updated 9/17/2015 4:06:09 PM ET 2015-09-17T20:06:09

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: September 13, 2015
Guest: Jessica Taylor, David Goodfriend, Joe Watkins, Perry Bacon, Allan
Lichtman

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Eyes on the end zone.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MELBER: Good morning to you. Thanks for getting up with us. I`m Ari
Melber, in for Steve Kornacki.

There is major tailgating in Iowa this weekend right now as
presidential candidates have been mingling with football fans at the
state`s biggest game of the year. You can guess who drew the biggest
crowd.

We also have MSNBC polls out this morning showing the state of the
race heading into that big debate on Wednesday.

And more of a story that we covered yesterday, former tennis pro James
Blake speaking out about his false arrest at the hands of New York police.
He`s talking to NBC News.

And also we`ll have an update for you later on on the hunt for a pair
of snipers firing on random motorists in Phoenix, Arizona.

But we begin right now with politics in the game known as the Super
Bowl of Iowa for candidates in the race for Republican nominations,
storming yesterday`s big football matchup to greet tailgating fans. Donald
Trump did draw the biggest crowds there and he seemed to preview in a
slightly nicer mode in some talks with reporters.

Indeed, he talked to our own Katy Tur about facing off with Carly
Fiorina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Speaking to Republican insiders, GOP
members, they say if anybody is going to land a clean blow on you at the
debate on Wednesday it will be Carly Fiorina.

Are you worried about her at all?

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: Oh, no, I think she`s a very nice woman.
I think she`ll do well. I asked that she be on the debate because I think
she should.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It`s important that he asked that she be on debate.

Just kidding. That`s actually irrelevant.

Trump may have to answer, though, for how he`s faring with Latino
voters given his hardline immigration stance. Of course that`s been a key
to his campaign. And we have some brand-new polling information. This was
released this morning by MSNBC and it shows how Trump is doing with the
Latino audience.

Look at this, 70 percent of Latinos surveyed by MSNBC Telemundo and
Marist say they hold a negative view of Trump. Only 13 percent currently
say they hold a positive view.

Throughout the show we`ll be showing you more results on how Iowa
voters feel about not only Trump, of course, but this entire shifting
presidential field. Trump reaffirmed his immigration plan on the stump
just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So I came out, as you know, with my immigration plan and I`ll
tell you what, it`s been really well received, better than I thought. And
I thought it was a little bit stringent, a little tough. And a lot of
people think, oh, could you make it tougher? It`s true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Well, we have a panel that will make it tougher all morning.

Jessica Taylor is covering the 2016 race for NPR, has also written for
"The Hill" and "National Journal."

Joe Watkins, a pastor and former White House aide to President Bush
Sr. and an old cable friend of mine, if I could say so.

And David Goodfriend, a former White House aide to President Clinton
and professor.

Good morning, everybody.

I`m going to start with you as the Republican. Donald Trump not going
anywhere. Building the numbers. But more than the numbers, as you know,
crowds matter, organizing matter, face to face. That all matters in Iowa.
And we`re seeing people are coming out for him. They`re bigger than anyone
else.

REV. JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He`s excellent at this.
You have to realize that somebody who was able to sustain high ratings in
the TV business can probably do the same in politics.

That`s what Donald Trump is doing. He knows how to connect with
voters and he is doing that in a great way. He will retain these high poll
numbers, high standing. Normally the person leading in September in a
presidential race is not the person that emerges as the party`s nominee.

But I`d say that all bets are off this time. This is a different
cycle. You got a guy who knows how to connect. He is tweeting, he`s using
social media to his advantage and he`s retaining his very strong lead.

MELBER: And, you say social media, that`s where we see the inner
Trump, it all comes out and hangs out. And some of the tweets get deleted.
But we see a lot of what motivates him is -- and I think this is -- I`m
saying this as a fact, not as an opinion.

Insulting people motivates him. Insulting people is part of how he
gets himself going and gets himself in the conversation.

I want to play Rush Limbaugh calling on Donald Trump to cool it with
the insults. Take the irony of that as you will but take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: Just a small, tiny message for the
Trump campaign. And it was what I would say today. Let`s get back to the
issues. And I don`t mean to be mocking you in the stick-to-the-issues
crowd here. I mean, I`m serious. I don`t -- I don`t know what the value
is in ripping into Ben Carson as an OK doctor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Jessica, do you have to be careful when Rush tells you to
cool it?

JESSICA TAYLOR, NPR CORRESPONDENT: He has reached another level when
that happens. For some people, maybe like Rush, when he did say those
things about Dr. Carson, calling him an OK doctor, this is a man, the
first man to separate conjoined twins. I think he`s more than an OK
doctor.

And then his comments against Fiorina, I think that was striking, what
we saw him saying Iowa, she`s great. I want her on the stage.

You know, if he goes after her in the debate, I think that`s going to
be even more of a backlash. I think that`s the one thing he`s almost like
there`s no kryptonite that can take him down so far. But "The Des Moines
Register" has a really interesting story out this morning, where they went
back and talked to GOP women in their poll, who said they would vote for
Trump and you saw several of them backing off because of things he said
about Fiorina.

He has to be really careful. He punches and he says I only attack
when I`m attacked. But people can attack him on policy and that`s what
we`ve seen people like Trump and Fiorina and things do. But he comes back
with personal attacks.

MELBER: Well, I don`t think he makes the distinction you`re drawing,
which is well known in politics, it`s one your old boss felt very strong
about, George Bush Sr., always saying let`s focus on policy, not get into
the gutter.

That is not something that`s relevant to him because he has no policy
part of his brain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

MELBER: He`s all conversation.

Let me play the Ben Carson exchange and then go to you, David.

Here he is. This is just yesterday in Ames, doing the thing against
Carson again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: People don`t have energy. I don`t think Ben has the energy.
Ben is a nice man.

But when you`re negotiating against China and you`re negotiating
against these Japanese guys, that are going to come at you in waves and
they think we`re all a bunch of jerks because our leaders are so stupid and
so incompetent and so inept, we need people that are really smart, that
have tremendous deal-making skills and that have great, great energy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GOODFRIEND, FORMER CLINTON ADMINISTRATIVE AIDE: So I kind of
feel like the Republican Party, including Rush Limbaugh, listens to things
like that and says we have seen the enemy and it is us. That the face of
conservatism in America, divide and conquer.

And when you look at the polls, Ari, that you showed earlier about
Latino voters and how they feel about Donald Trump, the Mountain West has
become the battleground for the presidential campaign now. In Nevada, you
have to win 45 percent of the Latino vote to carry that state.

What is the Republican Party going to do about that when they`re
spewing this kind of hateful speech, not only about Latinos but the asides
to women and to Ben Carson. Donald Trump certainly is channeling
something. But I have to say a lot of it is the ugliest side of
conservatism, that the party itself is going to have to grapple with in a
general election. And they have got problems.

MELBER: Yes.

And then you look, Joe, at the evangelical voters in Iowa, who they
like and how they look at this race. They`re not only going to Trump. You
have got 27 percent going to Carson. That`s more than anyone else.

Then Trump does do surprisingly well, I think, from the way we`d
imagined before he got in the race, 20 percent. And then what you`d expect
Cruz and then Huckabee, who has got much more of a religious footing.

And you as a pastor know that this is a community that looks at issues
as well as personality.

Why would Donald Trump want to go after him, Ben Carson, in this
personal way and say, oh, you`re not a good doctor? You`re not smart
enough, when he is one of the more accredited people in the field?

WATKINS: Well, what Donald Trump knows is that what you say for the
moment matters for the moment. This is a cycle where people are engaged
moment by moment.

So that`s why, a couple of months ago, he would have had a 60 percent
unacceptable rating to voters and today he has more than a 60 percent
acceptable rating with those same voters, who, maybe a few months ago,
didn`t think he would be acceptable as a candidate for the presidency.
They like what they`re saying today.

He knows that. He knows how short the cycle is. The political
business is as transitory as everything else. Like TV shows come and go,
candidates come and go.

What you say yesterday is not necessarily what you might say today or
tomorrow. There`s plenty of time to apologize for whatever you said and to
make it up. So somebody who doesn`t like you today might be your friend
tomorrow, based upon what`s happening in the world and what you say.

TAYLOR: Talking about evangelical voters, I have a very long story
actually this morning on npr.org, drilling down into that. I`ve been
talking with evangelical leaders and talked with some voters outside
Trump`s event in Greenville a couple of weeks ago in South Carolina.

The one thing I kept hearing was, he says he`s never asked for
forgiveness. He talked about communion in a flippant way. And these
people say, well, maybe he just didn`t understand the question. Like
they`re defending him. And it`s just so --

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR: -- evangelical leaders that I talked to who were anti-Trump -
- they think that he is a fraud in a way -- they`re saying he is sort of
tapping into that sentiment. They feel like the Republican Party has
abandoned them. They were promised these things. They feel like they`ve
been taking for granted.

Sort of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So they feel that he`s
tapping into that anti-establishment sentiment.

But I think as you see people like Cruz, Huckabee, even that sort of
speak their language more, I think if Donald Trump keeps using some of this
language and alienates people further, I think you will see them taking a
second look --

MELBER: But in your reporting, Did you find that people also like
that he is such a big, potential force?

Because evangelicals who went with Santorum last time won Iowa and
then felt that in a sense felt that they had wasted that leverage because
they went back to what they thought was the Romney centrist sellout.

Trump seems to be a hybrid position. He still allows you to say no to
the Republican establish. But unlike a Huckabee or a Santorum, who`s not
seen as probably taking the thing, there`s an increasing fear among
Republican elites that he could win.

TAYLOR: There is. And I think that`s what they see, that they see
that he is such a force and he could make these things come to fruition,
they don`t feel that they are wasting their vote on someone that won`t be
as forceful and maybe not be able to get things done if they take the
nomination.

They see him as someone who can win. But there is such a concern
about him. I think this is one of the biggest tests.

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: You have to consider the fact that it`s not just
evangelicals or what little box you fit into. We all fit into five or 10
different boxes. So you might be an evangelical but you might be an angry
evangelical because you don`t have a job. Or you have a job but you have
two part-time jobs, you`re making less than you used to make. You have no
benefits and now you have to pay more money just to have medical care and
you`re mad.

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR: It`s not a single issue voter.

WATKINS: He`s tapping into the fact that -- think about it. The two
leading Republicans are outsiders. They`re people who have never held
political office. So what voters are saying in Iowa, in New Hampshire and
other places is, we are so angry at the folks that have already been there,
that have given us the political process and have put us where we are now,
that we`re willing to take a chance on somebody who is completely outside
the system.

MELBER: We have to take a quick break.

I appreciate what you`re saying, though, the evangelical vote is not a
model as sort of a Joe Watkins-Walt Whitman theory of politics here, do I
contradict myself? Of course I do.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: And if that`s not the way to start UP this morning, I don`t
know what is.

Get you on the other side of the break. I want to tell people still
ahead not only Donald Trump`s comments about Latinos this summer that have
gotten him into some trouble, also of course these comments about women.
Now will Carly Fiorina joining this debate stage, a woman coming up, she`s
the only person making it up from that smaller debate last time, is that
going to change his rhetoric?

And next, who else should we watch for in this Republican debate this
week? Who has the most to lose? We`re going to talk about that. We have
an historian on to join us. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: It`s three agencies of
government when I get there that are gone, Commerce, Education and the --
what`s the third one there? Let`s see.

RON PAUL, 2012 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You need five.

PERRY: Oh, five, OK. So Commerce, Education and, uh -- the, uh --

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: EPA?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: You can`t name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government? I would do away with the
Education, the, uh --

ROMNEY: Commerce.

PERRY: Commerce and, let`s see. I can`t. The third one, I can`t.
Sorry. Oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That is still kind of hard to watch. Many trace Rick Perry`s
Friday exit in this current presidential race to that crucial moment from a
2012 debate. He never really recovered, which is why debates remain so
high stakes for candidates.

Really the only high profile time that voters hear from several
candidates directly without a filter. A mistake can define a candidate for
years and a breakout moment can distinguish a candidate for their strength
or style, as Ronald Reagan proved in a 1980 primary debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON BREEN, DEBATE MODERATOR: Would the sound man please turn Mr.
Reagan`s mike off for the moment?

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Breen --

BREEN: Would you turn that microphone off, please?

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am paying for
this microphone.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Twenty-five years later, Donald Trump is showing the ability
to hold down the mike. Remains a selling point with Republican primary
voters in an era of fractured media, that Trump showed renewed attention on
these debates.

Look at this. The first primary debate in 2012 drew about 3 million
viewers. This year`s didn`t double or triple that audience; it jumped to a
whopping 24 million people, all tuning in last month to see that large
field and of course the reality show star.

So, is the past prologue for Wednesday`s debate? Well, for some
historical contest we`re joined by presidential historian Allan Lichtman
from American University, along with our panel.

What do you think is crucial for the candidates going into this
debate?

And does this contest remind you of anything you`ve seen in history?

ALLAN LICHTMAN, AMERICAN POLITICAL HISTORIAN: Well, look, I call this
the Tour de France debate. Like the great bicycle race, right now there
are a couple of sprinters out front, Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Then there`s the peloton, the pack of these largely indistinguishable
candidate candidates.

So here`s what`s at stake in this debate.

Will one of the two sprinters falter and will someone else emerge out
of the peloton?

What history teaches us is you can only deal in the media and in the
public mind really with two or three candidates. You can`t deal with this
pack, with this peloton, which becomes anonymous.

So the question is, how does someone emerge from the peloton?

And again, history shows there`s only one way to do that. And it`s
kind of the way Donald Trump is. I don`t mean by bombast and bluster. I
mean by being yourself and then some.

As the great author, Alex Haley, said, you have to have somebodiness.
People vote and pay attention to those that are somebodies, not nobodies.

How do you do that?

Well, for say, a candidate like Jeb Bush, there`s a tremendous amount
at stake because he is risking being stuck in the peloton. He can`t do it
by attacking Donald Trump. That doesn`t work.

You saw the clip from Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was the Teflon
candidate. Criticism just kind of fell off him.

Well, Donald Trump is the Kevlar candidate, he`s wearing a bulletproof
vest. It stops the attacks.

MELBER: I`ll tell you, Professor --

LICHTMAN: -- should emerge by being himself and showing he can deal
with issues, something that even Rush Limbaugh said they have to do.

MELBER: Well, exactly. And to take your cycling analogy, it is hard
to cycle for long periods of time in that Kevlar vest.

And yet Trump defies all sorts of rules.

The other thing people do beyond the style, is they kind of step away
from the back-and-forth, which a lot of time the debate moderators want to
see, and just show more of their own record. John Kasich, by many
estimations, did very well last time, he didn`t do it by mixing it up.
Let`s play a little bit of him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Look, I`m an old-fashioned person here.
And I happen to believe in traditional marriage.

The court has ruled and I said will accept it. And guess what? I
just went to a wedding of a friend of mine, who happens to be gay.

So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love
them and I would accept them because, you know what? That`s what we`re
taught when we have strong faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s a remarkable moment that he actually had there,
speaking about what he views as his moral judgment of this issue but also
his tolerance, drawing applause for that type of position at a Republican
debate.

We can mention it was in Ohio, which is his home state, had that
advantage.

How do you think historically candidates are able to do that and not
just be in the back and forth?

LICHTMAN: Well, as I said, they`re able to do that by drawing on
their own particular strengths, which is very different. Kasich`s strength
is that he`s thoughtful, moderate, focused on real issues and not on
bombast and blunder.

Ronald Reagan was so successful. People think, oh, he is an actor.
He`s faking it. No. Ronald Reagan was successful because he was himself.
As you saw from that clip, what he was brilliant at was the zinger, one-
liner, which would disarm his opponent and bring his persona to the public.

If I were in this debate I would model Ronald Reagan and I would
figure out what is the one line, the punch line, the single sentence or two
that I can come up with that`s going to capture the public attention and
give me somebodiness?

MELBER: Let me bring in David Goodfriend. And you worked for
President Clinton who had, as a candidate, part of this Trump-style
challenge in that Ross Perot didn`t play by the usual rules, appealed to
people who weren`t interested in traditional politics and in his own way
was very mocking and sometimes withering about the process.

Yet Clinton, in `92, was able to retain a type of seriousness. Perot
would make these jokes and Clinton would say, that`s all well and good and
funny. It`s not funny to try to balance a budget when you have these
revenue issues. This is what I actually did as governor.

In other words, he would pivot back to seriousness.

GOODFRIEND: Well, it`s an interesting analogy you bring up because
remember Perot really posed a threat to George H.W. Bush, he was really
dividing the Republican vote and the Texas dynamic was really coming out in
full flower.

In many ways Bill Clinton just had to sit back and kind of let that
play out. In a way he benefited as that. But you`re right; he had a
seriousness as a former governor.

In this election I definitely feel like we have a bifurcation between
the angry entertainment factor and competency in governance. Look, in my
view, there are a couple of candidates who are actually qualified to be
president. But it almost seems like it doesn`t seem that matters.

Now it`s all about who puts on the best show, who has the best
campaign. There will come a time when the voter gets in the voting booth
and says this is serious. Things are serious now, I need to make a
decision -- or they`re just going to throw a protest vote.

I kind of feel like things are serious enough and Americans are
concerned enough about their future that they will come to a sort of
reality moment in the voting booth, where they say, who do I trust with the
levers of government, not who do I think has the best one-liner of the
debate?

We`re in silly season still. We haven`t even started voting yet.
People haven`t been in that private setting, where they have to pull a
lever, make a choice. I think we`ll see this unfold in a dramatically
different way, once voting actually starts.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Alan Lichtman, we have to jump. Thank you for joining us
from American University.

LICHTMAN: Sure, any time.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

Now still ahead, Justice Department is now saying Hillary Clinton had
every right to delete her personal e-mails. Some still calling for a plan
B if she doesn`t rebound.

Also next, the latest on that search for a sniper targeting drivers on
a busy Arizona interstate. We have an update on the investigation. Stay
with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back. The search is continuing in and around
Phoenix, Arizona, this morning for the person or persons responsible for
that string of shootings along Interstate I-10, the major east-west highway
spanning the nation.

Now there have been 11 confirmed incidents so far. These are vehicles
that have hit by gunfire or projectiles while driving. Officials
announcing a person of interest taken into custody for questioning this
weekend is not considered the current prime suspect.

Now our MSNBC`s Scott Cohn has been covering this story for us from
Phoenix.

Scott, what can you tell us there at this early hour?

SCOTT COHN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, the latest from the state
police director is that they are asking the public and the media for
ongoing support, vigilance and patience in what is what they call a complex
and ongoing investigation. That certainly does not suggest they`re on the
verge of making any arrests.

As you said, the 19-year-old person of interest taken into custody on
Friday is not considered a prime suspect. He has been jailed on unrelated
charges.

Also somewhat frustrating to authorities, there hasn`t been an
incident confirmed since Thursday. That, in itself, is not completely
unusual. We had a stretch from August 31st to September 6th without a
shooting, which speaks to the random nature of all of this.

Authorities saying that there are at least three different sort of
motives here or patterns of activity. Some shootings involving bullets,
others involving BBs or pellets and at least one incident involving road
rage.

So it is continuing to somewhat frustrate the authorities as they
reach out to the public for help and continue offering a $20,000 reward, as
yet, Ari, unclaimed.

MELBER: All right. Scott, thanks for that report, and we`ll check
back with you as warranted.

Up next, is one presidential candidate receiving outside scrutiny?

And who is she?

Is that her on your screen right now?

This is a tease. And we will be right back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m Hillary Clinton. Tonight I`m speaking to
you not as secretary of state or a senator or as a first lady but as a
relatable woman on a couch. Hello.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s was how "Saturday Night Live" mocked Hillary Clinton`s
announcement video earlier this year. The joke centers on a caricature of
Clinton as a stilted and over-calculated politician and there`s nothing
unusual about that. Americans always tell pollsters they see politicians
as phonies.

But some Clinton supporters are marshaling evidence suggesting there
is a double standard when it comes to the political media`s coverage of
Hillary Clinton, especially the Washington press corps, which may bring its
own historical and spousal baggage to what should be objective campaign
coverage.

In political circles, the current test for Clinton bias is this email
story which, depending on which reporters you rely on for coverage as
either the most lopsided, conspiratorial scrutiny of a digital correspond
trail in the modern era or is a truly criminal scandal?

Clinton backers are especially upset with "The New York Times," which
they believe fixated on the e-mail as a scandal far before any facts
confirmed that type of legs.

A close Clinton ally, David Brock, summed it up this week, saying as
it concerns Clinton coverage, "`The New York Times` will have a special
place in hell."

Now "The Times" erroneously reported in July that the Feds had a
criminal investigation into the former secretary of state`s private email
server. The paper then had to revise parts of those reports and the fact
remains that Clinton is not a target of any criminal probe, although the
FBI is reviewing these classification issues.

"The New York Times" responded to Brock directly, calling him, ". an
opportunist and a partisan who specializes in personal attacks and his
partisanship has led him to lash out at some of our aggressive coverage of
important political figures. It`s unsurprising that he has now turned
personal. He`s wrong on all counts," end quote.

The political and journalism question here is broader, of course, than
any single outlet or Clinton booster. It`s whether self-anointed neutral
reporters are taking some kind of side in a political campaign, whether
there are different rules for Clinton scandals or whether, once again, a
politician is simply working the rest to distract from his or her own
conduct.

Clinton is said to be furious at the obsessive e-mail coverage. Aides
say that`s why she personally resisted for apologizing so long and she has
also long taken comfort in the depiction of the press as out to get her,
even referencing an "SNL" parody that made her point back in 2008.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Well, can I just point out that, in the last several
debates, I seem to get the first question all the time. And I don`t mind.
You know, I`ll be happy to field them. But I do find it curious.

And if anybody saw "Saturday Night Live," maybe we should ask Barack
if he`s comfortable and needs another pillow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: She was not alone either. We looked back at this. The poll
from that year found that voters thought the media was much harder on
Clinton than on Obama or McCain. Especially interesting finding,
considering that even Democrats that year didn`t prefer Clinton`s
candidacy; they just thought she got a raw deal.

That brings us to one final point here about Clinton`s current
coverage. Not all Clinton campaigns are the same. While she lost in 2008,
of course, she is now the front-runner and the press always shoots extra at
front-runners.

As political data guru Nate Silver argues, even if there were no
Clinton scandals, she would probably be receiving fairly negative press
coverage.

"The campaign press," he writes, "more or less openly confesses to a
certain type of bias, rooting for the story. Inevitably makes for a really
boring story, especially when it involves a figure like Clinton, who has
been in public life for so long."

Back to the panel.

Jessica, is there a double standard here?

TAYLOR: Well, I think that it`s the press` job to hold these people
up to scrutiny. And I think when you have such a big question as this e-
mail scandal, it`s something that certainly merits investigation. I think
"The Times" has certainly done their due diligence, the one story that you
referenced, where it was about the criminal investigation that proved
erroneous and they had updated that without the proper citations and
correction. I think that was an issue.

Certainly I think the Clinton campaign was right to be upset about
that one.

But I mean these questions are going to continue to remain. I think
in part it is sort of a self-inflicted wound of hers, too, that she
resisted so long from apologizing. I think she could have put a lot of
these questions --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: But that`s on her political approach.

I`m asking, first, is the press covering her in a judicious and fair
way, approaching this scandal as they would any other candidate?

TAYLOR: As a member of the media, of course I personally think that
we are. I think that these are legitimate questions, ones that -- again,
the Republicans are going to do, Republican even think they`re not covering
her fairly enough, too. So I think that it`s hard to strike a balance,
certainly. And I know the people --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: David, let me get your reply.

One, let me say, remind our viewers who are joining us, David worked
for President Clinton.

GOODFRIEND: So I am a supporter.

MELBER: But, number two, I`ve spoken to aides who worked for multiple
candidates. I spoke to someone who worked for Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton. He was telling me, you know, I`m background, not for attribution,
when you start working for Hillary Clinton, it is a different ballgame.
The scrutiny and the vigor with which the press wants to find scandals.

GOODFRIEND: Sure. I mean, I salute Nate Silver for pointing out,
these are businesses, including MSNBC, "The New York Times," you know. You
want to sell advertising. And a boring story doesn`t make for high
ratings. Let`s just put that out there, OK.

The second thing is I saw some very interesting news about a federal
judge saying there`s nothing wrong with what Hillary Clinton did with
respect to deleting personal e-mails.

Where is the big coverage of that?

Oh wouldn`t you know it, that`s just buried, deep, deep. I had to
research, and Google to try to find it. Oh, here it is.

So, come on. Don`t tell me there`s this even-handed treatment of
Hillary Clinton. Everybody in the press corps seems to love the gotcha
game. But I tell you what, if I have learned anything from the Clintons,
we`ve seen this movie before.

You punch them and punch them and punch them and they come back up.
And that`s what the American people respect most, that strength, that
ability to come back. It`s not how you`re doing when you`re riding high.
It`s when you`re against the ropes, how do you do?

And I`ll tell you something: my money is on the Clintons.

WATKINS: Well, you know, very little of this is fair. It usually
never is, in this business.

I love the name of Chris Matthews` show, "HARDBALL." That`s exactly
what this business is, it`s hardball. And all of us who play in this
business I think have probably grown a pretty thick skin. I don`t like
everything that`s been written about me. There`s lots of stuff on the
Internet that I wish wasn`t there.

MELBER: And, Joe, you`re a pastor.

GOODFRIEND: I`ve always had that sense about you, Joe. I just want
to make that clear.

MELBER: As a pastor you turn the other cheek.

WATKINS: I do, indeed.

MELBER: Let me point to your point about "HARDBALL," which goes to
how you engage the press.

WATKINS: I think that`s been her bigger challenge.

MELBER: Go ahead.

WATKINS: I think that the press has been hard on Hillary Clinton. I
think so. And I think that, for her, the challenge is -- because, early
on, I had been queried a number of times on TV about this e-mail scandal.

I`ve often said, to my knowledge, from what I`ve read, there`s nothing
criminal about it, that this is something that would pass in time.

I think her biggest challenge has been the way in which she has
handled it. She`s going to continue to get that kind of scrutiny.

After all, if she wins the nomination and she is elected, she would be
the first woman President of the United States of America. She`s going to
garner the same kind of attention and scrutiny that President Obama
garnered when he was running.

MELBER: Let`s look to that piece. Because when you look at the so-
called front-runners in the early part of this campaign, we tallied this
up, the media appearances. Jeb Bush, about 39 full interviews; Hillary
Clinton, six.

So nothing is apples to apples in this business.

WATKINS: Right.

MELBER: But there is, to go to Jessica`s second point, there is the
argument that if you seriously constrain your interactions with the press,
that when you grant the few that you do, they`re going to be even more
hostile and even more in the weeds on the negative stuff because you
haven`t been available, which is different than the old -- you talk about
President Clinton, that`s different from some of the old strategy of Lanny
Davis, who advised him, said, scandal, get it out. Do the interview, do
the second interview. Leave it so there`s no more questions to answer.

TAYLOR: And she`s making herself so limited availability. And when
she first started off, she was barely answering any questions, when she was
doing her -- she says I`m talking to regular voters, but was barely
answering any questions that were shouted at her by the press.

She started to do some more interviews. Certainly in things, too, but
even Andrea Mitchell`s interview with her, she said she felt like she had
to even cut it off from that because they felt like they were going to cut
off the interview if she asked too many questions about the e-mail scandal.

MELBER: Well, they went very in-depth.

TAYLOR: And they did, they did, they really did. But probably there
are a lot more things that the Clinton campaign would rather be talking
about at this point than the e-mail scandal but when you make yourself so
limited availability --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: We`ve got to get a break in. And that`s the other funniest
part to me. I talk to all the campaigns and I always talk to them, do you
want to do this kind of interview in my beat? Do you want to talk about
the law? Do you want to talk about who you would want on the Supreme
Court?

And it`s always interesting that a certain campaigns don`t even want
to do a substantive interview. Then when they show up somewhere and get
battered and they say, oh ,why are you only asking about this, it`s always
that funny balance.

And they politically, of course, want to do the local stuff as well.
But that`s another piece to it. This is an ongoing debate. So we`ll pause
it here.

Still ahead, Carly Fiorina firing back at Donald Trump`s seemingly
sexist attacks. You`re going to want to hear how she`s handling that.

And first, President Obama redefining the American presidency?
That`s all next so stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back, Ari Melber here, in for Steve Kornacki on UP.
And there`s an old saying in politics you catch more flies with honey than
vinegar.

But this week, President Obama went ahead and he achieved the biggest
foreign policy goal, arguably, of his whole presidency. He got this deal
with Iran through Congress and he did so with plenty of vinegar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, it`s those
hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It`s those
hardliners chanting, "Death to America," who have been most opposed to the
deal. They`re making common cause with the Republican caucus.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: As they say in foreign policy circles, oh, snap.

Now President Obama`s biggest legacy items, that Iran deal, which of
course was multilateral with a lot of other countries, or health care
reform back in 2010, these things aren`t winning a single Republican vote.

There was one Republican member of Congress who did go on TV,
championing the president`s Iran deal and he knows a lot about foreign
policy. But he`s a former member of Congress ousted by a Tea Party
challenger back in 2012.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD LUGAR (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: This is the best
opportunity we have to delay and potentially to stop an Iranian nuclear
situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The fact is, there are fewer and fewer Richard Lugars in the
Republican congressional caucus. President Obama faces a very different
House and Senate landscape and he is responding, in some ways, by changing
his approach to governing, he`s clearly pivoted from the bipartisanship
that he promised so much in `08 to just trying to get things through,
however he can and with vinegar, when necessary.

Joining the panel now, NBC News senior political reporter Perry Bacon
Jr., good morning to you.

PERRY BACON JR., NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good to see you,
Ari.

MELBER: Good to see you, too. A little backstory on campaign
politics: you and I were both on then-Senator Obama`s plane in 2008. You
and I both saw him speak to huge crowds and say over and over again, I`m
going to change Washington. I`m going to get people together.

You talk to White House aides, they say he tried that for four-plus
years and now he is trying something different.

Do you agree with that shift?

And how do you see it?

BACON: I think the shift is smart. When you saw, even during the
health care bill, I covered Congress the other night. They made great
effort to find some Republicans of any kind to vote with them on health
care.

Even after he won the re-election, during the gun control debate, they
really worked to find some Republican to work with them on every issue they
could. And what I think you`ve seen is a shift now, where the White House
takes two approaches.

If there`s an issue where Republicans already agree with them, think
the TPP, for example, then they`re perfectly willing to work with
Republicans to get something done. In fact, the trade deal passed with
almost no Democratic votes. Obama worked with Republicans there.

But as an issue where the Republicans already disagree with Obama,
like on health care or like gun control, now the White House really isn`t
bothering to try to convince them at all.

If you notice how the president handled the Iran issue, I would argue
that -- it may have been a verb here -- he kind of made it more partisan
than it already was. He made this very direct comparison between, if you
vote for this deal, you`re someone basically who is a warmonger. You`re
someone who is on the wrong side. He made this Iraq war comparison
directly.

What that help did was it may have made Republicans more likely to
oppose it, but it made Democrats more likely to support the deal. And he
only needed Democratic votes to get this done and he only relied on calling
Democrats to get it done.

I think that was a very partisan approach but it worked. And they`ve
moved toward more of that, along with executive orders as opposed to
working with Republicans in Congress on a lot of issues.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, part of the question goes to whether you
believe that there is some individual important part of bipartisanship
itself that should be a governing goal.

And the bases of both parties don`t believe that at all anymore. You
look at some of the biggest things that come out of Washington that the
public now opposes, Wall Street deregulation, the Iraq war that you just
mentioned. Those were all initially highly bipartisan and doesn`t rescue
the fact that the public now opposes the content.

BACON: Looking back -- you referred to `08, Ari. I don`t know that
the president believed that he could make everything more bipartisan or if
he was saying that for campaign rhetoric. Because it`s sort of the
comments he was making back then, they sounded nice but they ignored all
the data, which suggests that most things were becoming -- two parties were
increasingly divided. There really are very few moderate Republicans left,
there are very few sort of the Southern Democrats left, either. The
parties are ideologically divided.

So there aren`t a lot of issues where you can bridge that gap very
well.

In fact, one thing the White House is doing now is, when you talk
about the minimum wage or paid leave or community colleges, making those
free, the president talks about those in his speeches but he`s not trying
to move them in Congress.

What he`s trying to do is get cities and states like California or
Oregon. He`s trying to move blue America in some ways without even
bothering with Congress because he knows these ideas have no chance in
Congress.

MELBER: Right. David Goodfriend here disagrees with you.

GOODFRIEND: Well, just a little bit. Let`s take the Iran vote in
context, OK? Think of everything that transpired before that speech. And
I have to say, when the history of this vote is written, the behavior and
the tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are going to be
front and center.

He made a conscious decision to align with the Republican conference.
He made a conscious decision to say this is the American president, Barack
Obama. It was natural for Obama then to say, well, if you`re with him,
you`re with the Republicans. And I think that pushed a lot of Democrats.

I`ve talked to Democrats, members of Congress in the House and the
Senate, who said that speech by Benjamin Netanyahu in front of Congress, so
squarely taking the side of the Republicans, making it a partisan issue
when it didn`t have to be, that pushed Democrats to the president. That
wasn`t the president doing that.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I just want to get Perry`s response and then we got to take a
quick break.

Go ahead, Perry.

BACON: We don`t disagree, then. I guess what you`re saying is that I
think Netanyahu and Boehner have been very partisan as well. So seeing it
was a partisan issue, the president used that strategy as well.

Yes, I agree. I`m not blaming President Obama for the partisanship.
I`m saying he has adapted to it as opposed to trying to sing Kumbaya all
the time.

MELBER: Right.

Joe, I`ll get you on the other side.

Perry, we`ll see you again next hour, so stick around. Thanks for
your time.

And until then we`ll also try to figure out why Donald Trump`s polling
numbers are rising with, guess who, Republican women, especially in light
of all those attacks on Carly Fiorina, interesting little story there.

Also your summer vacation may be over, but a New Jersey bear and her
cubs are still on the hunt for some R&R -- look at that. They love the
hammock. I mean, look at that. Who wouldn`t love a hammock? Baby bears.
Stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: You`re watching UP.

And we want to get your Sunday started with a couple of the light and
fun headlines making news here with today`s panel.

I want to start with something that can happen on any summer vacation,
a lot of folks coming back from Labor Day.

You go into one of those hammocks and it`s hard to get a position in
it. It`s hard to actually find, you know, how to get your balance.

That`s true if you`re a baby bear as well.

And everyone`s looking at this.

Do we have the video? Look at -- it`s baby bears. They take over the
hammock, Joe. But they can`t get -- and this is the same problem that
humans have. They can`t actually get a good spot on it.

So the one in the middle, he knows where he wants to hang out there,
but then --

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: It`s only cute if it`s somebody else`s yard.

(LAUGHTER)

WATKINS: I don`t want to see them in my yard. I don`t want to see
those guys in my yard. That`s not funny. If that`s my backyard, my doors
are locked and I`m calling the police.

MELBER: They say that the most dangerous bear interactions -- I know
this from hiking out in Washington State, where I`m from -- is when cubs
are around.

WATKINS: Oh, yes.

MELBER: If they`re alone, you see Mama Bear, you know that, Dave.

But look, can we go back to the video?

I don`t want to see myself on --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: It was a simple project, watch the bear video.

So David, what do you see here? Break it down.

GOODFRIEND: Well, I got to tell you something. I know everybody
loves the bears in this video. Look at the bears. They`re so cute.

But I`m a Packers fan. Any time you say bears I am not interested.

MELBER: You have an immediate reaction --

GOODFRIEND: This is not cute.

OK. We`re going to win the North Division and we`re going to take
those Bears.

WATKINS: Yes, right.

MELBER: Jessica, you do a lot of work on the Internet. This is what
the Internet has decided is more important than any other type of media.

TAYLOR: I`m sure it gets more clicks than many stories, many well
reported out stories.

But no, I`m with Joe. They`re very cute here but if they were in my
backyard I would be freaking out.

GOODFRIEND: I think there`s another message here though, and that is
sibling rivalry. Look at these two cubs. The mama bear is saying can you
guys please just share? But every time one cub gets up there, the other
one just has to take it down.

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: I hope my mother is watching so she understands why we are
the way we are, that is me and my siblings. It`s a perfect example.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: It`s amazing. Look, if you`re watching at home and you want
to see more of this bear video you can tweet @upwithstevekornacki. Or you
can tweet me @AriMelber. And we`ll consider running again this next hour.
It`s up to the people.

The other amazing story outside of politics that we want to touch on
is the first human body transplant, scheduled for 2017. This is an Italian
neurosurgeon and they will perform a surgery on a 30-year-old Russian
computer scientist who has a type of degenerative disorder, where getting a
new body essentially will give him a freedom of movement he doesn`t have.

It`s called Werdnig-Hoffman disease, is the actual ailment. It is
amazing what scientists can try to do these days.

GOODFRIEND: Well, like so many things in medicine and science, I
think we quickly get into the ethical and metaphysical questions here.

WATKINS: Absolutely.

GOODFRIEND: One of the things this kind of raises is where does the
soul reside?

Where does our humanness reside?

WATKINS: In our head.

GOODFRIEND: I would argue that even -- and this is the first night of
Rosh Hashanah. And I practice the Jewish faith. And we say the soul that
resides in my head, when you touch the tefillin, and the heart, which is my
strength, well, this is a really manifestation of where we divide head and
heart, where we divide the metaphysical notion of self and soul from the
body.

And I think if we think of the physical in our body is irrelevant to
who we are.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: It`s the Jewish New Year.

Pastor, would you be willing to crib from his sermon there?

WATKINS: I`m preaching this morning actually.

MELBER: What time?

WATKINS: Oh, about 11:30, 12:00.

MELBER: All right. Stay tuned for that. We`ll take a break here.
If you want to know what`s up next, we have some other stories, not just
bears and souls.

But also more poll results from MSNBC and a new interview with tennis
pro James Blake. So stay tuned.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You`ve come a long way, maybe.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MELBER: Good Sunday morning to you. I am Ari Melber in for Steve
Kornacki, on the morning Donald Trump managed to upstage the biggest
football game of the year in Iowa. We`re taking a look at how the women in
this race for president are actually driving the conversation. We`ll have
more on how voters really feel about the field.

We have a new MSNBC poll that`s out this morning. We have those
numbers for you coming up.

Also Bernie Sanders has scheduled a surprising campaign stop this week
at the conservative university founded by Jerry Falwell. We`ll be diving
into exactly what that means.

And we`re going to bring you NBC`s interview with James Blake as the
former U.S. tennis star talks about being on the wrong side of the law in
New York City.

Also ahead, a live report on the battle to contain the massive and
rapidly growing California wildfires now threatening thousands of homes. A
tough story out there.

We want to begin with the biggest game of the year on the Iowa
gridiron. That was a big opportunity for some of the names in the race for
the Republican nomination. NBC`s Katy Tur was on the trail with the
candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s the Super Bowl of
Iowa college football, Iowa versus Iowa State. But Saturday the drama on
the field was rivaled by the political mudslinging on the campaign trail.
From here in Ames at the tailgate with Rand Paul --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KY: We`re going to make sure everybody in America
knows, Donald Trump, you`re a fake.

TUR (voice-over): -- to New Hampshire and Carly Fiorina.

CARLY FIORINA (R), CALIF.: Donald Trump is an entertainer and I think
I am a leader.

TUR (voice-over): Both candidates taking aim at the billionaire in an
effort to bolster their own standing. Summer may be over and with it the
silly season of politics. But the 2016 race for the White House is showing
no signs of growing up as policy continues to take a backseat to insults,
the sharp tone spearheaded by Donald Trump himself.

TRUMP: Somebody will attack, somebody like a Rand Paul.

TUR (voice-over): And all the attention was on him, first at a rally
in Boone, then the Hawkeyes versus Cyclones tailgate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The football game is serious. This stuff is
not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he has got the right ideas and I think he
will steer this country in the right direction.

TUR (voice-over): Also at the game, Marco Rubio.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA.: People want leaders that know what life
is like in the real world and have ideas about how we can get through it.

TUR (voice-over): Not to mention, Scott Walker, who just a month ago
was famously confident on his standing in his backyard state of Iowa. He
is now polling at 3 percent or 10th place.

The sitting Wisconsin governor now canceling events in California to
refocus on the state. So far an uphill battle for him and the other
veteran politicians as poll voters continue to reject the status quo.

TRUMP: Pretty much it says that they`re looking for an outsider. I
mean, it does say that. There`s no question about it.

TUR: On everyone`s mind the debate on Wednesday. And just what will
Trump say or his opponents say to take him down a notch? With Rick Perry
out, the field is narrowing and the need to make a splash and a big splash
is becoming more immediate for a lot of candidates we`ll see on stage
Wednesday -- Ari.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER: Thanks to Katy Tur for that report.

We are continuing this hour with how women and even women`s issues are
driving some of this conversation. Both Republicans and Democrats seeing
female candidates excel as we inch ever closer to actual voting. And
despite some wavering poll numbers, Hillary Clinton is of course still the
Democratic front-runner and the one to beat for the nomination.

She is also publicly embracing her gender more on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I`ve got to tell you,
when I talk about equal pay for equal work and some of these issues that
really affect a lot of working women, the Republicans often say, oh, there
she goes, playing the gender card.

Well, if advocating for equal pay for equal work is playing the gender
card, deal me in. I am ready to play.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: On the Republican side, meanwhile, Carly Fiorina seeing a
bump in her poll numbers ever since that first debate at the beginning of
last month. And that means she`s now the only GOP candidate to go from
that kids` table debate on to the main stage. She will join all of the men
-- there`s no other way to say it -- on Wednesday.

Now the backdrop for all of this, on the other side of the ledger, as
these women excel, we see Trump, an entire summer of Trump. And throughout
he has made repeated and sexist attacks toward women.

The most recent one was directed at his rival, Carly Fiorina, saying,
quote, "Look at her face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine
that, the face of our next president?" End quote.

And Fiorina responded with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: Ladies, look at this face. This is the face of a 61-year-
old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It`s not just his rivals, though. Trump has also made these
types of comments about Rosie O`Donnell, Heidi Klum, reporter Megyn Kelly
and Carly Fiorina. Doesn`t seem to bother Republican women. A new poll
showing that Trump`s support is rising among this demographic. He is up 13
points amongst women since August, despite these types of attacks.

Joining me to discuss, Jess McIntosh, vice president of EMILY`s List,
an organization devoted to electing women to office, and former senator Kay
Bailey Hutchison, who endorsed Jeb Bush for president.

Good day to everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to be here.

MELBER: Senator, let me start with you. You have a choice in this
race. But you also have your record of serving in the Senate and in the
Republican Party.

What do you think of what Donald Trump is doing?

Do you think it is sexist?

KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, first of all,
let me say that I haven`t made a formal endorsement on the Republican side.
But I do like Jeb Bush very much. But I like others as well. And I think
Carly Fiorina is --

MELBER: Well, let me stop there, because we`re always -- Senator,
we`re always interested in the news.

When you and I spoke in March you, I believe, were attending a Jeb
Bush fund-raiser. And a lot of people did read that as an endorsement.

So you`re not endorsing Jeb officially?

HUTCHISON: Not officially because I worked with MSNBC and CNBC and
others and I like several in the race, including Jeb Bush, absolutely.

MELBER: Well, we`ll call the Bush campaign and make sure that they
know you are friendly but not formal.

What do you think, is Trump being sexist?

HUTCHISON: Well, I think the things that he is saying that are
personal attacks are not a part -- should not be a part of a presidential
campaign. Personal attacks on other people and when you attack someone`s
appearance, that`s really off bounds.

I never heard a campaign or saw a campaign ad from the past that said,
look at Abraham Lincoln`s face. Would you vote for this face for
president? We have had a lot of unattractive presidents. But it`s
substance. It`s leadership that counts. And we need to get back to that.

MELBER: Do you think he said it because she is a woman?

HUTCHISON: I think that appearance seems to be an area where people
do address women in a different way.

If I can give you one tiny example, when I was running for my first
race, I let a news reporter ride in the car with me for the day. And I was
combing my hair in the car and talking about, gosh, I wonder what kind of
turnout we`ll have at the next event. And he wrote, "She was primping and
fretting."

Really?

MELBER: Wow!

HUTCHISON: Would he have said that about my male opponents? He was
primping when he was combing his hair? Those are the kinds of things that
I think we have to really stop in politics.

MELBER: I want to play Jeb Bush here discussing these attacks on
Carly Fiorina. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: This disparaging of women is
deeply troubling. It just doesn`t make any sense to me. Carly Fiorina has
made a good contribution already and will continue to make a contribution
in this nomination process. She should be respected as a talented person
and a viable candidate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Jess, what do you think of this sort of split we`re starting
to see in the Republican Party revolving around what many people feel
shouldn`t be an issue at all, whether all the candidates can be treated
respectfully and not discriminated against based on gender?

JESS MCINTOSH, VP, EMILY`S LIST: Honestly, I feel kind of sorry for
the Republican primary voters this year. I don`t think that this was the
primary that they were expecting or even the one that they deserve.

I think that the fact that Donald Trump is leading while making these
increasingly outlandish sexist -- I mean, he is the biggest misogynist we
have ever seen running for president. period. And I think that other
candidates don`t really know what to do with him.

Jeb Bush calling him out for his comments now, he`s only doing that
because he has been called low energy for so long he`s getting really
ticked off and he wants to fight back. He wasn`t there when Trump started
with this stuff. He wasn`t there when he didn`t think that he needed to in
order to get a bump in the polls and, frankly, his agenda, vis-a-vis women,
is just as, frankly, insulting as some of these comments are.

That`s really where I think women voters will be looking at this
field. This is an really extreme Republican field in 2016. They hold
positions when it comes to reproductive rights and that wouldn`t have been
absolutely far afield in 2012 or 2008 even.

MELBER: And one of the problems that Trump has had -- and I want to
play something from "THE VIEW" is the seems to come out of a world where he
is not accustomed to being challenged by women reporters or women in
business.

MCINTOSH: Right.

MELBER: He really does seem uncomfortable with it. The way he
singled out Megyn Kelly when, of course, other FOX News hosts were also
tough on him in the debate. And ironically or perhaps fittingly, he was
asking about his prior misogynistic comments.

Here he is on "THE VIEW" on Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you want to say to women? What is your
message?

TRUMP: I want to say that I cherish women and I will protect women
and I will take care of women and I have great respect for women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not against defunding Planned
Parenthood, am I hearing that?

TRUMP: I am against abortion and they are --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a second.

TRUMP: -- tremendous -- Joy, that is a tremendous amount of the work
they do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it`s not.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald, the thing that we want you to do, as we
go into the rest of this run, is you`ve got to get a little bit more
informed on what`s going on in women`s issues.

TRUMP: I think I am very well informed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, baby, I swear to you -- I swear to you,
Donald, you are misinformed here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Jessica, in terms of the people who sort of moderate and
referee these elections, it seems important that there are a lot more
prominent women, whether it`s on "THE VIEW" or on FOX or on anywhere, to
help deal with someone who is ahead in the polls but consistently making
these kind of comments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it`s a good thing that there are
more women in journalism and we need more. And I think soon I think that
you`re seeing that move that way. But you know, this is exactly what the
Republican Party did not want to have happen even four years ago.

We`ve seen Senate candidates crash and burn when they`ve said things
about rape and things, too. When he`s talking this way about women and
even -- he has even seemed to insinuate things he said even about his own
daughter, well, if she wasn`t my daughter, I would date her or his past
divorces, raising questions about whether maybe they -- different things
about that.

It`s exactly the way that you don`t want them to be talked about. And
I think it`s good that we have more women reporters, women moderators and
things out there and more effectively challenge this and call it out.

MELBER: So, Senator Hutchison, going back to you here and looking
towards a debate with Carly, again, being on that stage for the first time,
what do you want to see from all the candidates?

And should this line in the sand be held by all of them against Trump,
to try to reform him or sort of rescue a dialogue that, as Jess McIntosh
was saying, is very frustrating for the kind of primary race Republicans
want to have?

HUTCHISON: Well, of course, I think having so many candidates, people
are trying to stand out and try to make a difference so that they can be in
the upper level of the polls and get into a real race.

But the way you do this is you start talking about the issues that
people care about. And our country has real problems in our foreign
policy, our national security is an issue that should be addressed and,
most certainly, our economics.

The job creation opportunities are not being met in this country right
now because of over regulation and over taxation and just an emphasis on a
bigger government. What we need is to talk about that in a debate so we
aren`t talking about how people look, how they`re acting or whether there`s
an entertainment factor.

MELBER: Former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as well as Jess McIntosh,
who joined our panel on this important part of the race, appreciate your
time.

I want to tell our viewers still ahead, those fast-moving wildfires
ripping through California, threatening thousands of homes. We have a live
report from the front lines coming up.

But first, some surprising numbers for Bernie Sanders in that brand
new MSNBC poll. That is next. Stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: As promised, we now turn to those big MSNBC polls we promised
to share with you. These results are out, brand new this Sunday morning
and it`s focused on the Democratic race, a number that should be making for
a reassuring Sunday morning over at Hillary Clinton`s Brooklyn
headquarters? Well, 75 percent of Democrats surveyed telling our pollsters
-- this is from MSNBC, Telemundo and Marist College -- that they still,
after all this feel positive about the former secretary of state, 13
percent neutral and 11 percent of Democrats here saying they hold a
negative view of her.

Now she also holds a majority of support among Latino voters, but
those numbers quite a contrast from her Democratic opponent, Bernie
Sanders, who has just taken a lead in some Iowa polls. He`s often been
criticized for the way he appeals to minority voters. And you can see that
here.

When Latinos are asked about Bernie Sanders in our new poll, basically
only 18 percent have a positive feeling, 21 percent neutral and then 50
percent saying they just don`t know enough about the candidate. Among Dems
overall, fewer than half of those surveyed -- 45 percent -- hold positive
feelings toward the Vermont independent. But that still outpaces the 17
percent who are neutral and the 9 percent who view him negatively, 28
percent also just saying generally they still don`t know who he is.

Lee Miringoff is Director at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion,
who conducted this very poll. So he`s the perfect person to be here.

We`re honored to have you.

Jessica Taylor from NPR, still with us at the table.

This is like Super Bowl type stuff for people who are junkies.

LEE MIRINGOFF, DIRECTOR, MARIST INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC OPINION:
Absolutely, absolutely.

MELBER: What jumps out to you from the Democratic race? Because what
we hear from people over and over is, yes, there`s Hillary drama. No,
she`s not a perfect candidate. No, she`s no Bill Clinton.

But the media political Washington echo chamber around Hillary
Clinton`s supposed problems are completely separate from where she is with
Democratic base --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Did your poll show that?

MIRINGOFF: Absolutely.

Democrats, first of all, are pretty positive to Hillary Clinton, to
Bernie Sanders and to Joe Biden, should he decide to get in. So Democrats
are pretty comfortable with their field. I think what happened to Hillary,
obviously, is she has lost that inevitability stamp with the surge of
Bernie Sanders on the scene but Hillary Clinton clearly favorably seen
among Democrats; Biden favorably seen; Bernie Sanders still not as well
known as you saw in some of these numbers you just showed in this latest
MSNBC/Telemundo/Ma MSNBC-Telemundo-Marist poll that we`re seeing, Bernie
Sanders doing decently in places like Iowa and New Hampshire especially,
New Hampshire, very well known.

So the more he is known and the places he is better known, the better
off he is.

(CROSSTALK)

MIRINGOFF: And that is a danger for --

MELBER: -- on the Bernie Sanders point, there`s how you`re known and
then there`s how you`re introduced. And the Clinton campaign has clearly
made the strategic decision not to name him, definitely not to go after
him.

And yet they could. I mean, you think about the weeks spent about
whether Donald Trump was a real Republican and would support the nominee.

And you have Bernie Sanders now taking a lead in some polls, both in
Iowa and New Hampshire. And yet, for a partisan audience, this is someone
who is not a member of the party of whose nomination he seeks.

MIRINGOFF: Yes, well, Hillary Clinton clearly wants the energy of the
Democratic Party. And Bernie Sanders appeals to the core Democratic
energy. He doesn`t appeal to African Americans or Latinos from the
Democratic Party and, that, to Hillary Clinton`s benefit --

MELBER: To interrupt you, is it Democratic energy or is it liberal
policy energy?

MIRINGOFF: Well, I think he comes at this first from the liberal
policy agenda. That`s where the Democrats have sort of reached out and
grabbed that wing of the Democratic Party.

Look, a place like Iowa, the Democratic caucus will be an intense
support for whoever they like the best. Clinton is not that great in Iowa
typically. And as Bernie Sanders gets better known, there`s a good chance
that he could actually do in Iowa what he may do in New Hampshire. That`s
why the Clintons are setting up this so-called firewall for following New
Hampshire where they can then have more minorities, if I win New Hampshire,
not a big --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: -- you don`t need to be a political expert to remember that
the Clinton campaign had a so-called firewall in 2008.

MIRINGOFF: Yes. The trouble with building firewalls is when you
announce you`re doing a firewall, like when you announce you`re going to be
a little more spontaneous, that`s sort of a sign -- you know, worst thing
in politics is the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day. These
are the signs that you have some worry emerging in your campaign.

MELBER: I mean, you do this for a living.

I want to ask you about the head-to-heads and then also get, Jessica,
your take on this.

Hillary versus Rubio, 50-44; versus Trump, 53-40; versus Bush, 49-45;
versus Cruz, 52-41.

What are we seeing in that? Because if you listen to a lot of the
conservative conversation, they feel she is not only weak but
embarrassingly so. There is a belief that she will be destroyed.

Does your polling show that? Or what are we --

(CROSSTALK)

MIRINGOFF: No, no. Look, the demography of the national electorate
has been moving for presidential elections increasingly towards the
Democratic side. And what`s going on right now in these numbers, when you
drill down, is you have to look at the Latino population. And this is a
group that the Republicans got hurt badly on in 2012 with Mitt Romney. And
right now the Republicans are even carrying fewer Latinos and especially
Donald Trump, against people like Hillary Clinton, than Mitt Romney did
against Barack Obama last time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you get down to those Latino numbers, one
of the most interesting things to me was when you look at the Latino
matchups there among Republicans; you have Jeb Bush and you have Marco
Rubio that are doing best among Latino voters.

And that`s sort of what a -- you know, Bush has tried to hammer home,
probably needs to do a little bit more so, saying that he is the candidate
who can win this. He certainly been the most moderate on immigration.
Well, that doesn`t endear him to Republican primary voters; it makes him a
better general election candidate.

Marco Rubio, the same thing. He`s backed off his support a little
bit. But is someone who can speak to their concerns in a way that Donald
Trump, especially, can`t, as bears out in the --

MELBER: And the last question, Lee, is you and your folks call a lot
of people at home all election season. One of the things our viewers want
to know, is can they get your home telephone number so they can call you?

MIRINGOFF: Absolutely.

MELBER: Any time they want

MIRINGOFF: Call the office.

MELBER: -- with political questions?

MIRINGOFF: Did you say home or office?

MELBER: Home number.

MIRINGOFF: Well, I would give the home number but landline, cell, I
would be happy to give them my cell.

MELBER: Can Donald Trump give out your cellphone?

MIRINGOFF: Absolutely. The cell is 914-474-7264 -- 7264 are two land
lines.

MELBER: That`s how you remember it.

(CROSSTALK)

MIRINGOFF: But our office number is 845-575-5050. And that`s why
we`re polling.

MELBER: This is a politics show. The viewers of UP may take you up
on that call. Last thing and we`ve got to go.

MIRINGOFF: Yes. I`ll tell you, the biggest number in all of this, 70
percent of Latinos negative towards Donald Trump. So when he says -- and
this may get the phone calls starting -- when he says they love me, 70
percent say not so.

MELBER: Right. Reminds me of what Jay Z says, which is men lie,
women lie. Numbers don`t lie.

Lee Miringoff, as always, thanks for being here. Really appreciate
it.

Still ahead, Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers do drop a little bit.

Will the Democrats need any kind of backup plan, an alternative? And
who would they choose? Well, we`ll look at that, still ahead.

But first, evacuations in those fast-moving wildfires engulfing
California, these are threatening now thousands of homes. We have an
update. Stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We`ll have more on politics shortly. But we want to get you
caught up with the news update. Wildfires are now ripping through Lake
County, California. This has been all weekend, forcing thousands of
residents to evacuate their homes, sending four firefighters already to the
hospital with burns. These homes have been evacuated now in Middletown,
California, overnight. And that is where NBC`s Gadi Schwartz is this
morning.

Gadi, what is the latest?

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, I don`t know if you
can tell, but it`s starting to rain out here, kind of an odd turn of
events. Firefighters here tell me that this rain is actually caused by the
smoke plume going up. But you can see there`s still fire burning over
here.

Just a little while ago, that was a row of houses just beyond it.
There was a duplex. All of those have been completely incinerated.

Earlier, we saw propane tanks going off over there, a 2,000-gallon
propane tank spewing off its gas as it started to vent. And some really
bad news out here, the entire town has lost all the water in their
hydrants. It`s run out. So basically it`s all up to these strike teams.
They are waiting for reinforcements to come in.

But it`s up to these strike teams to make sure that embers don`t flare
up from these fires, catch up with in trees and then travel to some of the
homes that are still standing. But a lot of homes lost here in Middletown,
California -- Ari.

MELBER: Yes, and I`m seeing the glow of the fires behind you there.

How close are you and the firefighters getting to the edge of this and
how containable is it at this point?

SCHWARTZ: It`s not containable. This thing is not contained at all.
We`re hearing it`s 40,000 acres but it is moving very, very quickly. It`s
hard to see right now in the dark but there`s fire that way, there`s fire
that way. Basically we`re surrounded by fire.

What you`re seeing right here is nothing. This is stuff that you can
walk up to and firefighters are just really monitoring. But if you saw
some of the video from last night, you saw blocks and blocks completely
going up in flames. That`s the dangerous stuff. That`s the stuff where
firefighters can get hurt.

MELBER: Yes. We`ve been monitoring all of that and seeing some of
that footage.

Gadi Schwartz, thank you for your reporting. Obviously, please stay
safe.

We`ll now turn to a story we`ve been covering this weekend.

Former tennis pro James Blake, tackled by that undercover New York
City police officer detective on Wednesday, he was apparently mistaken for
a suspect. The police officer didn`t identify himself. You see it on the
video, a rough takedown and lot of fallout from that. Now NBC`s Kristen
Dahlgren caught up with Blake yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For former
tennis star James Blake, watching the video is still difficult.

JAMES BLAKE, FORMER TENNIS PRO: I didn`t even realize it until I hit
the ground that this wasn`t a friendly encounter. And then I hit the
ground and the first words out of my mouth were, "I`m 100 percent
cooperating."

His first words were, "Put your face down, turn over and put your
hands behind your back."

DAHLGREN (voice-over): Blake was outside a Manhattan hotel Wednesday
when he was taken down hard.

BLAKE: I don`t know what a normal linebacker tackle would be, but I`d
say there`s some NFL guys that are probably pretty proud of him.

DAHLGREN (voice-over): Blake says he was handcuffed for 10 minutes
before police, who were searching for a suspect in a credit card theft
ring, realized they had the wrong guy.

BLAKE: It`s just really infuriating to know that I was in such a
vulnerable position, and was taken advantage of by someone that wears the
NYPD badge and, in my opinion, tarnishes that badge.

DAHLGREN (voice-over): The undercover officer, James Frascatore, is
now on modified duty, awaiting an investigation. He was already facing two
pending excessive force lawsuits.

BLAKE: It makes me wonder why he was out on the street and given this
position to begin with. It was completely unnecessary, whether I was a
criminal or not, where I was the person they were looking for. I still
don`t think the person that they were looking for deserved to be treated
the way I was treated. So I think that`s the bigger issue right now, is
correcting that kind of behavior.

DAHLGREN (voice-over): Both New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Police
Commissioner William Bratton have personally apologized.

DAHLGREN: Is that enough?

BLAKE: No, that`s definitely not enough. I appreciate it. It`s a
nice gesture.

DAHLGREN (voice-over): Instinct but the mayor and commissioner has
invested almost $29 million to retrain uniform service members when dealing
with the community. They`ve agreed to meet with Blake, who says he is
considering a lawsuit if that`s what it takes to make a difference.

BLAKE: Because this happened to me, it can happen to anyone. And we
can`t let that keep happening.

DAHLGREN (voice-over): Kristen Dahlgren, NBC News, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Thanks to Kristen for that report.

Still ahead, the drama on the tennis court at the U.S. Open. The
surprising announcement yesterday that came at the end of what many are
calling one of the most unlikely finals in all of tennis history.

But first, if Hillary Clinton is so strong as Lee was just telling us
from the new polling, why are some senior Democrats still trying to come up
with a backup plan B? We`re going to find out right after the break.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back.

There are questions, of course, surrounding Hillary Clinton`s use of a
private e-mail server during her time at the State Department. And while
there is no targeted criminal inquiry into her actions and Clinton aides
say this has gotten more than enough attention, the fact remains there are
high-level Democrats talking about backup plans, that`s according to a
report in "The New York Times."

And there has been an unexpected groundswell of support out in the
field for Bernie Sanders this summer. Now those same party officials still
believe Sanders won`t be the nominee. There are a lot of reasons for that.

A more familiar name might make for a backup plan. Having that plan
is one thing. Breaking the glass to use it, entirely another.

We return back to the panel: we were just talking to Lee Miringoff
about those new MSNBC numbers. And he says, David, that the Clinton
support is strong, it is, if anything, in marked contrast to the media
discussion, the Washington political discussion around all of these e-mail
issues.

Having said that, you, as a former aide to President Clinton, must
admit there are people -- and they are not nobodies and they are talking
about who might be an alternative, Joe Biden or others.

GOODFRIEND: Listen, I`m all in favor of competition. Competition is
good for sports. It`s good for business. It`s good for politics. So
let`s have a healthy competition I think it would be great if Joe Biden
got in the race. I think it`s great that Bernie Sanders is really being a
sort of conscious and progressive Left.

But let`s look at those whole numbers that MSNBC just put out. They
tell a story of somebody who is withstanding withering attacks. People
talk about how is Hillary Clinton handling this? Well, I`ll tell you how
she`s handling it. She`s maintaining support in the face of unbelievable
onslaught.

So look, I want a Democrat in the White House. I don`t -- frankly, if
it`s Hillary, great. If it`s somebody else, great. I want a Democrat in
the White House. Right now she remains the strongest candidate. And it`s
not hard to find Nervous Nellies in the Democratic Party. OK? I`m saying
this as a Democrat. It is not --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I`ve got to push back on you there. I`ve got to push back.
If that`s what you have in the Obama and Clinton folks, because she has got
some Obama folks with her, the bedwetter thing, this is the number one
talking point, Jessica.

And it doesn`t wash. This is not just random nervousness. This is
six months of her getting a clean shot and, at the base level, there being
enthusiasm for Iowa -- I mean, for, excuse me, Bernie Sanders in the place
it matters most, in Iowa and New Hampshire. And then this larger
discussion. And the comparison is the reason why people don`t say
necessarily it`s going to be Bernie, is the big comparison is `68. Let me
read from Gerald Seay (ph), who says, look, "The `68 race featured the late
entry of a big Democratic contender, Robert Kennedy. He jumped in deep
into the electoral calendar because of the opening illustrated by, of
course, Gene McCarthy`s early success.

"Today`s race is overshadowed by speculation that Vice President Joe
Biden might jump in, lured in part because of the possibility suggested by
Bernie Sanders."

TAYLOR: Yes. I think you -- Joe Biden obviously is the most likely
beneficiary of this, if you are a more -- Clinton and Biden sort of occupy
the same ideological space. It`s hard to see a lot of Bernie supporters,
if Biden gets in, I`m going to go to him. He has the progressive Left,
very enthusiastic progressive Left behind him.

But if Biden gets in, I think you have some people that, if they
aren`t all the way on the Clinton bandwagon or if she does start to have
more problems going on -- yes, she is strong in that poll. But when you
look at where she was when she started to where she is now, I think that`s
the difference.

I think that`s why you`re seeing a lot of Democrats nervous.

Could it be deja vu again in Iowa, where she didn`t just finish
second, she finished third? It`s --

MELBER: Yes, and look, Joe, everyone talks about, oh, well, the
Sanders thing is this liberal side thing. And what kind of ticket would
you have?

Well, not literally but thematically a Biden-Sanders type ticket would
go to the idea that there`s an electoral concern with her that Biden fixes
and a policy concern with the base that Sanders fixes.

Should she be worried about that?

WATKINS: Well, it`s something that you always have to worry about
because what really matters is what the voters do on the actual days, in
the days of the election.

But I wouldn`t be so quick to dismiss Bernie Sanders. (INAUDIBLE)
Republicans and you`re hoping and praying that Bernie Sanders is our
nominee. I`m not saying that.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: You`re a Socialist.

(LAUGHTER)

WATKINS: All I`m saying is that Bernie Sanders does have a pretty
strong following and he is surging right now.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

WATKINS: And he`s speaking to the same elements of the Democratic
Party that the Republicans are finding in the Republican Party, which is to
say angry people, people who are angry, people who feel really
disenfranchised, they feel like they`ve been left out, they feel like
they`ve been talked to nicely by elected officials but they are not getting
anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, Ari, I`ve been waiting to do this all
morning. These donuts have been sitting in front of me. I`m going to hold
up this donut. I`m going to give half to my friend and Republican, Joe --

WATKINS: I want three-quarters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a 50-50 split. This is for Donald Trump
and I`m keeping this for Bernie Sanders.

Cheers.

WATKINS: Cheers to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s plenty of anger on both parties, there`s
plenty of people in both parties who are disillusioned with the
establishment, disillusioned with the choices, think that we should do
something better and yet, as I`ve said earlier on this show, that moment of
truth when you`re private and alone in the voting booth and you have to
decide who do I want to led my country?

That is a much different dynamic. And we see it play out. And we can
talk about what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. It is a long game here.
I do think --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: We`re going to talk more Bernie Sanders and we got to toast
to that. We`ll take a quick break.

He`s got some unusual plans, actually, for the Jewish high holidays
this year. Stay with us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It actually begins at
sundown tonight, which means that millions of Jewish Americans will spend
tomorrow in synagogues.

Now Bernie Sanders, who happens to be the only Jewish presidential
candidate, is doing something interesting. He`s actually spending his Rosh
Hashanah at Liberty University, a conservative Christian university that`s
in Lynchburg, Virginia, known especially for its founder, Jerry Falwell.

Sanders will give an address there and he released a statement about
this, saying it goes without saying, my views on many issues, women`s
rights, gay rights, education and many other issues are very different from
the opinions of some in the Liberty University community, Sanders says.

"But I think it`s important to see if we can reach consensus regarding
the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country, the
collapse of the middle class, the high level of childhood poverty, climate
change and other issues," end quote.

Liberty is a common stop typically for Republican candidates.

In fact, you may remember, it`s where Ted Cruz actually launched his
campaign -- that was in March. It`s also where Jeb Bush delivered a
commencement speech in May. We want to mention as well, it`s important to
note that other Democrats, like President Obama, Vice President Biden,
Hillary Clinton have been invited and declined to speak at Liberty. It has
also cut ties to its campus Democratic group.

In fact, during the 2000 campaign, John McCain called that school`s
founder, Jerry Falwell, who is now deceased, one of the political, quote,
"agents of intolerance" that was corrupting the Republican Party.

Then later McCain also made amends with the school and he went there,
delivering a commencement address that was six years after that intolerance
comment.

Now will Bernie Sanders` trip to Liberty help or hurt his campaign?

Does he risk alienating his own supporters, appealing to a very
socially conservative stomping ground?

We`ve got the panel as well, as NBC senior political reporter, Perry
Bacon Jr.

Good day, Perry. I want to start with the obvious question here,
which is why is Bernie Sanders going to make a political appeal to a place
that, at one point, was too intolerant and conservative for even Republican
John McCain?

PERRY BACON JR., NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, I would say that
couple of things. First of all is that John McCain made the comment in
2000. Jerry Falwell ran the university then. His son runs it now. I
would argue that gay rights issue and the admission to the gay marriage by
the university is probably less relevant now and less offensive to people
because gay marriage is now legal around the country.

The Democrats have arguably won the argument since 2000. So it`s a
different context.

I would say another thing as well, as Sanders noted, he said he was
invited. He`s going. He`s already told us publicly he disagrees with them
on gay rights. He will give the same speech he gives everywhere. So I
don`t think I see any signs of backlash. I know that there will be a
backlash.

Last thing, I don`t think me or any other journalist should be
questioning Sanders` strategy too much. He went from like 0 percent to 40
percent, he`s ahead of Hillary Clinton everywhere right now. He has done
pretty well. I`m not going to question his strategy too much.

MELBER: Well, this is what I`m questioning, not the political
strategy but raising the question of, if Republicans are going to face
criticism, especially historically from liberals, for making this kind of
common cause -- and let me bring in David.

Then should the same set of questions be made here?

And I think to drill down on -- Perry makes an important distinction,
which is it`s not just whether you go or not. We have an open society and
we encourage dialogue.

But do you go and make sure that you stand by your beliefs?

Or as Perry is predicting, is it going to be a strong speech, which
means Sanders taking his views there?

Or if he does less than that, does he open up the criticism that he`s
softening?

GOODFRIEND: Well, part of his support comes from the fact that he`s
so unapologetically progressive and sticks by his views. And I think 99
percent of what comes out of his mouth I find personally very appealing.

But you framed this story, you started out by pointing out that
tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah. Now, you know, I tell my kids, you have to come
with me to services on Rosh Hashanah, because Sandy Koufax missed a game in
the World Series to go to services. And that`s what being an American Jew
is all about. You stick with your principles; you stick with your faith.

I think it`s a little odd, quite frankly, as a Jewish American, I`m
saying this, that he`s giving a speech on Rosh Hashanah at a Christian
university.

Where your faith basics, Bernie? Come on.

You couldn`t do it the next day?

WATKINS: Well, you have to give him credit at least for speaking to
all Americans. He knows that a majority of -- America is changing as a
country. We are a much bigger tent than we once were.

If he`s going to be President of the United States, as he hopes to be,
he will be president for all the people, so he is going to be president for
Protestants, Catholics, Jews, for Muslims, for atheists and Buddhists. And
so I have to really give him kudos for being so brave as to speak at a
Christian university that may not like his views, especially on Rosh
Hashanah.

MELBER: And to that point, Perry, he doesn`t discuss faith that much,
as is his right.

Do you expect him to delve into faith at this address?

BACON: You know, I don`t know. He rarely discusses anything beyond
income inequality, to be honest with you. He`s a very one note -- and
that`s fine; he`s a very one-note candidate, in some ways. And I`ll be
curious if he talks about, one, the issues he talked about where he
disagrees with the university, particularly on gay rights, particularly on
same-sex marriage. And (INAUDIBLE) he talk about his religious faith at
all. I`ve not heard him discuss -- you know, I`m not an expert on Rosh
Hashanah, but I`ve not heard him discuss being Jewish particularly very
much, either. I`ll be curious to see if he goes into -- a lot of
candidates go to Liberty and use it in a way to talk about their personal
faith, their faith journey. And that might help Sanders, because Sanders
right now is doing really well among whites and among liberals. He`s not
doing particularly well among moderate, conservative, minority Democrats.
And those groups tend to be more overtly religious.

MELBER: Well, I think you nailed it. This will be a speech addressed
and judged on what he adds, now what he subtracts. If he subtracts
anything, for example, support for gay marriage or gay rights, which no one
expects, that would draw a lot of criticism.

If he stands on his principles and gives the same speech, then I don`t
know what the point was.

If he does this and adds, if we learn some new side of him or how he
addresses this community, that could be really fascinating, which is why we
wanted to do the preview.

Perry Bacon, thanks for joining us on it.

BACON: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Up next, something a little letter; we asked you earlier in
the hour, should we play this amazing video of these bears on the hammock,
struggling with it, kind of like human beings, as we were discussing.

We asked you should we play it? We held an online poll of sorts on
this. And we`ll let you know when we get back -- bear with us -- whether
or not the votes came in to air the video or not. Please don`t read into
anything about it playing right now. We`ll be right back.

(LAUGHTER)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MELBER: You`re watching UP with Steve Kornacki. I`m Ari Melber,
filling in.

And as promised, we got some other headlines making news with today`s
panel. We held a poll online, informal and unscientific and folks said
play the bear video again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it. Look, there`s so much to work with
here. We have a family, right?

But where`s the dad?

That`s a mama bear --

MELBER: -- family values --

WATKINS: -- we really have mom as the strong one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s the strong-er.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the National Zoo clearly should put a
hammock up in the bear den.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: I don`t see why not. It just shows that animals and humans
can do the same things and that`s something we should explore.

I want to get to the U.S. Open. Flavia Pennetta wins. This is one of
those come-from-behind things. People do a lot of sports analogies, Joe.

WATKINS: So sorry. I mean, just --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Being seeded number one doesn`t mean anything until you play,
right?

WATKINS: It comes to the day when you compete.

Yes, Serena has got to be the greatest tennis player, male or female,
I think, in recent memory. She was just so outstanding. I was so sorry to
see her not win. It would have been great if she had the --

MELBER: What about Flavia Pennetta retiring after the win?

WATKINS: Yes. Well, that`s news.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: Well, now that I know that it`s news, but --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) else --

MELBER: What about going out on top? What about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is something to be said for that. If you
achieve that and if there is nothing else to do, I think that she seems
pretty content with that.

WATKINS: Congratulations to her.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always want to say that when it comes to the
sport of tennis, it really is, I believe, the one sport where women`s
competition and men`s competition are about as equal as you can get. I
mean, there are two competitors face to face, head to head for three hours
or more. And the amount of focus and resolve it takes to pull that off is
incredible.

MELBER: Finally today, some interesting kind of little news, the
president usually stays in the Waldorf Astoria when he comes to New York
for the U.N. meeting. He`s not. And one big reason, it looks like, is
that some big Chinese investors with ties to the Beijing government have
bought it. I`m surprised this hasn`t come up on the campaign trail yet,
because it feels like one of those tangible examples of, what do you mean
we have to worry about where our president stays on our home country turf,
because these Chinese businesses, some of them, allegedly work very closely
with the government on all sorts of nefarious espionage?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to say, I think now that -- I`m going to
draw a dotted line to the Iran agreement, but now that that is certifiably
behind us, we had to hold our tongue a lot as a country with Russia, with
China.

MELBER: Because of the alliance --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We needed them on board.

Now that --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- expect to hear more and more explicit criticism
of Russia and China from our government.

MELBER: You heard it here first.

All right. Thanks to David Goodfriend for all your commentary and
tennis talk.

Joe Watkins and, of course, Jessica Taylor, appreciate it.

That is our show. Thanks for getting up with us today on UP with
Steve Kornacki. I`m Ari Melber, filling in for him. You can also find me
online if you want, Instagram, @AriMelber. We posted some new donut pics
from backstage there. You can find them @AriMelber or on Facebook,
facebook.com/arimelber.

Up next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." We`ll leave the donuts. Stay tuned
for her.

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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