'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, September 5th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: September 5, 2015
Guest: L. Joy Williams, Sahil Kapur, John Hart, Evan Wolfson, Steve
Clemons, Ben Schreckinger, Alexis Simendinger, Stan Smith, Gigi Fernandez,
Sarah Isgur Flores, Karen Tumulty, Simone Campbell
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Hillary Clinton one-on-one.
Good morning. Thanks for getting UP with us this Saturday morning. I`m
Jonathan Capehart. Steve Kornacki has the morning off. A new report is
racing new questions about Hillary Clinton`s use of a private e-mail
server. Her apology to Andrea Mitchell for e-mail confusion is ahead in
just a moment.
Also, after many days in chaos in Hungary, the first of thousands of
migrants trying to flee violence in the Middle East arrive in Austria this
morning. We`ll go to Richard Engel on the Austria-Hungary border for our
Plus, more protests are planned today in Kentucky as the county clerk who
refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples spends her holiday
weekend in jail.
Plus, we begin this morning with a rare event, former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton sat down with MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell yesterday for an
exclusive interview, only Clinton`s third national interview since she
launched her campaign. The interview comes one day after one of Clinton`s
long-time aides and advisers testified before Congress. Cheryl Mills
reportedly told investigators that no work-related messages had been
withheld or destroyed. And Mills added that she never knowingly mishandled
A Clinton campaign aide has confirmed to NBC News the details of a new
"Washington Post" report that says, quote, "Clinton and her family
personally paid a State Department staffer to maintain the private e-mail
server she used while heading the agency." The arrangement was made so
that Clinton could retain personal control over the server and to ensure
that taxpayer money was not spent to maintain it." Andrea Mitchell asked
Clinton yesterday if she was sorry about her decision to use a private
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Are you sorry, do you want to
apologize to the American people for the choice you made?
HILLARY CLINTON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it wasn`t the best
choice. And I certainly have said that. I will continue to say that, as
I`ve also said many times, it was allowed and it was fully aboveboard. The
people in the government knew that I was using a personal account, but it
would have been better if I had had two separate accounts to begin with.
And certainly I`m doing all I can now to try to be as transparent about
what I did have on my work-related e-mails.
MITCHELL: Did anyone in your inner circle say this isn`t such a good idea,
let`s not do this?
CLINTON: You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so
much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn`t
really stop and think. At the end of the day I am sorry that this has been
confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are
answers to all these questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Joining the panel today, L. Joy Williams, a political strategist
and president of the Brooklyn Chapter of the NAACP. Sahil Kapur, a
reporter with Bloomberg Politics. And John Hart, editor-in-chief of the
website Opportunity Lives. We were talking about that before, I was going
to make this mistake and I did. Also a former communications director for
now retired Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.
Thanks to you all for being here today. So, I didn`t really stop and
think. Is that a good defense, good enough defense?
L. JOY WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, BROOKLYN CHAPTER OF THE NAACP: Well, I don`t
think that was her whole defense. I do think the sound bite of saying I
wasn`t thinking a lot when we came in is a bad soundbite that, you know,
can be used against her going forward. But I think overall she is clearly
taking responsibility, that maybe this wasn`t the right decision. Was it
outright illegal and, you know, sort of against policy? No. But maybe it
wasn`t the right decision to go forward, particularly because it`s causing
this confusion. Whether or not it`s going to stop the ongoing conversation
about this issue, I don`t think it will. I think it will be -- continue
because there`s been so much confusion and because people are using it
against her --
WILLIAMS: -- or using it as a way to not trust her word or trust what she`s
doing. I don`t think it`s going away.
CAPEHART: I`ll get specifically to that in a moment. Sahil, jump in on
SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: So, that`s a bad soundbite. And the
other bad soundbite is where she said, I`m sorry, this is confusing
essentially. You played those two things over and over again and that`s
bad for her and that`s what some of the headlines are. What she`s trying
to do to do overall is to own this more than she has. And she`s tried
every other tactic in the book, she`s been defensive, she`s been
dismissive, she`s been scolding, she`s kind of tried to joke about it. And
none of it has worked and the conversation continued. Republican
strategist, John knows this, have a mission to use this to damage her as
much as possible and it`s working. Her disapproval ratings has gone up in
a major way and the country wonders what`s going on here.
JOHN HART, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, OPPORTUNITY LIVES: Yes. I think what she said
was a classic non-apology, I`m sorry if I hurt your feelings, I`m sorry if
there was confusion, but I`m not necessarily sorry for the decisions that
cause the rift. And so, that doesn`t work in a marriage, in a
relationship, in a relationship of trust with voters. And so, the essence
of what this is about is you have Hillary Clinton creating a private
communications system to avoid accountability and transparency. And that
just doesn`t work in today`s political --
CAPEHART: I don`t know to avoid accountability and transparency, is I
think a bit of a reach. And I would have to say that when I heard her say,
I didn`t really stop and think the rest of what she said, I thought was
probably the most human moment of that interview where she`s like, you know
what, there was a lot of stuff going on when we came into office. And
thinking about the e-mail stuff was one of the last things at the top of my
list. Let`s play this sound bite when Andrea Mitchell asked her the
trustworthiness question and how it made her feel -- I think it`s the
Quinnipiac poll where people said, the one first word they`ve said when
they thought about Hillary Clinton was liar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: The first words that came to mind when asked about you were
liar, untrustworthy, crooked. How does that make you feel?
CLINTON: Well, it certainly doesn`t make me feel good. But I`m very
confident that by the time this campaign has run its course, people will
know that what I`ve been saying is accurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: What do you make of this reaction?
WILLIAMS: I think it`s very -- again, as you mentioned, very human to say
that, you know, it doesn`t make me feel good if there are a large
percentage of people who believe that I`m not trustworthy or a liar, that
any of us would feel the same way. And so, I think, you know, contrary to
your point, I think she is taking very much responsibility in saying the
decision that I made, although there was a lot going on and the e-mail was
the least of my concern, you know, the decision I made at that time, we
wouldn`t be here in that situation. But the overall comment in how her
campaign will continue to progress with that feeling that people believe
that she`s not trustworthy is something that the campaign is going to have
to combat in all aspects across the campaign.
CAPEHART: Clearly the Clinton campaign, she`s been in public life now,
national global public life for a quarter century. For people to say,
liar, untrustworthy, she probably think, look, Andrea, I`ve been called a
whole lot worse. Let me get your reaction. Jump in.
HART: Well, yes, I think there`s a lot of unanswered questions about the
issue. You know, what was the nature of the classified information on the
server? What happened to that information? Was it ever acquired by
foreign intelligence services? So, there`s a lot of reporting that`s going
to continue to go on, even though she gave a fairly decent, quote, "human
answer." There`s a lot about the story that will keep developing. But I
mean, one thing you raised is that republican strategists want to talk
about this. I would put a big cautionary note on that. And say, if we put
all of our eggs in this basket as a party, we`re in trouble. We need to
talk about solutions, we need to talk about what we`re for and when you
talk about the deeper divide in the Democratic Party which is between, you
know, the Bernie Sanders liberation army --
WILLIAMS: Yes. Right.
KAPUR: -- from the Republican National Committee. And all they think about
and all they talk about is Hillary Clinton and the e-mails. It`s important
to note though, Jonathan, that there are two dimensions to look at this.
One is a legal dimension where she`s safe right now. There`s an
investigation, but it`s not an investigation into her. Look, the
prosecutor who busted General Petraeus said there`s no evidence she
committed any crime. The battle is the political one that she`s fighting.
The battle of hearts and minds. Her new posture is to take responsibility
for it to say, you know, to try to own this. Whether it`s going to be
enough to say I`m sorry, that, you know, this is difficult and this is
confusing and I own it versus just saying flat out, I`m sorry. This is a
bad decision and I was wrong, that`s the open question. I don`t know if
this is going to be enough and people are still going to be talking about
CAPEHART: John, you said something interesting, you know, Republicans
shouldn`t put all of their eggs in this basket and they should be focused
on, you know, solutions and positive. But then that made me think of,
well, Donald Trump is looming large and there`s nothing positive coming out
of there. Anyone who tries to attack him, even though he gains political
advantage and rises in the poll, one attack after another, the Republicans
I think are in trouble. Let`s play that sound of Andrea asking Hillary
Clinton about Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I think it`s an unfortunate development in American politics,
that his campaign is all about who he`s against, whether it`s immigrants or
women broadcasters or aides of other candidates. He is the candidate of,
you know, being against. He`s great at innuendo and conspiracy theories
and really defaming people. That`s not what I want to do in my campaign
and that`s not how I`m going to conduct myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So, to your point, John.
HART: Yes. That segment should be a wake-up call to Republicans. That
says if it`s Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, she will destroy Donald
KAPUR: Donald Trump may be the best thing that happened to Hillary
Clinton. At every moment she has tried to connect him to the rest of the
republican field because he`s so unpopular with everybody who is not a
CAPEHART: Well, today Hillary Clinton is in New Hampshire to launch a new
initiative to highlight women`s issue, it`s called "Women for Hillary."
And New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen will join Clinton on stage for
NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell is live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning,
Jonathan. This is a real opportunity for the Clinton campaign to sort of
shift into a different gear. And Hillary Clinton talked about that to a
degree in the interview with Andrea Mitchell. Because Labor Day weekend is
just a time when people are ready to turn the page. Kind of kids get back
to school, campaigns move in a new direction. And one of the things that
she will try to focus on is shoring up key parts of her democratic base.
Certainly women supporters are a key part of that.
Jeanne Shaheen is the senior senator from New Hampshire, of course, the
first primary state. But she also has an important distinction in a couple
of other ways. A long history with the Clintons going back to when Bill
Clinton ran in `92 and of course in the last cycle when Hillary Clinton was
campaigning to become president herself. Jeanne Shaheen is a long-time
ally and is popular here in this state. Shaheen is also the only woman in
all of American politics who has been both a governor and the senator for
her state. So, that makes her one of those figures when you come to the
issue of women being active in politics, Jeanne Shaheen is a helpful name
to have on her side.
Later on today, she will travel to Manchester and will be talking with
organized labor. Okay. It`s Labor Day weekend, if you`re a democrat,
organized labor is so important to helping you build the kind of
organization and support to try to hold off sort of the neighboring state,
Bernie Sanders, or perhaps help to send a signal to Joe Biden if you`re a
Clinton supporter that maybe there isn`t a lane for him to run. So, Labor
Day weekend is important. It is been a whirlwind for Hillary Clinton. The
interview that you`ve been playing that was taped in New York yesterday.
Then she went to Puerto Rico for a discussion on health care and to New
So, it`s a frenetic pace for sure. And when it comes to the e-mail issue,
there`s also something new today, Jonathan. And that is, "The Washington
Post" was first to report and our colleague Kristen Welker was able to
confirm that one of the staffers who was involved in Hillary Clinton`s e-
mail server situation, a man named Bryan Pagliano was paid personally by
the Clintons to set up that server in their home. And then he went on to
become a State Department employee, he has worked with the Clintons in
different capacities. And so, while Hillary Clinton told Andrea Mitchell
that she wasn`t really thinking about the e-mail server, they were thinking
about how to pay for it and they did that with personal funds, not taxpayer
dollars -- Jonathan.
CAPEHART: A lot -- in there. My thanks to Kelly O`Donnell in Portsmouth,
Still ahead, Serena Williams gets one step closer to making history. And
next, the jailed Kentucky county clerk stands her ground. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: The Kentucky clerk who was jailed Thursday for failing to issue
marriage licenses to same-sex couples is continuing her fight. Kim Davis
is filing an appeal to overturn a federal judge`s contempt ruling that has
put her in federal custody for what the judge says is at least a week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT STAVER, LAWYER FOR KIM DAVIS: We just had a good visit with Kim
Davis, and her first and one of her last words to all of us as we were in
there is all is well. She never envisioned herself to be here, but this is
where she is. She is here because of her conscience. She`s a prisoner of
her conscience, if you will. She has no intention of stepping down because
she loves her people and loves the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Earlier yesterday in her absence, the first same-sex marriage
licenses were finally issued in Rowan County by the clerk`s deputies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(Protesters chanting): Love has won! Love has won! Love has won! The
legal drama has divided Republicans on the presidential campaign trail.
Some are defending Davis` religious freedom.
RAND PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there ought to be some room
for people to exercise their religious beliefs and not be told they have to
do something they find morally objectionable.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I don`t think anybody should have to
choose between following their conscience, to religious believers and
giving up their job and facing financial sanctions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you actually want to see other court clerks doing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want people to stand up for their convictions. I
want them to have the courage of their convictions, not to acquiesced --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want them to follow the law?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, again, I would say to you, it is the
interpretation of five unelected lawyers on the court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: But others say that Davis is a government employee with an
obligation to carry out the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I sympathize with her religious
believes, but she`s a public official. And those of us in public life have
to administer the law to every American as the law is written.
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s a very different
situation for her than someone in a hospital asked to perform an abortion
or someone at a florist asked to serve a gay wedding. I think when you`re
a government employee, you are put in a different position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Joining the panel now, Evan Wolfson, the founder and president
of Freedom to Marry. And I want to add, Freedom to Worry, an organization
that is actually going out of business because of the Supreme Court ruling.
EVAN WOLFSON, FREEDOM TO MARRY: Yes. We achieved what we set out to do.
CAPEHART: So, I think it was Senator, yes, Senator Paul who was the one
who was talking about, I think there should be some room for people to
exercise their religious beliefs and not be told they have to do something
they find morally objectionable. On one level, I get that. But do elected
officials have the right to exercise the religious freedom that`s in
opposite to the law that they`re elected to carry out?
WOLFSON: This is not a question of religious freedom. She has religious
freedom. No one is telling her what to believe, what to think, what to do.
But she took an oath to do a job. In fact, she draws an $80,000 year
taxpayer salary to do a job. If she doesn`t feel she can do the job
consistent with her conscience, she is free to resign. She is free to step
down. In fact, she didn`t even agree to allow her deputies to issue these
clerk, yes, these licenses.
WOLFSON: So this is an attempt to create a drama under this banner of
religious freedom. But what it`s really about is an attempt to subvert the
law and to flout civil rights and undermine civil rights, and it`s
completely intolerable, particularly in a government employee. It`s, you
know, it`s unfortunate that she`s in jail. Nobody wanted that. But she
chose this, she and the group that`s behind her that is stirring up this
drama in the first place.
KAPUR: It`s interesting how this issue has suddenly crept its way back as,
you know, as a political weapon all over again. We thought this was over
when the Supreme Court handed down this --
CAPEHART: We thought it was off the table --
CAPEHART: Republicans were secretly thrilled.
KAPUR: Republican strategists were absolutely secretly thrilled because
they don`t want this to be an issue in the 2016, in the general election.
But as a country is moving so rapidly and so decisively, you know, toward
support and acceptance of gay rights and now this has become an issue. The
clerk has basically become a martyr. You saw this presidential candidate,
so I would add Ted Cruz to that list. You know, people who are defending
her standing by her. In the primary this is an effective weapon because
the evangelical base is still not on board with this.
WOLFSON: Well, I actually disagree. I think that in fact what we`ve seen
across the country is a massive compliance with the law, officials all
across the country. This is a total isolated example that is being stoked
up by an anti-gay, anti-choice group that has that agenda. Most of the
center of the Republican Party let alone the country itself does not agree
with this, understands the boundaries as you showed even from some
conservative candidates who understand this is not acceptable, there are
some people who want this agenda and want this conversation. But the
country is not going to buy this.
KAPUR: Both things are true. I mean, it`s an isolated incident, but at
the same time, all it takes is one. Right? But you`re right, you make an
important point that, you know, in Mississippi and Louisiana, all these
places, there are thousands and thousands of gay and lesbian couples are
getting married when it wasn`t unthinkable not long ago.
CAPEHART: Right. How about we bring in the republican at the table to
talk about this? What about the fact that we all thought once a burger
felt was decided by the Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality, that
this was now off the table and that there are Republicans on the hill who
were saying, officer -- oh my God, we are so thrilled that this happened?
HART: Well, the surest thing to keep something on the table is for the
Supreme Court to decide it. Because it opens a new rift in society. So,
the frustration conservatives have on this issue is the sense that there`s
a double standard on the Left. In other words, there`s one standard for
conservatives when it comes to civil disobedience and another for liberals.
So, for example, why not hold Gavin Newsom to the same standard as Kim
Davis. When he was mayor in 2004, he violated California law by issuing
marriage licenses. So, he may have had a very deep conscious objection to
that law, but he chose to violate it. Yes. There was no one on the left
saying, quote, "do your job and resign." So, my sense is, if you want to
be a champion of equality, you have to apply your principles equally.
WOLFSON: But that`s completely not true. Gavin Newsom did something he
believed he had the constitutional authority to do. It went immediately to
court. The court said, you don`t. He immediately stopped doing it. There
were many voices on the Left as well as on the right who absolutely said,
the court needs to decide. And once the court decides, there it is. It`s
the complete opposite of what`s happening here. She has been given an
order by a federal judge. She tested that order all the way up to the
Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld what this judge instructed her to
do. The judge brought her back into court to give her a chance to comply
with the law. She deliberately chose to defy that law and indeed tried to
interfere with her deputies performing. It`s a completely opposite
HART: But there`s a lot of other examples, like sanctuary cities, where
the calls for mayors to resign who aren`t following immigration law? So,
there is an inconsistency that progressives have on the issue of civil
disobedience. But I would say. But let me add them --
CAPEHART: Real quickly.
HART: Yes. Carly Fiorina`s answer is probably the best answer from anyone
in the field.
CAPEHART: Yes. And you`re absolutely right. Pity, we don`t have time to
actually play it. But thank Evan Wolfson, thank you for being here this
morning. Evan Wolfson of the soon to go out of business for good reasons
Freedom to Marry.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Still ahead. Is Obama headed back to college?
And next, finally some good news for thousands of migrants who had been
stranded in Hungary this week. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: New developments in Europe`s growing migrant crises. Thousands
of asylum seekers from the Middle East arriving in Austria this morning.
Hungary began buzzing to migrants to the border last night. After Austria
and Germany pledge to take them in.
NBC`s Richard Engel has more this morning from Budapest.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, this is the
place that all those migrants and refugees want to reach. They want to
leave Hungary and go into Austria. And you could see the traffic here is
backed up for miles. This after the Hungarian government coming under
tremendous pressure decided to finally relent and help the people pass
through this country.
ENGEL (voice-over): They made it. They won. Buses took thousands of
migrants from Hungary into Austria this morning, a simple border crossing,
but this was a hard fought victory which they had to earn one step at a
time. From there, many were quickly loaded on to trains for Vienna.
Friday the migrants and refugees, mostly from Syria, finally got fed up in
Hungary and decided to head for the Austrian border on foot, 100 miles
away. The Hungarian government had been giving them a hard time,
corralling them into camps, sometimes beating them and forcing them off
trains. Ahmed lost his leg in an air strike in Syria and wears a
prosthetic. Like many he was angry and confused as to why the Hungarian
government was hassling instead of helping them.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) We bought train tickets, but they won`t let us
travel, he said. But with reporters following every step and babies in the
sun, children two to a stroller, it all became too embarrassing for the
Hungarian government, which finally gave the migrants and refugees what
they wanted, passage out of the country so they could head further north
and west to wealthier parts of Europe.
ENGEL: But Jonathan, this crisis is in no way over. The Hungarian
government said, what is happening is a one-time deal, that it doesn`t want
to get into the business of helping people shuttling migrants and refugees
through Hungary and delivering them at Austria`s doorstep. But
expectations have been raised, something of a precedent has been set, and
already today more people are on the march walking along the highways
hoping that they, too, will be picked up, hoping that they can keep this
momentum going. It is unclear how Hungary is going to react. This is a
major crisis. Every day there are different developments. The march led
to a pickup, but unclear if there will be more pickups -- Jonathan.
CAPEHART: Richard Engel along the Austria-Hungary border. Thanks.
The migrant crisis in Europe made its way onto the presidential campaign
trail this week. NBC`s Andrea Mitchell asking Hillary Clinton whether the
U.S. should take in more Syrian refugees in her exclusive interview
Donald Trump faced a similar question on "Morning Joe."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should we will letting some of those people into this
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So horrible on a humanitarian
basis when you see that. It`s like incredible what`s going on, but, you
know, we have so many problems and the answer is possibly yes, Cokie,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Martin O`Malley for his part said, the U.S. should heed the call
from humanitarian organizations to accept 65,000 Syrian refugees next year.
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Steve Clemons, editor-at-large at "The
Atlantic." Steve, thanks for being here this morning.
STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: Before you get started, let`s play the clip of Hillary Clinton`s
answer to Andrea Mitchell that we have problems getting to in the intro.
CLEMONS: I think the entire world has to come together. It should not be
just one or two countries or not just Europe and the United States. We
should do our part, as should the Europeans, but this is a broader global
CAPEHART: So, Steve, take what Secretary Clinton said, and then there`s
Martin O`Malley who has taken the boldest position in calling for the U.S.
to take 65,000 refugees yesterday, he said, quote, "If Germany, a country
with one-fourth our population can accept 800,000 refugees this year,
certainly we, the nation of immigrants and refugees, can do more." What do
you make of that?
CLEMONS: Well, you would think so. The reality is the United States has
taken 1,500 Syrian refugees, most of those refugees waited more than 18
months to be vetted before they were brought into the United States. So,
jumping from 1500 to 65,000 which the international rescue committee has
endorsed the Martin O`Malley and others have now embraced is a very, very
big jump for this country. I feel it`s appropriate. I feel it`s
important. I feel like when you look at Europe today, it`s very hard not
to think that we have conditions that were very much like pre-World War II.
When you listen, despite what we saw Hungary do, and Richard is right, you
know, Hungary moved because of the media attention, but the stiff disdain
of the Hungarian right wing government is something that is not anomalous
in Europe. It is something that is pervasive through many corners of
Europe despite Europe, Germany and Austria stepping forward. So, we`re at
a very strange time, and America has not stepped up. And frankly, a lot of
other Arab states that should stand up like Saudi Arabia and others are
also not taking refugees.
CAPEHART: Is the reason the United States hasn`t stepped up, as you said
is because, there`s no political will in the country right now, now that
we`re in the middle of a presidential season to actually do something?
CLEMONS: Yes, because the whole notion of immigration, legal immigration,
illegal immigration and hosting refugees who don`t want to leave their
country but they are under potential threat of death is something that we
used to embrace very strongly in the United States. We`ve taken in lots of
refugees from Asia, from Vietnam, from Somalia, from Ethiopia and others,
but there doesn`t seem to be the political will at this moment to do that.
There`s also a fear that, with those that we would bring in, that you`re
bringing in people who could potentially be terrorists, and Islamic
extremists. So there is a phobia right now, an allergy to hosting refugees
in the United States that would have to be dealt with before we saw numbers
on the level that Martin O`Malley and people like international rescue
committee have called for.
CAPEHART: So, Steve, why haven`t we heard more from President Obama on
CLEMONS: It`s strange, because this would be something where you would
think that the President would stand up and I would actually take a leading
point in. Because I think it`s important for the United States, given the
stress and strain and also reaching out -- one of our problems with the
Middle East is that many in the Muslim world don`t believe America and the
west value their lives. This is the moment where you say we value your
lives. You`re under threat. We want to embrace you and help you, and the
President has not done that right now. I can`t explain why. But it`s
something that is clearly wanting, and you wonder why would we allow this
to become the political football it`s likely to become.
CAPEHART: Steve Clemons, thank you very much for coming in this morning.
CAPEHART: Still ahead, did the head of President Obama`s Alma Mater give
away the President`s plan for after he leaves the White House? That`s
But first, who are the Donald Trump supporters? Why those that hate him
the most may be his staunchest constituency. We`ll explain right after
this. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: In the last presidential election, there was a vote for Mickey
Mouse for President of the United States` Facebook page. Whether or not
the creators of that page were serious, in every election this is always a
thing. Voters who are so fed up with politics, they try to lodge protest
votes on the write-in line, Mickey Mouse, Superman, pretty much any
fictional character will do. This is what happened in New Hampshire during
the 2012 republican primary election there, fictional characters received
69 write-in votes. But this cycle, voters have a chance to vote for
someone else who received write-in votes in that election, someone real.
And with each passing day, it seems like there`s an increasingly real
chance he might even win the republican nomination. Yes. I`m talking
about him. Donald Trump is starting to emerge as an appealing choice for
2016 protest voters.
Politico`s Ben Schreckinger arguing this week that this affected voters are
constituency with a lot of potential for Donald Trump. He called them
haters for Trump. Ben Schreckinger, reporter at Politico joins us now from
Denver. Ben, thanks for coming in.
BEN SCHRECKINGER, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.
CAPEHART: Okay. So, tell me about these haters.
SCHRECKINGER: So, it`s all sorts of people. There are devoted Republicans
who want to vote for Donald Trump to sort of force the party to confront
itself, to look in the mirror. There are left leaning independents who
just think it`s funny and mischievous. There are people who are totally
fed up with the system and are doing it sort of as a protest, as you said.
But there are all sorts of people who don`t really like Donald Trump and
nonetheless plan to vote for him.
CAPEHART: Uh-mm. Well, like I said, the total write-in vote in the 2012
New Hampshire republican primary ended up being less than one percent of
the vote and not enough to swing any election. But do you really think
these haters explain any significant part of Donald Trump`s support?
SCHRECKINGER: It`s sort of impossible to say. I`d be skeptical about the
idea that they`re a significant part of his constituency. Pollsters say,
there`s really no way to measure this. I think what`s interesting about
the phenomenon is that there`s a spectrum, and that from talking to just
Republicans around the country who are talking to friends who are thinking
about running for Donald Trump, many of them sort of think they can kind of
like him, but also think it`s sort of funny. So there is this blurry line
where some of his even more sincere supporters, for them it still sort of
feels like a funny joke. It`s just hard to measure the size of the effect.
CAPEHART: Well, you know, a funny joke, but it`s having some impact on
polls. Sahil, the recent Bloomberg Politics Des Moines register poll in
Iowa has its favorability near its highest level among first-time caucus-
goers, 69 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable. I mean, is the
problem for Trump then going to be getting those people to the polls -- or
not even to the polls, because it`s a caucus, so to people`s living rooms
to actually cast a vote and have him win the Iowa caucuses.
KAPUR: The problem is going to be sustaining their interest and sustaining
their votes. Because the polls show that people only really get serious
about the primary about December or so, right? And the primaries start in
February. So, the question for him is that, is he going to prove to them
that he`s actually going to carry their torch or he is going to be a
serious candidate, or is he going to be someone like Michele Bachmann or
Herman Cain. Someone he -- ballot at the end. What is really
extraordinary Jonathan is that this is something we almost never see. That
kind of approval spike, something like 20, 25 points, especially for
someone whose been in the public eye as a celebrity and reality TV star for
decades, that`s really extraordinary that he`s done that and it should give
his rivals pause.
CAPEHART: John, what do you make of all this?
HART: Well, here`s the real source of Trump`s appeal. Is that there`s a
lack of solutions and consensus in the country about how to fix the actual
problems they are creating the angst. So, on the left and right, people
would agree, like we have stagnant wages, persistent poverty, rising health
or education costs. So Trump is a source, a beneficiary of some of that
angst right now. And, but on Sahil`s point, I do think it will likely
fade. And Trump is a blank slight, and as we see, he has not been defined
on policies and issues.
HART: And his schtick that I am anti-establishment, that`s a crock. You
know, I worked for quite, an anti-establishment member for a long time, Tom
Coburn. And that`s anti, you know, we got rid of earmarks, we cut tons of
waste spending and helped reform the Republican Party. So, it`s a much
healthier, much more robust party than it was 20 years ago.
WILLIAMS: More important than the question of who are Trump supporters or
who are Trump`s potential voters is the question are, who are those people
that are still undecided or have not found a candidate that they can
support at this time, and how many of them are there? You know, so how
many are not participating in the process because, not only the ongoing
circus of Trump, but then there are so many candidates, I can`t make a
decision -- finding out what are the issues that matter to me which we know
of, the economy matters for folks and moving our economy. So, there`s so
many social issues that matter.
CAPEHART: Right. Immigration.
WILLIAMS: And immigration as well.
WILLIAMS: So, who are those voters and why haven`t they been able to make
CAPEHART: Real fast, Sahil and I have to get Ben in for the last word?
KAPUR: You know, those voters are people who hate the republican
establishment about as much as they hate the president of the Democrats.
And the interesting thing that our Bloomberg politics poll in Iowa found is
that 65 percent of Donald Trump supporters say, they`re unsatisfied or as
mad as hell, quote-unquote, "at Wall Street." And Donald Trump is
channeling that and a policy sense as well. Because unlike any of the
republican, he`s saying, we need to close the carried interest loophole
which helps Hedge Fund manager and private equity managers pay less in
CAPEHART: Right. Ben, how much of this support of Trump do you think is
because people aren`t really paying attention, it`s summer, he`s
entertaining? Clearly, he`s entertaining to watch on television. And now
that we`re going to get past Labor Day and not that we`re going to get into
the fall and people start getting more serious, the likelihood that we will
see that kind of support among the haters and supporters shrink?
SCHRECKINGER: You know, that`s sort of been the narrative throughout the
summer, that he is like Michele Bachmann, like Herman Cain, someone who is
going to rise up and then fade away. You know, at this point his support
has lasted long enough that I`m not holding my breath for him to collapse
before Iowa. But time will tell.
CAPEHART: Right. I was one of those people who thought his support was
going to collapse, and I`m still holding my breath. I guess. My thanks to
Politico`s Ben Schreckinger. Thank you so much for getting up with us this
Still ahead, the latest on the desperate effort to save a whale trapped in
a fishing net off the coast of California.
And next, will President Obama soon be Professor Obama? Stay with us.
CAPEHART: This is the last weekend of summer vacation for most kids if
they`re not back in school already. Students and professors at Columbia
University here in New York. They`ll return Tuesday. And perhaps one of
those professors in a couple of years maybe President Obama, at least
that`s the rumor after the college`s President Lee Bollinger said recently
that he was looking forward to welcoming back Columbia`s most famous
alumnus in 2017, Barack Obama. President Obama graduated from Columbia in
1983. The White House tried to quiet the speculation saying, the President
hasn`t decided what he`ll do when he leaves office.
And Columbia said that Mr. Bollinger`s statement referred only to the
school`s effort to establish a long-term association with Mr. Obama and was
not referring to the President`s future plans. But this latest episode has
added to the speculation where the family will go when they leave the White
House. Will they return to Chicago? Will they move to New York? Will
they stay in Washington? And with Malia Obama about to start her senior
year of high school, will her choice of college affect where the family
We`re joined by Alexis Simendinger, White House correspondent for Real
Clear Politics. Alexis, thank you for being here this morning.
ALEXIS SIMENDINGER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Good morning, Jonathan.
CAPEHART: So, the White House says, the President hasn`t decided what
he`ll do when he leaves office. But the Barack Obama Foundation we know
did say earlier this year that it intends to maintain a presence at
Columbia. What kind of presence do you think that is?
SIMENDINGER: You`re exactly right. There was no secret that the Obama
Foundation which is obviously planning the President`s library in Chicago
was also very enamored with Columbia University and the opportunity for
President Obama to have an office there to maintain some tie to his
foundation and base it in New York. And there are lots of reasons why the
foundation and the President might be very attracted. That one things, as
you mentioned, the President lived and graduated in New York City and loves
the city. And the First Lady does, too. The idea might be that his oldest
daughter, Malia might be interested in going to college there. We know she
shopped around at least two colleges including Columbia in New York. And
the other thing is that it`s much easier to raise money and maybe do some
of the dynamic global kinds of things that the President might have in mind
for his post presidency if you`re based part of the time at least in New
CAPEHART: Uh-mm. So, you mentioned Malia and her choice of college may be
affecting where the Obamas move. But what about Sasha? She`s still going
to be in high school. Might that play a role in their possibly staying in
Washington after he`s no longer president in 2017?
SIMENDINGER: The President and the White House aides have made it clear
that the President is very much interested with the First Lady in helping
Sasha figure out where she`s comfortable finishing high school. She`s 14.
They`ve indicated that if she would like to complete school in Washington,
D.C., that they would be there in Washington to help her finish school.
And so family, the foundation and the President`s desire for what the
foundation does in addition to the library I think are the three main
factors the White House keeps talking about as the President makes his
CAPEHART: L. Joy, can New York City handle two ex-presidents and a former
secretary of state, maybe future president?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Definitely. Obviously the traffic won`t be as bad if
he`s, you know, the former president because there won`t be that much of a
WILLIAMS: But in this situation I`m thinking of Malia. Partly because if
she`s choosing to go to college here in New York and my parents are moving
here, it`s like, can we just give her some space?
WILLIAMS: Let her have, you know, have a life without everybody. This is
like, can I live and go to a college without my whole family being here.
KAPUR: When I saw that announcement from Columbia, from the Columbia
president, I wondered if Mr. Ballinger had scooped the President Biden
style. Would it surprise anyone that he was Professor Obama before he`s
President Obama? I could absolutely imagine him in that role.
CAPEHART: And Alexis, we`ve got less than a minute left. I`m going to
give you the last question. What sort of role do you think President Obama
will play in the world, no matter where he is, whether Chicago, New York,
Washington, in the post presidency?
SIMENDINGER: Well, I think we all should remember that the President will
be 55 years old when he leaves the presidency.
SIMENDINGER: That`s very young, with a young family and a full life ahead
of him. I know that the President has imagined writing a book. He`s
written two best-selling books. I`ll imagine he`ll write another. The
White House does not argue against that concept. He`s been doing very
deliberate discussions. They actually have as part of the foundation, a
committee called the vision committee. They`re really talking a lot
internally and have been for a year what it is that he could do usefully.
He`s interested in criminal justice, he`s interested in youth, he`s
interested in the world and of course furthering his ambitions on climate,
et cetera. So, one of the things that I learned covering President Bush is
you can always be surprised, I hadn`t expected President Bush to use a lot
of his post presidency to paint.
CAPEHART: Right. Right.
SIMENDINGER: So you can always be surprised.
CAPEHART: Right. And we should add the President`s My Brother`s Keeper
Initiative guarantee you that will figure prominently in his post
presidency. Alexis Simendinger with Real Clear Politics, thanks very much.
SIMENDINGER: Take care.
CAPEHART: Still ahead, Downton Abbey is a must see TV for someone who
likes to point out all the mistakes because she`s been there. Who that is?
But first, the fight to rescue a blue whale off the coast of California
before it`s too late. That`s next. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: In a few hours, rescue crews will once again try to help a blue
whale trapped in a fishing net off the coast of Southern California.
Rescuers had to call off their operation yesterday because of darkness and
rough seas. A whale watching boat first spotted the trapped whale
yesterday afternoon. And has about two or 300 feet of fishing line wrapped
around it with buoys floating behind it. A full hours of news and politics
still ahead. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Was Trump stumped on foreign policy?
CAPEHART: Thanks for staying with us this Saturday morning. In just a
moment, we`ll be taking a closer look at the question that tripped up
Donald Trump who slammed his interviewer for asking that question.
When she was asked the very same question, Carly Fiorina aced it. Plus,
she`s headed to the next debate. We`ll be checking in on her campaign in
just a minute.
And speaking of acing it, Serena Williams survives a close call last night.
One of the greatest names in tennis will be along to talk about her pursuit
of a grand slam.
But we begin this hour with Donald Trump getting tripped up. He`s doing
well in the polls, but there are new questions about his command of policy,
specifically foreign policy.
This is what happened when he appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio program
Thursday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I -- but go ahead, give me
a little -- go ahead, tell me.
HEWITT: He runs the Quds Forces.
TRUMP: Yes, OK. Right.
HEWITT: Do you expect his behavior --
TRUMP: And I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by
HEWITT: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary
Guards` Quds Forces, the bad guys.
TRUMP: Yes, right.
HEWITT: Do you expect his behavior to change --
TRUMP: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.
HEWITT: No, Quds.
TRUMP: Oh, I`m sorry. I thought you said Kurds.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Donald Trump accused the host of asking him so-called "gotcha
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEWITT: On the front of Islamist terrorism, I`m looking for the next
commander-in-chief to know who Hassan Nasrallah is and al Zawahiri and al-
Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a score card yet,
TRUMP: No, you know, I`ll tell you honestly. I think by the time we get
to office, they`ll all be changed, they`ll be gone. I knew you were going
to ask me things like this and there`s no reason because number one, I`ll
find -- I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I
will find whoever it is that I`ll find, and we`ll -- but they`re all
changing, Hugh. You know, those are like history questions, "Do you know
this one? Do you know that one?"
HEWITT: I don`t believe in gotcha questions. I`m not trying to quiz you
on who the worst guy in the world is.
TRUMP: Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when
you`re asking me about who`s running this, this, this. That`s not -- that
is -- I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CAPEHART: All right. Back here on the panel, political strategist L. Joy
Williams, Sahil Kapur with "Bloomberg Politics", John Hart with the site
Opportunity Lives, and former senior advisor to Senator Tom Coburn.
OK. I was going to ask what`s your reaction to the interview, but we`re
laughing. John, what do you make of the Trump interview with Hugh Hewitt?
HART: Yes. Well, a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece called, "How the GOP
can trump Trump?" And one of the points I made is, look, you need to force
him to talk about policy, it`s very simple, because Trump is weak on
policy. And you`re seeing that in these interviews.
You know, he criticized Jeb Bush for needing to speak English in the United
States. Well, Trump needs to speak conservative in the Republican primary.
HART: And he doesn`t know how.
WILLIAMS: And he also -- if you`re running for the position of president
in the United States and foreign policy is a major -- I mean, yes, the
average American you ask, you know, do they know who these people are,
they`re going to say, no, I don`t even know. I have to use a scorecard
sometimes in terms of foreign policy and who is controlling what, right?
CAPEHART: But the commander-in-chief --
WILLIAMS: But the commander-in-chief, someone who is aspiring to lead us
and lead this country and be the world`s authority should know these things
or at least have a better response in not you`ve given me a gotcha
CAPEHART: Right. Sahil?
KAPUR: Without a view, the interview exposed knowledge gaps in Donald
Trump`s foreign policy understanding. The question is, voters are always
willing to give presidential candidates a little bit of slack on this,
especially if having engage in foreign policy as no governor has. And many
governors have been elected.
On a political level, it`s going to be embarrassing for him. And just in
the last hour since the show started, I saw two tweets from Donald Trump,
this is still on his mind, attacking Hugh Hewitt as a very low rated radio
host, or anything like that. It`s very typical Trump.
But, you know, the question is, where do we go from here?
On the political side, I doubt his supporters will bolt over this who stuck
by him when he was insulting Mexicans, Megyn Kelly, FOX News, calling the
entire Republican Party a bunch of losers, are they really going to bolt
over him not knowing who the Quds forces are? I don`t think so.
WILLIAMS: And black people continually.
But I will say -- but I will say also, you know, I agree with you, voters
give some leeway as people who do not have the foreign policy experience.
But it also continues to show his personality. Do you really want someone
in the White House who can potentially start a war, potentially continue to
start conflict because he`s calling, you know, people names or saying I`m
just going to be so good on the military? What evidence do you have that
you`re going to be so good on the military?
CAPEHART: Let me play some sound from RNC Communications Director Sean
Spicer talking about the interview. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: No one knows everything, right?
That`s ridiculous. There`s nobody, whether it`s the current president of
the United States or anyone who hopes to succeed him will know every single
leader, will know every second, every piece of domestic policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So, what Sean is saying are sort of echoes what Sahil was
saying. But, John, what do you think of that?
HART: Well, I think what sets Trump apart is he`s described everyone else
as stupid. You know, everyone else is an idiot and he`s the smart guy.
So, he was asking for it. So, I think Sean makes a fair point that, yes,
of course, not everybody going to every title, every leader. But when your
whole campaign is based on impugning the intelligence of everyone else --
HART: -- you can`t claim you`re now a refugee in the campaign because
you`re being criticized.
CAPEHART: Right. We should point out that this was -- Hugh Hewitt was not
unknown to Donald Trump. That was his sixth interview with Hugh Hewitt,
that`s on Thursday. And Hugh Hewitt started the program by saying, "I want
to ask you some commander in chief questions." So, this was not some
But let`s talk about a person who had an interview later that day with Hugh
Hewitt and knocked it out of the park. That`s Carly Fiorina. Let`s play
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know the general of the Quds
Force has been a powerful tool of the Iranian regime to sow conflict. We
also know that the Quds Force I s responsible for the death and wounding of
American soldiers. We also know that the Quds Force have been in Syria and
a whole bunch of other countries in the Middle East.
The Iranian deal which sadly has just been approved by Congress, starts a
massive flow of money, and that money is going to be used not only to build
up an Iranian nuclear weapon which they have been hell-bent on getting for
30 years. That money is also going to the Quds Force.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Come on now. That`s how you answer the question.
WILLIAMS: And not necessarily that she gave a response of what she`s going
to do at least in this sound clip, but she also educated the people that
are listening in saying here are who -- she demonstrated that I have at
least a command knowledge of what`s going on in the area or what I believe
to be going on, and then also tying it to current foreign policy discussion
in the Iranian deal. So, whether or not she has a response in terms of
what she`s going to do as commander in chief and whether or not we agree
with her or not, she`s at least an appropriate response in order to deal
KAPUR: She`s definitely done her homework.
She knows that she`s an underdog candidate. She knows that she`s coming in
with zero political experience, and she doesn`t have the celebrity and
bravado of Donald Trump. So she has to impress in moments like these. And
she certainly did.
She`s a sleeper candidate. She impressed in the debate. And, you know,
when I travel to places like Miami and South Carolina, voters really like
her. Republican voters really like her, if they know who she is.
CAPEHART: Right, sure.
HART: It isn`t just about her doing her homework, though she has done
that, is that Carly Fiorina has a coherent world view that`s conservative.
She doesn`t have to make it up as she goes along. That`s why Trump is
having these difficulties.
You know, he`s been all over the map on health care, single payer. He
makes Mitt Romney look like captain consistency on health care.
CAPEHART: That`s saying something. That is saying something.
You know, she was also asked questions about all those terrorists, with all
the names. She said, you know what, Hugh, and I`m paraphrasing here, you
know what, Hugh? I got confused by the names because they sound very
similar and I have to admit that. But she had she admitted she didn`t know
everything, but then she was able to go in and demonstrate that she knows
what`s going on.
To your point earlier, Sahil, you said, you know, there are a lot of people
running for president who don`t know world leaders. Some of them are
governors. There`s a particular governor who had to face a pop quiz in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can you name the president of Chechnya?
GEORGE W. BUSH: No, can you.
REPORTER: Can you name the president of Taiwan?
BUSH: Yes, Lee.
The new Pakistani general just been elected, he`s -- not elected, this guy
took over office. He appears he`s going to bring stability to the country.
And I think that`s good news for the subcontinent.
REPORTER: Can you name him?
BUSH: General. I can name the general.
REPORTER: And it`s?
REPORTER: Prime minister of India.
BUSH: The new prime minister of India is -- no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: What I love about that clip is that his first answer, can you
name the leader of Chechnya? No, can you? What`s the name of the general
in Pakistan? General.
And so, for -- I guess -- we talk about this and we`re horrified that there
are people who run for president who don`t know basic geopolitical facts
and they want to be commander in chief. But as George W. Bush shows, he
was the governor of Texas in November 1999.
Do the American people really care ultimately whether the person they`re
voting for has a sweeping command of geopolitical affairs and knowledge?
KAPUR: No. That`s the perfect example. People don`t vote on foreign
policy, firstly, unless there`s a major event like a terrorist attack or,
you know, a major war where American soldiers are on the battlefield.
People don`t vote on foreign policy.
I don`t think this election will be about foreign policy. Governor Bush at
the time showed you can have very little knowledge and probably very little
curiosity about foreign affairs and still win the Republican nomination and
be president. So, it`s not going to hurt them, politically, but there are
very legitimate and important questions that people should ask them. Do
you want Donald Trump`s fingers on the nuclear code? That`s what Hillary
Clinton is going to say over and over and over again in the general
election if he`s the nominee.
CAPEHART: Real fast, John.
HART: Yes. Again, it`s an attitude, personality issue. It`s a likability
issue. So, Trump has presented himself as the superior intellect. George
Bush wasn`t running on the platform that I`m smart, everyone else is
stupid, you`re all idiots. I know management, you don`t. That`s what the
CAPEHART: And that was part of his charm. I know we could talk about this
for the rest of the show, but we can`t.
Still ahead, she was able to answer the question that Donald Trump
couldn`t. But will Carly Fiorina be able to emerge from the middle of the
But, first, Serena Williams tries to do the nearly impossible. One of the
greatest names in tennis joins us on the set to discuss.
Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Last night, Serena Williams flirted with danger of losing the
first set but going on to take the next two to win her third round match at
the U.S. Open in New York City. She is now one step closer to achieving
the hardest thing to do in tennis, winning a grand slam. That`s all four
major tournaments in one calendar year, something so difficult to do, no
one has accomplished it in more than 25 years.
Steffi Graf was the last player to win a grand slam in 1988. And before
her, only Margaret Court, Rod Labor, Marine Connolly and Don Budge have
ever done it. This season, Serena has been talked about as not just the
greatest women`s player of all time, not just the greatest tennis player of
all time of either sex, but also possibly the greatest athlete of all time
So, will Serena pull it off and become only the sixth tennis player ever to
win a grand slam?
Here to help us figure it all out is another one of the greatest players in
the game of tennis, Stan Smith. He`s a former world number one, winner of
the U.S. Open, and the name of your favorite pair of sneakers.
STAN SMITH, FORMER U.S. OPEN WINNER : Hopefully.
CAPEHART: Also, here`s Gigi Fernandez, a Hall of Famer tennis player and
Olympic gold medalist who won all four grand slam tournaments as a doubles
player, although not in the same year. But what does it matter?
I mean, the Hall of Famer, both of you. Thanks so much for being here.
Stan, let me start with you. Why is it so hard to win a grand slam
SMITH: Well, you know, the parody today, particularly in both the men`s
and women`s games is so good you have to win seven matches in four
tournaments. There are different surfaces, different conditions. And it`s
a real test to be able to handle things when you`re not playing their best.
And that`s what the great players have done. They`ve played.
In fact, Serena has done that this year. She`s had a lot of three-setters.
She`s been on the edge. She played Heather Watson at Wimbledon, who was
two points away from winning that match in the round of 16. So, she`s been
on the edge a lot this year and she`s going to be on the edge the next four
matches if she gets that far.
CAPEHART: And why is it -- why is it Serena, do you think, is the one who
is poised to be this person? I mean, I loaded on a lot of accolades to her
in terms of what people are saying about her, the greatest tennis player,
greatest tennis player of both sexes, greatest athlete of all time.
SMITH: Well, she is a great athlete and she`s a great competitor. That`s
what`s brought her through the last year of tough matches, of three-setters
that she`s had to play. She`s won a lot of three-setters. She`s had to
compete. When it gets near the edge, the other players don`t think they
can win. That`s a big part of it.
CAPEHART: Gigi, what do you think?
GIGI FERNANDEZ, HALL OF FAME TENNIS PLAYER: Well, I think she can play on
every surface, which a lot of past greats have trouble, whether it`s on
clay or on hard or on grass. And she`s mastered, like I said, all the
And also, she`s been an amazing fighter. Like Serena will not beat herself
ever and she will not beat herself in this tournament. Somebody is going
to have to go out and beat four on her to win a match against her. So,
that`s what makes her so tough.
CAPEHART: And Stan said something interesting, that the people who go up
against her, at some point, psychologically, they just think, I can`t win.
I mean, how much of the game in general is ability and how much of it is
just psychology, either you getting in your own head or the person on the
other side of that net getting in your head?
FERNANDEZ: Well, certainly, it becomes almost all mental. I mean, you
have to have the skill. But, you know, in the top five range, it`s pretty
much who can come up with the goods under pressure. And Serena has shown
that it doesn`t matter whether it`s, you know, 0-40 down for break point or
the first round, she just plays every point like it`s match point. What
was very interesting about last night, even though she was eight points
away from winning the match, in her post-match interview she said she was
not concerned because she knew she wasn`t playing up to her level. So, she
knew she could raise her level.
Now, if she`s playing at her highest level and she`s getting people, that`s
when she`ll get stressed out. So, that was very interesting to me
yesterday that she felt she could still go to that next level.
SMITH: She`s got two tough matches coming up now. Well, maybe one.
Madison Keys who`s got almost as much fire power as she does and she`s a
young gun. And then, of course, if she wins that, it looks like Venus
might be the next match.
And, of course, that match is one of -- you`ve got so many psychological
issues there that who knows? And they play each other a lot and it`s a
terrible match to watch, because you`re either Williams fans and you want
both to win or you don`t want them to win at all. So, it`s a terrible
match to watch. And the other side of the draw, there`s three or four
girls that have beaten her in the past and that will be the finals if she
CAPEHART: And so, there`s a lot of talk about Serena Williams retiring
from tennis. What will that do to the women`s game of tennis and what will
it do to tennis overall? Real quickly. I want both of your reactions?
FERNANDEZ: Well, I mean, she`s an amazing champion, and hopefully she`s
not retiring anytime soon. I mean, I think she still has three or four
good years left in here. And, you know, there`ll be the next wave, and,
hopefully, you know, Madison Keys, I think, this could be a break through
moment for her. She definitely has the power to beat Serena. And she
could get the crowd behind here.
Serena is most vulnerable in the early rounds of tournaments. We`re still
in the early rounds. If she gets to semis or finals, I think she`s going
to be really hard to beat.
SMITH: If and when she retires, she`ll be missed. But I think there will
be other players out there that will take the mantle and carry it well.
There`s a great depth, as I said, in women`s tennis and men`s tennis. And
so, we`ll see some more great players along the way. But she`s a special
one that may not be duplicated.
CAPEHART: Well, this is a special moment here to have you both here, Stan
Smith and Gigi Fernandez, thank you for joining us this morning.
Still ahead, the progressive pope gets ready to play Madison Square Garden.
More on the reception he`ll receive in the U.S. is coming up.
And next, the high drama continues this weekend in Kentucky as the county
clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses sits in jail. We`ll travel to
Kentucky for a live report. That`s next.
Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Same-sex couples were able to obtain marriage licenses yesterday
in Rowan County, Kentucky, as the county clerk refusing to issue them is
spending her holiday weekend in jail. Her attorneys say this fight is far
from over, and today, protests are planned.
NBC`s Sarah Dallof joins us now from Grayson, Kentucky.
SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Jonathan.
Kim Davis`s attorney says she`s in good spirits. She is doing bible study
in the jail behind me and she`s not planning on getting out any time soon.
She`s receiving support both locally and nationally, including from
candidates in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Mike Huckabee
is planning to visit her in jail next week, as well as planning a rally in
Now, yesterday, a judge declined to put the contempt order on hold while
Davis` attorney prepared their appeal. This as deputy clerks at the office
began handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples who emerge from the
office triumphant to the cheers of their supporters who are waiting
Now, Davis` attorneys questioning if those licenses issued yesterday are
valid since they don`t contain her signature. The county attorney says
yes, they are, as do attorneys for the couples involved in this situation.
A lot of complex issue here in Kentucky both legally and ethnically.
Back to you.
CAPEHART: My thanks to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Kentucky.
Still ahead, Pope Francis to take his blockbuster tour of the U.S. later
this month. We`ll give you a preview of that still ahead.
But, next, a rule change allowing another challenger to take the stage for
the second debate. Carly Fiorina`s deputy campaign manager is with us
after the break.
Stay with us.
CAPEHART: It looks like the next Republican presidential debate will be
going to 11. Organizers have a week and a half left to figure out how to
cram 11 podiums on stage because what is basically the Carly Fiorina rule
change. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO has been doing better in the polls
following her performance in the second tier debate last month.
And as we`ve already discussed this morning, she`s been able to position
herself as a more moderate voice than her competitors on issues like gay
marriage in Kentucky. But until CNN changed its criteria this week,
Fiorina stood in danger of not making the cut once again despite being in
the middle of the pack.
What does she have to do now to make it to the top of the field?
Let`s turn now to Sarah Isgur Flores, deputy campaign manager for Carly for
America, and my "Washington Post" colleague, Karen Tumulty. She`s the
national political correspondent at "The Washington Post", who`s been
covering Fiorina on the trail. Both join us from Washington.
Sarah, let me start with you.
Your boss is grabbing a lot of people`s attention after the first debate,
going after Hillary Clinton and just doing well in general. But since then
she`s also been critical of Jeb Bush for comments he`s made about women`s
issues and Donald Trump for comments he`s made basically just about women.
What`s the strategy for debate number two for Carly Fiorina?
SARAH ISGUR FLORES, DEP. CAMPAIGN MGR. CARLY FOR AMERICA: Well, I think
Carly won`t have trouble standing out in this debate. She has a message
that really resonates. The political class has failed most of Americans.
Whatever your problem is, they haven`t solved it`, election after election
So, I think she goes into the debate strong and she`ll have a message that
really resonates again.
CAPEHART: So, the latest poll shows Donald Trump is still in the lead with
30 percent, Ben Carson has 18 percent. Carly Fiorina, she`s tied for
seventh place with 4 percent. But many people say you add up those
numbers, 30 plus 18 plus 4 and that`s more than half the voters looking for
someone other than a career politician.
Do you view those numbers the same way?
FLORES: I do. Although I would note that in New Hampshire and Iowa, where
the first two contests are, she`s actually in third place. And so, we
don`t have a national primary, it`s important to look at those state polls
But absolutely, I think that again people are really looking for someone
outside the political class. They`re ready for citizen leadership. I
think Carly brings that to the table in spades.
CAPEHART: Let me follow up, because my question to you is, do you think a
Carly voter and a Ben Carson voter, or a Donald Trump voter, are they all
FLORES: No. I think voters are going to make their decision based on a
number of metrics, on issues and who they think can get the job done. When
it comes to Carly, she can win this job and she can do this job, as I think
you saw in the Hugh Hewitt interview.
CAPEHART: Well, yes, Karen, you`ve been listening to Sarah and reporting
following Carly Fiorina`s campaign. Why do you think Fiorina is appealing
KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think the settings in which voters
have seen are including, at the so-called kid`s table in the last debate,
showed that in this particular kind of forum, she really does seem to have
the instincts of a fighter piloted. She`s really probably better than
anyone other than Donald Trump with the sort of counter attack, the jab,
the good line. So, the kind of dilemma for her in this debate I think is
going to be whether she shows off those skills. She has a line that
Republicans love ability Hillary Clinton where she says that travel is an
activity, not an achievement, when reference to Hillary Clinton`s boasts
about her secretary of state days.
So, does she show off that side or does she use this opportunity to present
sort of more about her own vision and what she would bring to the Oval
CAPEHART: I want to play a clip of Donald Trump from "MORNING JOE"
yesterday talking about the Iran deal.
And, Sarah, I want to get your reaction on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I know it would be very popular for me to do what a couple of them
said. We`re going to rip it up, we`re going to rip it up. I would have to
say and I think most of the people around the table, we have an agreement.
It`s a horrible agreement. I will make it so tough, and if they break it,
they will have hell to pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: And before you respond to that, Sarah, let me say Carly with
NBC`s Hallie Jackson this week. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIORINA: Here is what I would do on day one in the Oval Office. I would
make two phone calls, the first to Bibi Netanyahu, my good friend, to tell
him we will stand with the state of Israel always. The second to the
supreme leader of Iran who may not take my phone call, but the message
would be clear, new deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So, Donald Trump is saying, it`s a bad deal, but a deal is deal.
And you have Carly Fiorina saying earlier this week that she`d seek a new
deal. Does she still stand by that, will she refuse to accept this deal if
approved by Congress and she becomes president?
FLORES: The short answer is yes, but I think it`s also important to note
some of the background here. Carly has extensive national security
experience. She was chairman of the external advisory board for the
Central Intelligence Agency. She`s advised secretaries of state, homeland
security, defense. So, she doesn`t come to this as a novice by any means.
She probably knows more world leaders on the stage than anyone else running
with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton.
So, I think when she talks about a deal with Iran, she`s obviously been a
CEO and made thousands of deals in her life. I think I`d take her at her
word, she knows what she`s talking about.
CAPEHART: And, Karen, final question to you, Carly Fiorina is polling well
in Iowa, but moving up at a slower pace in national polls. How can she
broaden her support or can she?
TUMULTY: You know, I think all these candidates should be paying attention
to state-by-state polls and not even looking at the national polls, because
tThe thing that is going to move you fastest in the national polls is
winning a few of those early contests.
CAPEHART: Sarah Isgur Flores with the Fiorina campaign and Karen Tumulty
with "The Washington Post" -- thanks very much for coming in this morning.
TUMULTY: Thank you.
FLORES: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Up next, here is the chair Pope Francis will be sitting in when
he presides over mass at Madison Square Garden later this month. Why he`ll
probably be sitting pretty for his entire visit.
CAPEHART: The countdown is on for the first visit of Pope Francis to the
United States scheduled to travel to New York, Washington and Philadelphia
later this month. The unveiling of the chair he will sit in while
celebrating mass at Madison Square Garden is an early indication of the
kind of attention his trip is going to receive.
Pope Francis is hugely popular figure in this country, not just among
Catholics, but Americans of all religions, according to a new poll. And
that favorable opinion of Francis probably has a lot to do with some of his
more progressive views.
Two years ago, he struck a more conciliatory tone, more than previous
pontiffs on homosexuality saying, quote, "If someone is gay and searches
for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" According to a newly
released poll from Pew, 44 percent of American Catholics still say
homosexuality is a sin but nearly as many say it is not. A sign of
And last month, Francis told priests the church must treat Catholics who
divorce and remarry better.
The Pew poll found that 83 percent of American Catholics say it`s
acceptable for children to be raised by divorced parents. In fact, 87
percent say it`s acceptable for a single parent to raise kids and 66
percent kids say it`s acceptable -- why can`t I not say that word? I`m
sorry, guys. For gay and lesbian children to raise children.
Here to help us talk about this is Sister Simone Campbell, executive
director of the Catholic Organization Network and author of "A Nun on the
Thank you so much, Sister Simone, for being here.
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, CATHOLIC ORGANIZATION NETWORK: Great to be with
CAPEHART: Pope Francis is more progressive than previous popes on several
social issues. Is he reacting to the changing attitudes of the Catholic
CAMPBELL: I think Pope Francis is quite unlike our politicians that kind
of blow with what political wind is. I think he`s much more about the
gospel and the fact he comes from a place of love and loving those who have
struggled. Because he`s been a pastor in Argentina, he knows the struggle
of folks who are divorced, of the LBGTQ community, of the challenges faced
by ordinary people.
And it`s in that response in love, inclusion -- I mean, you talked about an
economy of inclusion, he`s creating a church of inclusion. Such a
wonderful step forward.
CAPEHART: Let me go back to that Quinnipiac poll. Two-thirds of all
Americans view Pope Francis favorably. Why is he so popular among non-
Catholics, do you think?
CAMPBELL: Day before yesterday, I was talking to a member of Congress and
he said to me, well, I`m a Methodist, but he`s my pope.
What he went on to say was that he really loves the way that Pope Francis
is inclusive but speaks candidly about the struggles of our time, that he`s
not afraid to speak of the fact that the economy is so divisive, that the
environment is such an urgent need and the fact that the crisis we have in
our world is a crisis of exploitation.
That candor is refreshing as well as the way in love that includes everyone
in the conversation. He can`t leave them out.
CAPEHART: Speaking of bringing everyone in the conversation, I want to
bring the panel in here. I have to tell you, when the pope said what he
said about homosexuality, it was the first time I had ever heard a pontiff
speak with a warm and open heart about gay people. And it`s because of
that and some other things that he has said that, not just non-Catholics, I
have heard of people who think of themselves, who say that they are
atheists say that Pope Francis is their pope, that they love this guy.
WILLIAMS: Yes. As a person of faith, I`m not Catholic, but I describe
myself as a table flipping Christian, just to align myself, you know, with
sort of being a Christian here. It is definitely great to hear someone,
not only of faith, but in leadership around the world, demonstrate the love
that those of us of faith consistently see in Scripture and also should be
played out in every day life in particular policy.
And that`s -- those of us who are of faith, who are still fighting for
social justice and for equal representation and equal rights want to see,
and it`s great that the pope can embody that for the world.
CAPEHART: He comes off as a breath of fresh air I think to Christian
progressives, but also agnostic progressives who`ve been used to previous
popes addressing social issues, abortion and homosexuality so forth. It`s
not only because of his inclusive message. He`s also talking about society
needing to take care of the poor and vulnerable. He had an encyclical,
which is essentially official teaching, on climate change.
This is not something anyone expected to see from a pope. And, you know,
the fact that that`s an increasingly important issue we`re talking about on
a political level, on a substantive level, policy level, it moves the
debate. It changes minds.
HART: Look, you know, I`m more of a theological conservative, ideological
conservative, but the fact that the pope is refreshing is a pox on the
church. That should not be refreshing, because there`s no conflict between
loving your neighbor and having positions that are theologically
So, I think it`s great that the pope is loving, he`s talking about loving
your neighbor and I think we need to focus a lot more on poverty and view
poverty as a social and cultural issue, and that can bring together the
left and the right.
KAPUR: Do you see that as a criticism of conservatism? Do you see the
pope -- do you believe the pope is essentially offering a veiled criticism
of conservative philosophy?
HART: I think -- I think the pope -- yes, I think he is a corrective
against an element of the church that has not fully expressed what the
Scriptures teach about loving your neighbor.
KAPUR: I see what you mean.
CAPEHART: Let me bring in Sister Simone, your reaction to what you just
CAMPBELL: I did want to jump in on that, because Pope Francis in the
encyclical is extremely clear that the role of politics is to control the
economy. The only way we`ll have an economy of inclusion is if politics
provides an appropriate bound on the free market capitalism.
He also says that all of creation has, what we believe in private ownership
has a mortgage, a social mortgage to be used for the common good. Now,
that teaching is challenging for liberals and conservatives, because what
it means is, is the focus of our work has got to be to address the issues
of disparity, to address this crisis of exploitation which is both a
conservative and liberal issue.
We`ve got to make change and make sure that all are included in the
economy, but politics at the heart of it has got to be controlling the
economy. That is a big change for our nation.
CAPEHART: Well, given what Sister Simone just said, how uncomfortable
should members of Congress be when you have the leader of the Catholic
Church, Pope Francis, addressing them later this month? I think it`s
either September 22nd or September 24th, joint session of Congress. How
uncomfortable should they be?
HART: They shouldn`t be uncomfortable. They should welcome the
discussion, welcome the debate. I would take issue with the fact that
politics should, quote, "control the economy", because that sends us down a
very dangerous path toward a redistribution system, the dark side of
socialism which is shared misery.
And so, I would take great issue with some of the pope`s economic ideas. I
don`t think the job of politics is to control. It`s to create a process by
which those differences can be resolved peacefully.
CAPEHART: Well, let -- Sister Simone, you respond.
CAMPBELL: Oh, yes, I think we think of control as -- the only way we think
of it as this centrally controlled economy. That`s not what he`s talking
about. What he`s talking about is appropriate measures that limit the huge
economic disparity that we currently have. Currently, Congress is pretty
stalemated in a politics that is crippled partially because of private
money in politics.
So, what he`s calling us to do is to say the role of politicians -- he`s
very clear on this -- is a noble occupation and what we need to do is
offset the excesses in our economic systems, the excesses of exploitation.
That`s not a centrally planned economy. It`s not socialism. It`s
offsetting excesses and that`s things like Glass-Stiegel or the other ways
of managing markets that have been effective in the past that need to be
CAPEHART: And on that note, we`re going to have to end the conversation.
Like every segment, Sister Simone, everyone wants to jump in.
But, Sister Simone Campbell, you`re a hero forgetting up so early there in
San Francisco. Thank you for being here.
CAMPBELL: Glad to do it. Thanks, Jonathan.
Up next, a beloved television draw ma has a big fan in Buckingham Palace.
Royals, they`re just like us.
WILLIAMS: Well, you get into the details --
CAPEHART: As you can tell we are still -- they are still talking about the
last segment with Sister Simone, where we were talking about the pope.
But there`s other stuff going on for us to get caught up on some of the
other the headlines making news with today`s panel. Today`s boisterous,
talkative, can`t stop talking before we come on air panel.
So, we have been teasing the hell out of this, because it`s really
fascinating. The queen, Queen Elizabeth II, loves "Downton Abbey" and
loves to spot historical mistakes, an author reveals.
Brian Hoey, I guess it`s pronounced, author of the book, "At Home with the
Queen" came across this fan fact about her majesty during a conversation
with the worker at Buckingham Palace. On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth will
pass Queen Victoria as the longest serving British monarch. That`s pretty
And "Downton Abbey" will have the final season later this morning. In the
U.K., but not until January 3rd in the United States.
How about this? The queen is sitting with the feet up on the ottoman and
talking about, hmm, that`s not right, that`s not true.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I love this. So now I want them to do a contest and come
and win an opportunity to watch "Downton Abbey" with the queen.
CAPEHART: Oh, that would be so hot.
WILLIAMS: I would save money in order to go and do this. So, someone who
watches this show, you know, I`m like -- she sits and says oh, no, that`s
not right. Like that belongs on the left side. That`s just fascinating.
CAPEHART: Apparently, she stayed at the castle in "Downton Abbey". So,
she knows -- you know, oh, that wasn`t there. What is that?
Well, I want to move from the British royal family to the Saudi royal
Sahil, you`re in Washington. You live in Washington, right? You live in
So you know where the Four Seasons is in Washington. Just up where
Pennsylvania Avenue and M Street meet. Well, the king of Saudi Arabia is
in town and he is -- when foreign leaders do, they come and stay at a
hotel. They might take a room, or several rooms or a floor. King Salman
of Saudi Arabia bought out the entire hotel. All 222 rooms at the Four
Seasons hotel in Georgetown from Thursday through today.
CAPEHART: I mean, that`s some serious coin. We knew the Saudis were
really wealthy, but that`s a lot of money.
WILLIAMS: Must be nice.
KAPUR: Blocked off traffic.
CAPEHART: You go to the traffic angle, it`s Washington.
KAPUR: Let me go to the serious angle. One thing that Bernie Sanders on
the Democratic side is talking about is that he says Saudi Arabia which has
the third largest military in the world has to get in and fight ISIS, that
the countries in the region need to play a bigger role and not rely on the
United States to do that. That`d be an interesting question. I wonder if
President Obama is going to bring it up.
HART: Well, I`m glad Sahil made it serious because what I was going to say
was, why not let some of the Syrian refugees stay there? I mean, that
sends a very bad signal internationally. You`re going to rent out an
entire hotel and meanwhile you have a humanitarian crisis in your
CAPEHART: Well, this is -- well, this is King Salman`s first visit to the
United State states -- official visit to the United States to the White
And no doubt when you`re talking with the king of Saudi Arabia, the refugee
crisis must come up. What`s happening in Syria in terms of the war, all
sorts of things, the Iran deal. All of that must be on the agenda. I
mean, right? Absolutely.
CAPEHART: Speaking of bringing the conversation closer, back to home, and
to the political season that we`re in, "Politico" did a story and they
talked to a lot of early state GOP insiders and they`re saying that Scott
Walker, Governor Walker of Wisconsin, is the biggest loser of the summer.
Do you agree with that?
KAPUR: I think there`s a case to be made. He`s plummeting in the polls.
He`s had a difficult time coming to a clear stance from the beginning on
birthright citizenship. He had three different positions in a week. On
the issue of a wall on the northern border with Canada, which nobody really
wants to do in the country, he said it was a legitimate issue. He didn`t
say he was for it, but he said it was a legitimate issue, considering it
and then a day or two later said he was not.
So, these are missteps.
WILLIAMS: So, and certainly coming from -- he was potentially the darling,
sort of the -- you know, coming from a state where he bought -- fought back
the unions and he fought back against this and sort of not being able to
use any of that or effectively in the campaign season is certainly a loss.
HART: I would say the breadth of our field represents the strength of or
party in the movement. So, we`ve got 17 interesting candidates. Most I
think are presidential, not all. But the fact is we have 17 people in a
sedan. So, everybody is packed in, Donald Trump is out the sunroof waving
CAPEHART: That`s a good imagery.
HART: And Scott Walker is kind of in the back seat smashed between the
other candidates doing some awkward movements to get noticed.
CAPEHART: Can he fight his way out? Can he go back to being the darling?
KAPUR: Well, this is a critical -- this is the tipping point for him. The
risk for him is if he doesn`t, he could end up looking like the Tim
Pawlenty of the race, the guy who got perfect on paper, who appealed to all
corners of the base, but just couldn`t catch fire.
CAPEHART: Well, we only have 30 seconds left and we won`t have time to
really discuss this. But I`m going to put it out there, I knew that Kermit
and Miss Piggy broke up. What I didn`t know is that look at that Kermit
has a new babe right there on the screen. Denise is the new girlfriend of
Kermit the Frog. I don`t know about you, but I`m team Miss Piggy. Same
way I am team Angelina Jolie.
And with that, I want to thank this morning`s panel, Sahil Kapur, L. Joy
Williams and John Hart.
And thank you for getting UP with us today. Join us tomorrow, Sunday
morning at 8:000. But before that, you`re going to want to watch "MELISSA
HARRIS-PERRY." That`s coming up next. Have a great Saturday.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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