PoliticsNation, Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: August 23, 2015
Guest: Ed Rendell, Jackie Kucinich, April Ryan, Katon Dawson, Eliana
Johnson, Anthony Terrell, Roger Cohen
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Joe Biden`s big decision.
All right, good morning. Thanks for getting up with us this Sunday morning
with all of the attention that`s focused on Donald Trump`s run for
president, the race on the Democratic side can sometimes get overlooked,
but not this morning. Vice President Joe Biden back in the headlines with
the clearest sign yet that he is seriously considering a run for president.
Much more on that in just a minute.
We`re also learning more this morning about the gunman who tried to open
fire aboard a Paris-bound train and was stopped by three very courageous
Americans. That is coming up. And there is pandemonium this morning at
the National Zoo. Details on that ahead as well. But we begin this
morning with another surprise from Joe Biden. You can see the vice
president`s motorcade here making a surprise trip from his home in Delaware
back to Washington, D.C. yesterday. He headed back to the capital in order
to meet with Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and
liberal hero. The lunch gathering at the Naval Observatory, the biggest
sign yet that Biden is flirting with a presidential run. Testing waters
with a key party leader. "The New York Times" reporting that Biden made
clear to Warren that he is seriously considering a bid, but did not
directly ask her for her support. The vice president is also reaching out
to potential donors, telling associates that he will make a decision about
entering the race next month. Biden huddled on Thursday with political
advisors at his home in Delaware. Now, meanwhile, Bernie Sanders rallied
2,000 supporters down in Charleston, South Carolina, last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we bring the
middle class and working class together, when we bring white and black and
Hispanic, Native American, men and women, straight and gay, native born and
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: ... when we bring our people together, there is nothing that can
stop us from transforming this country.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Now, Hillary Clinton still holds a large lead in the polls on
the Democratic side. Sanders is now ahead of Biden in the surveys that
include the vice president. Worth pointing that out as well. NBC`s
Kristen Welker is in Martha`s Vineyard where President Obama is watching
all of this from his vacation. And Kristen, maybe that`s how the president
likes it. Let them sort this out and settle this while he takes a step
KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC ANCHOR: I think he`s glad to be sitting on the
sidelines right now, Steve. I think you`re absolutely right. And, of
course, if Vice President Biden does enter the race, that could complicate
things for the president. But look, here`s what we know. The vice
president has been mulling a run with his allies, supporters and family
members for weeks, but as you say, the fact that he met with Senator
Elizabeth Warren is the clearest sign yet that he`s seriously considering a
run. She would, of course, be key to winning over the progressive branch
of the party. Of course, progressives have not been flocking to Secretary
So, just to put this into a broader context, Secretary Clinton clearly
still the strong Democratic frontrunner. However, according to a CNN poll
just out this week, 53 percent of Democrats say they want Biden to run. So
the arguments for a Biden run -- look, this is someone who has always
wanted to be president. He has run twice before. He`s someone who thinks
he has a strong argument to make, and of course, there are some Democrats
who are getting jittery about Secretary Clinton`s chances in a general
election because of this e-mail issue. They worry that that would make her
vulnerable. The reasons against a vice president Biden run and the
challenges, quite frankly, some Democrats say that he could be seen as
dividing the Democratic Party, and then, Steve, there`s just a very
personal reason, which is that he`s still very much, I am told, mourning
the loss of his son Beau. This is something that he is grappling with.
One Democrat telling me he just doesn`t know if the vice president has it
in him right now given all of that.
And then there`s this issue of timing. The vice president has always said
he`s going to make his decision at the end of the summer. Well, now some
Democrats are saying it might be wise for him to sit back and wait to see
how Secretary Clinton actually weathers this e-mail issue and whether it
starts to actually gain ground. One Democrat saying it would be
politically wise for Vice President Biden to be seen as a savior instead of
a spoiler. So those are all of the issues that are at play as he continues
to mull this run. We were expecting a decision by the end of the summer in
and around Labor Day, but it`s quite possible that that timeline gets
pushed back a little bit. Steve?
KORNACKI: All right, Kristen Welker, thank you for that. Appreciate it.
And now, for more on what this means for the Democratic race, joining me
now, NBC News political analyst and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed
Rendell. In our panel this morning, Jackie Kucinich, senior politics
editor at "The Daily Beast", April Ryan, White House correspondent and
Washington Bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and Katon Dawson,
South Carolina director for Rick Perry 2016 and a former South Carolina
Republican Party chairman.
Well, Governor Rendell, let me start with you. Kristen Welker just put the
number out there. 53 percent of Democrats say they want Joe Biden to run
for president. Are you part of that 53 percent?
FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL: No. I think at this point, it would be divisive. I
think the vice president is best to wait. I think he can wait. He is the
vice president of the United States, and if he gets in, he`ll have
immediate credibility. To wait and see what happens. Because right now
you mentioned it in the opening, Steve. Right now, Hillary Clinton is
beating Sanders and Biden in Florida. 48-15-11. In, Ohio 47-17-14. In
Pennsylvania, 45-19-17. And Vice President Biden is running behind Bernie
Sanders. Hillary Clinton has not lost traction with the vast majority of
Democratic voters. And those polls were taken this week in the - of all of
classification charges. So I think the vice president -- if he`s at all
thinking about this, would be best to wait and come in as savior if, in
fact, something happens.
KORNACKI: Well, the governor, when you take Biden out of those polls, you
putting on, you go this Sanders-Clinton head-to-head that we`ve been
looking at for the last couple of months. You`ve got polls now with him
leading her in New Hampshire. You`ve got polls with him within 15 points
in Iowa. You`ve got him running at about 30 percent. You got her running
under 50 in a lot of cases. Doesn`t that indicate that there`s a little
bit more dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side than
maybe we thought there would be?
RENDELL: No, I think it indicates that Bernie Sanders has hit a very
responsive chord with a very progressive -- the most progressive wing of
our party. When you get into urban states that have a lot of Hispanics and
African-Americans, Steve, Sanders doesn`t come close to Clinton.
KORNACKI: Let me bring the panel in on this. And let me start with more
polling numbers here. So, this was in Quinnipiac this week. They went
into three key swing states. Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania. They tested
Clinton and Biden against Donald Trump. We now have to seriously consider
that Trump could be the Republican nominee. Look at this. They got
Clinton trailing him by two in Florida. Biden leading him by three. You
see Biden outpacing Clinton. Now, of course, Biden not a candidate right
now. That could explain a little bit why he`s doing better. But in terms
of the Biden scenario, does anybody here see the potential for Joe Biden in
the next month to get in this race?
APRIL RYAN, LEGAL RADIO NETWORK: Well, when I see him, what I`m hearing
from my sources inside the White House, particularly around Vice President
Biden and those in the draft Biden campaign, that this is serious. He`s
really taking this seriously. And it looks like there`s more of a serious
effort because of the kinds of people who have joined the draft Biden camp.
People who were campaign sponsors or campaign leaders for Beau Biden and
also people who worked with President Obama when he was running for
president the first time. So there is a big movement. But I asked these
people, I said, is this about the memory of Beau? They said no. This
would be Joe Biden 3.0. This is not necessarily about that. And they also
said - you know, I asked about the fact that what if he loses? This would
be the third time. They say, this is not necessarily if he loses about a
loss, it`s about the fact that he helps shape the narrative for the country
at this time. So it`s very interesting, he`s taking it very seriously and
I can`t wait to see it. He`ll put on those ray-bans again and we`ll see
the sexy Joe Biden.
KORNACKI: So, Jackie, what about the news now that we`re talking about
this morning is this meeting with Elizabeth Warren. And this is
interesting. Because there was this big push last year from liberals to
get Warren to run. She looked at the numbers, she said she didn`t think it
could happen. She stayed out of the race. Now you`ve got Bernie Sanders
running in a lot of ways on the Warren message and getting all this
traction. Interesting here that she`s not committed in this race yet and
Biden reaching out to her?
JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: I don`t think it`s - the fact that she`s
not committed doesn`t really surprise me. Because the moment she commits,
she loses all of her power and influence. So they have to kind of work for
her endorsement, particularly with the progressive wing. Now, we thought
that Bernie had kind of taken the Warren voter, but you wonder if Biden
gets in, if he`s the sweet spot between Hillary Clinton and the
establishment and Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing. She - I think
he would pull mostly from Hillary rather than Bernie Sanders, but you have
to wonder if those activists are looking at Joe Biden and saying okay, wait
a second, this might be a better call than Bernie Sanders, who is
definitely tapping into that part of the progressive base. But his
electability is still in question.
KORNACKI: As a Republican, Katon, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, who would
you rather your party have to run against next year?
KATON DAWSON, SC DIRECTOR, RICK PERRY 2016: Hillary Clinton. This e-mail-
gate is going to run a while. And that really affects the voters that
aren`t in either party of her credibility and likeability. And she isn`t
Bill Clinton, she`s Hillary Clinton. That`s a big difference out there on
the stump. In South Carolina, there are people that are pretty prominent
in the Democratic Party that have been, you know, talking to Joe Biden,
meeting him on his vacation. He gets to talk about all the good things the
Democratic Party have done, which I think aren`t many as a Republican, but
he gets to talk to the base. And my point is, Hillary right now is
carrying a whole load of baggage that Democrats don`t really want. I mean,
the conversation is not where it needs to be. And she`s let this thing get
out of hand. There`s no reason why her numbers are so soft right now. And
Biden, to his credit, is not a candidate. Once that changes, then Bernie
Sanders is going to take a hit and Hillary`s going to take a hit. Because
he gets to talk about what the administration has done to the base, and
they agree with that. And he also - I would contend, inherits the
grassroots base of Biden and the president for two terms. And that`s a
base that when you inherit that base, that`s a pretty powerful move.
KORNACKI: Governor Rendell, let me pick up on the point that Katon is
making and ask you about it. So, he`s talking about as a Republican, he
says he`d rather face Hillary Clinton. We put this poll up a minute ago
this week from these three swing states, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the
same poll asked about do you think Hillary Clinton is honest and
trustworthy in each one of those states. The answer came back no by a 2-1
margin. Is there something to what Katon is saying here that she may not
be as strong in the general election, maybe even as her husband was back in
RENDELL: Well, even with the pounding she`s taken, if you look at the
numbers head-to-head against Republicans, Clinton versus Trump, Clinton
versus Bush, Biden versus Bush, Biden versus Trump, it`s really in the
margin of error. So she`s been pounded. Joe has been riding a wave of
good feeling. Of course, because of what happened to Beau, how wonderful
he and his family were at the funeral. What a good, loyal vice president
he`s been. He`s been riding that wave of good feeling. You become a
candidate, and as you know, Steve, it all changes. The press all of a
sudden digs in and finds every miscue you`ve made, etc., etc. So I`m not
sure that the Republicans would rather run against Hillary Clinton.
Remember, we are still 18 months away from the general election. And this
e-mail stuff is playing out now. Will it be pertinent come October,
September, October, November of next year? I doubt it.
RYAN: I find what Katon says interesting, because the Republicans have
been talking about Hillary Clinton so much, and wanting her to fall off the
trail. She - for all intents and purposes, her trust numbers are showing
that people are having problems with trusting her. And now you`re saying,
but you want the Republican Party to have her as the candidate, as the
nominee. I just find that very interesting.
DAWSON: Be careful what you wish for here in politics. At the end of the
day, it is early yet. I mean if you`ll go unpack this Trump phenomenon,
Bernie Sanders, unpack it all, and go back to 2011, and September 2011,
there`s a straw poll, Rick Perry is leading and Herman Cain comes in with -
and I know Herman Cain is not Donald Trump, but he`s ...
RYAN: He`s not ..
DAWSON: There is a fickle electorate out there right now. And poll
numbers, you can - they`re good trends, but Steve, watch the trends. When
you see the trends in those battleground states, the trends of where voters
and what they are paying attention to - because I would contend that the
voters are going - haven`t really clued in except for the reality TV of
KORNACKI: I still think what Governor Rendell said holds up here, in terms
of the Democratic side, if those national polls were to start showing
Hillary Clinton losing to the Republicans, then I think the conversation
might shift more to the Democratic side. But as long as he`s still beating
them, I do find it hard to see the opening there for Biden to come in and
say I`m going to save the party, because she is still winning against
Republicans. Anyway, my thanks to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell
for joining us this morning.
And turning now to a developing story right now. New details about the
gunman in France whose attack on train passengers were thwarted. Three
Americans risking their lives by tackling and disarming him on Friday.
Belgium`s chief prosecutor has now identified the suspect as 26-year-old
Moroccan Ayoub el Khazzani. Police officials say he has ties to radical
Islam and he was known to authorities in three European countries. He is
currently in custody, all because of the American citizens who stopped that
attack. Two of them are U.S. servicemen, the third a college student. One
of them, Spencer Stone, who serves in the Air Force, sustained knife wounds
to his neck and his hands. He was treated at a local hospital. He has now
been released. President Obama called the young men to thank them on
behalf of the American people for their courage, and the French president
plans to meet with them tomorrow.
Still ahead, Jeb Bush receives some support from very close to home. And
Hillary Clinton reportedly likes him, too. Although that might not be a
compliment. But first, is there a path to the Republican nomination for
Donald Trump? We`ll try to answer that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I do know what I`m doing, and I don`t say that in a bragging - way.
You people are looking for somebody that knows what he`s doing, whatever it
is. I am going to be the greatest jobs president that god ever created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Donald Trump rallying the crowd this weekend in Mobile,
Alabama. But in addition to public support, if there`s any chance of Trump
turning this momentum into the Republican nomination, he`s going to need to
start rounding up endorsements from the Republican Party establishment.
Which is why it was significant when at that Alabama rally on Friday night,
Senator Jeff Sessions showed up and joined Trump onstage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R ) ALABAMA: We welcome you here. Thank you for the
work you`ve put into the immigration issue. I`m really impressed with your
plan. I know it will make a difference. And this crowd shows a lot of
people agree with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, Sessions did not officially endorse Trump on Friday night,
but this is the closest that Trump has come so far to landing a big name
party leader. Right now, polls show that nearly half of Republican voters
say they could see themselves supporting Trump. That`s a dramatic rise for
the billionaire, up from 32 percent when he announced back in June, and
just 23 percent if you go back to march. The new poll this week from CNN
shows Trump within striking distance of Hillary Clinton now, trailing her
by just six points, but the establishment is not taking this lying down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH: There`s a big difference between Donald Trump and me. I`m a
proven conservative with a record. He isn`t. I cut taxes every year.
He`s proposed the largest tax increase in mankind history.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: Our leading contender, Mr. Trump, is going backward on
immigration and I think he`s going to take all of us with him if we don`t
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I`ve met President Pena Nieto a number of times. I don`t
think if we present him with a bill he`s going to pay for it. And this is
not negotiation of a real estate deal, OK? This is international diplomacy
and it`s different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So what does Trump have to do if he actually wants to win? Can
he actually win? Let`s turn to the panel. Well, Katon, I`ll start with
you. You`re with Rick Perry, so Donald Trump likes to go around -- one of
his standard things these days is to make fun of Rick Perry and - say look,
Rick Perry came after me, he attacked me, he said I wasn`t a real
conservative and Rick Perry fell apart in the polls because it didn`t even
make the debate. What do you say to it?
DAWSON: It certainly wasn`t Donald Trump that did that, but what I`ll tell
you, as you heard Senator Graham and Senator Sessions. Senator Sessions
only wore that hat for about 45 seconds.
KORNACKI: But he wore it. But he wore it.
DAWSON: He put it on, he meant to show up, he meant to wear it. And he`s
one of my favorite senators. But when you start looking at the Trump
phenomenon, and especially the border stuff, and that`s where certainly
Governor Perry and Trump fell apart. Trump`s made a lot of promises about
building a fence. And - with you earlier, the fence is 1954 miles, and
nobody puts that kind of fence. That is from Key West to the end of Maine.
It`s an - The reason why that hadn`t been solved is because the enormity of
that problem. But Trump`s able to do things that other people aren`t. He
got an excess of $20 million worth of free advertising last week from our
network here, CNN, Fox, all of that. He`s got a lot of things going on
with him. So it`s real early in this process. But Trump doesn`t have to
deal with facts yet, Steve, but he will. He doesn`t have to deal with
white papers, but he will. And the Republican base is a fairly now
sophisticated base, when it really starts, he`s tapping into the emotions
of our party. And I would contend that we`re on some losing messages in
the general, because the people who are going to remain the next president
aren`t paying much attention to Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, even though
Trump is really good TV.
KORNACKI: Here`s Jackie, what I see, though, beyond Trump when I look at
the polls on the Republican side, I look at second place, and in a lot of
cases, it`s Ben Carson. So, this is - a complete outsider. You have Ben
Carson, you have Carly Fiorina, you have Ted Cruz who`s running on sort of
the anti-politician message, although he`s obviously a politician. You add
all that together, you start to get close to 50 percent. And I look at it,
if you`re saying you vote for Ben Carson, why wouldn`t Donald Trump be your
second choice? If you`re saying you vote for Ted Cruz, why wouldn`t -- so
when I say - when I look at that, I say maybe there is a path here for
KUCINICH: You know, but the other numbers you have to look at when you
look at the polls, we mentioned the Quinnipiac poll. There are more people
who say they would not ever vote for Donald Trump than say they would vote
for him. We`re still talking about 25-ish, part of the Republican
electorate. Now, one of the most interesting cross paths, when you talk
about Ben Carson, when you talk about Donald Trump, when you talk about Ted
Cruz, the evangelical vote right now is all about Donald Trump. And it`s
one of the most fascinating parts of this early electoral process that I`ve
seen personally. And I think that`s why you`ve started hearing it during
that Alabama rally. Talk about the Bible, talk about god, talk about
religion a lot. But he knows that. He`s looking at that. He`s a smart
guy. Say what you will about him. He knows what he`s doing.
KORNACKI: Nothing beats the Bible.
KUCINICH: Yeah, it`s my favorite book.
KORNACKI: He walked out there onstage, the first thing he says, it reminds
me of an old Billy Graham rally.
KUCINICH: Right. Oh, and he`s given money. He`s been building this.
Let`s be real. He`s been building this with evangelicals for a while.
He`s given money to Billy Graham. He`s given money - his Billy Graham`s
son was on Facebook talking about Donald Trump. He`s given money to his
group. He`s given money to a lot of different evangelical causes. So
Donald Trump has been building quietly this base within the Republican
Party amongst white evangelicals. And it`s paying dividends right now.
KORNACKI: I want to put this up, too, this battle between Donald Trump and
Jeb Bush that we`ve been seeing. To me, it looks like a one-sided battle.
But here was Donald Trump - went on Twitter last night, late in Saturday,
he figures, what am I going to do with my free time? I want to attack Jeb
Bush. Why not? Jeb Bush is weak on illegal immigration and saver of
Common Core, bad on women`s health issues and thinks the Iraq war was a
good thing. These are texts, April ...
KORNACKI: ... lobbying against Jeb. It`s clearly getting under Jeb Bush`s
skin. And when I look at the two of them battle it out in public, it
really looks like Trump is getting the better of Bush on this.
RYAN: I really think Trump is getting the better of Bush. I think Bush is
getting the better of himself as well. He has not found his footing. He`s
not found his stride, he`s not found himself yet. And here you have a
dynasty member, someone who you would think because their father was
president, their brother was president, he would be presidential. He does
not look presidential. He even acknowledged -- I mean, he tried to walk
away from his brother at the first debate, talking about, you know, it was
a bad idea for the war in Iraq. So, I mean, I think he`s trying to find
his own footing in the midst of the 5,000 GOP presidential contenders out
there. It`s a lot of them on that stage. And then he`s trying to find
himself. And then Donald Trump doesn`t make it any better. Donald Trump
is a very intimidating figure. Donald Trump is very -- I mean, this is the
biggest reality show you ever had. And you - the spotlight is on you. How
do you attack. He`s trying to be presidential, but we`re not in that time
when, you know, Reagan was up against a candidate. We`re not in a time
when Clinton was up against a candidate. And we`re now in reality TV,
entertainment, and trying to step up and put that best face forward. And
Jeb Bush is not doing that.
KORNACKI: It`s the theatrics. I mean to battle Trump, you`re battling a
KORNACKI: And if somebody And Trump -- he is relentless with the bravado
and with the bluster. And if you`re up there and you are arguing, well
this is a little wrong, and this is a little off. And he`s in your face
saying no, you`re weak. You are weak. You are weak. He`s going to look
DAWSON: It`s really bright right now nationwide for Trump. The poll
numbers at 24 should probably be better. But the advertising he`s getting
and exposure. But let me get deep down inside. After being on the
Republican National Committee for eight years and knowing most of the
operatives, I know the good - right - on the country that can do their job
and Jeb Bush has those. So, Jeb Bush has 130 million, a super-PAC that`s
there. Patience is the name of this game in the Republican Party. It`s a
RYAN: But it`s a new game. It`s a different game.
DAWSON: It is a new game, but once the light turns on in South Carolina
that is a hardball place, once the light turns on and you start exposing
the weaknesses, Rand Paul tried in New Hampshire to run a commercial, but
it was Rand Paul versus Donald - it didn`t work. But once the light turns
on with these policies, how far this wall is, the fact that Donald Trump
says everything three times to drive it home. That the word great and
terrific are all used. Once all these things are wearing off, and you have
real campaigns. So to Bush`s credit, they`re patient. This is their
business. They know what they`re doing. The candidate was rusty, no
question. I`m just saying, you hadn`t seen much of the other side.
KORNACKI: I hear you. But I`m ultimately with April here. I`m wondering
if the roles have changed on this ...
RYAN: The roles have changed.
KORNACKI: And that`s what we are going to see the next - but as you say,
we still have a few months for - Jeb Bush to get that rust off.
RYAN: Slow and steady wins the race.
KORNACKI: Up next, western wildfires continue to spread. We are going to
go out there and get a live report. Stay with us for that.
KORNACKI: Wildfires continue to grow out west. Fires now burning in six
states. Flames in Washington State have overtaken another hundred square
miles and 200 additional National Guardsmen are going to arrive there today
to help battle that blaze. NBC`s Leanne Gregg joins us now live from the
town of Chelan, Washington. Leanne, what can you tell us?
LEANNE GREGG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Steve. The conditions today for
firefighters will be hotter and drier. Temperatures will be in the `80s
and the `90s. Relative humidity low. But the wind will be back. A red
flag warning will go into effect for north central and north eastern
Washington, midday today, and will last until 9:00 Monday night, but it
won`t be anything like those winds we saw last week, gusting on Friday up
to 60 miles an hour and forcing evacuations of thousands of people. About
that fire in Okanogan County, which is to the north of here, some 500 homes
are threatened, but they say that the fire is moving away from those
communities now. Some homes have been destroyed, but not entire
neighborhoods, like they had feared. The count on how many structures and
homes are actually burned will not happen until at least a couple of more
weeks. As for this area in Chelan, the challenge today will be a fire
that`s burning about ten miles to the northwest of town. The crews are
trying to protect some homes along the shoreline as the fire heads to the
south. They`re building containment lines. They`ll be back up in the air.
And new resources are on their way, in a lot of areas they say they`ll
begin to go on the offensive rather than the defensive now that the winds
have died down somewhat. But again, those winds are kicking up a little
bit today and they always add new challenges. That`s the latest from
Chelan, Washington. Back to you, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Leanne Gregg in Washington, appreciate that report.
And still ahead, a horse racing controversy in the 2016 presidential horse
race. We`ll tell you about that ahead.
But first, Jeb Bush`s son comes to his dad`s rescue. That`s after the
break. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Jeb Bush will be traveling to Texas tomorrow to make his own
inspection of the U.S.-Mexico border amid what is turning into one of the
most contentious debates among Republicans in the 2016 race. Bush finding
himself under scrutiny this week after using the term anchor babies to
describe children born to undocumented immigrant mothers, language that
Bush was reluctant to clarify.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the term anchor baby is offensive?
JEB BUSH: No. No. If there`s another term that I can come up with, I`m
happy to hear it.
REPORTER: Governor, do you regret using the term anchor babies yesterday
on the radio?
JEB BUSH: No, I didn`t.
JEB BUSH: I don`t, I don`t regret it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t regret it?
JEB BUSH: No. Do you have a better term?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not - I`m asking you.
JEB BUSH: You give me a better term and I`ll use it. I`m serious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, governor ...
JEB BUSH: Don`t yell at me behind my ear, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, is that not bombastic language? Anchor baby
- is that not bombastic language?
JEB BUSH: No, it isn`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Jeb`s son George P. Bush saying in an interview this week that
his father will "pivot" from loaded language about immigration issues,
starting with this trip to the border tomorrow. Former Florida governor`s
positions continue to be scrutinized on both the right and the left. Matt
Latimer, who worked in the George W. Bush administration writing in
"Politico" this week that Jeb Bush is the candidate Hillary Clinton most
wants to face in the general election. He says that Jeb can`t distance
himself from his brother`s invasion of Iraq and is struggling to win over
his own party`s base. That problem may explain why Bush still trails
Donald Trump by double digits on the Republican side right now.
Joining the panel right now to talk about Jeb Bush and his predicament is
Mark Murray, senior political editor for NBC News. So, Mark, it seems to
me we`ve played clips a lot this weekend of Donald Trump mocking and
ridiculing Jeb Bush. And we obviously know that Donald Trump has carved
out quite a name for himself on immigration. This whole dust-up this week,
this mess that Jeb Bush walked into with his use of the term anchor babies,
it seems to me that what`s at the root of that is he has this strong
incentive right now or desire to chase Donald Trump, and that`s what`s
MARK MURRAY, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, that is, you know, if
you want exhibit a about how Donald Trump has moved the Republican Party on
the issue of immigration, on border security, look no further than Jeb Bush
having to use the term anchor babies. And of course, you know, Jeb Bush is
Mr. Measured comprehensive immigration reform, Mr. I have a Latina wife, I
have Latino sons, that, you know, he was supposed to be the person who
wasn`t going to be using terms like anchor babies. And Donald Trump has
moved the Republican Party very far to the right on immigration, even by
comparison Mitt Romney self-deportation remark back in 2012 seems very
But Steve, it is worth noting that in this summer of Donald Trump where,
you know, you get points for being emotional, bombastic, that someone like
Jeb Bush wasn`t ever going to fare very well. He`s the wonk. He`s
measured. The question for the Bush campaign is what the whole Republican
field is, what does the political environment look like two or three months
from now? As you and I have been covering politics for a long time,
though, sometimes these political movements don`t always last.
Particularly months and months and months. And so, it will be interesting
to see if this bombastic period inside the Republican Party continues to
last as we are heading into the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
KORNACKI: You know, Mark, one of the polls that jumped out at me this week
was CNN`s poll that they tested Hillary versus Donald Trump, and Hillary
versus Jeb Bush, and they actually showed Trump faring better than Jeb Bush
against Hillary by three points. And I wonder, I mean it says something
about all the attention Donald Trump is getting, obviously, but is there a
bigger question here about Jeb Bush`s struggles as a candidate? You know,
I made the comment on other show the other night, I look at Jeb Bush speak,
I look at his brother George W. speak and I say I come away with a whole
new respect for George W. Bush as a communicator.
MURRAY: And, of course, Steve, when you`re having a difficult time, that
that is always going to end up being the case, that your flaws end up
getting magnified even more so. The Bush campaign believes that they still
have the money, that if they are able to get in a two-person race starting
in March, when you have that so-called SEC primary in addition to the March
15th primaries, if they`re in a two-person race against the Scott Walker,
against the Donald Trump, against the Ted Cruz, they feel like they could
actually compete very, very well for the long haul. So that`s what they`re
actually hoping for. You mentioned that CNN poll. To me, it actually
seems it`s more a reflection of the Republican Party right now. The more
that Donald Trump takes off, his numbers in head to head match up, so
Hillary Clinton are going to do better among Republicans because he`s
leading the Republican field.
And, of course, Hillary Clinton was still leading all the Republicans,
including Jeb Bush. And I think it`s one of the things you`re referring
to, as long as she`s winning in head-to-head match-ups against Jeb Bush,
there`s still general election concerns for Republicans that they feel like
they can`t win a generic Clinton versus Bush contest.
KORNACKI: You know, Jackie, I guess one way of looking at the Trump thing
is as maybe ultimately a positive for the Bush campaign would be this idea
that they get it down to a one-on-one somehow, Jeb Bush versus Donald
Trump, and then Republicans are forced to choose sides. And I guess that
might be better for the Bush campaign than ending up in a one-on-one
against like Marco Rubio.
KUCINICH: But the thing is, you have to imagine -- Jeb Bush has to be
careful. I mean Mark was saying this. That he`s supposed to be the adult.
He`s supposed to be the measured person. And when you hear him use terms
like anchor baby, you wonder what`s happening there. Because if he dilutes
his brand, it`s going to make it a lot harder down the line if they want to
go to a general election. And I was surprised to hear that come out of
someone like Jeb Bush`s mouth, because he is the adult. And so far, he`s
kind of treated Donald Trump with an eye roll in a lot of ways. And that
comment to me means Donald Trump`s getting under his skin and it`s getting
KORNACKI: What do you make of Jeb Bush as a candidate?
DAWSON: You know, Jeb, I`m certainly -- the Bushes have always been
revered in politics, and Jeb has a record in Florida that he`s still not
talking about. And much like Hillary Clinton, he started the campaign off
on the wrong foot, trying to apologize and be a moderate and introduce
himself. That`s the first time I`ve seen Jeb Bush get testy. At least he
turned around and took up for himself, was pointed as the guy. So, you
know, I`m surprised he`s not better. But there`s plenty of time. He`s not
the orator that everybody would want. He`s also going against the reality
star that`s very talented. So what he does know is this process. And
April`s right. The process has changed. It`s evolved. I mean, what
Trump`s got now is occupy the Republican Party. He`s got that movement
going and they`re listening to him. What we all understand that hasn`t
changed is this process of delegates and the process of how it gets more
serious each month.
Right now, we`re in the early part of this stage, so Bush has the ability
to move through, but that`s move out front - there`s a lot of qualified
folks out there right now. You`re saying we got 1716 of them.
RYAN: 5,000 of them.
DAWSON: It`s going to morph in there. And the debates matter. Because
everybody knows debates mattered last time.
DAWSON: And the debates, the CNN debate coming up. Let`s see if Donald
Trump`s able to bully them the way he bullied Fox after this last debate.
Because those questions were fair in the debate.
KORNACKI: I`ve got to say, in a Republican primary, if you as a Republican
can get away with bullying Fox News, you can probably get away with bulling
KORNACKI: Thanks to Mark Murray with NBC News for joining us this morning.
I appreciate that, Mark.
Coming up, new developments about the man identified as the suspect in
Friday`s train attack in France. We`ll bring you that, and later we`ll go
over to the big board and we will try to explain why Donald Trump is doing
so well with Republican voters. Some numbers to talk about there. That`s
still ahead. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Turning now to developing news in our top story of the morning.
We are now getting our first picture of the man that Belgium`s chief
prosecutor has identified as the suspect in Friday`s train attack in
France. He`s a 26-year-old Moroccan named Ayoub el Khazzani. Police
officials say he has ties to radical Islam. He was known to authorities in
three European countries. Now, this photo was taken from a social media
network. And that suspect is currently in custody, and in an interview on
French television this morning, his lawyer says that her client, "that he
thought he was carrying out a robbery to buy food and money."
Investigators are still looking at whether the attack was part of a wider
framework. President Obama meanwhile called the three American men who
stopped the attack to thank them on behalf of the American people for their
courage. Turning now back to politics, and field for president at the
Republican Party has been touting as their strongest in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really think when you go back and look historically,
going back to the beginning of time, there`s never been a party as you`re
seeing this year that`s had the abundance of riches that we have. The
depth of the people that are potentially running and have announced that
they`re running is unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The idea at the start of this was there were governors, there
were senators, there was a whole class of new impressive candidates elected
in that Republican wave of 2010. And now was going to be their time to
shine. But look at the latest surveys. It`s the outsiders who are the top
ones, near - at the top of the poll, not just Donald Trump who`s still
leading the field, but also neurosurgeon Ben Carson has polled strongly for
months now, and Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard making a
surge into the top ten following her strong performance in the debate at
the beginning of the month. These party outsiders all performing --
outperforming the experienced men of the Republican field. The governors,
the senators, the politicians, so what does that say of the established
politicians who were supposed to be the top tier candidates at this race?
What does that say about them and what they need to do?
Joining us now from D.C. Is Eliana Johnson, Washington editor at "The
National Review.` So, Eliana, I guess that to me is the bigger story on
the Republican side. It`s not just that Trump has taken off. It`s that
Ben Carson has taken off. It`s that Carly Fiorina has taken off. It`s
even for that matter that Ted Cruz is taking off, Ted Cruz in office, but
really runs as the ultimate anti-politician candidate. And meanwhile,
where is Rubio? Where is Walker? Where is all the names we thought we
were going to be hearing about?
ELIANA JOHNSON: Sure. It`s a great point, Steve. And I think it`s
interesting. Donald Trump has really put a strangle hold on the race right
now. Because he`s a personality driven candidate. Not an ideological
candidate. But when you look at someone like Carly Fiorina, she`s somebody
who has risen solely on the basis of her communication skills. And I think
that really speaks to the fact that it`s been a long time since Republicans
have felt like they had a candidate who could really communicate with
voters, and who could move voters solely on the basis of their
argumentation skills. Think back. We had Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob
Dole. George W. Bush, for that matter. These are not people who
Republicans thought could move voters and communicate with them. And I
think - and Donald Trump speaks to this, too. And so, I think that really
is the reason why a lot of these outsiders have risen to the top of the
KORNACKI: Yeah, and Eliana, I wonder, do you think the media, the
political world in general has -- is this a sign we`ve misunderstood the
conservative base a little bit, when you look at like a Scott Walker, you
look at Marco Rubio, they`re running in many ways the paint by numbers, you
know, campaign for a conservative candidate. They`re checking off all the
boxes that you`re supposed to check off to win over the conservative base,
and yet the conservative base right now not getting excited about them.
JOHNSON: Well, I think, Steve, there`s often an emphasis on resume. Like
oh, we want a governor, somebody with executive experience. But people
respond more viscerally to candidates and that`s what you`re seeing with
Trump and Fiorina. Their charisma. Their communication skills. These are
intangible skills that you don`t see on a resume. And I think those are
things people are often more reluctant to talk about. Because they`re not
tangible skills, and that`s what people are responding to.
KORNACKI: Yeah, and April, we were having this conversation earlier about
the idea that maybe the rules have changed this time around. I mean the
rules say that these candidates are going to be very, you know, fleeting
sensations, fleeting phenomenons on the Republican side, and that`s what
I`m wondering. Is that going to have to be the case this time, or have
things changed enough that it`s different?
RYAN: We`re in the time of social media. We`re in the time of reality TV.
Donald Trump has a name. He`s had a name. And, I mean, I think Friday was
the biggest reality TV moment for him since the GOP debate. I mean, you
know, people want to see fireworks and he`s giving us that. And
unfortunately, the tried and true candidates who talk policy, who talk
about, you know, let`s fix the economy, people don`t want to hear all the
thus, thous, where arts, they want to hear the everyday ling, or the
layman`s turns, and Donald Trump has given them that. But Donald Trump has
given them that, but there`s other substance of the plan that Donald Trump
is talking about.
So we`re seeing a new day. And we`re seeing Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.
Ben Carson, a surgeon who had a problem with geography. You know, and, you
know, and that`s the thing.
KORNACKI: Yeah, and Katon, that was - in that first debate, Ben Carson is
the one that surprised me the most. Because to me, he did the least of
anybody on that stage. The most memorable thing he said was, you know, I
thought you forgot I was here. And yet, his numbers are up after the
DAWSON: And about the brains - his comment about brain surgery. That was
a cute, quick moment. Back to the other thing, what the outsiders get to
do inside the Republican Party is run against government. And that`s what
strikes a chord right now. They get to -- they`re not a part of it. They
haven`t been there. They hadn`t governed. Those are all pluses right now,
especially to a red meat base who`s saying, you know, I am fed up with
politicians. I am fed up with Washington. I`m fed up with my state house.
But they`re not fed up with their house member. They`re not fed up with
their senator. They`re just fed up. And Trump is promising things to a
lot of people - other campaigns - he`s promising we`re going to be rich
again, and he`s telling people, you know, I`m going to make you rich.
KORNACKI: Trust me, it`s going to be great. You`re going to love it. I
was saying it in one of the breaks, I`m going to start using this in my
KORNACKI: I had to explain it - Trust me, it`s going to be great. You`re
going to love it, April, you`re going to love it. Anyway, thanks to Eliana
Johnson of "The National Review." You agree, we loved you. Still ahead,
we`ll talk about the fake presidential candidate who is hoping to have a
real impact on the race. Plus, Donald Trump has proven his Republican rock
star status this week, but does he have staying power? That is ahead. Stay
KORNACKI: Well, there`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get caught up
on some of the other headlines making news with today`s panel. Let`s turn
first to the hill and see what`s going on over there. Here`s the headline.
Here`s what I never thought I`d be saying on television. Deez Nuts
endorses Sanders in Dem primary. So, have you heard about this? A 15-
year-old kid in Iowa named Brady Olson has been running a campaign for a
candidate he calls Deez Nuts. And now he`s apparently throwing out there
on his page that he`s endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. Deez Nuts,
by the way, PPP, the polling firm, put this fake candidate in some horse
races in North Carolina. Deez Nuts got 9 percent, in Minnesota 8 percent,
7 percent in Iowa. Those are numbers that a lot of those Republican
candidates right now would kill for. I want to get one more in here, this
is also from "The Hill" headline, Chafee Rips - Trump`s now (INAUDIBLE) of
horse racing, in that speech - I`m going to defend Donald Trump here. In
that speech on Friday night, Donald Trump seemed to attack the great
racehorse secretariat, the Triple Crown winner from 1973. He said
Secretariat, not that great, if you want to know the truth.
KORNACKI: He went after him and said this statement is another splash of
nonsense that comes out of Trump`s mouth.
RYAN: No horse has ever attacked - or come close to Secretariat.
Everybody wants Secretariat.
KORNACKI: Yes, but - here is where I`m going to defend Trump. Secretary
absolutely, greatest racehorse of all time, if not number two. No
question. What Trump was talking about was bloodline. Trump was talking
about the post-race career. Because the whole theme of that part of the
RYAN: No blood ...
KORNACKI: Secretariat as a sire, the 20-year career as a sire was not that
great. Secretariat as a racehorse, the best ever.
RYAN: I live in the Baltimore area, the second of the Triple Crown.
Secretariat is huge, OK?
KORNACKI: Oh, absolutely.
RYAN: The bloodlines -- I believe there`s something coming down the road
somewhere. So I think he might have spoken too soon. I love Secretariat.
KORNACKI: As a racehorse, the greatest, the best ever. The classiest. As
a sire, not that great.
Still ahead ...
KORNACKI: A full hour of news and politics.
KORNACKI: Stay with us.
KORNACKI: The rise of Donald Trump.
All right. Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. When you take
a look at the morning headlines, it`s clear that the political world is
coming to terms, or at least trying to come to terms with the idea that
Donald Trump is in the presidential race to stay, and maybe, just maybe has
a shot at the Republican nomination. In just a moment, we`re going to have
more on the substance of Donald Trump`s appeal to Republican voters, but
first, we want to return to the other big story of the morning. The moves
made by Vice President Joe Biden yesterday that are fueling a new round of
speculation about whether he will run for president. For more on that,
we`re going to go to NBC`s Kristen Welker. She is up there in Martha`s
Vineyard where the president`s on vacation. So Kristen, this was big news
yesterday. Elizabeth Warren, big hero on the Democratic side, having this
meeting with Joe Biden. What are you hearing about what this means?
WELKER: Very big news, Steve. We know that Vice President Biden
surprisingly left his home in Delaware, traveled to Washington to meet with
Senator Elizabeth Warren. This is the biggest sign yet that he is
seriously considering a run. We know he`s been huddling with family, his
supporters and close allies over the past several weeks. But this really
kicks it up a notch. Elizabeth Warren, of course, is a progressive
champion. She was pressed to run for president. She declined. The fact
that you see Vice President Biden meeting with her suggests that he`s
letting her know that he`s mulling a run, and of course, if he were to
throw his hat into the ring, she could be critical to winning over those
key progressive Democrats who have not been flocking to Secretary Clinton,
by the way. The broader context to this, Steve, is that Secretary Clinton
is still the strong Democratic frontrunner. On the other hand, there are
some real concerns that she could be vulnerable in a general election. If
you talk to Democrats. And of course, you now have polls showing that a
majority of Democrats, 53 percent according to this CNN poll, want Vice
President Biden to run.
Some of the reasons that he`s considering running, he`s always wanted to
run for president, and he`s also, I have been told, concerned about the
prospects of the Democrats holding on to the White House. But the reasons
against that he could be seen as dividing the party and he`s still mourning
the death of his son Beau. We are anticipating a decision over the next
several weeks. Steve, back to you.
KORNACKI: All right. Thank you, Kristen Welker. I appreciate that.
Let`s now take a closer look at what`s driving Donald Trump to the top of
the Republican field. He continues to draw crowds of supporters and strong
poll numbers by espousing a brand of conservativism that often runs
contrary to what the other candidates believe, positions that are clearly
resonating with a segment of Republican voters, even as his opponents decry
them. Not just immigration, but also with other issues. Surprising issues
for a Republican maybe. Issues like Social Security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For me, conservativism, as it pertains to our country is fiscal.
We have to be strong and secure and get rid of our debt. I`m on the sort
of a little bit social side of conservative when it comes. I want people
to be taken care of from a health care standpoint. But to do that, we have
to be strong. I want to save Social Security without cuts. I want a
strong country. And to me, conservative means a strong country with very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The Republican in the race for president who`s against making
cuts to Social Security. Trump also marching to the beat of his own drum
when it comes to Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For years, I`ve been saying don`t go into Iraq. If they went into
Iraq, they destabilized the Middle East, it was a big mistake. Okay. Now
we`re there, and you have ISIS. And I said this was going to happen. I
said Iran will take over Iraq, which is happening, as sure as you`re
sitting there, and ISIS is taking over a lot of the oil and certain areas
of Iraq. And I said you take away their wealth. You go and knock the hell
out of the oil, take back the oil. We take over the oil. Which we should
have done in the first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, whether it`s talking about single payer health care, Social
Security, bluntly criticizing the Iraq war. How do you explain how Donald
Trump has managed to gain support among conservatives, among Republicans
while holding these views? Well, let`s take a look at the big board here
and explain things a little bit. Let`s start, first of all, just
immigration, we can stipulate we know that`s a winner with the Republican
Party base, but say overall about 80 percent of the country, close to 80
percent of the country saying that they would like immigration to either
remain at the same level or to be reduced. So there`s a broad base of
support there that Trump taps into, not just on the Republican side, but
maybe a lot of independents there. Even some Democrats. So that could be
key to his numbers. But let`s take a look at some other maybe surprising
areas. Social Security. Here`s one. You know, a lot of conservatives
talk about the need to cut Social Security. They say they save Social
Security by cutting Social Security. But take a look at this. Ask people
around the country, what do you want to do to it? Do you want to increase
it? More than half of them say they do. Do you want to keep it the same?
Nearly half of them say they do. Do you actually want to decrease it?
Only six percent of them actually want to decrease it. So that`s a very
minority view, even within the Republican Party. And yet it`s not a common
view necessarily among Republican politicians and Republican candidates.
So that`s something that Donald Trump is tapping into.
How about this one? How about Iraq. How about everything he says about
Iraq, how he bashes George W. Bush`s decision to go into Iraq. He calls it
one of these great foreign policy blunders in American history. Well, take
a look at this. Was Iraq worth the cost, or was it not worth the cost?
Overwhelmingly among all Americans, they say it wasn`t worth the cost, but
that is even true among Republicans. Look at that. More than 60 percent
of Republicans say that Iraq was not worth the cost. Now, think about
that. Think about Donald Trump on the stage, on the debate stage with all
those other Republicans. He is the only one besides maybe Rand Paul who
will bluntly criticize George W. Bush`s decision to go into Iraq in the
first place. He doesn`t hedge it. He doesn`t talk about the surge. He
doesn`t talk about Barack Obama`s failures, and in his mind necessarily, he
just talks about that decision by George W. Bush and he`s tapping into
something there on the Republican side that no other Republican candidate
is tapping into. Of course, Donald Trump has his own reasons why he thinks
the voters like him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think the voters like me, they understand me, they know I`m going
to do the job. I`m going to do a lot of things. Almost everything. You
want to know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
TRUMP: What things am I going to do different? Almost everything.
Because that`s what has to happen. Everything we do is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right, let`s talk about this with our panel this morning.
Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast" is back. April Ryan with American
Urban Radio networks. And Katon Dawson, former South Carolina Republican
Party chairman, and a South Carolina director for Rick Perry 2016.
Katon, it`s your party, so take us inside it. Because this is fascinating
to me. I think we`re learning a little something about the conservative
movement watching Donald Trump tap into it here. Because for years, we`ve
thought that the only way to win over conservatives is you`ve got to cut
Social Security, you want to cut the safety net, you want government to be
as small as possible. And here`s Donald Trump, a guy who will still stand
up there and say single payer health care works in some places. I don`t
want to cut Social Security. He has no problem saying that Iraq was a
blunder, squarely at the feet of George W. Bush, and yet there`s a lot of
Republicans out there who are nodding their heads.
DAWSON: I think April caught onto it a little while ago. That the biggest
movement inside the Republican Party has been the constitutional movement,
to obey the Constitution, pay attention to it. But Trump`s brilliant at
strong, great, terrific, this is what I`m going to do. The thing that gets
me about this is one of the things that the Republican Party has been so
upset and still is obsessed about, executive orders, the power of the
presidency, how President Obama has really upped the game of how powerful a
president is, and that`s what`s been so distasteful to the base is the
process. So he is approaching this as if a single person in America can be
president of the United States and make all these things happen, as if
there`s no Senate or Congress elected by the people, for the people. But
he`s able to get away with it right now. He`s able to put this - to paint
with this really broad brush, to get into -- he`s almost telling people,
look, I`m going to make you rich. And the point is he`s talking about
government. You let me control the government, folks, we`re going to be
great. And I`m going to do almost everything. It works right now. And
it`s fun to watch. And I`m going to tell you - he has a chance. He does.
I`m going to give him better odds. This guy`s shelf life is going to last
a while. But when you start looking at -- give me the hows and whys, and
maybe it won`t matter. May it won`t matter. It will matter in a general
election. It will matter in a debate. I mean the debate between Joe Biden
and Donald Trump would be the best theater you`d ever see.
KUCINICH: Yeah, but right now, facts are kind of canceled.
DAWSON: They are artifacts.
KUCINICH: Because when he`s talking about Iraq. He says he doesn`t want
troops there. And yet to secure the oil fields and ring them - ring them
with troops, that`s sending more troops in. Not to mention that that`s not
where ISIS money comes from. But that`s so beside the point at this point.
And he`s talking about not cutting programs that cost the country a lot of
money. It`s just - There`s no rhyme or reason. He doesn`t really have a
KORNACKI: You know, what I think he`s tapping into, as I try to figure
this out, is there`s pure anti-government ideology. You hear that a lot on
the right. And you`ve always assumed that`s what Republican candidates
need to be espousing and Trump isn`t. And I think what he`s getting, is
something a little subtler in a way. I think that "subtle" is not a word
you`d associate with Trump.
KORNACKI: And it`s this fear of redistribution that exists among the
Republican base. And it gets down to cultural - a sense of cultural
anxiety. That me, that us, that our people, that our tribe, our coalition,
however you want to define it, our money is being taken, and it`s being
spent on illegal immigrants. Our money is being taken. It`s being spent
on groups that are not part of our group. And I think that`s what Trump is
RYAN: We talked about this our group, us versus them kind of situation.
And I think it causes division. I`m not going to use the term that was
used, because I had never heard the term before. And I mean I`m one who
doesn`t use it. But when you start going down that line of division, I
mean what do we see recently? We saw people do something to a homeless
man, urinate on him and beat him out, because of rhetoric from Donald
Trump. And when we start going down that line, we`re going to see more and
more of it. That is a problem, us versus them. You have the Hispanics and
then the blacks. You know, we`re not hearing anything from the Republican
Party on the -- for African-Americans in this country. And once you go
down the road talking about one group, you start talking about another.
And this country, and I heard it from Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC,
he said we are more united than we are divided. There`s more division
right now. Reince Priebus is talking about. You are not unifying, and I`m
seeing more division.
KUCINICH: You know, but this is actually proof in the pudding that Trump
is taking up all the oxygen. Because Rick Perry - next to me, actually has
been talking about the African-American community.
RYAN: But we haven`t heard from Rick Perry.
KUCINICH: Of criminal justice, too.
RYAN: Totally. We`re not hearing about it.
KUCINICH: Right. No, true. And I think that`s because there is no oxygen
for anybody else, because Trump is this giant golden shiny object that we
all can`t help but gravitate towards.
DAWSON: You know, and prison reform, educational reform. There are a lot
of things. This is an election that`s going to get real deep in the weeds
for a while. But it matters. It matters whether you can govern. That all
matters. But for some reason, it doesn`t matter in the electorate today.
And that`s the difference we talked about. And this is a changing
environment of running for president. So Donald Trump has the megaphone.
He`s gotten two hours of our show this morning. He`s gotten all last week.
And that`s good.
KUCINICH: And he`s going to get more.
DAWSON: He will get ....
KORNACKI: Let me ask you. We`ll take a minute away from Trump here. But
I want to ask you about the candidate you`re supporting.
KORNACKI: I mean you are with Rick Perry.
KORNACKI: Four years ago, Rick Perry came onto the race as the great hope
of conservatives. We know how it ended. He`s out there again this time.
Look, there are reports of staffers not being paid anymore. I know there`s
a super-PAC out there. He did not make it into the top ten for that first
debate. We just talked about how important debates are. He may not make
it, probably won`t make it into the second debate on CNN. Can the Rick
Perry campaign last?
DAWSON: You know, if you look, it can. It can. And so can a lot of
others because it`s early in the process. Money doesn`t make a big
difference. But there`s your difference in Trump and Perry. This is a guy
who did big things in Texas. 27 million people. Certainly, a full throw
to conservative. It hasn`t seemed to matter so far. I mean, credentials
haven`t seemed to matter so far. Personalities have mattered. And maybe
because the cycle has changed and the personality can carry it to the
KORNACKI: Is he frustrated?
DAWSON: No. He is a happy warrior. Frustrated financially. I mean, this
is a guy who`s won 18 elections, raised $92 million. And - set for
politician. Came in the race hurt last time. Policy-wise, I mean, he`s
dead on the mark if we were having a normal primary. Dead on the mark. I
mean, he touches all the bases of conservatism. But right now it hasn`t
mattered so far.
RYAN: But Steve, you know, and you touched on something, it`s all about
money, and unfortunately, I talked to people inside - believe it or not,
inside the Trump camp. And apparently, you know, they are watching the
candidates who have the smaller numbers just fall along the wayside as
they`re spending six to $7 to their $1 and they`re watching this, and
they`re saying, you know, that some of these candidates who have that small
number, the percentage point, they`re vying for, jockeying for vice
president`s positions if Trump or another candidate -- is that the case?
Are you hearing that?
DAWSON: You know, well, here`s - it`s Trump. Trump - on the scale of the
financial saying of Trump, Trump changed that again. He`s able to pivot
and nobody holds him accountable. He was going to do it all with his own
money. He`s worth $10 billion, give or take a dime. How liquid is a real
estate developer? Most of the time, they`re not that liquid. But a
billion dollars ...
RYAN: It`s only business ...
DAWSON: A billion dollars, and that`s a billion after tax dollars. So
it`s going to cost two billion dollars. And then Trump in Alabama tried to
pivot and said - a guy offered me 15 million, I should take it. I`m a guy
who`s bought - politician.
KORNACKI: I think his exact phrase was take it and screw `em.
KORNACKI: That`s what he said ...
KUCINICH: Put it on ...
KORNACKI: I know - I know there`s - I think they`re selling those hats,
those make America great again, and I think they`re selling them. You have
to fill out the campaign donor card if you go and get it. Yeah.
DAWSON: And it won`t matter. It won`t matter.
KORNACKI: Money for him. Anyway, still ahead former president Jimmy
Carter is spending his Sunday like any other Sunday. He is getting ready
to teach Sunday school in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. We are going to
bring you to this scene. Still ahead. But first, the countdown begins for
that next Republican debate. If it`s anything like the first, it will be
the best reality show on television, the merger of politics and
entertainment. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. Start the countdown clock again, check the cupboard
for popcorn, because we are now only three and a half weeks away from the
next Republican debate.
On September 16th, the candidates will once again take the stage in two
different groups, this time out at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
in California. It is promising to be another night full of geeky political
Donald Trump already threatening to not appear, excuse me, in the next
debate, unless he gets a $10 million check that he will then give to
charity. That`s the offer he is making right now. The man has clearly
seen the ratings for the first debate. One of the moderators of that first
debate pretty much declaring Carly Fiorina the winner among the lower
polling candidates, and as a result of her performance that night she has
surged in the polls. But it`s still unclear whether recent polls will be
enough for her to graduate and make it to the main stage for the second
debate. So many story lines yet to unfold for what is quickly becoming my
favorite reality show or soap opera.
KORNACKI: Let`s bring in our panel. I want to talk about these debates,
almost as entertainment. Because when you see the ratings, 25 million
people watch this thing. And to put that in some perspective, four years
ago, the average Republican primary debate was getting about 5 million
people. We`ve never seen, never, a primary debate in either party that got
the kind of audience that thing did out in Cleveland. I just think, look,
Donald Trump walked away from "The Apprentice," got into the race. This is
the new "Apprentice." This is the new reality show phenomenon.
RYAN: He`s an apprentice, though, man.
DAWSON: I did the first debate, and ran the first Fox debate in `08, which
started sort of the debate series. And I remember talking to MSNBC, CNN,
and Fox on who we were going to award the debate to. And at that time, the
debates were awarded by the states. This has also all changed. The RNC
came in and changed the plans. But I remember saying I want advertising.
Because originally the debate was going to have no advertising. It was
going to be a news event only. We had ...
KORNACKI: Why did you want advertising?
DAWSON: I`m a Republican. Guys, I want to create jobs, I want to create
wealth, I want advertising, I want the candidates who wanted to advertise
on it. I thought it was a natural thing. I also thought it was probably
good for the network. Let`s just don`t give away two hours worth of air
time. And so now, I get with Trump, who`s got 26 million, which has been
good, make - bigger, the 26 million people watching everybody. But my
point is, that advertising fee has now changed, and now it has become
reality. When you start drawing -- we had about 5.6 million and I got a
thank-you note from Fox. And in the second debate, it was in Myrtle Beach
was about 6.5 million, and it was a big deal, those kind of numbers.
KORNACKI: No, now you are talking.
DAWSON: So let`s see if Trump -- let`s see what he`s going to do.
KORNACKI: This is where I think Trump is right. When he says like, hey,
if I wasn`t in the debate, you`d have two million people watching.
RYAN: Super Bowl type fees for commercials, Super Bowl type fees for
anything surrounding it. But, you know, I mean, I think that this next
debate -- if Trump drops out, I mean I think the air will be taken out,
honestly. And for him to put a price tag, on - giving to charity, that`s
not presidential. But, I mean, you know --
KUCINICH: It`s a terrible precedent.
RYAN: It is - it is terrible. Yes.
DAWSON: But the point ...
KORNACKI: It does show that the situation these networks are in. And it
gets into this fight that Donald Trump had with Fox News. What Republican
candidate could go to war with Fox News and win? Well, the Republican
candidate who delivers 25 million viewers an all-time record for Fox.
RYAN: But the bigger issue is that Donald Trump is going to have to
understand, you are running for president. There is a thing called, the
press questioning you for accountability. You can`t say it`s none of your
business anymore because the American public needs to know. We are the
force of state. We ask questions of the president, for you to find out
what`s going on. We`re the only thing that comes close to the president
for them to find out.
DAWSON: April, that was the point I was making when we made the decision
to go to commercials, it was a pretty big decision in 2008 is -- because
they looked at it as a news event. This is all news.
DAWSON: This is ...
RYAN: And so now debates have changed into a financial ...
KORNACKI: Now I know who to blame for that. This is terrible. Why do we
have commercial breaks in the middle of a presidential debate?
DAWSON: I was there when we started it.
KUCINICH: Now, you need to transcribe the last - That`s a large block of
time that you lose financial revenue. And I guess from the corporate side
of that, that`s probably it. But I mean also, they realize -- I mean, how
many people again?
KORNACKI: 25 million. Because again, you`re selling advertising time
against 25 million viewers.
KUCINICH: Even though it`s news, it`s still business. I mean every
newspaper has ...
DAWSON: I get ad time to get in the debate. I was - I mean we did
everything we could to say we won the debate when South come the first, in
the south state, and when we threw ad time up there, bingo.
KUCINICH: Now, you do wonder, though, if Trump does drop out of this next
debate and candidates who haven`t gotten to talk actually get a chance to
talk, if those debates aren`t finite. You don`t have a debate and never
hear from it again. Those clips will live on and they`ll keep playing even
if Donald Trump drops out of it. So maybe not as many people will be
watching, but some of these candidates will actually get their words in
edge wise. So they probably are crossing their fingers.
KORNACKI: That`s true - that first debate, the kids table debate that we
all ridiculed, that drew six million viewers, by the way.
DAWSON: ... many of what we have - ready to success ever, as many as we
KORNACKI: Right. So even that one. No Donald Trump at 6 million.
Anyway, up next, we`re going to go live down to Plains, Georgia, that`s
where former president Jimmy Carter is about to go back to work after
beginning cancer treatment this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER: I plan to teach Sunday school this Sunday and every Sunday
as long as I`m physically and mentally able.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Some live pictures this morning out of the Maranatha Baptist
Church down in Plains, Georgia, that`s the spiritual home of former
president Jimmy Carter. Carter is going to be teaching Sunday school there
just minutes from now. This will be the 39th president`s first class there
since sharing his cancer diagnosis with the world on Thursday, and just
days since he began his treatment. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez joins us live on
the phone. He is inside that church in Plains. Gabe, what can you tell us
about what`s going on there?
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Steve, good morning. I`m actually
here in the lobby of the church. It`s absolutely packed. Hundreds of
people came here. The line started forming before dawn. And, you know,
Steve, this is obviously, you know, the hometown of Jimmy Carter. He is
loved here in Plains. This is where he and his wife grew up, where they
met. And where they planned their life after leaving presidency back in
1981. Now, this church on a typical Sunday is a congregation of 30 people
or so, but today, people have come from far and wide to see the 39TH
president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had an opportunity to come this time, so I said let
me go to celebrate my birthday, because my birthday is on Monday, and then
I heard about the cancer diagnosis. And I said, I really have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to see somebody that can live out that faith I
think just says a lot for somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What an amazing man he is that he potentially could
be facing death with that attitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUTIERREZ: Back to live pictures here inside the church. Local officials
are speaking right now. Everyone is waiting for the president to arrive
here around 10 o`clock. He`s scheduled to teach Sunday school for about 45
minutes to an hour, and then regular Sunday services will begin. But
there`s a sense here that you`re very excited to see him, there`s obviously
a very emotional week after he revealed on Thursday his melanoma had spread
to his brain, and that he will begin a radiation treatment immediately. He
has said that he wants to focus on - and many people here in Plains and
throughout the country want to see what he has to say this morning, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez inside Jimmy Carter`s church
down there in Plains, Georgia. Thank you for that.
Still ahead, where will the Obamas live when they leave the White House?
We have new reporting on that for you. And next, corn by-products in the
race for Iowa. What may be our geekiest segment yet. Stay tuned for that.
KORNACKI: Every four years, presidential candidates face the same
questions from voters in Iowa. Do they support ethanol subsidies? And
what about the federal mandate that requires all gasoline to have a certain
percentage of biofuels, biofuels like ethanol in it? It`s a question that
has the power to cost candidates the Iowa caucuses. That`s the reputation,
at least. Their jobs. Anthony Terrell, this guy is back from a trip to
Iowa. He is here now to tell us what he found out. So, Anthony, we hear
about this every four years. The first in the nation state is Iowa. You
have to talk about ethanol if you`re in Iowa. What is the story here?
ANTHONY TERRELL: That`s right, Steve. This is one issue that United
States Democrats and Republicans in the state. They`re urging presidential
candidates to get behind the mandate because it helps their economy and it
can translate into votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRELL: In Iowa, corn is king. And almost half of all Iowa corn goes
into ethanol production. And a federal mandate requiring at least 10
percent ethanol and other biofuels and gasoline has generated $4 billion of
income for Iowans in just the last year, and that is why every four years
the issue generates lots of attention from presidential candidates.
FMR. SEN. TOM HARKIN (D) IOWA: This is important because it`s a huge
income earner for Iowans. We grow a lot of corn here.
JEFF KALIFMAN, IOWA GOP CHAIRMAN: I wouldn`t say it`s 100 percent make or
break, but it is as close to a make or break issue as you can get in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the Republican favorites in Iowa, Wisconsin
Governor Scott Walker showed support for the mandate earlier this year, but
has since favored getting rid of the requirements in the long term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is it`s in place right here, and we
think over time, all the different standards should be phased out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott Walker told me earlier today he`d like to phase
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Now we are in the phase out ...
TERRELL: In the past, being against ethanol subsidies was one sure way of
losing the Iowa caucus. A reality conservative activist Liz Mair learned
the hard way.
(on camera): You`ve gotten a little bit of back and forth with - party
this year on your position with ethanol.
LIZ MAIR: Yes. And farm subsidies as well, yes.
TERRELL (voice over): In March, Mair was forced to resign from Scott
Walker`s PAC, one day after she was hired. After she sent tweets critical
of Iowa`s reliance on federal support for ethanol. She was back in Iowa at
the state fair speaking out against what she sees as Republican hypocrisy
on the issue.
MAIR: There`s a challenge here, right? Because the true free market
limited government position is not supportive of mandates, and that would
include the ethanol mandate. The question is simply do we all need to have
it blended onto our fuel?
MIKE HUCKABEE: The question is will I support ethanol as renewable fuel,
the answer is yes.
TERRELL: Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, previous winners of the Iowa
caucus, both support the ethanol mandate. But this year, that position may
not be necessary to win. Top conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz have been
defiant. Publicly standing against the mandate.
TED CRUZ: Without a federal mandate, ethanol will continue to be demanded
by the refiners. It is competitive in the marketplace. And we don`t need
it mandated by the federal government.
TERRELL: The conventional wisdom is that you don`t win Iowa by being
against ethanol subsidies, but that may no longer be the case. The bigger
question is how the issue sways voters in this crucial swing state come the
first Tuesday in November of 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, it may not affect them so much in the caucuses
of the Republican Party. But it sure will affect it in the general
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TERRELL: And this is an issue where you see the Iowa establishment versus
outsider candidates having this tension where some candidates are now
saying they want to phase it out. They want to really phase this thing
out, which you saw Tom Harkin kind of mock a little bit. But this is
really putting pressure on them. But you see with Ted Cruz rising in the
polls, you may not have to be for the mandate this year to win the Iowa
KORNACKI: That`s interesting, because again, this is one of those stories
that gets written every four years. This is the issue that matters most in
Iowa. Every candidate, you know, runs - over at their own risk. John
McCain, remember, back in 2000, one of the reasons he didn`t contest Iowa
was because of this issue, and yet you`re saying now maybe that stigma on
the Republican side may be gone.
TERRELL: Right. Well, look, Mitt Romney was also in favor of this. And
that was a one-two punch with Rick Santorum. But this year with Ted Cruz
coming out against it, I talked to the chairman of the Republican Party of
Iowa, who you saw right there. He respected the fact that Ted Cruz came
out and had a thorough explanation. He said you`re going to have a heck of
a time winning Iowa being against it, but at least be honest with the Iowa
KORNACKI: What do you guys make of how the candidates are - You know,
Scott Walker, it`s been a little unclear exactly where he comes down. And
that`s been true on a couple of issues.
KUCINICH: I`m like, what issue are we talking about?
KORNACKI: On ethanol, but it could be other issues, but again, you can see
that fear for Scott Walker of hey, historically, I can`t be on this side.
But, you know, if I`m going to be the sort of Tea Party conservative, I
have to be.
KUCINICH: I think the lack of a coherent position on Scott Walker on
ethanol will hurt him. You`re Ted Cruz and you`re saying listen, this is
what I believe, because I`m Ted Cruz, that`s one thing. But if you`re all
over the place, you look like you`re trying to find the sweet spot of where
Iowa voters will vote for you, I think that`s more hurtful than - this year
than maybe being against ethanol.
KORNACKI: I mean this was supposed to be Walker`s state, right? This was
the one who was going ...
DAWSON: And you never see the ethanol transfer down into South Carolina,
Florida. But - and April hit it a minute ago on break. We dealt with
tobacco in North Carolina, South Carolina.
DAWSON: And you lost all the subsides - and the backup, but guess what, it
wasn`t in the middle of a presidential campaign. It wasn`t enough voters.
The income massive to South and North Carolina for tobacco subsidies and
they`re gone. And now the market operates in a free marketplace. But it
depends on how far down, because this is an issue that Ted Cruz can make,
hey three states down. Because I`m a conservative. I read this.
Subsidies aren`t something that Republican Party is always for. So, I
guess he got - you`re gambling to say that because he can and maybe he can
RYAN: But let`s put it in in layman`s terms, breaking it down and going
into it a little bit more. When you cut the subsidies, you affect the
families there, you affect the farming industry, the corn farming industry.
Again, I have a family from North Carolina who was a big tobacco farming
family, and it`s no more -- you drive through there. It`s gone - A lot of
families are really having problems trying to recruit after losing that
tobacco money. So the same thing could happen in Iowa if they do cut
TERRELL: And this is one of those moments where it`s challenging
Republicans with their free market principles versus the subsidies for the
government aid, so those in Iowa obviously have an incentive to support it.
And I was surprised to hear that the chairman of the party tell me
sometimes you need government intervention if you want the country to go
with its trend.
KORNACKI: It`s funny how that works.
KORNACKI: But outside of the Republican primary, the general election,
too, may be broader support for it there. So, also, a Republican running
on that free market principle in the fall, comes back to Iowa, faces a
different electorate, it could be problematic then.
TERRELL: And one of the questions some of the activists ask me to ask
candidates are, to ask Scott Walker how much ethanol are you willing to put
in your Harley? How much ethanol are you willing to put in your boat?
Because there`s some issues about the ethanol and how it affects the
vehicles. And things like that. So, it`s a question I`m looking forward
to an answer for.
KORNACKI: We are, too. Anyway, thanks to MSNBC`s Anthony Terrell for this
story. I appreciate that. And also, news for all you panda lovers out
there. The Smithsonian National Zoo announcing the births of two bouncing
baby giant pandas last night. Twins. The two cubs born last night to Mei
Xiang are healthy and under the care of veterinarians. They are hopeful
that they can survive these cautious early days. The baby pandas mean that
the zoo has five pandas in residence now. This for the first time ever.
Mei Xiang`s other child, Bao Bao is celebrating her second birthday at the
zoo this morning.
Still ahead, a key vote of support for President Obama`s foreign policy
legacy. Details on that are ahead. But first, will the first family
return to Chicago when the president leaves office? Some new reporting on
that. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get caught up on
some of the other headlines making news with today`s panel. Let`s start in
the "Chicago Tribune." Headline, "Where Will the Obamas Live after the
White House? Probably not Chicago." Of course, the president had set up
shop there for years before becoming president. The couple say they`re
likely to remain in D.C. after their president`s term ends so their
daughter Sasha can finish high school. According to one source, they have
started telling friends that they plan on making New York City their home
after that. They haven`t spent extended time in Chicago in the past seven
years. The Clintons came to New York after they left office. The Obamas
may end up in New York. Richard Nixon ended up in New York for some time.
DAWSON: Is it going to be close to a golf course. That`s just the
KORNACKI: That`s true of any former president, isn`t it?
DAWSON: That`s close to a golf course.
KUCINICH: But the library will be there, so, you know, they`ll have some
KORNACKI: Yeah. And he went to Columbia. You know, back in ...
KUCINICH: But you know, I like the fact that he`s staying for the
stability of his daughter. You know, for the youngest daughter staying in
school. That`s good.
KORNACKI: Because you get the impression everything you read about the
Obamas, that they would all things being equal, rather get out of
Washington as soon as they can.
KUCINICH: Especially Mrs. Obama. She`s like, I`m done. It`s time to go.
KORNACKI: So they`ll stick around. Let`s see what we have here. The
Associated Press headline, Kentucky GOP okays caucus, allows Rand Paul to
seek two offices." We set this up yesterday, but this was the key thing
next year. Rand Paul up for reelection in the Senate, trying to run for
president. That primary in Kentucky. Both of those races in the same day.
The law says you can`t be on the ballot twice, you`ve got to pick. So Paul
said I`m not going to pick. When asked the state party to change to a
caucus for the presidential election. And yesterday the state party agreed
to do that, Katon.
DAWSON: I`ve run one of those for eight years. That tells me that they
don`t think he`s going to be president. Because the - they get into is,
it`s going to be so close that they`re not going to be able to get another
person on the ballot. So that means they are going to give the Democrats
the Senate seat. It tells me that they said, you know, I guess we like
him, we want him to be our senator, we want that ability.
KORNACKI: So you tell me - you`re saying they would - if they set it up
this way and Rand Paul gets the nomination for Senate in Kentucky, they
can`t change him out if he`s running for president.
DAWSON: I didn`t see the time factor of how it was possible. So then they
leave an open seat there.
KORNACKI: I`ve got to say. I covered New Jersey -- I remember in New
Jersey, the law said you have like three months - you have to do it three
months before. They changed candidates a month before in the state ...
DAWSON: Kentucky might can do that, too.
KORNACKI: Ask a man named Doug Forrester up in New Jersey about that one.
Let`s take one more headline. This is from "Time." "Clinton campaign on
alert for undercover conservative sting." This is interesting. A Clinton
official say at least two women approached Iowa staff as Clinton supporters
in an effort to catch or entrap the campaign in improper or illegal
activity. So one of them tried to pass a cash donation to Clinton
volunteers. Another asked how to falsify an address for a campaign
donation. These alleged techniques match those of a group called Project
Veritas. It`s a conservative group run by James O`Keefe. They declined to
comment on the Clinton campaign`s allegations. Looks like the Clintons
sniffed them out.
KUCINICH: This will be - I mean doing things like hey, here`s a roll of
cash. But this is something that, you know, the modern campaign has to
watch out for.
KORNACKI: Well, also, campaigns are so vast, especially at the level - we
are talking about interns here. Any Hillary Clinton office around the
country and you find one intern, I mean here`s $20 bill and the intern
doesn`t know I`m not supposed to take it.
KORNACKI: You know, and then you`ve got it on video. And then the damning
video of Hillary Clinton subverting the law comes out.
RYAN: You`re in trouble for that intern who doesn`t know.
KORNACKI: Yeah. So we`ll see if something comes to that, or if the
Clintons actually did - actually did get it out in time. Let`s get another
one here. This is change gears a little bit here. Get late in the show,
why not do this, "The Guardian." John McEnroe, the tennis legend says he
could beat Serena Williams. McEnroe age 56 said on "Jimmy Kimmel" he could
still beat Williams who is age 33. He also said that Donald Trump once
offered to stage a match between the two of them 15 years ago.
RYAN: Donald Trump again.
KORNACKI: Williams, of course, the number one women`s tennis player in the
world. She could capture a calendar Grand Slam at the U.S. Open later this
month. John McEnroe, I guess, was to be known as the next Bobby Riggs.
KUCINICH: Oh he can dream.
RYAN: Exactly. Exactly.
KORNACKI: You don`t want to say - it`s ungentlemanly to say that, isn`t
RYAN: It`s ungentlemanly, but he`s delusional. She`s a tennis.
KORNACKI: She`d beat him.
RYAN: She would beat him.
KORNACKI: There we go. All four of us would watch it.
KORNACKI: Trump was offering it 15 years ago. Maybe there`s some way for
him to stage this with his presidential - I don`t know, anyway.
RYAN: I would put on the biggest, the most terrific match between McEnroe
KUCINICH: But it would be so classy.
KORNACKI: Trust me.
RYAN: You want to see this.
KORNACKI: My thanks to today`s panel. The classiest. The finest panel.
KORNACKI: You`ve ever seen on this show. You love them! Jackie Kucinich,
April Ryan, Katon Dawson. Thank you all for being here.
And up next, the president has more reasons to smile these days, other than
simply because he`s going on vacation. He`s on vacation at Martha`s
Vineyard. The very latest on where support stands for his Iran nuclear
deal. That is straight ahead.
KORNACKI: Ronald Reagan`s old adage to trust, but verify has been getting
a place since the Obama administration reached a proposed nuclear deal with
Iran. Especially, this week when we learned that under the terms of the
deal, Iran would be trusted to verify itself. The news that Iran would be
allowed to use its own inspectors to oversee its nuclear facilities with
oversight by international watchdogs, was all the news that critics needed
to continue to pound the deal. But the Obama administration added a key
vote of support this week from New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, a
Democrat and loyal friend of Israel who becomes the first Jewish member of
the New York delegation to back the deal. Joining me now is Roger Cohen,
he is a columnist and former foreign correspondent for "The New York
Times." Roger, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning. So, I wonder
first, just in terms of the politics of this deal right now, we have Jerry
Nadler coming onboard and supporting it. Do you expect right now that this
will survive this congressional review process and this deal will stand
ROGER COHEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, hi, Steve. Well, it is a hugely
divisive issue, but I do think in the end the president has the votes to be
able to withstand any attempted override of his veto. I think the Congress
is going to vote resolutions, rejecting the deal. The president will veto
it. And then it would require 25 percent defection among Democrats for him
to be unable to resist the override. So, I think in the end, it will go
through. But of course, for a momentous deal like this, it`s not an ideal
way for the country to adopt it, and that reflects what a contentious
divisive issue this is.
KORNACKI: Yeah, well, senator, you wrote this week about the opposition
that the campaign against this deal looked at some of the traditional
Jewish pro-Israel groups that are opposing this, Benjamin Netanyahu, the
prime minister of Israel, and you wrote that rather than listen to
Netanyahu, American Jews should listen to the longest serving Jewish member
of the House, Sander M. Levin, who supports the agreement. They should
know that five Jewish senators have come out in favor." I wonder, if we -
are we seeing something new here where you see five Jewish senators coming
out in support of this. Sander Levin, Jerry Nadler. Is that different
from in the past when these pro-Israel groups would weigh in? Would
opinion be more uniform?
COHEN: I think it is a little different. I mean right now, you have
AIPAC, the largest of the lobbying groups putting a lot of money behind
trying to get this deal rejected, maybe as much as 20 million bucks, and
then you have the little upstart J Street weighing in in favor of the deal.
The more liberal organization. But, of course, the money they have is a
lot less. I think the fact that Congressman Levin and now Nadler are
supporting this deal -- it reflects what - it reflects the fact that I
think these are two guys who have taken a long, hard look at this deal.
Steve, look, if we could weigh the magic wand. And make sure that Iran had
mastered the nuclear fuel cycle, I think we don`t like to do that. But the
fact is, they have. And you can`t bomb knowledge out of people`s heads.
So the question becomes, what is the best way of stopping Iran from making
nuclear bomb in the next 15 years? And I think what Secretary Kerry and
the president have negotiated is about the best way to do that.
KORNACKI: And one of the arguments that the president has made in favor of
this - he said, look, if the alternative to this deal is war, maybe not
now, but sometime soon, that`s what the president said about this. Do you
agree with that assessment?
COHEN: I do. Because in the end if you don`t reduce the number of
centrifuges, if you don`t get rid of the 20 percent enriched uranium, if
you don`t have this highly intense supervision, which is all in the deal,
then what do you go back to? The fact is China and Russia will defect,
there will be no more sanctions against Iran, Iran will resume what it had
been doing until this diplomacy of the president began. That is to say,
increasing the number of centrifuges, moving steadily closer to a bomb, and
no president of the United States I think, would be prepared to accept a
nuclear-armed Islamic republic. So, at that point the question becomes,
what do you do? And I think military action probably at that point becomes
the only way. Now, Prime Minister Netanyahu in the webcast to major Jewish
organizations said he found the president`s contention that this would lead
to war if the deal failed. Outrageous. And I think this was typical of
the way that the prime minister of Israel has managed, whether
intentionally or not, I think probably not, but he has offended President
Obama. He has very rarely said thank you for all the support that this
president continues to give Israel and will, I`m sure, do so until the end
of his term despite these differences.
And it`s very unfortunate that relations between the president and the
prime minister are so bad. Look, the Iranian regime can be a very, very
unpleasant and repressive regime, and right now they have come out with an
outrageous campaign against a colleague of mine Farnaz Fassihi of "The Wall
Street Journal" alleging that she is a spy. And this is just outrageous,
and it`s typical of what more conservative circles in Iran do. That
doesn`t change the fact in my view that if you weigh everything and weigh
also the fact that there are more liberal elements in Iran, including the
president and foreign minister, that this deal is the best way to go.
KORNACKI: All right, Roger Cohen with the "New York Times." Thanks for
taking a few minutes this week. I appreciate it.
Thank you at home for getting up with us today. Up next is Melissa Harris-
Perry. Sitting in today for Melissa, Janet Mock and Ari Melber. Stay
tuned. And have a great week.
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