a kind of
despondency, trouble, depression, mental illness. And so, now, experts are
wondering why that didn`t come up during the course of a background check
Court documents show that in 2008, Steve, his family had him involuntary
committed for mental health treatment. Why didn`t that come up during the
course of the background check? And that`s what experts would like to
KORNACKI: OK. Yes, a lot of -- a lot of important questions there to get
answers to in the days ahead.
MSNBC`s Jamie Novogrod, thanks for that report from Louisiana.
And still ahead, United States Senate back in town and working today on a
Sunday. We`re going to look at why.
But, first, Chris Christie re-evaluates one of the more controversial
decisions of his tenure as New Jersey governor. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: This was the scene just moments ago, President Obama leaving
Kenya after his historic visit, now on his way to Ethiopia for the next leg
of his trip. Before he left this morning, the president gave a speech in
Nairobi. This is the centerpiece event of his visit.
And for more on that, we go now to senior White House correspondent Chris
Jansing in Nairobi.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning,
Steve. I think it`s fair to say that this entire trip has been building to
this moment, the president having a bully pulpit and all the emotion
surrounding it for the Kenyans who consider him a native son. This is, of
course, his ancestral homeland.
He talked about this country which he cares about very deeply as being at
the crossroads of peril and promise and talk about sort of three areas of
progress that they need to look at. The first one he spoke about yesterday
as well, and that is corruption. This is one of the most corrupt countries
in Africa, and that`s saying something. And he said it`s been standing in
the way of further economic progress in a country that has a fast-growing
economy but where the poorest are still really struggling.
He, for the first time, spoke very forcefully about stopping the practice
of treating women and girls as second-class citizens. He said you can`t
eliminate 50 percent of your population and expect to move forward. He
also talked about one area of agreement with the United States, which is
counterterrorism. This is a country that, of course, has been hit hard by
terrorist bombings. And he said that cooperation is going to continue to
The enthusiasm here, though, really reached a fever pitch. There were
thousands of people lining the streets as his motorcade made its way to
that sports stadium.
If you want one more indication of just how much he is loved here, there
are local reports that after his plane touched down on Friday, two newborn
babies were named. One, Air Force One Barack Obama and a second just Air
Force One. I don`t know if they`ll have nicknames, AF1. I`ll leave that
for you to decide -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Now that Air Force One is taken, I`m going to have
to go with a new name when I have kids one of these days. Anyway, thank
you, Chris Jansing for that from Nairobi.
And meanwhile, here on the domestic political front -- well, you may
remember this story from back in 2010, a project to build a brand new
tunnel for trains that travels under the Hudson River into and out of New
York City`s Penn Station from New Jersey. Believe it or not, right now,
there is only one tunnel in each direction.
So, all the train traffic on a very heavily traveled northeast coast, both
Amtrak and commuter trains tends to bottle neck right there. Tunnel
project had funding from the federal government. It had support from the
state of New York. New Jersey was also on board and so, the digging began.
The project was under way. Millions were spent.
And then in 2010 -- this is the part you probably remember -- New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie abruptly decided to pull New Jersey`s support, to
stop all work and to kill the tunnel project.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This decision is final. There is no
opportunity for reconsideration of this decision on my part. I am done.
We are moving on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Governor Christie said that the costs of the project had gone up
and that New Jersey was not prepared to foot any more of the bill. So, the
plug was pulled. The tunnel was abandoned. No relief for commuters into
and out of New York City, or Amtrak people going through New York City.
Fast forward, though, to his week -- these were the headlines in New York
and New Jersey. Look at some of them here. Riders livid after power
problems again caused Amtrak NJ Transit delays. On day three of delays,
New Jersey Transit shortfalls are painfully clear. Amtrak boss says he
feels NJ Transit riders frustrations over delays but needs funds.
Tens of thousands of people who live in New Jersey and commute to New York
having a hellish week getting to and from work. Also, Amtrak passengers
from all over the East Coast suffering as well, all because of electrical
problems in the century`s old rail problems. This is a problem that is
exacerbated by the high heat, one that also occurs in extreme cold, raises
more questions about Christie`s decision to halt construction on what would
have been a new tunnel that could have relieved so much of this congestion.
Christie, of course, is now running for president. And yesterday, Larry
Kudlow, conservative commentator, asked him about killing that tunnel
project five years ago. This is what Christie had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: If I am president of the United States I`ll call a meeting
between the president, my secretary of transportation, the governor of New
York and the governor New Jersey and say, listen, if we`re all in this even
steven, if we are all going to put in an equal share, then let`s go build
these tunnels underneath the Hudson River.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Andrea Bernstein is the senior editor for politics and
policy at WNYC. She`s been covering this story closely. She joins the
So, Andrea, Chris Christie is now in favor of building the tunnel that he
ANDREA BERNSTEIN, WNYC: Well, he`s in favor of building a tunnel. There
is a new project on the board. The problem is that it takes about 20 years
for a tunnel like this, because you have to look at the land. You have to
do environmental studies, you have to put together the funding. So, this
had all been done. They were actually digging a hole in the ground and had
already spent hundreds of millions of dollars when Governor Christie
decided that New Jersey didn`t have the money for cost overruns.
Now, there was later a report, audit of that and said cost overruns were
not as frightening as all that. But by then, the project was long
finished. And there was an equal, equal, equal distribution of funds from
New Jersey transit, the Port Authority of the state of New York and New
Jersey and the federal government.
And essentially what happened is that $6 billion or $5 billion of funds,
when this tunnel was pulled, went to New Jersey road projects, which were
unfunded at the time.
KORNACKI: Yes, and take us back to that decision, because it was read
several different ways back in 2010. Christie was new as governor. He was
suddenly getting all this national attention. People were already starting
to talk about him as running as a presidential candidate. Some were
saying, look, this was a dramatic gesture aimed at the Tea Party
nationally. He`s going to try to pull the plug on what he calls a wasteful
government project and endear himself to the Tea Party nationally.
And there`s also the issue you just raised there, though, with funding
transportation project in New Jersey, and avoiding a hike on the gas tax in
BERNSTEIN: He was left with an empty fund to pay for roads and bridges
from the previous Democratic governor. But the reason that fund is empty
is because New Jersey has one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation. And
it has not been raised for over two decades. As a result, there`s no money
to pay for roads and bridges.
Last thing you want to do when you`re thinking about running for president
is to raise the gas tax. So, instead of doing that, this was the way that
they decided they were going to come up with funds, to sort of push the
project down several years.
Incidentally, two other Republicans running for president, Scott Walker in
Wisconsin, and John Kasich in Ohio, did something similar and returned
funds to Washington for high rail speed projects, saying the same thing.
They would eventually not be able to pay for it.
But the upshot of all of this is the experience that all these commuters
had this week, and that it`s horrible. The reason is because of Sandy.
When Sandy flooded those tunnels, the line -- the power lines corroded,
salt water gets into them. And once that happens, there`s sort of no going
So, Amtrak, last fall, put out a report saying it`s just going to get worse
and worse. So, I think this is just --
KORNACKI: And years, decades away from having any relief.
KORNACKI: Well, talking about this issue, Chris Christie, I want to make
sure I play this, too. Chris Christie was out there, campaigning in Iowa.
This is actually -- we don`t have the sound for it, unfortunately.
But this is -- Chris Christie had a heated exchange with a gun rights
activist in Iowa yesterday, Christie saying come up with one fact that
shows one thing I`ve done as governor of New Jersey that`s done anything,
anything not to support the rights of legal gun owners. Don`t come in
front of this group of people and lie about my record, which is what you
It`s one of those sort of patented Christie eruptions. I did want to put
this up on the screen -- if you`re a gun rights activist, this might be
what you`re concerned about with Chris Christie. This was early in his
political career. This was Chris Christie, he ran on an assault weapons
ban, saying he supported it, saying that his opponents who opposed it were
-- it was a dangerous idea, it was a crazy idea, it was a radical idea.
So, that`s -- the Chris Christie eruption in Iowa, we had the tunnel
situation in New Jersey this week, we have Chris Christie saying if I`m
president, I`m going to fix this tunnel.
How does this all look, Ron?
INSANA: Well, I`m a New Jersey resident. On one hand this decision was
made when the George Washington Bridge was working just fine and then also,
you know, there`s one thing about New Jersey -- I mean, you may see studies
that suggest cost overruns wouldn`t be onerous, but if you`ve ever built
anything in New Jersey, that`s probably not all that accurate. So, on the
one hand, I can understand his reticence for being solely responsible for
If you look at what happened in the Big Dig in Boston --
WOOD: Oh, yes,
INSANA: -- which started at $6 billion and ended at $14 billion, it`s a
lot of money when things spin out of control when it comes to public works
Now, granted we need them, which points to a much larger issue in the
United States, critical infrastructure of every kind needs either repair or
RYAN: That`s right.
INSANA: And that is something that really needs a great deal of
KORNACKI: And just quickly, that issue of Christie saying being on the
hook, how real was that?
BERNSTEIN: Well, there was a report saying that not so much. I mean,
infrastructure projects do always go over budget. The transportation
KORNACKI: Little bit.
BERNSTEIN: -- at the time, though, Ray LaHood, who was also a Republican,
said, we`ll try to work out some financing for this, to figure out a way to
buffer that pain, should it occur. And Christie said, no, no, no, we`re
just not doing this. It wouldn`t be fiscally responsible.
The problem is, what`s the alternative? The alternative is the entire
northeast corridor becomes throttled.
KORNACKI: And that`s what we`re seeing this week.
BERNSTEIN: It`s terrible for the economy.
KORNACKI: We saw how that played out this week.
BERNSTEIN: Right. That`s the alternative.
So, there`s a tradeoff, do you risk cost overruns, which could be painful
or are you going to literally stop trains in their tracks and, you know,
not allow all kinds of business commuters and commuters into New York City
KORNACKI: I remember the Big Dig. I grew up outside Boston and expand my
entire childhood, it doesn`t --
KORNACKI: But I will also say it looks pretty good up there. You can see
the north end and everything.
Anyway, Andrea Bernstein, WNYC, thank you for joining us.
BERNSTEIN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: We appreciate that.
And still ahead, what Jon Stewart thought about our breakfast with Chuck
Schumer last week. You don`t want to miss that.
And next, rare Sunday session in the Senate and the measure that led Ted
Cruz to call the Republican leader in the Senate a liar.
KORNACKI: Most Americans will be out, enjoying a summer Sunday today, if
they`re lucky. Members of the Senate will be at work. This just two days
after Senator Ted Cruz shocked the Senate by leveling a stunning accusation
against his own party`s leader.
And the purpose of today`s session is to deal with the nation`s highway
trust fund, which is just days away of running out of money. New report
says one-quarter says of the nation`s highways are crumbling. Experts say
the 18 cents a gallon gas tax is no longer enough to cover the needed
repairs but members of Congress can`t agree on a long-term solution to the
problem let alone a short-term fix to keep the trust funded.
But now, another contentious issue is tangled up with all this. It`s a
controversial amendment that would revive something called the Export-
Import Bank. This is something that conservatives do not support, that
they`ve been fighting for months. They do not like the Export-Import Bank
and it`s what led to Cruz`s extraordinary statement on the Senate floor on
Friday when he said that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had personally
promised him that the Export-Import Bank would not be looped into the
highway funding bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I sat in my office. I told
my staff, the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54
Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie.
And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of
us. What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only
what he told every Republican senator but what he told the press over and
over and over again was a simple lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. And joining us from Washington is Niels Lesniewski,
who covers the Senate for "Roll Call". Our panel is also back with us.
Well, Neil, I mean, just obviously, the theater of that -- extraordinary to
have a U.S. senator on the floor saying something like that about a
colleague, let alone their Republican leader. But what Cruz is basically
alleging is, hey, look, McConnell sold us out. He sold out opponents of
the Export-Import Bank.
Is he right on that point?
NIELS LESNIEWSKI, ROLL CALL: There are any number of instances in which
the majority leader said that, in fact, the supporters of the Export-Import
Bank, of which Senator McConnell is not one, but where Senator McConnell
said on the highway bill, these senators who support the Export-Import Bank
would get a vote. That`s on tape. There`s been any number of media
reports. I`ve heard Mitch McConnell say it myself.
So, it strikes me as rather unusual for Senator Cruz to be suggesting that
there was no expectation that this Export-Import Bank issue was going to
get tied up with the highway bill unless, in fact, there was something --
and the only thing that makes any sense is that if he perceived something
in a private meeting that McConnell said that was somehow different from
what McConnell was saying publicly, because there`s been no real surprise
that the Export-Import Bank amendment was coming up on the highway bill.
KORNACKI: And so, what has been -- has there been any fallout from this?
This happened a couple of days ago. Now, they`re going to be back today.
Are senators rallying around Cruz or is he sort of a one man, out on his
own on this?
LESNIEWSKI: Well, he`ll have the support of senators presumably and House
members as well, as well as those in the activist community who are
fervently against the Export-Import Bank, who are generally distrustful of
the Republican leadership or the people that the Cruz campaign would refer
to as the Washington cartel. Senator Cruz was raising money off his speech
just yesterday. There will be more of that.
But I don`t know how exactly every other senator will respond, because
frankly by the time Cruz gave this speech on Friday, many senators had been
running for the airports, knowing they wouldn`t have to be back until about
2:00 or 3:00 Sunday afternoon.
KORNACKI: All right. We`ll keep -- I`m sure you`ll be keeping a close eye
on that today and we`ll all look to see how the next chapter of this
But for now, thank you to Niels Lesniewski from "Roll Call." Appreciate
Still ahead, President Obama`s late night legacy.
And next, breakfast with Chuck Schumer. Last Sunday on the show, it went
so well, we decided to invite another notable name to eat at a diner with
us. I`ll extend that invitation on the other side of this break.
KORNACKI: All right. If you happen to catch our breakfast with Senator
Chuck Schumer of New York last weekend -- well, it turns out you had some
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, DAILY SHOW: Boom, breakfast interview! This is a great idea.
You get the Schumes early in the day, while he`s fresh. His ideas about
Iran will still be -- no! What have you done?
You brought an old New York Jewish man to a diner?
STEWART: Oh! You realize what this means? You`re never going to end up
talking about the Iran deal. You`re just going to end up talking about
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) diners.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Guess what I have on my grits.
Southerners would turn up their nose. They have butter or something.
Sweet`N Low, a Brooklyn product, 1,200 jobs in Brooklyn, our Sweet`N Low
jobs, direct and indirect. So, I eat a lot of this.
STEWART: Is that like a constituent service? I`m from Brooklyn so I have
to use as much Sweet`N Low? During the winter I don`t salt my driveway. I
Sweet`N Low my drive way?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. I`m glad we`re able to give Jon Stewart some
material. I love watching that segment.
And also, that got me thinking, if he has that much to say about what
someone else says in a diner, well, maybe he would have even more to say
himself in a diner.
So, I`m going to put it out there. Here it is right now, an open
invitation to Jon Stewart. You pick the diner. We`ll do it here in New
York. We`ll do it in New Jersey. I think that`s where you`re from. We
can go to Connecticut if somehow that`s easier.
We`ll sit, we`ll have some eggs, we can talk about grits, we can talk about
coleslaw, we can talk about Iran. We can talk about anything you want.
You just tell us where, you just tell us when and we`ll be there. And
we`ll even throw in some extra Sweet`N Low.
Think about that one, Jon Stewart.
And when we come back, Jon Stewart`s final sit-down this week with someone
else will have us looking at President Obama`s most memorable moments on
late night television.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I can`t believe that you`re leaving before me. In fact, I`m
issuing a new executive order. That Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was President Obama Tuesday night on "The Daily Show," his
third appearance on that show as president, his seventh appearance overall.
He has been a frequent guest of Jon Stewart.
He`s shown some love for other late night hosts as well, appearing on "The
Tonight Show" with Jay Leno four times while president. "The Late Show
with David Letterman" four times, also stopping by to say good-bye to Dave
in May, "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" one time, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" one
time, and "The Colbert Report" once.
While the president has used this late night appearances to promote his
agenda, like selling the Iran deal during that visit to "The Daily Show"
this week, he`s also shown he can have a little fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, LATE NIGHT: The president knows his stuff, which is why he
is known as the POTUS which is person on top -- what is it?
OBAMA: Jimmy, POTUS stands for president of the United States.
TROTTER: He`s the POTUS with the mostest
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And joining us now to discuss President Obama`s late night
legacy is David Itzkoff, culture reporter for "The New York Times". He
joins our panel.
So, not -- I remember Bill Clinton running for president in `92 went on the
Arsenio Hall show. That always sort of seemed to be the turning point when
it was OK for public figures to do. But no one has done it more than
Barack Obama as president.
DAVID ITZKOFF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It`s too bad he doesn`t also play the
saxophone, because that really would mean consummate night late appearance.
I mean, was it as scintillating as your sit-down with Chuck Schumer in the
KORNACKI: Impossible standard.
ITZKOFF: No. But there was a kind of collegiality with him and Jon
Stewart, even a kind of chumminess that you saw on that first segment, it
then turned to conversation about the Iran deal, even talk about, you know,
how the president could better interact with the media. He has actually
made a lot of appearances on all the shows that you mentioned. One of my
personal favorites, I mean, he did a video with Zach Galifianakis last
year. The Funny or Die --
RYAN: The ferns.
ITZKOFF: Between Two Ferns.
ITZKOFF: He was going out to promote, you know, the health care website.
It was also a comedy bit that the president participated in.
KORNACKI: He did. We have a few here. We`ll get these clips in, too.
This was President Obama last year at the end of the -- as Colbert was
going off the air, he made a final appearance there. We can show you that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Nation, as you know, I, Stephen Colbert, have never cared for our
president. The guy is so arrogant, I`ll bet he talks about himself in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s the other thing, Dave, too. I wonder if Jimmy Fallon,
doing a bit there on "The Colbert Report". Jimmy Fallon, of course, is not
so much monologue and interviews, it`s more participatory. The nature of
late night changing a little bit. So, when you`re a politician or
president going on these shows, you`re not just there to sit down and talk
as much anymore.
ITZKOFF: Well, I think it certainly varies from show to show. Some of
these hosts may not feel as comfortable on the ground of, you know, let`s
have a deep political, even wonky kind of conversation with the president.
We`re more about having fun and doing viral bits. Let`s just write a good
comedy bit that we know the president will participate in. And he
certainly proved to be a good sport about it.
KORNACKI: How -- all the appearances on the late night shows, has that
RYAN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Most definitely. People see this president as a cool guy down, dropping
the mike during his late night -- what is it, the jam?
ITZKOFF: Slow jamming the news.
RYAN: Slow jam.
And Between Two Ferns was the biggest hit. I mean, the White House
couldn`t believe how it went viral with Zach Galifianakis. It went so
well, they played that bit at the white at the White House Correspondents
So, late night works for him, and the Republican candidates have seen how
much it played so well, that Jeb Bush tried to do the slow jam. It didn`t
RYAN: With the Roots of all things, you know?
INSANA: It`s funny, it feels revolutionary. But I wonder if anybody
remembers Richard Nixon saying sock it to me.
KORNACKI: Sock it to me.
INSANA: Or Gerald Ford saying, "Live from New York, it`s Saturday Night
WOOD: And here is a reality, and nobody is watching just this channel or
reading this paper, and people are all over, and this is where for better
or worse, a lot of people get their news and what is going on in the world
is via these shows. So, if you`re going to reach the audiences --
INSANA: And it shows up in your Facebook feed or --
RYAN: They want to feel like you are real, and I think that`s -- and I
hate to bring his name up again -- but Donald Trump, he is reality TV and
people want to feel like you are a real person. And real people throw
things out there. They listen to music. They dance and they sing and --
ITZKOFF: Gave away outer candidate`s phone numbers.
So, people want to think you are real, and you see the realness of the
president and someone that sits on this high perch and the president of the
United States can sit down and get down with the Roots and drop --
WOOD: Yes, you can`t use talking points then.
KORNACKI: Is there, Dave, particularly, you look at the variety of options
you have, if you are the president or any politician looking to go on these
shows, and the variety of options you have, is there a particularly good
one you think that -- President Obama seemed to have a good relationship
with Jon Stewart. Is there a particularly good match for these people?
ITZKOFF: Well, I think, you know, as all of your other guests pointed out,
I mean, the president knows going into a situation he is going to be given
the dignity of the presidential office and he is not going to be
interrupted, and he`s not going to be heated or -- you know, I mean, they
try to make it adversarial, but he`s not going to be stepped upon. I think
any of these shows that he goes to, he knows he can get his viewpoint
across with a certain amount of humor and levity, that makes it go down
easier, whatever point he is trying to push.
KORNACKI: Did you guys actually I did want to play one more, too. This
was right before David Letterman retired back in May and President Obama
was on that as well. Let`s play a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: What will you do when you are not president?
OBAMA: Well, I was thinking you and me could play dominoes together.
LETTERMAN: Dominoes, all right.
OBAMA: We can, you know, go to the local Starbucks, you know, and swap
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I tell you the president has the right style for the shows, a
little rye, a little detached.
INSANA: You know, it`s interesting. And it`s not like these things are
without pitfalls. I mean, if you go back to Bill Clinton and (INAUDIBLE)
asked him boxers or briefs on MTV, you know, there are moments where these
things can go bad on you, too. It`s not without risks, particularly shows
like a dominant host like a Jon Stewart, and in the old days, the 1990s, a
Dennis Miller where they had cutting things to say on a regular basis about
politics, you know, they don`t step out of line with the sitting president.
But there are -- you know, it`s not entirely without risks, even though it
humanizes them in the process.
KORNACKI: Right, that`s the trade off for getting I guess that kind of
KORNACKI: Thanks to David Itzkoff with "The New York Times".
And up next, Congressman Patrick Murray is interviewing Congressman Patrick
Murray. We`re going to explain. That`s next.
KORNACKI: All right. That brings us at the end of our two hours. Thank
you to this morning`s panel, Genevieve Wood, April Ryan, Ron Insana. Thank
you all for being here. It was a lot of fun.
Thank you at home for getting UP with us today. Appreciate that.
Coming up later today on MSNBC, you`re not going to want to miss this,
"TAKING THE HILL," Congressman Patrick Murphy interviewing Congressman
Patrick Murphy. Well, how is that possible? One of them is the former
Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy who now hosts "TAKING THE HILL",
the other is the current Florida Congressman Patrick Murphy, who shares the
same name. You`re going to want to stick around see that.
But, first, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" with special co-hosts Janet Mock and
Richard Lui. So, stay tuned for that.
We`ll see you right here next week. Have a great week.
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