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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: September 19, 2015
Guest: Victoria Defrancesco-Soto, Phillip Stutts, Caitlin Huey-Burns,
Eliana Johnson, Annie Linskey, Chelsi Henry, Ray Flynn, Annie Linskey,
Chelsi Henry, Ray Flynn, Michael McFaul

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Where in the world is Donald Trump?

Good morning to you and thanks for getting UP with us this Saturday. I am
Ari Melber in for Steve Kornacki. And you know, sometimes after a tough
week, Saturday is kind of your chance to take it easy, reset and hope for
maybe a new beginning on Monday. If you have had a bad week, the start of
the weekend is just a chance to put it all behind you, lay low for a couple
of days and that may be what Donald Trump is hoping for right now. Because
after a tough debate on Wednesday and a controversial exchange with that
birther Thursday, and then canceling an appearance on Friday, Trump is
laying low right now. Now, that is what mean for a campaign field to
unload media appearances? That`s coming up in just a little bit.

Also Hillary Clinton striking back at Carly Fiorina`s charges about her
record of accomplishment. Also, migrants and refugees making a new effort
to head north as Eastern European countries fight with each other on how to
try keep them out.

And also today, the Black Lives Matter movement making a big decision on
how it is trying to get heard in 2016. But we begin with an update on
breaking news out of Phoenix this morning in arrest of that string of
shootings along a major interstate highway. Police in Phoenix arrested a
21-year-old Leslie Allen Merit at a Walmart, this was just last night.
They believe he may be responsible for the first four shootings that took
place last month. Detectives linking his gun to the shootings which they
say he tried to pawn. Police continuing their investigation because they
do think other shootings were committed by essentially copy cuts.

We have a lot of breaking news on this throughout to the morning and we
will keep you updated throughout. But we turn on politics to the sins of
omission in the republican presidential race. Donald Trump facing
criticism basically for what he did not say and he`s facing questions about
what he did not do at the end of this busy political week. Trump failed to
correct or address lies told by a birther about President Obama at an event
on Thursday drawing rebukes from several Republicans and Hillary Clinton.
Then yesterday at the last minute, he cancelled an appearance at a
conservative forum in South Carolina citing a business deal that needed his
in person attention. Critics are saying if that`s true, then Trump is
showing that even at this point, he`s still doesn`t view his quest for the
presidency as a full time job. And if it`s not true, then maybe Trump
recognized he needed that break after a tough week that I mentioned.

MSNBC`s Benjy Sarlin live for us in Greenville, South Carolina. What do
you got?

BENJY SARLIN, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, as you`ve mentioned, Donald
Trump says, he drop out due to a significant business transaction. And his
campaign did press to NBC that this had nothing to do with that New
Hampshire questioner, nothing to do with the reaction to it. So, that`s a
line they`re sticking too. The organizers at the Heritage forum did say
they were disappointed he couldn`t make it, though.

MELBER: And beyond that, I mean, where does this go from here, do you
think?

SARLIN: Well, this is the way Donald Trump has dealt with every other
crazy firestorm controversy doing -- his campaign. Within 48 hours or so,
there`s a new one, and then people usually see the other shiny objects, the
other one kind of plays it in the background. And we have seen this play
out repeatedly over and over and over again. Now, I`ll give you a good
example, I was in Ames, Iowa when Donald Trump said that John McCain was
not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam and real heroes
apparently don`t get captured. So, this was non-stop firestorm, it`s the
first time that really Republicans, other candidates started letting loose
on him and going further and criticizing him.

So, what happened, within 48 hours he gave out Lindsey Graham`s phone
number during a speech and the whole story became about a feud with Lindsey
Graham. Now, we saw this again just last month, he got into a major feud
with Megyn Kelly in FOX News, in which all the FOX News host were starting
to go after him. By the end of the same day, he had thrown out Jorge Ramos
and was in a feud with Univision, and that`s suddenly that`s what everyone
was talking about, so I would be stunned if we do not see something similar
within the next couple of days from Donald Trump.

MELBER: All right. MSNBC`s Benjy Sarlin, thank you for that. As for
Trump`s week, he did get the most total air time at the presidential debate
but he was noticeably absent from some of the deeper policy discussions.
Especially foreign policy as Bloomberg`s Josh Green noted, Republicans,
quote, "Finally find a way to silence the GOP frontrunner, they talked
about policy." By Thursday, Trump of course had this new problem. Let`s
take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Okay, this man, I like this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m from White Plains, amen, okay, we have got a
problem in this country, it`s called Muslims, we know our current President
is one.

TRUMP: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, he`s not even an American.

TRUMP: We need this question. It`s the first question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But anyway, we have training camps growing where they
want to kill us.

TRUMP: Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s my question, when can we get rid of them?

TRUMP: We`re going to be looking at a lot of different things and, you
know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that
bad things are happening out there, we`re going to be looking at that and
plenty of other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The White House noted as, no coincidence those kinds of questions
arise at a Trump events as he called for the President`s birth certificate
in 2011, and said even this year, he still doesn`t where President Obama
was born, the answer is Hawaii, by the way. Then late Friday, two hours
after backing out of that forum, the Trump campaign released its second
position paper of the entire campaign on gun rights and crime. It`s a
short, somewhat slashed out, first person summation of gun rights activism
and his campaign has sent out this kind of position paper such as it is
only once before.

Almost as if Donald Trump were trying to change the subject like Benjy
Sarlin was just mentioning. Now, we`re not saying he was, but if that was
the goal, it is a hastily released position paper and is that the best way
to move people on to something else to talk about. Now, as Trump seeks to
keep the momentum going, will his bluster work on the campaign trail and
will he need to further explain what just happened?

Well, we`re going to talk to our panel about that now. Victoria
Defrancesco, Phillip Stutts, republican strategist. And Caitlin Huey-Burns
from Real Clear Politics, how are you guys doing?

PHILLIP STUTTS, FORMER JINDAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Good morning.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO-SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Good morning.

MELBER: I want to start with what Benjy Sarlin just proposed. I`ll start
with you Caitlin, oh, well, it`s like this other things where he made a lot
of noise after an error or perceived error. That hasn`t been the pattern
yet though, what is striking here, what is a little different thus far, not
even a tweet or something about this, they are actually holding back almost
like a more conventional politician which he says he`s not to assess the
damage.

HUEY-BURNS: Right. The silence has been pretty deafening, actually. I
think we`ve had the longest ran since we`ve heard from Donald Trump. But
what is interesting though is that he, I don`t know that we`re going to see
him apologize. I mean, if you look at the polling, you know, over half of
his supporters believe in what this man at the town hall said, and remember
Donald Trump really drove this discussion back in 2011, so it`s really not
surprising that we heard this at a Donald Trump event. But we have seen
over the past few weeks, Donald Trump become more of a candidate. You
know, he`s been having more candidate like events, town hall, he`s had a
policy rollout which wasn`t -- didn`t turn out to really be a policy roll
out. But so it is interesting to see whether he corrects a little bit here
because he knows that if he has to -- if he wants to expand this campaign,
he has to expand beyond this base.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, so part of the thing that happens when you just
leave it out there waiting, is you leave it up to other people who find out
how bad it is. Obviously if it`s only the White House and Hillary Clinton,
that`s not necessarily a problem politically. Here`s Ted Cruz showing that
some Republicans don`t want to make this their beef with him, take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand the press wants to
get Republicans throwing rocks at each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Obama a Muslim?

CRUZ: You know, President Obama`s faith is between him and God. What I
can tell you is this, the President`s policies over the last six-and-a-half
years have done enormous damage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So, you see Ted Cruz can`t even deal with the fact there at the --
when it`s raised as a question to him, it doesn`t want to give him to
Trump. Rand Paul who of course has had more of a public spat ongoing with
Trump, in a light way also had a different take and basically said, well,
no, there`s a line here, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think that there`s a
number of instances in which the character and the presentation of himself
is in question with Donald Trump, whether or not he carries himself in such
a way as and he should be representing or leading our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this one of those moments?

PAUL: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So, what`s happening there and does it matter to Trump you think
inside their headquarters, they`re just looking to see how much republican
criticism they get?

STUTTS: Right. Two things. One of the 47 presidential candidates right
now, the vast majority have come out and said this is ridiculous, the
President is American, he`s a Christian who carries this is dumb. So,
let`s put that aside. Now, Ted Cruz, again, another shot is playing
politics, in a way, he`s sort of drafting behind Trump hoping Trump falls
down and he can pick up those voters. So, the reason he is not coming out
right now and saying, you know, Obama is not a Muslim, is because he`s
trying to, you know, build a coalition to the win the nomination, that`s
his strategic plan.

MELBER: I want to bring in as well, Eliana Johnson from National Review in
this conversation. Take a listen to Ben Carson on this issue as well. As
we sort of see the fallout here over the weekend of the different
responses. Here`s Ben Carson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, certainly one must
always analyze the questions carefully, that`s something that I`ve to learn
because sometimes you just go into answering mode without thinking about
it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that Trump should have refuted the
questioner who suggested President Obama was a Muslim?

CARSON: I suspect that, if he gets that question again, that`s exactly
what he`ll do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you have done it? Would you have refuted the
question?

CARSON: I think I would have. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I mean, part of this goes to the way that conservatives, some
conservatives have balance between policy relating to Muslim-Americans or
foreign policy relating to the war with militant Islam and a type of
xenophobia, and that`s something that`s Trump has been criticized a lot
for. This question about, what do you refute? When do you refute? I
mean, the way Chris Hayes put it out at MSNBC this week was, if somebody
stood up and said quote-unquote, oh, well, the Jews control the media, you
don`t think you would have as big a debate over, well, do you address that?
You`d think the candidate would almost automatically address and the
concern here is there is some sort of lower standing implied about Muslim-
Americans, it`s inappropriate.

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL REVIEW: You know, it`s interesting to see Ben
Carson come out and take a stand against Trump there. Because he`s the
candidate of all the candidates who really is refrained from criticizing
everybody else. And while Trump`s other statements have been unique to
Donald Trump, saying John McCain is not a war hero. His embrace of the
birther issue is really associates him with a sort of friends of republican
and conservative voters, that I think there`s a view among conservatives
and Republicans are truly detrimental to the broader republican cause and
I think will raise broader concerns among conservative and republican
voters. Not only among the republican establishment but among
conservatives more broadly.

MELBER: How about that, Victoria?

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: You know, I think that he is speaking to a very visceral
anger here in the Republican Party. So, I`m going to throw out a totally
different interpretation, but in some ways this is premeditated. In some
ways Donald Trump is saying, I got Carly Fiorina off the FrontPage, I got
everybody talking about the Muslim issue and the birther issue again and
I`m going to stoke that anger, stoke that discussion within that element --

MELBER: Well, but the question isn`t premeditated as far as we know, the
question just popped up at an event.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: He knew it was going to come. Trump knew that he was
spoking that xenophobic feeling within the Republican Party. Whether it`s
anti-Mexican, not it`s anti-Muslim and his campaign feeds off of that
anger, so I think that he likes having that simmering fire. He steps back
and said, let me simmer, and I`ll come back in a day or two, and do what
Benjy Sarlin said, I`ll throw out another shiny object for people to run
after.

MELBER: Eliana, his campaign has told NBC News, does far, they don`t see
this as a controversy at all.

JOHNSON: Sure, that can be the response of his campaign, but I think what
he`s going the to see is that the response from voters is a little bit
different to this the issue, perhaps not in the immediate term but over the
long-term, because I don`t think, you know, the republican primary voters
are not stupid. And so, I think these -- the fringe issue like birtherism
and anti-Muslims sentiment are not something that party wants to embrace
over the long-term.

MELBER: And Caitlin, when you say not embrace over the long-term that`s
one theory, the other theory is, there`s a reason why this stuff doesn`t go
away. That this is the undercurrent, part of what it may expose some
Trump`s excitement and some distaste for what are seen are the more
moderate or what he calls politically correct establishment republican.

HUEY-BURNS: Uh-mm. Right. And we`re in a very anti-establishment cycle,
you have really these outsider political candidate, are nonpoliticians
really rising up and taking up over half of the support right now. And we
have seen even over the past several months all these other candidates
tried to rise up and kind of temper this discussion and make sure that this
doesn`t happen. And really, they have done so in vain, it`s been kind of
inevitable to watch this. But I am interested to see over the next couple
of days how the rest of the field really responds. We saw in the debate
over this past week, we saw all these candidates really rise to put Trump
down, we haven`t seen that collective kind of effort before.

MELBER: We`ll talk more about this, I want to thank Eliana Johnson from
the National Review for joining us. The panel stays. And still ahead, the
issue Republicans did not discuss during their marathon three-hour debate
this past week, one that could be a key factor in this election.

And next, how Carly Fiorina`s latest new attack on Hillary Clinton could
actually help the democratic frontrunners. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mrs. Clinton, if you want to
stump a democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton`s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Ouch! Carly Fiorina at that debate this week. A little tongue
and cheek. But challenging Democrats to name an accomplishment of the
former secretary of state. And now that Fiorina is emerging from this
cloud of Republicans, she`s clearly set her sights on Clinton. It`s a
national progression as is the fact that Hillary is now fighting back. The
former secretary of state defending her record on Thursday just one day
after that attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a long list about
what I have done and I`m very proud of it, you can read my book "Hard
Choices," read about how I negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,
you can read about how I put together the coalition that lead to
international sanctions against Iran. You can read about what I did when I
was first lady to get the children`s health insurance program or a senator
working across the aisle on issues like getting better health care for our
veterans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And we are joined by Annie Linskey, national political reporter
for the Boston Globe who was at the New Hampshire Democratic Party
Convention at Manchester. We`ll hear from Hillary. How are you doing?

ANNIE LINSKEY, BOSTON GLOBE: Hi, I`m great.

MELBER: Great. Thanks for joining. We have got our panel with us as well
for the conversation. Hillary says you can read her book, I read that book
and as a matter of literary criticism, I can tell you, I will never get
that time back. And it is not the kind of book, it has a decisive
narrative of accomplishments, the title and the nature of the narrative is
really about how difficult it was, changing world, balancing act, it is
certainly true, and some would say, a positive but certainly true that her
depiction of her own time as secretary of state is a collection of nuance,
not a bullet point list.

LINSKEY: That`s right.

MELBER: Your thoughts.

LINSKEY: Yes. I think that`s absolutely right. I mean, you know what?
This attack gets at is Hillary Clinton has not held a real executive role.
You know, she started as First Lady of Arkansas and then First Lady of the
United States and they went on to Secretary of State and will pause in the
Senate for a moment. But this is a role where you are working behind the
scenes and you are pulling different constituencies together. And this is
a style that Hillary Clinton really thrives in. I mean, she likes to bring
stakeholders together. She likes to talk about partnerships, she likes to
talk about what different communities can do and change to effect change.
I mean, she`s not really one to stand in front of the cameras as we know
and call for some sort of broad change. And that`s been how she`s been
very effective in her career.

Until the foot side of that is, there is not a big list of accomplishments,
you know, in the minds of Americans because she doesn`t stand in front of
the camera and say, I did X, Y and Z. But I do think and it will be good
for her campaigns to be sort of forced to do that. And they`ve starting to
do it. They were out, you know, tweeting, last night I believe in the
night before, Hillary Clinton accomplishments and I think that is a smart
move for them. Because it is an issue that they need to address. And this
nuance doesn`t really work in, you know, in sound bites.

MELBER: Do you expect that to become a bigger part of her stump speech
then?

LINSKEY: I would think so. And I think it`s a reasonable thing to be a
big part of her stump speech. I mean, she`s running on her record, she`s
running on her accomplishments. And it`s not a bad thing for her to start
taking credit for some of those. I mean, by all accounts when he talked to
Republicans who served with her in the Senate, she does have a string of
accomplishments. I mean, she was a very well-regarded senator and the
American people, she was a well-regarded secretary of state. So, you know,
I don`t think it`s a bad thing for her to move away from this notion of,
you know, convening and partnerships and say, you know, I`m going to take
credit for this, this is something that I did while I was secretary of
state and it wouldn`t have happened without me.

MELBER: Hang with us, Annie. I want to bring in the panel. Phillip, from
the republican perspective, this is a question Republicans think is worth
asking, an attack is something you have to answer a question, you have to
answer but in a different way, there`s a bit of a more of factual mood to
it. Take a listen to a focus group convened by Bloomberg where Democrats
themselves had trouble answering this question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she accomplished that you consider significant
as secretary of state?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary of state? I really can`t name anything off
the top of my head.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Phillip, these things have come out of nowhere. Republicans have
tested this.

STTUTS: Right.

MELBER: And they think it`s not just a way to cut in with partisans but
something that can cut in more broadly.

STTUTS: Sure. Listen. I just listened to the reporter say that, you
know, she`s never really been a leader, or had to lead before, she`s always
worked around consensus. This is a woman running for the United States
presidency, so that`s unbelievable to me. But I would say this, they have
been asking this question for a year, it took them a year to come around
and get an answer. I think that`s a problem. And, you know, people say,
you know, Carly is wrong for bringing this up the other night. And there`s
20 people that have come out in Politico and has written 20 different
answers to this. Well, that`s because the Clinton campaign convened a
conference call, God everybody of their allies to get into, let`s figure
this thing out. And that`s what they do. They took a year to do this. A
year.

MELBER: We didn`t do a conference call Annie but giving you the last word
I will put up on the screen, we did look over the record, some of which she
has also already mentioned. You think about the positives, Iran sanctions,
the diplomatic response, the Arab Spring which was multi-fascinated in some
places successful, she hasn`t mentioned that how much but we thought at
that as something. Middle East negotiations and of course now normalizing
relations with Cuba, something she worked on. When you think about cons,
Annie, you have no breakthrough and Arab is ready for negotiations,
something she and her envoys worked on for years, increase strained with
Israel and Pakistan and definitely the issues around Benghazi, on some
would say the negative side. Your final thoughts on whether that record is
enough here and she can stand by it or whether they have to do more work
and do more detail?

LINSKEY: Look, there`s no question I need to do with more work on this
issue. And I think it`s clear that are going to. That being said, I do
think that, you know, one needs to look at the roles that she was in and
the idea of bringing people to the table and partnership, that is her
style, and that is the kind of president she would likely be, right? So,
you know, if people look at that and say, I don`t really want somebody
whose, you know, I want a leader who`s being, you know, more bombastic,
then there are going to be other choices in the field. But Hillary
Clinton, you know, her style has always been this way and I don`t see that
changing, right?

MELBER: Right. You might almost call it diplomatic.

LINSKEY: Right.

MELBER: Annie Linskey, I know we`re going to see you in the trail later
this hour. Thanks again for reporting from New Hampshire.

LINSKEY: Thank you.

MELBER: Still ahead, one influential group saying, it won`t make any
endorsements in 2016, but they have a lot to say, we will going to tell you
about that.

And next, the latest road block for migrants streaming into Europe. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Croatia is now the latest country to turn away migrants streaming
into Europe from a war torn nations around the Middle East and Africa. The
Balkan nation has been overwhelmed by asylum seekers since Hungary
barricaded its border with riot police earlier this week. Dramatic images
from there. Croatia`s prime minister declaring yesterday, they will allow
migrants to travel north through the country but will not take in any
additional refugees. And they will be closing some of their border
crossings.

Meanwhile, European Union has been unable to decide on any kind of unified
policy to deal with this unfolding crisis. They will hold emergency talks
next week.

Now, still ahead for us, Pope Francis starts a nine-day trip of first en
route to Cuba before he heads to Washington on Tuesday. We`re going to
preview that visit and all of the political implications.

Plus, the one thing that didn`t make it into this week`s three-hour debate,
that`s next, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Senator Walker, many in the Black Lives
Matter movement and beyond believe that overly aggressive police officers
targeting young African-Americans is the civil rights issue of our time.
Do you agree, and if so, how do you plan to address it, if not, why not?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was how the Black Lives Matter movement arose in the first
republican debate. And while this week`s debate, also drew a record
audience, 23 million viewers made it the most watch thing on CNN ever. And
a longer debate too, it was over three hours, it did not address some of
those key issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement including police
shootings and alleged systemic discrimination by local law enforcement.
Senator Rand Paul did proactively bring up racial issues in law enforcement
during his criticism of how the Feds approach marijuana laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At least one prominent
example on this stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school.
And yet, the people who went to jail for this, the poor people, often
African-Americans and often a Hispanic and yet the rich kids you used drugs
aren`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Well, some welcomed Paul`s point. Others argue the movement was
pushed harder to force candidates to address these issues. Some protesters
want to continue demonstrations including those controversial disruptions
of candidates and events that led to national attention. Others saying the
time has come for Black Lives Matter to shift to detailed policy agendas
and collaborative meetings with policy makers. The argument is why yell on
the outside if you can meet on the inside. To that end, this was
interesting. Some BLM activists met with White House Advisor Valerie
Jarrett as well as Senator Bernie Sanders just this week. Now, one of the
group`s founders is telling the Associated Press just this morning that it
has no plans to endorse candidates in this year`s presidential race.

Joining me now is Chelsi Henry, president of the Republican Diversity
Coalition and a contributor to Ebony Magazine. Our panel is here as well.
Good morning to you.

CHELSI HENRY, CONTRIBUTOR, EBONY MAGAZINE: Good morning. Thanks for
having me.

MELBER: Thanks for being here. What do you think of the impact to Black
Lives Matter at this point and the strategist they`re considering and I
just outlined?

HENRY: The great thing about America is that we have the First Amendment.
So, we`re able to express ourselves however we feel. One of the
organizations that I`m a founding member of is the 2020 leaders of America,
and criminal justice is the reason why we exist. And so, we are a
bipartisan group of professionals across the country, we have NBA
executive, mayor, city councilman, people from all walks of life that are
influential in their particular communities. And what we`re doing is, this
upcoming fall in November, we`re hosting a presidential forum.

We`ve been sitting down with candidates, talking to campaigns because it is
true, criminal justice reform is an issue, we`re at crossroads here in
America, with that issue, the issue resonates with me very personally and I
believe that whoever is going to be the next leader in chief has to have a
platform and an initiative. And so what we`re doing as the 2020 club, we
are sitting s-down, we are educating these men and women who have decided
to put their name in the hat to be next commander-in-chief, we`re educating
them on the issues, and so with this approach, we`re able to sit at the
table with them, informed them so that they can built a platform that`s
going to be inclusive --

MELBER: So, that`s a little more of an insider, model and that`s part of
what we`re doing, we mentioned those meetings. On the other hand, some
folks believe that the only reason that Hillary Clinton even talked to the
Black Lives Matter group is she saw the kind of protests impact they had on
other candidates and felt that she had to deal with them. What about that
part of it?

HENRY: Well, the movement and many movements here in the United States
that are regarding criminal justice reform, it`s important. So, the manner
in which each organization goes about it, that`s unique to them. Again,
are unique approaches that we are the only organization basing criminal
justice reform that`s asking candidates from both sides of the aisle, we
have individuals a part of our group from both sides of the aisle. And
we`re sitting down with having a dialogue. That is our approach Ari, and
that`s what we`ll continue to do. We just had some listening sessions in
D.C. yesterday. We`ll continue to talk about the issue of criminal justice
reform and use our unique approach.

MELBER: Let me bring in Victoria. You looked at that debate, and the
reason why we showed Rand Paul, he was really, only person who brought up
racial justice at all, pro-actively, there`s always an interaction with
what the interests groups, the protests groups, what the media are doing.
And then what the candidates want to talk about themselves. Rand Paul
though hasn`t exactly gotten very far politically, even though you can say,
he`s shown the most, you know, the most work on this thus far.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: And ironically, this issue, criminal justice reform is
one of the few bipartisan issues that we have seen in such a long time.
But if I were a betting woman, I would say that we`re not going to see any
real discussion of the Black Lives Matter in the upcoming republican
debates. It`s not going to be until the general election, until we have a
republican and a democratic candidate on stage where we`re going to see
that meet it out. Because right now, Republicans don`t want to touch it,
they have been skirting around the issue, yes, Rand Paul tries to insert
the larger criminal justice issue but I think it`s not going to be until
January, February that we start to see the Black Lives Matter movement
coming to the fore.

MELBER: Right. And Caitlin, you know, there`s discussion about it. You
look at Ben Carson, who happens to be the only black candidate in the
republican race right now, but he`s made it very clear, that`s not the
issue for him as a social or policing issue. Here`s what he wrote about
Black Lives Matter, obviously because I`m sure he`s asked about it so much.
He said, look, the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on the wrong target
to the detriments of blacks who would like to see real changes and the
benefits of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders
for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our
community. He also went to Ferguson recently and talked about how there
are problems and they do relate to poverty and they do relate to other
issues, but he doesn`t see it through a racial lens. So again, you know,
from an equality perspective, it`s positive that we have a field that looks
more and more like America. But that doesn`t mean that people who might
look different are going to be associate with these causes. Ben Carson
saying very clearly this is not his issue.

HUEY-BURNS: Right. Actually after the debate he said he wished that was
brought up to, the issues of Black Lives Matter was brought up. It is
interesting that you are seeing these republican candidates go into non ---
not all of them. But Carson and certainly Rand Paul and Jeb Bush even go
into communities that are not necessarily their base, trying to expand
beyond that. But it is more than just going and appearing as we know. And
someone like Rand Paul who was actually in the Senate can do more there
perhaps. But it is interesting that they are kind of, you know, not
wanting to fully engage, but they do recognize that they to at least in
some way engage these communities and expand because they know to your
point about the general election that they can`t get away with not doing
that.

MELBER: And Chelsi, just briefly before we go. Did you think it was
important that they had this exchange there, that`s an exchange I think,
that`s been around dinner tables all over the country. Which is in our
system the way you look as a huge impact on whether the war on drugs is
something that`s outside your window it doesn`t affect you or stops and
disrupts your entire life, when we look at the fact that African-Americans
use pot for example at the same rate as White Americans and are four times
more likely to go to jail for it?

HENRY: Yes. It`s an important issue that must continue to be addressed.
As we have seen since 1994 the crime bill was enacted, we have had 2.2
million people go to prison, go out to prison, and that`s double what was
there before President Clinton was in office. And so, this discussion must
continue -- we must get back to the place of how are we going to solve
these disparities, especially those that affect the African-American
community, people of color and people in low income communities.

MELBER: All right. Chelsi Henry with the Republican Diversity Coalition.
Thanks for joining our panel. And still ahead --

HENRY: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: -- Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis back in the spotlight. And the
marriage license issued since a return to work are being been called into
question by some, we have details on that.

But first, Cuba awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis as do so many around
this nation. That is next, so stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It has been nine months since Pope Francis helped to broker the
half century long thaw between the U.S. and Cuba. He`s seen here leaving
the Vatican for Havana this morning as he continues to swing through the
America`s working to advance Catholicism in communist and Catholic nations
alike. It`s been nine days total in Cuba in the U.S., Cuban President Raul
Castro will meet with the Pope tomorrow alongside priest in Havana`s fame
cathedral, Raul Castro and President Obama also spoke by phone yesterday
ahead of the Pope`s arrival.

For the latest, NBC`s Claudio Lavanga joins us live from Havana. Claudio?

CLAUDIO LAVANGA, NBC NEWS, HAVANA, CUBA: Ari, yes, we are all waiting for
the Pope to arrive here this afternoon, now there`s a mood of excitement
and anticipation. But of course we may have the first great surprise today
up on arrivals. Well, this is what the Pope are all about, he often goes
off schedule and what we may expect today is that he meets Fidel Castro, of
course, the meeting with Raul Castro is tomorrow. Now, the Vatican has
hinted that the two may meet when they both have time. And today is
really, the time when that may happened. In the meantime, everything is
ready for his schedule tomorrow. We start tomorrow. Tomorrow there`s a
big mass here in Havana where we expect as many as one million people to
turn up in that Revolution Square, which can hold as many as 700,000. And
then he moves on to have another big open air mass before he moves on to
the United States -- Ari.

MELBER: All right. My thanks to NBC`s Claudio Lavanga.

And turning now to that second leg of the Pope`s historic trip. President
Obama and the first lady and President Obama will greet Pope Francis when
his plane lands at Andrews on Tuesday. Before welcoming to the White House
the next morning, making him only the third pope to ever actually visit the
White House. He will also address a joint session of Congress. He`s going
to visit ground zero in New York as well as canites (ph) a new saint. The
Pope also hoping to draw attention away from the red carpets and official
speeches toward some of the more marginalized members of American society.

He`ll visit inmates at the largest jail in Philadelphia, bless the food at
a Washington, D.C.`s soup kitchen. And meet with children at an elementary
school in the East Harlem section of New York City. There`s some new MSNBC
polling that shows about 49 percent of Americans hope to hear the Pope
speak about social and economic policy during his visit. Even more
Americans with the favorable opinion of this relatively outspoken pope.
The kind of poll numbers of course any politician would be pretty excited
to have.

And joining me from Boston this morning is Ray Flynn, former mayor of
Boston as well as a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. How are you?

RAY FLYNN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE HOLY SEE: Good morning. Nice to
be with you, Ari.

MELBER: Thanks for being here. This is an important trip. Important to
so many Americans. What are you looking to see from it?

FLYNN: Well, you`re right, it`s a very important trip, it`s the first time
Francis has ever stepped foot in the United States of America, he`s very
popular here. I just hoped that have been around these visits by
presidents of the United States with the holy father in a number of
occasions in the past. I just hope that the message is really is more
about being a servant rather than being dealing with public divisive
political issues here in the United States. In other words, Francis will
come here as the chief servant not as the chief politician. This is a very
contentious political environment in the United States, presidential
campaign, division like we have never experienced it. Pope Francis is not
coming here to arbitrate those issues, he`s here to talk to the wide range
number of people, Catholics and non-Catholics who really admire him and at
this time, probably more so than ever, even the time when I was traveling
with Pope John Paul II during the height of communism, this is more
critical time, as far as the future and the young people of the United
States of America are concerned.

MELBER: This Pope is though, you mentioned division, he`s associated with
calling for unity and action on issues like economic quality, like even
climate change. I supposed, I took as, he doesn`t view those as
necessarily divisive even if they are in the short term.

FLYNN: Well, we both know following American politics, there is great
division between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, one is not evil,
and the other one is good. There is common ground that a good leader would
bring them together. I think that`s what Pope Francis can do is he can
find that common ground that is so critical and is so absent in America
today. And I think the way he can do that, is not trying to convince
political leaders. They`re trying to convince the American public. You
know, as the American voters go, so will the politicians go. And I think
he can have that level of moral influence with the American people,
Catholics and non-Catholics as well.

So, to try to turn some of those numbers around so that the people are
demanding unity in America including, including politics so things can get
done to help working class, poor people, needy people make America a better
country. That`s what Francis message will be all about. Now, how that is
interpreted by the American media, I don`t know. I hope it`s not
considered as divisive, I hope it`s considered as the Pope came here to the
United States in a time of political trouble and he found unity among the
people, not necessarily the politicians.

MELBER: And Victoria, you think about Latinos in this, 40 percent of the
51 million Catholics in America are Latinos so this is as much about that
type of diversity as it is our religious pluralism.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: And let me give you another number Ari, over 60 percent
of Latinos under the age of 18th are Catholic. So this is where the base
of the Catholic Church is. So, when Pope Francis says is here, he`s going
to be speaking to all Americans, to Catholics. But I think Latinos and
particular are that lifeblood of the Catholic Church going forward.

MELBER: All right. My thanks to Ray Flynn as well for coming on for this
discussion. We are going to have a lot more pope coverage at the week.
Thank you, sir.

FLYNN: Yes, sir.

MELBER: Still ahead. A quaint and charming Mackinac Island in Michigan is
a lot less peaceful this weekend because some politics is in town,
republican presidential candidates flocking there.

And next, why some of those marriage licenses issued in Rowan County,
Kentucky may not be valid after all only days after Kim Davis returns to
work. All the details ahead, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FLYNN: Some new developments this morning in the controversy surrounding
county clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue a marriage licenses to same
sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky. There`s concern that some of those
licenses issued since her return to work may actually not be valid.

NBC`s Janet Shamlian has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KIM DAVIS, ROWAN COUNTY CLERK: I don`t want to be in the spotlight.

JANET SHAMLIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But this
morning, Kim Davis is back in the spotlight. After returning to her job
this week, saying she won`t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but
won`t stop her deputies from doing so.

DAVIS: Any marriage license issued by office will not be issued or
authorize by me.

SHAMLIAN: A judge ordered Davis should not refrain from the issuing of
licenses to eligible couples.

KENDALL COFFEY, MSNBC POLITICS NATION: The judge`s order was very emphatic
and very broad.

SHAMLIAN: Now, deputy clerk Brian Mason says, Davis may have violated that
order by making modifications to the licenses, including deleting her name
and all mention to Rowan County. In a court filing Friday, Mason`s
attorney contends the changes may have, quote, "Raised to the legal of
interference against the court`s orders." Davis` attorney downplays the
concerns writhing, "Kim Davis said Monday that her name and title would not
appear on those forms. And later that same day, the Governor said the
forms were valid. In a separate filing the American Civil Liberties Union
called into questions the altered licenses saying, they quote, "Create an
unconstitutional two tier system of marriage licenses issued in Kentucky."
Davis was jailed five days for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses
-- only after her deputy granted back.

Janet Shamlian, NBC News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER: And the panel is back. Is this a good thing for the Republican
Party?

STUTTS: I`m utterly confused by this whole particular situation. She`s a
democrat, the Republicans have come in to support her.

MELBER: Mike Huckabee is a republican, though.

STUTTS: No, no, the Republicans -- some Republicans have come in to
support her. She went to jail, she should have either been impeached or
resigned or quit her job, like this whole thing is ridiculous, the law is
the law and if it can`t be followed, she should be push aside and the
people should follow the law. The law is the law, I mean, I don`t --
that`s how I see it.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, Victoria, I can`t really cover this as a legal
issue. Because there`s no legitimate legal question presented by this
series of events, but the Supreme Court has ruled, it is binding and this
is a very low level person that happened to get a lot of attention but
everyone knows how it ends with the right to marry and continuing in this
nation.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: It`s a political issue, you`re absolutely right, Ari,
and she`s keeping it alive. She`s keeping it alive for the 2016 election.
I`m going to be curious to see how relevant it is, we have seen Mike
Huckabee, Ted Cruz really try to pull this into the fore, but if the
Republican Party is going to say, you know what, it`s already decided, the
Supreme Court spoke, we have got bigger fish to fry politically, let`s not
focus on this. So, to me it`s a question mark where the fork in the road,
is the Republican Party going to keep this alive or not.

HUEY-BURNS: Well, it depends on what constituency they`re trying to appeal
to, so you did see Mike Huckabee kind of take this over as a campaign
event. Ted Cruz tried to get in there as you`ve mentioned. But then you
have candidates like John Kasich who just really doesn`t even want to touch
the issue, kind of brushes it, the law is the law, Jeb Bush is a similar
way. And it was brought up though right, in the republican debate over
this past week, so different candidates use it to different advantages.

STUTTS: Let me just say this. You`re a hundred percent right. It`s a
political issue which means this. The outragists have followed in on it.
Both on the right and on the left. Everybody is outraged about everything.
And then within about two months, we will forget about it because the law
stands.

MELBER: Well, that`s encouraging. (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

We do have another full hour of news and politics straight ahead including
the latest details on that arrest in the Phoenix shootings. We`ll going to
get you up to speed.

Also, where do the presidential candidates stand when they`re spending
their weekends, what are they trying to get out of their time off or on?
That`s all coming up, so to stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It`s Saturday morning and Donald Trump just fired back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MELBER: Good morning and thanks for staying with us here on Saturday. I`m
Ari Melber in for Steve Kornacki.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The always vocal Donald Trump has a new response this hour. I have
it right here. It`s for those who believe he should have corrected that
birther question at his New Hampshire rally, we`re going to get to that.

Also this hour lots of action in South Carolina and Michigan today, we have
those updates. And this morning after 20 million plus people watched in
another GOP the debate, are the Democratic candidates falling behind? Well
their first debate still a month out but today all of the major candidates
speaking from the same stage in New Hampshire, we have a live look at that
big event.

And separating fact and fiction at the Republican debate, we`re going to
give you a score card on those facts and the fiction and ask whether
there`s any kind of truth dividend for candidates who keep it real despite
the reality show taking over the GOP race.

I`ll be joined by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFall as well
to talk foreign policy today and whether Donald Trump, really has one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But first now we turn to the breaking news, right now within the
last ten minutes, Donald Trump, breaking his silence, it had been well over
a day. And now this morning he says with regard to the birther question in
the New Hampshire Town Hall on Thursday, that he did not confront or
address at the time, he says,

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: "This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy
by not saying something." And goes on to say what you see on the screen.
"Am I morally obligated to defend the President every time somebody says
something bad or controversial about him? I don`t think so."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s Donald Trump within the last 15 minutes.

I believe we have one more item to read.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

He says if someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the
President, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

You can see 300 plus re-tweets there in just the past few minutes. I want
to bring back our panel for some of this breaking news, from Donald Trump.
MSNBC Contributor, Victoria DeFrancesco, Republican consultant, Philip
Stutts, and Caitlyn Huey-Burns from Real Clear Politics.

This is the news that many had been waiting for going into the weekend, how
would he, would he? what would he say? And Victoria, what jumps out to me
is a fairly political style conventional candidate`s attempt to reframe
this from whether there was a false smear about at anti-Muslim bigotry into
whether he is obligated to defend the President about things that are "bad
or controversial."

I want to put a marker down, no-one is saying there`s anything bad about
being Muslim. The problem is that this was a false accusation that`s been
leveled against this President for years and is correlated with a lot of
the other problems. What do you think of Donald Trump`s statement here?
Again, I want to read it "am I morally obligated to defend the President
every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don`t
think so."

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Two things super politically savvy. And second he`s
having his cake and eating it too because he`s distancing himself from this
participant who made this outlandish remark. But at the same time, he`s
keeping that extreme part of the Republican party happy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: That part of the Republican party that thinks that
President Obama was not born in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: So I think he`s killing two birds with one stone with
that tweet.

STUTTS: Yes, I think I probably would have written a statement like that if
I was consulting onto a campaign. It`s a decent political statement.
Frankly, personally I would have just said this is a ridiculous charge, I
wouldn`t believe it because it`s not true. But that`s a - that`s a
reasonable statement. And the second part of this, which is this completely
is why Carly Fiorina off the headlines of every newspaper and every website
and every social media platform in the country.

MELBER: But on his - on his

STUTTS: Again, he`s made a shrewd move.

MELBER: You said you would write something like this for a Republican. For
a main stream Republican, why not go - why not go the distance and say this
isn`t true?

STUTTS: Because he has the right to do what he wants -- say what he wants
to say.

HUEY-BURNS: And this is keeping with his brand, right. He didn`t apologize
which is what his supporters don`t want him to do, they don`t want him to
apologize and he didn`t back away from any previous statements he`s made.
So he`s able to keep with his brand, keep his base in his - in his pocket.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: (Stop the anger.)

HUEY-BURNS: Exactly

STUTTS: Yes, but what I believe .

HUEY-BURNS: .And he gets another media out of it.

STUTTS: What I believe is, you know, he should come out and say, this is a
ridiculous charge and head it off immediately. But he`s got to be who he
is, and it`s a reasonable statement for him.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: You know what Trump is doing, is I do see a little bit of
that pivot toward a more establishment candidate being a little bit
shrewder, not being as outlandish. So he`s being outlandish but tamping it
down just a bit.

The question is, is this the beginning of Donald Trump becoming more of an
establishment candidate? I don`t know does he feels that this is what he
needs to do to survive? But at the same time he needs to keep that brand,
so I think we always need to see that outlandishness that Trump has based
his campaign on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Well also, let`s be clear. If you take a long view, this is still a
less bombastic form of birtherism than Donald Trump was pushing in 2011. I
mean this is a guy who landed on the tarmac in New Hampshire that cycle and
said, I take credit for the President releasing his long form birth
certificate.

I told the President to "get off the basketball court," which many people
saw as an anti-black appeal, a trafficking in a type of stereotype who said
you needed the President`s college records to find out who he really was
and told CNN just this year he still didn`t know where the President was
born.

So on the one hand, we have Donald Trump pushing this conversation
literally for years, on the hand today Phil we have Donald Trump trying to,
as you were saying have it both ways, and also sound less bombastic than
this while still inappropriate and still not dealing with the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STUTTS: He`s becoming political. B I`d say this, internal polling we see
he`s got about 10% of hard votes, 17 more he`s about 30% the rest of the
votes pretty soft, this may be appealing to that element of this.

But keep in mind this, come January 1, you`ve got a month before Iowa and
there will be $100 million from Super PACs dumped on his head, no pun
intended.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STUTTS: And that is going to knock him down. And maybe this is him
realizing it and trying to shore up some of the softer support he has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But we can do a little more on this, because we have the - again,
if you`re just joining us, this breaking news, of Donald Trump finally
issuing a public response on the birther issue.

I want to get us onto other things, Donald Trump, not the only story in the
world. In Michigan, a big event for all of the Republicans, the fight for
the party`s nomination reportedly led to some actual fist fighting. NBC
news campaign Shaquille Brewster on Mackinac Island in Michigan, the site
of the GOP Leadership Conference this weekend. What`s going on there?

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS: Yes, there was a small little scuffle
downtown here on Mackinac Island between a Rand Paul staffer and a Marco
Rubio staffer. A little bit of buzz yesterday but the excitement today is
over the Presidential candidates. Six candidates were expected to attend
this conference, that`s now down to five, Governor Scott Walker had to
cancel because of inclement weather, his press charter wasn`t able to make
it down on the island.

But over 2,200 people registered for this event. That`s the number the
chair said is the highest she`s ever seen. And she says it`s a reflection
of the excitement over the 2016 Presidential candidates.

Jeb Bush spoke to the conference last night. But later today will be Carly
Fiorina, Governor John Kaisic, Senator Ted Cruise, and Senator Rand Paul.

Now after all the candidates are done speaking there`ll be a straw poll
done. The results of that will be released at 10:00 p.m. tonight. And it
will be interesting to watch that because the front runners in the
Republican race, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are not speaking to the
convention goers here. So it will be interesting to see how the
establishment receive him when they`re not (inaudible) here.

MELBER: All right, it looks like a nice clubhouse, thanks to Shaq Brewster
for the report in Mackinac Island.

Also today we want to give you an update on what`s going on on the
Democratic side. All four major Democratic candidates taking the same stage
to address the New Hampshire Democratic Convention.

The biggest story though may be the Democrats this morning might be the big
name who isn`t there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I want to look at this. A number of reports that a group of
prominent Democratic donors asking Joe Biden to join this race, trying to
urge the reluctant Vice President to get in. The plea coming in a letter
that was written by Democratic activists who are not yet behind Hillary
Clinton, and they`ve racked up more than 50 high profile signatures.

The Wall Street Journal reporting Biden aides have been calling supporters
in recent days that suggest he is closer to joining the Presidential race.
They`re reporting discussions now focusing on the timing of that
announcement. Now that comes at a time when Hillary Clinton trails Bernie
Sanders in the latest opinion polls in New Hampshire.

MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald joins us live from Manchester.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How are you doing buddy?

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC HOST: Morning, how you doing?

MELBER: Good morning, we`ve got a lot, we`ve been juggling Donald Trump
there, finally breaking his silence. We`ve got the report from Michigan and
then where you are with the Democrats.

Number one walk us through what that means in an important state like New
Hampshire and then number two any thoughts you have on the Wall Street
journal`s continuing Biden coverage suggesting that at least people around
him have a lot more of the emotional fire than he suggested in that last
big interview.

SEITZ-WALD: Yes, all right, well today all eyes will be on Hillary Clinton
and Bernie Sanders who has been leading her. I mean the last six polls
Bernie Sanders has been ahead and if you add them all up and take the
average, he`s ahead by 10 points. So this is significant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEITZ-WALD: Hillary Clinton is going to try to show a very strong force
organizationally here, that`s why she`s got a lot of people behind me with
signs, showing that her staff is on the ground activating people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEITZ-WALD: And inside there`s going to be over 500 delegates from the
state party convention a lot of them wearing Hillary Clinton t-shirts. And
those are the people on the front lines of the primary, their the local
activists, the party chairmen, the state representatives, so she`s sending
a signal to Bernie Sanders, but also to Joe Biden out there, that she`s
locked down a lot of support here. There`s not a lot of room even though
she`s trailing in the polls.

On Biden, I mean you know he`s taking his time on this and the longer he
waits the more people are going to be wearing those Hillary Clinton shirts
inside. The fewer people he`s going to be able to bring on his side, and
he`s aware of that. So you know while there`s definitely some enthusiasm
out there I just don`t know how much longer he wait Ari.

MELBER: I`ll tell you what Alex, see if you -- if you can hear us stay with
us while we talk to the panel. I appreciate that up date. I want to bring
in the panel on the Democrats here.

As Alex is saying, you have Bernie Sanders making these gains, here he is
on the CBS Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a place we`ve seen a bunch of
candidates, talking about some of these issues. And look, there are people
in New Hampshire who think this is a real lead, this is a real thing. Take
a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: And what do you say to those people
who are there who say say I`m going to vote for Hillary Clinton because
Bernie Sanders can`t win in the general and I want us to keep the White
House so we can appoint, you know Supreme Court justices. That you`re
really a Ralph Nader figure more than you are a Presidential candidate.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let me
respond in two ways. Number one, if you look at the polls of me running
against Republicans, despite the fact that still in this country, 20%, 30%
40% of the people don`t know who I am or what I am fighting for, we do
almost as well and in some cases better than Hillary Clinton does today and
that will only get better in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Victoria, this is the opening of the sort of electability issue
with Bernie. It`s almost, it`s funny, it`s almost like there`s a feeling
that he is more honest and unique and straight forward than a lot of
politicians. That`s not really in doubt, and that`s usually the hardest
thing. And yet there`s no real belief fair or not, there`s no real belief
in the establishment that he could win.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: I think that with Bernie Sanders, and what`s so
interestingly, is that that he`s tapped into this populous vein that we`re
seeing with some of the Trump supporters. So Trump coming out and saying
hey we need to tax those hedge funders, we need to tax Wall Street and
which is not too different from what Bernie Sanders is saying.

So I still think it`s a stretch, but I do think there is that vein, that
thin vein of populism. And like you said Ari, he`s got that persona, he`s
got that genuine personality that a lot of people find lacking in Hillary
Clinton. So I think those are the two things that people are hanging for
seeing Bernie Sanders as a potential general campaigner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Well if it`s lacking in Hillary Clinton, and Alex you`re out there
on the road, you`re close to this stuff, listen to Hillary campaigning in
what some people took to be one of her most direct statements potentially
about Bernie Sanders, take a listen.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running for President to
continue that work as a proud Democrat, as someone who has watched what
works in America, not some abstract ideology that is all about helping the
rich and nobody else. All about letting corporations do whatever they want
to busts unions, exploit workers, pollute the environment. We cannot go
back there. We must take a stand for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: If you listen to the subtly there, there`s a critique of a sort of
a right wing economic policy. But there`s also the language of a proud
democrat when Bernie Sanders, Clinton aides say isn`t even a member of this
party they`re a little baffled at how he`s gotten so far with this issue.

SEITZ-WALD: Absolutely Ari, and that`s the message she hasn`t quite gotten
to really pinning it on Bernie Standers. Yet she still has refused to say
his name on the stump. But the message is basically, let`s get serious
here, this guy is not a Democrat, I`ve been a democrat my entire life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEITZ-WALD: I`ve bled for the party, I`ve worked for the party, you know
and whose going to win a general election? Bernie Sanders has still so far
failed to pick up a single endorsement from the member of the house, from a
member of the senate, from a sitting governor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEITZ-WALD: Just yesterday I was with Hillary Clinton here in New
Hampshire where she picked up the endorsement of the Governor of New
Hampshire. Also this week she has picked up the endorsements of the
Governor of Vermont, Bernie Sanders home state, and the former Governor of
Vermont, Howard Dean.

So you know she`s saying yes this is nice, Bernie Sanders has these crowds,
he`s ahead in the polls right now but they still are hoping that you know
by the4 time voters actually go to the polls or actually go to the
caucuses, their stronger senses will prevail and they`ll decide that
Hillary Clinton is the right person for the general election even if they
like Bernie Sanders now.

MELBER: Well and Caitlyn, I wonder whether that politically makes any
sense. If you want to say that you`re fighting for the nomination, you
don`t take it for granted and you`re behind this guy now in key states and
you won`t mention his name, you`re going to have to mention his name when
you`re on the debate stage with him.

HUEY-BURNS: Yes, I was going to say I`m really looking forward to the
debates to see how they interact with each other.

But to the point about endorsements, it`s interesting. I mean it`s almost
like Trump. I mean Trump wouldn`t want any endorsements from the Republican
party. But for Bernie Sanders you know not having that establishment cred
behind him really fuels his campaign. But on the other hand what that --
what those endorsements provide is the kind of the ground game is
especially important. How do you translate support in the polls to actual
votes and getting people out in Iowa on that cold night to caucus for you,
that energy really helps certainly, but actually the infrastructure in
place you know has to be in place.

MELBER: Well in Iowa, it`s not just governors, it`s actually having all the
local apparatus, the local state legislators, and precinct cabinets that`s
a piece of it.

Alex Seitz-Wald, thanks for giving us your take on the road. Still ahead,
and next, separating fact from fiction at the Reagan Presidential Library
this week, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We want to have some real talk right. No-one really expects 11
politicians to spend three hours on the stage without serving up some
misleading statements. And even the most upstanding polls are known to
exaggerate.

But for all the pomp and high-fiving and low fiving in Wednesday`s debate
there was one misleading exchange with very serious and immediate
misinformation for the 23 million people watching at home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Just the other day, 2 years old 21/2 years old, a beautiful child,
went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous
fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic. I only say it`s not -- I`m in
favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is true that we are probably
giving way too many in too short a period of time. And a lot of
pediatricians now recognize that and I think are cutting down on the number
and the proximity in which those are done.

TRUMP: And that`s all I`m saying.

RAND PAUL: I`m all for vaccines, but I`m also for freedom. I`m also a
little concerned about how they`re bunched up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Donald trump trafficking in discredited claims that vaccinations
could lead to autism. And maybe he doesn`t know better, but the two doctors
in the race, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul, failed to fully correct Trump
leaving many viewers potentially confused about the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: This is a real public health priority. In reflecting that The
American Pediatric Association had to issue a public response correcting
the debate and noting there`s no science supporting the staggering of
vaccinates and increases the risk in exposure to potential diseases for
children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And the trio of Republicans were clearly playing to some kind of
small but maybe passionate group of voters who have latched on to pseudo-
science here. Fact checkers at the Washington Post found overall over a
dozen other major misstatements. Yet beyond criticism, is there any
political cost to this kind of approach to the facts?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: As summer turns to fall, we are entering a period of increased
seriousness on the trail. As the old saying goes voters turn from dating
the candidates to contemplating marriage. And with this seriousness, there
may actually be some kind of accuracy dividend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The race is often measured by who`s ahead in the early polls or
who`s in the conservative establishment lane or the you know moderate lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But Trump is currently ahead of Bush in the overall poll and we
know that. But as millions of Americans hear from the candidates you can
also measure this race by who is credible. Who do people trust?

And that same poll asked whether the candidates were honest and trust
worthy and the results are flipped. Trump, not in the lead, Bush beating
him actually by 17 points.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And a majority of Republicans tell pollsters they have not made a
final decision on who they support. When that time comes, will credibility
start to matter more and does that doom Donald Trump? Our panel is back,
that is the question. And your answers.

HUEY-BURNS: Well I think the trust issue with Jeb Bush helps him a lot. I
mean if you think about all of the things that Donald Trump has offered,
it`s a long list and he doesn`t - he hasn`t said how he will do most of
these things.

So if you`re a core part of his base, you probably do believe that he will
eventually deliver. If not, that`s a huge question. And it makes a
difference when you`re looking at all of these different candidates and
deciding who to pick, that number about how many people haven`t made up
their minds yet is really telling and most people really don`t until days
before the primaries.

MELBER: Well and Phil there seems to be a difference between exaggerating
about how good a used car drives, or how good your business record was as
some of the candidates pump up their resumes, and doing what Donald Trump
did up there, which had a long list of objectionable conduct might be one
of the more far reaching damaging things he`s done which is using that
platform - that public platform to ferociously mislead on a matter of what
for some families not exaggerate a is a matter of life and death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STUTTS: Let me take my political hat off, my wife ran the D.C. Autism
program for our D.C. public schools under Michael Reed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

I have a lot of history on those, it`s outrageous what he said, we know
that it`s not caused by vaccines, so listen the exaggerations of everything
else, I know this is shocking that 11 people trying to win a nomination
would exaggerate a few things here or there. Put Trump aside because it was
really out of bounds. And I think you nailed something on the day
(inaudible) and we remember from 11 years ago (inaudible) married Kerry
which is what Hillary`s trying to you know get right now, which I think
that`s more or less her point.

But overall look one interesting stat that came out of there, which we
haven`t seen a lot of polling hit post-debate. But a lot of data analytics
firms came out, and did word play and data play on analytics on how people
used words. Carly Fiorina won the debate hands down according to most
pundits and everybody else.. She used the words I and me less than anybody
else in that debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Huh, that`s interesting. You know you mention her, we have video
of one of the things she said that didn`t land because it`s not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: These planned parenthood videos are disturbing in their own right.
Although they have also been edited and sort of selectively applied. But
what they do show is bad enough in many people`s views. She went beyond
that and sort of described a scene that she claimed to have seen in the
video that isn`t in the video, this is some of the things that the fact
checker seized on. Take a listen to her talking about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack
Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it`s
heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it
alive to harvest its brain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Victoria, I suppose the weird part of that is the emphatic nature
that she talks about. You have to watch this video. That scene doesn`t
exist.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: It doesn`t. And the other part I found interesting Ari
was she called out Barack Obama, but she called out Hillary Clinton. Right
here, Carly Fiorina consistently during the debate is trying to call out
Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: So she`s trying to position herself as I am the other
woman who can take down Hillary Clinton and she had, at least she felt that
she had to go this extra mile and fib.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: The question is, are Republicans going to come out and
say, wait, you can`t play dirty like that. You can`t do this.

MELBER: And to the question of whether facts matter, Philip I mean she then
came out last nights when asked about it and said, the main stream media
says it doesn`t exist, I went on TV the morning after the debate and ABC
news told me I was mistaken. And then she the tapes don`t exist, the images
are real. Yes ladies and gentlemen they are real.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There`s a big jump there from yes, some of the tapes are real but
she won`t - she thinks she can navigate this entire thing without ever
acknowledging that the scene doesn`t ..

STUTTS: Have you watched them?

MELBER: I have.

STUTTS: And how brutal or horrible are they?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I will tell you there`s stuff on those tapes that`s tough to watch.
But that scene that she described, the scene .

STUTTS: There is a baby in one of the scenes that is moving. Now she`s
taking from the other tapes and saying harvesting and all that, and she`s
combining it into one story. That`s probably not right but no-one`s going
to come out on the Republican side and say that.

But overall, those tapes are horrendous. In fact my old boss and someone I
still do work with, Bobby Jindal, he had a protest in front of the
Governor`s mansion in Louisiana of all the planned parented people. He put
a screen up and started playing the tapes and they all ran away. Nobody -
this isn`t - some people are offended, n-one - everyone is offended by
those.

HUEY-BURNS: I don`t think that will - right, I agree with you I don`t think
that will hurt her among the base, but I do think her business record will
become under tighter scrutiny - more scrutiny.

You saw someone at the Donald Trump rally the other night who had walked
for her old company and said that she was personally laid off. I think her
business record and the jobs lost under that, people have been personally
affected by it. And she has --

MELBER: Which is another factual empirical debate over what happened and
what do the numbers and facts mean there. So that`s also an issue on how
she talks about it.

The panel stays with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Will Carly Fiorina`s post-debate momentum, this politics part of
it, not just the facts, help her move up in the polls. And next, again
we`ll have an update from Phoenix this hour on the arrest in that string of
interstate shootings we`ve been covering, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We have a report this morning out of Arizona. Police have arrested
a suspect for four, at least four shootings on those shootings along that
busy Phoenix interstate. They took 21 year old Lesley Allan Merrit, Junior
into custody last night. NBC`s Gadi Schwartz has the latest.

GADI SCHWARTZ, NBC NEWS: After a three-week man hunt in Phoenix, a S.W.A.T.
take down at WalMart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tackled him maybe 10 feet inside the automatic
doors and then within two minutes you know they had him handcuffed and they
were basically walking him out.

SCHWARTZ: Police have arrested the man they think was terrorizing I-10 by
shooting at cars and trucks speeding down the highway.

The initial announcement came in the form of a tweet from the Governor Doug
Ducey saying we got him. Investigators are releasing very little about what
led them to the 21-year-old Leslie Allen Merritt, Jr., a local landscaper.

Investigators say ballistic evidence from the gun owned by the suspect
matches the first four of the shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The subject is in custody because the weapon that he
owned is forensically linked to these crimes. Because the question he
owned is forensically linked to those crimes.

SCHWARTZ: In video posted on what appears to be his Facebook page, Merritt
is seen shooting a gun.

In many of the attacks drivers like Robert McDonald narrowly missed being
struck while behind the wheel.

ROBERT McDONALD: I came literally 24 to 36 inches from losing my life.

SCHWARTZ: But even with the arrest, police are still on the lookout.
Investigators say ballistics only connects the suspect to four of the 11
confirmed highway shootings in Phoenix. That means there could be copycats
still out there this morning. Police still asking the public for their
help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Gadi Schwartz reporting there. Now still ahead,

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Foreign policy dominated the Republican Presidential debate but the
candidate at center stage showed very little authority on the issues.
Imagine that.

And next, can a strong debate performance propel a long shot candidate
forward? Stay with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We`ve been talking this morning about Hillary Clinton firing back
hard at Carly Fiorina for knocking her record of Secretary of State, and
Fiorina`s own record also coming into question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So I only say this, she can`t run any of my companies, that I can
tell you.

FIORINA: Honestly Mr. Trump, I find it quite rich that you would talk about
this.

MELBER: Yesterday`s front page of the "L.A Times" does show how HP`s
falling stock occurred during Fiorina`s tenure.

Politically Fiorina`s flying high right now at the Heritage Summit last
night in South Carolina. Many of the Republicans MNSBC spoke to had her in
their top three. But does the attention bring scrutiny that her business
record can`t handle?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Will Fiorina be able to turn this buzz that she`s been earning on
the debate stage into momentum and fund raising and all the real things
that propel a candidate.

Annie Linskey national reporter at the Boston Globe" rejoins us here from
the campaign trail.

You look at Carly obviously this moment I will say it seems like the media
partly seems to decide that they wanted her to have the next moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: She did so well on the debate stage, that I don`t think is in
quest. And yet as someone who has never held political office and unlike
Donald Trump is not exactly standing on a private business or a self-
funding operation and hasn`t got the funds, there isn`t a clear path here
for her.

ANNIE LINSKEY, BOSTON GLOBE: That`s right, and I think that you`re
absolutely right to talk about the scrutiny she`s going to start to
receive.

I wrote a story for the Globe a few weeks ago you know pointing that she
laid off people, you know not only nationally, but a few hundred people
right here in New Hampshire, that first in the nation`s primary state. And
you can`t imagine that place particularly well when some of these people
start coming forward and talking about it. But that being said, and this
was a huge problem for her in her 2010 race when she was running for
senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LINSKEY: So you know I think you`re going to start hearing a lot more of
that conversation. And I also think you`re right about the pathway. I mean
she`s been very smart, almost running sort of a gorilla campaign so far,
but now that she`s emerging as one of the top chair candidates, she doesn`t
really have the ground game in the estates, and at least as of July when we
last saw had her fundraising numbers she didn`t have the money to fund that
ground game. I mean she does have a Super PAC, but you know that`s helping
her respond to some of the attacks. But to have people on the ground
that`s something that she`s going to need if she`s going to want to turn
herself into a serious contender for the very top of the ticket.

MELBER: How do voters in your view look at the fact that she lost the last
race?

LINSKEY: I mean I think it`s pretty significant. She -- you know, and not
only voters, but up top Republicans say this too

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINSKEY: That the Presidency is not an entry level job, and they would have
liked to see her maybe run for Governor of California or as an open senate
seat you know opening up there with Boxer retiring and maybe run for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LINSKEY: So that has been a concern not only for voters but also for the
top donors in the party who have said to her, look, you know we like you,
how - what a good communicator you are, but we would like to see a little
more experience.

MELBER: Yes, Victoria you are familiar with her earlier run, there seems to
be a very real difference in this primary in a period of anti-Washington
sentiment from saying I never held office because I`ve been focused on
other things, medicine, a successful business, whatever. And saying I have
never held office because I can`t win when I run.

DEFANCESCO: There`s that, and I think in 2010, a race I followed very
closely, she did have some of that outsider appeal when she was running
against Barbara Boxer, and she was doing well and she kept rising and
rising in the polls up until early September she was within points of
Barbara Boxer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: And then Barbara Boxer released the ad where she
highlights the loss of 30,000 jobs, the jobs going overseas and within days
Carly Fiorina drops precipitately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: So I think we are going to see the same strategy right
because she`s rising and one of the Republican candidates is going to
decide to do a copycat act.

MELBER: Well yes, if she gets any kind of significant traction, then it`s
worth it. You know right now it`s not clear you need to do that ad.

I want to thank Annie Linksey, you`ve been in both hours of Up today but I
know you`ve been on the road. If you come here in person we`ll get you some
doughnuts I promise OK?

LINSKEY: Excellent. I look forward to it.

MELBER: All right, thanks to you Annie.

Up next, Donald Trump`s Kryptonite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What kept the Republican candidate quiet during Wednesday night`s
debate?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It`s no surprise that Donald Trump spoke the most of any candidate
in Wednesday night`s debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He ran up the clock 19 minutes, that three minutes more than
anybody else according to the national public radio tally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But almost none of those 19 minutes were spent talking foreign
policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Trump watched for the most part as the other candidates on stage
discussed Syria, Iran, Russia. The little time he did devote offered very
little substance on policy.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: What would you do right now if you were president to get
the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: Right, so number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no
respect for President Obama. Zero. Syria is a mess. You look at what`s
going on with ISIS. Now think of this, we`re fighting ISIS, ISIS wants to
fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other
and pick up the remnants. I would talk to him, I would get along with him.
I believe, and I may be wrong, in which case I`d probably have to take a
different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that
this country is not getting along with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: For a substantive assessment of Trump`s diplomacy this morning, we
turn to a respected Diplomat, Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to
Russia, and now a Professor at Stanford. Good Morning, Sir.

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Good morning.

MELBER: Well let me start with Donald Trump`s main focus which is a
personal aspect of diplomacy. One can think of examples where that arises.
There`s been many reports in the Israeli press that Benjamin Netanyahu has
a certain personal view of Barack Obama above and beyond the policies, that
may have affected at times their relationship. But even in that example
people say it`s much more about the policy, what your stance is on the Iran
deal for example, than anything super personal.

In your experience as a Diplomat, is Donald Trump over playing the personal
aspect of diplomacy?

MCFAUL: Of course, and especially this idea that if Putin respects me, he`s
going to do what I want him to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCFAUL: And I would say two things on that, number one, respect is a two-
way street, and if another leader acts in a disrespectful way, as in
invading Ukraine for instance, why one would want to mentor or nurture
respect with that leader is strange to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCFAUL: But second, nobody does anybody any favors in diplomacy just
because they get along and can have beers together. At the end of the day,
our President I hope including our future President and all Presidents and
Prime Ministers around the world are advocating in the national interest of
their country. And that is what drives conflicts. In the margins, having a
better relationship with a leader maybe can help but I would say only in
the margins.

MELBER: From watching that debate or whatever else you`ve seen of him, do
you intuit any kind of coherent foreign policy plan from Donald Trump at
this juncture?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Or is this the early season, the silly season, and even you know
even exercising some attempt to appraise him is to give him too much
credit?

MCFAUL: Well, I don`t know what the strategy is yet, I don`t know what the
policy is yet, I don`t want to say I`ve seen everything he`s said but I did
watch the debate.

You know right now it`s just about and I would say with other candidates
too, it`s just about declaring the problem, right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCFAUL: To say that Syria is a mess, for instance, yes, I think most of the
world would agree with that. That`s not the question. The question is what
would be your policy to deal with the mess? What would be your policy to
get Putin out of Ukraine for instance? What would be your policy towards
the Chinese and the Mexicans who are evidently are - I can`t remember his
phrase -- eating our lunch, I`ll try to be diplomatic. Well how would you
change that and do it in a way that you would still maintain respect and
cordial bilateral relationships with those countries. That`s what we need
to see moving further on, or at least I need to see. Maybe everybody else
doesn`t care. But I, you know somebody who thinks about American foreign
policy, would like to hear more about what exactly the strategy would be
for changing the course that Donald Trump has rightly said needs to be
changed.

MELBER: Well and looking more broadly at the nature of the foreign policy
debate, such as his and you mentioned having watched that debate. Is there
sort of a frustration that is - that is being vocalized here, that people
do wish we had better options, particularly in the Middle East, when you
look at the migrant crisis and the fallout with ISIS. And yet people across
the spectrum do not want another ground war, be that against ISIS or Assad
or some hybrid strategy. Are we seeing of the breakdown of a coherence in
the foreign policy discussion because like it or not the options and
capacity are so unforgiving?

MCFAUL: I think that`s exactly right, especially in the Middle East.
Because on the one hand, including myself and I know many people in the
Obama administration, are deeply frustrated by our inability to stop the
violence there and now stop the immigration out of the region.

On the other hand, the instruments available are not very effective, number
one, and two, there`s not a lot of public support for using them. So the
question and the debate has to be, will you send American soldiers to
Syria? Not you know the problem in Syria, you know how will you deal with
it? And we say it`s a problem. That`s the hard question, and that`s the one
when I hope as we move through the debates we get better clarity on who
wants to do that and who doesn`t because that`s where the rubber hits the
road in terms of what the American people will support.

MELBER: And finally ambassador, did you take anything positive from the
rhythm of the debate being a little less interventionist. The one thing
Trump said was different was that he wanted to - take credit for being
anti-Iraq war citing 2004 statements. And then Rand Paul of course said
very clearly there are a lot of problems in the world that don`t
necessarily get better with U.S. Intervention.

MCFAUL: Well, the two places where I saw real division was one on that and
so there`s a real division in the Republican party about that. And by the
way I would say just analytically, as somebody who teaches American foreign
policy, the divides within the parties about foreign policy are much
greater than the divides between the parties. It`s a different --
cleavages, right?

The second one was about Putin. So Trump wants to sit down and talk to
him. Carly Fiorina doesn`t want to talk to him at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCFAUL: That is a clear distinction about how to deal with big difficult
countries in the world. And I hope, moving forward on both of those issues,
we`ll get more granularity about the differences. And then people can
decide what foreign policy they would like to support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: All right, Ambassador Michael McFaul, thanks for your time.

MCFAUL: Yes, thanks for having me.

MELBER: More to come still this hour, including, have you ever wished you
could pick and choose your President the same way you pick someone to date?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There is an app for that. Of course, there is. That`s next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: A busy morning. Let`s get you caught up on some other fun headlines
making news with today`s panel starting with the Washington Post story.
There is now a tinder-like app for matching with the Presidential
candidates. Tinder being the very simple dating app. It`s called voter.
You can answer eight basic questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: . And you find a match. You swipe right for yes, left for no. There
is a second level of questions if you want more policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Caitlyn, you are a -- probably a millennial, if I had to guess.

HUEY-BURNS: Sure, how did you know?

MELBER: So tinder, going to the voting world, sounds like a bad idea to me.

HUEY-BURNS: Well, as a reporter, I`m concerned about, you know, the future
of our jobs. If there`s just an app for these things now --

MELBER: Well you think people are listening to you to decide how to vote,
are you under that impression?

STUTTS: (Inaudible) Presidential campaign, or candidate could swipe and
deny the voter that they`re matched with? Now that would be .

(CROSS-TALK)

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: As a professor, I`m going to ask my students to use this.
Maybe this will get them interested in politics. Maybe this will get them,
you know, into the back and forth of the presidential race.

MELBER: See, I got to tell you I`m sort of reminded of a famous quote
that`s attributed to Albert Einstein but it`s one of those that`s kicked
around the internet where he said everything should be as simple as
possible but never more so.

And it`s all well and good to clarify things and make them simple. This
seems overly so and simplistic. If your actually going to take people and
take this race that lasts so many months and put them in the motif of, oh,
let me look at a face. This is not about attraction. This is not about who
you want to have a beer with like they said about W vs. Gord. Look at the
face, answer a couple questions and swipe. I don`t know if that`s the
format we want people using.

STUTTS: Not about attractions but attention spans.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: And emotion, so much emotion goes into the choice.

HUEY-BURNS: Well there are so many candidates, too. I mean you ask people
who they`re interested in and they cannot list the whole field or the names
of everybody in the field.

STUTTS: Well that`s the nerds like us.

MELBER: Well not to be a total grump but that would be the one positive. If
it gets people actually looking and realizing you know there`s so many
choices.

There`s a new New York magazine cover with a founding father of sorts on
it. Take a look. Let`s see if we can see it up on the screen, there it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Donald trump is saving our democracy by Frank Rich. You have to
read the article to decide if that is some kind of sarcasm. What do you
think of him in that satiral hair-do?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUEY-BURNS: That can`t be his real hair.

DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: No, I`m saying that that was hair. And then I`ve not
read the article yet. I`m going to reserve judgment on that headline until
I read.

MELBER: You`re the Republican here.

STUTTS: Newspapers, magazines, hard copy publications aren`t going very
far. So put a little Donald Trump out there and you`ll get a lot of sales.

MELBER: Yes, I`m familiar with that dynamic. Atlanta General Constitution
reports, this is our last one, Free Krispy Kreme`s, that`s the doughnuts,
on talk like a pirate day. So if you go into the doughnut shop and you`re
willing to talk like a pirate, you`ll get a free glazed doughnut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: For loyal viewers of Up with Steve Kornacki, you know doughnuts are
a big thing around here.

STUTTS: I`ve eaten one on air.

MELBER: But I`m not talking like a pirate this morning.

What do you think about - yes, my crew is saying we have to go so.

HUEY-BURNS: Entertaining, sure.

MELBER: And we`re going to leave it there. And lucky you lucked out, you
don`t have to talk like a pirate more about it.

Thanks to this morning`s panel, Victoria DeFrancesco, Phillip Stutts, and
Caitlyn Huey-Burns. Thank you for getting up with me I`m Ari Melber in for
Steve Kornacki today. You can find me on twitter @arimelber or email
ari@msnbc.com.

MSNBC`s Melissa Harris-Perry is straight ahead.


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