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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: October 24, 2015
Guest: David Brock, Steve LaTourette, Ben Domenech, April Ryan, Gavin
Newsom


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hillary`s best week ever.

Good morning. Thanks for getting UP with us. We`ll bring you the
highlights of Rachel Maddow`s exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton in
just a moment.

But first we want to take you to Mexico where the Pacific Coast of that
country is weathering the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make
landfall. Hurricane Patricia made landfall as a category 5 storm. It`s
now weakened to a hurricane 1, but it is still a very dangerous storm.

MSNBC Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider joins us now. Bonnie, how is it
going?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, Richard, it`s going a little
bit better today than it was yesterday. This is what it looked like a
category 5. Imagine it going from a tropical storm to the category 5, the
most intense ever in just 24 hours. That`s exactly what Patricia did when
it made landfall yesterday evening. And now the storm is breaking up a bit
which is some good news. We`re starting to see some improvements in what
is happening. And we`re going to keep looking at that. We`re actually
looking for things to get a little bit better as the storm continues to
work its way onshore. So, keep that in mind.

Really what we`re looking at, let`s just zoom into the area and you can see
some of the clouds are starting to break up a little bit as we go
throughout much of the satellite perspective into the region. So overall,
what we`re looking at are some improvements in the forecast for Mexico, but
first we`ll have to get through unfortunately this. Can we zoom in right
here into Puerto Vallarta? I want to show that you luckily much of the
region did not see as much intensity as we did as we could have seen with
the storm system. We can go ahead and show the track now and what we`re
looking at with the Trump is definitely the storm working its way onshore
and we`ll see some improvements there eventually.

So there we go. Okay. So there is the track for Saturday. And you can
see that by the time we get to Saturday afternoon, the storm becomes a lot
weaker. So that is some good news. Here we are at the current conditions,
we have 75-mile-per-hour winds. Still a category 1. So going from
category 5 to category 1. North, north easterly movement at 21 miles per
hours. So, that is what we`re looking at with this system. And it`s
definitely going to be something to keep in mind as we go forward. So
we`re watching for this as well and we`re checking things out into Texas,
as well and we`re going to show that in just a little bit. But the main
thing to notice that, into Houston, we`re going to see big threat to
rainfall going to see big threat for rainfall going forward, possibly even
up to eight inches -- Richard.

WOLFFE: Thanks for updating us. Weather Channel`s Bonnie Schneider.

And now to the presidential race where the three surviving democratic
candidates are in Iowa today. For the most important political event
before the state`s caucuses. That`s the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Des
Moines tonight where Hillary Clinton will cap off what must count as the
best week of her campaign so far. First, Vice President Joe Biden decided
not to run for president on Wednesday. Eliminating her biggest threat.
And then late Thursday night, Clinton emerged unscathed from 11 hours of
testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. We`ll have much
more on that later in the hour.

But before Clinton made her way back to the campaign trail yesterday, she
sat down with MSNBC`s Rachel Maddow and she revealed how she plans to move
forward in today`s political climate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will go anywhere, talk to
anybody, anytime, to try to find common ground, to try to achieve our
national objectives. But I`ll also stand my ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Joining us now from Iowa, site of tonight`s Jefferson Jackson
Dinner is MSNBC political reporter Alex Seitz-Wald. Also joining us is
MSNBC News senior political reporter Perry Bacon, Jr. and MSNBC.com senior
editor Beth Fouhy, both of whom covered Hillary Clinton during her 2008
campaign. Thanks for joining us this morning.

BETH FOUHY, MSNBC SENIOR EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: Hi, Richard.

PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Thanks, Richard.

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Thanks, Richard.

WOLFFE: So, I want to start out with Rachel`s interview with Hillary
Clinton because I think we`re beginning to get a sense of how Hillary
Clinton deals with the future, what kind of scenario she`d be like as a
president but also how she deals with her husband`s past, as president as
well. Let`s start with how she dealt with these questions from Rachel
about Defense of Marriage Act and "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell." Let`s listen to
that now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: In a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to
prevent going further.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: It was a defensive action.

CLINTON: It was a defensive action. "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" is something
that, you know, Bill promised during the `92 campaign to let gays serve
openly in the military. And it`s what he intended do.

(INAUDIBLE)

Yes. Oh my gosh! It was the most astonishing overreaction, but by the
military, by the Congress, and so "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" again became a
defensive line. So, I`m not in any way excusing them. I`m explaining
them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Alex, I want start with you. I`m not in any way excusing them,
I`m explaining them. We often think about how Hillary has to deal with the
Obama presidency. How has she tried to tip toe her way through her
husband`s presidency?

SEITZ-WALD: Yes, Richard, it`s a great question. I mean, there is a lot
of good things from the Bill Clinton legacy for her and there is also a lot
of less good things. The economy is obviously in the good camp. But for
the Democratic Party today in 2015, "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," DOMA, the 1994
crime bill, these are things that are not good legacy items for her to deal
with. She has to kind of, you know, straddle this balance between taking
the good things from Bill Clinton`s legacy while also saying as she often
does on the stump, I am not running for a third Bill Clinton term, I am not
running for a third Bill Clinton term, I`m running for my own term. She
also say, I`m not running for a third Barack Obama term.

But, you know, I think this is a danger when you`ve been in national
politics for 25 years as she has, she has a long record here, she`s evolved
just like a lot of the rest of the party. But the good thing going for
her, is that if you`re going to flip-flop on an issue, you want to flop in
the right direction.

WOLFFE: Right.

SEITZ-WALD: And for the Democratic Party today, she has moved in the
correct direction. So, she`s not going to catch as much flak from say the
gay rights groups as --as she would, you know, if she had voted in the
other direction.

WOLFFE: I`m sure, it`s true. Perry, I want to play you some sound which
really gets to this issue about where does she position herself in relation
to the Obama legacy. Let`s start out with Vice President Biden and then go
to Rachel`s interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: Democrats should not only defend
this record and protect this record, they should run on the record. I
don`t think we should look at Republicans as our enemy. They are our
opposition. They`re not our enemies. And for the sake of the country, we
have to work together.

CLINTON: I want to build on the progress that they are leaving behind. I
feel very strongly about that. I want to go further, but I think the real
point of this election is whether or not the Republicans are going to be
able to turn the clock back and rip away the progress that has been made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: So Perry, it does sound like she listened to Joe Biden there that
she`s going to be running on that very clear Obama/Biden record.

BACON: I was there Richard. I don`t know what Biden was saying in the
first place on some level. If you watch the first debate, Clinton over and
over again in the debate said I support President Obama, I agree with his
record. She was asked where you differ from Obama and she wouldn`t give a
real answer versus Bernie Sanders criticized him, said economic growth
wasn`t strong enough, said the wealthy are getting too much. So I do think
Clinton is already running on the Obama record in a lot of ways. I do
think the thing that she might change is, if you notice with Rachel Maddow,
she didn`t repeat that enemy`s line. I think Vice President Biden did
point out that calling your option enemies is probably unwise and I expect
she won`t say that in the future.

WOLFFE: Right. And obviously she did that in the last debate. One area,
Beth, where she has broken has been about a foreign policy specifically
about Syria. So, I want to pull something that was very interesting there
from Rachel Maddow`s interview last night with Hillary Clinton about no fly
zones in particular.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Part of the reason I have proposed a no-fly zone as a coalition
effort, not a United States solo effort, is to have conversations with the
Russians at the table. Because the goal of any no-fly zone is not only to
provide safe areas for Syrians so they don`t have to be fleeing or continue
to be bombed by Assad supported now by the Russian, but to get some
leverage to get everybody at the table to try to creates a much of a cease-
fire including the Assad Forces with the Russians and Iranians, as well. I
think the no-fly zone which the Turks have asked for, for a long time and
humanitarian organizations have is a device as well as a potential outcome
to see how we get people to the table and the Russians would be certainly
warned. There has been military discussions now to as they say de-conflict
air space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Beth, this has been a complicated situation for the Obama
administration, a heated debate inside the White House. It`s even more
complicated now with the Russians involved. She`s clearly putting some
bright line here between herself and where the President is. It`s not easy
to take the American people, take American voters, never mind the
Department of Defense here, but it`s something she`s really sticking
herself to here.

FOUHY: Well, she has to. I mean, her legacy in foreign policy is twin to
his obviously because she was his first Secretary of State four years, so
she can`t really step too far away. On the other happened, President
Obama`s probably weakest polling right now is on foreign policy because of
the uproar and the upheaval in the Middle East, the tensions with Putin,
China, et cetera. So she really does have to step away and say, no, I`m
not going to do exactly what he is doing now. I`m going to be better at
it. And frankly her interview with Rachel really showed her command of the
issues.

WOLFFE: Right.

FOUHY: No republican that she`s potentially going to run against in 2016,
should she get the nomination is going to be able to speak with the
fluidity on foreign policy that she can.

WOLFFE: And it`s unfinished business with President Obama. And he hasn`t
got the solution to Syria. So, there she is coming in with the policy
proposal, there is no real down side among democratic voters, is there?

FOUHY: No. Certainly not on this. And it`s an opportunity for her to
show her mastery on these issues which is unparalleled frankly on the
Democratic Party or on the Republican Party.

WOLFFE: Alex, I just want to finish up with you in Iowa, the latest NBC
News/"Wall Street Journal" poll gives her a commanding lead. Fifty eight
percent against Bernie Sanders 33 percent. Of course there were some very
strong polls back in 2007 and 8 this terms of where Hillary Clinton was
beating then-Senator Obama. But are you hearing these polls from the
Clinton campaign saying, look how strong we are?

SEITZ-WALD: Right, Richard. Well, the Clinton campaign is trying to be
very careful here. They know that this has been an unusually good week and
they`re trying not to get used to it. I was talking to a senior official
yesterday who was joking that, you know, we in the press are all saying
nice things about the Clinton campaign now. But next week or the week
after that will probably turn around and after suffering through the
summer, they have learned to try to mostly ignore us whether that`s smart
or not. But, you know, there is no doubt that Iowa is really since day one
where Hillary Clinton puts all her eggs. She lost in 2008, that really
handed Barack Obama the pathway to the nomination.

And they think if they can win here through superior organization, through
outmaneuvering Bernie Sanders, that they can head into New Hampshire where
Bernie Sanders has been strong and even if he wins there, they can kind of
write it off as, well, he`s from Vermont, it`s a native sun status and they
have already secured Iowa and move on to South Carolina, state in the South
where they will going to be much stronger regardless of what happens. So
that is why Iowa is so important. That`s why tonight is so important.
Already, just to my right here, there have been dozens of activists with
the Hillary Clinton campaign getting ready, organizing. They have signs
up. They really want to show a strong show of support here and send a
signal to Bernie Sanders that he`s better step it up if he`s going to try
to compete here.

WOLFFE: Okay, guys. Thank you for that. But please stick around. We got
much more on the Hillary up ahead. The latest on Hurricane Patricia is
coming up as the storm continues to push further inland. And next, Hillary
Clinton is facing a very familiar opponent in 2016. We`ll explain right on
the other side of this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Now to the state of the Democratic race for a nominee where
without Vice President Joe Biden as a competitor, Hillary Clinton`s biggest
opponent in 2015 is now her own performance almost eight years ago.
Clinton simply must do better than the eight point defeat she suffered last
time in Iowa. Back then, her campaign began to show cracks in the fall of
2007 when Clinton`s team focused on traditional caucus goers and devoted
insufficient resources to organizers on the ground which led to this
demonstration of organizational strength and popular appeal, a marching
band leading thousands of people to the site of the Jefferson Jackson
Dinner in Des Moines all in support of a certain young senator from
Illinois.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: When I am this party`s nominee, my
opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq or that I
gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran. Or that I support
Bush/Cheney policies, I`m not talking to leaders that we don`t like. I am
not in this race to fulfill some long held ambitions or because I believe
it`s somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here. I always knew this
journey was improbable. I`ve never been on a journey that wasn`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: That`s a young looking Barack Obama talking about his future
secretary of state. Fast forward to Iowa today where Democrats will be
caucusing in 99 days, three months from now, and the newest polling from
there shows Clinton now leading Bernie Sanders by ten points. But Iowa is
where Clinton`s new campaign strategy will be put to the test. It`s where
she returns again to that Jefferson Jackson Dinner tonight as the
democratic frontrunner. And she`s made it clear that this time will be
different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I`m here to ask for your help. I`m not taking a single primary
or caucus for granted. I`m building an organization in all 50 states
including Alabama.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Beth Fouhy, you and I were both there at the Jefferson Jackson
Dinner in Iowa. What did it feel like for you in the room?

FOUHY: Well, it felt like a huge miscalculation by the Clinton team. I
mean, remember, at that point she was well ahead of Barack Obama in Iowa at
that point in the race. And then suddenly this most important event of the
fall, she was outmanned, outgunned. He did everything right. The team did
everything right. Even the place that they sat in the hall --

WOLFFE: Right.

FOUHY: -- in front of the cameras was the right place to sit. And her
folks were off on the sides. And then let`s face it, I mean, he gave the
best speech of the whole campaign at that point. Barack Obama was
incredibly good as a building toward an outcome. He built toward that
outcome. Barack Obama is capable of giving a bad speech and up until that
point, he hadn`t really thrilled anybody for quite some time. But that
speech he really brought it. And the Clinton people were so surprised and
so sort of unprepared for that that they didn`t really know how to pivot
and take advantage of what her strengths were which were persistent
popularity in the polls. They just looked really sort of flabbergasted.
And she never really regained her footing as you know.

WOLFFE: Right. And it was interesting that he actually never referred to
her by name in that speech, but he obviously twisted the knife as we heard.

FOUHY: Right.

WOLFFE: Not unlike Hillary Clinton`s Benghazi Committee hearing where she
was diplomatic but still forceful there. I thought it was a very skillful
moment from Obama that they just didn`t see it coming.

FOUHY: Yes. And you know what, Bernie Sanders tonight is probably going
to try do the same thing. He`s been very diplomatic, he doesn`t usually
mention her name, but he likes to stake out the differences between himself
and the democratic frontrunner. But this time she`s prepared. And
frankly, Bernie Sanders for all that he`s getting great big crowds does not
quite have the same sort of strength that Barack Obama did in Iowa seven
years ago.

WOLFFE: Right. Perry Bacon, you were there, too, covering Hillary Clinton
all those years ago. Do you have a sense that Iowa was not really going
according to plan, that the organization wasn`t quite there?

BACON: Yes, I mean, you knew that she was going to challenge it not only
because -- not only was Obama doing well at that point, but also John
Edwards do. Remember, if Hillary not finished in second, she`s not
finished in third, you know. And you had some sense then. That clip you
showed and with her in Alabama is important though. Because I think as
much as she lost Iowa and that didn`t help, it also hurt that she wasn`t
well organized in the other states throughout the primary process and Obama
won all those caucuses. And I know that`s one huge difference in this
campaign.

And the last one, at least up for now the Clinton staff has said they are
really organizing in all the states. They`re not going to get blown out of
caucuses. They know the rules better. And they`re courting super
delegates. And that`s the key thing. Also to note, also Bernie Sanders is
not black, so that`s going to be a big factor as we go forward, is that she
has got this huge advantage with minority voters and that`s going to play a
big role in the campaign.

WOLFFE: Alex, I want to play with you. You`re in Iowa right now. I want
to play with you a contrast then and now, Hillary what she`s saying right
then and what she`s saying now. Let`s listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: You know what, change -- change is just a word. If you don`t
have the strength and experience to make it happen. Well, fortunately, I
have a little experience standing up and fighting for what I believe is
right and what I think America needs and how we can get there together.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And you deserve, you deserve a nominee and a president with the solutions
and the determination to actually make a difference in your lives and in
our country`s future. Because at the end, this campaign doesn`t belong to
me, it belongs to you and to the millions of Americans we are fighting for
and that we want to be a part of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Alex, solutions not strength and experience. Different tone,
right?

SEITZ-WALD: Right, Richard. I mean, on one hand there are some
similarities in that she is saying to Democrats, you know, I like Bernie
Sanders, he`s great, it`s nice that he`s exciting these crowd, but I`m
somebody who can actually get stuff done. On the other hand, a very big
difference from 2008 is, she`s not ideologically positioning herself to the
right of Bernie Sanders. In fact, she`s trying to position herself almost
to the Left on some issues especially on gun control which is been a huge
part of her stump speeches lately in which recent polling shows Bernie
Sanders is weak here.

So, she`s saying if you vote for me, you get everything that you would get
with Bernie Sanders, but I will actually deliver it for you. I will
actually beat the republican in November, I will go to Congress, I will
work with Congress and you know, the implicit messages, we all know that
this guy, this democratic socialist isn`t going to be able to get it done.
I think, you know, another big difference, Bernie Sanders is not Barack
Obama, he doesn`t seem as potentially presidential and she`s playing into
that subtly of course without saying it, but while she was more direct with
Obama in 2008, she`s much more implicit now, kind of hugging Bernie Sanders
to death and just promising that she can be a better standard bearer for
the party than the other guy who she won`t mention.

Well, I can`t wait to see what happens tonight in Iowa. My thanks to Alex
Seitz-Wald, Perry Bacon, Jr. and Beth Fouhy. Thank you.

We are tracking Hurricane Patricia as she bears down on Mexico. We`ll go
there live on the other side of the break to see how the Pacific Coast is
fairing. We`re also going to go live to Texas which is already dealing
with some of the worst flooding in the state`s history. And things could
get even worse with Patricia on the way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SEITZ-WALD: Overnight Hurricane Patricia has been battering Mexico, it
made landfall last night as a category 5 hurricane. NBC`s Joe Fryer is
live in Ixtapa, Mexico. Joe, what`s it looking like?

JOE FRYER, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Yes. Good morning, Richard. You know,
things are looking a lot better, the storm has weakened quite a bit. It is
now considered a category one storm around 75 miles an hour. So, as
quickly as these things strengthened, it weakened rather quickly once it
hit land. The big question right now, just how extensive is the damage.
Overnight Mexico`s president says that the first reports indicate the
damage is not as extensive as many might have feared, for a storm of this
mammoth who still they have not been able to look up and down the entire
coast. This storm hit the hardest part of the storm, this most powerful
part of it appeared to hit some of the most isolated area, which is good
news, but there are a lot of fishing villages in these areas so they`re
going to have to try to get in there today with daylight to just see how
extensive the damage might be.

But as far as two of the more populated areas, Manzanillo, and Puerto
Vallarta, where they were hit was in pretty strong winds and some rains, we
have seen trees down and flooded roads and things like that. So far no
reports of any major damage and knows two major tourists areas where a lot
of people were sort of forced to hunker down unable to get in and out
because so many flights were canceled. So at this point, good news in
those areas. And a lot of relief everywhere. But Mexico`s president is
warning people not to let their guard down saying, this is still an
extremely dangerous situation. Keep in mind, often with hurricanes even
once the major storm blows through, there are still a number of problems
with flooding and mudslides. And that is what people are going to want to
keep an eye out for -- Richard.

WOLFFE: Right. That is a big relief. My thanks for Joe Fryer in Ixtapa,
Mexico. Meanwhile Hurricane Patricia is threatening to make historic
flooding even worst in Texas where more than 10 million people under are
under a flood watch this weekend.

NBC`s Charles Hadlock is live in Dallas. Charles, good morning.

CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Richard. The
Texans are waking up once again to the threat of more rain. It`s been
raining now for about the last 12 hours steady here in Dallas. The Trinity
River here behind me is beginning to swell just a bit. Dallas has received
about five to seven inches of rain over the last 24 hour period. But just
to the southeast of us in the Navarro County, the town of Corsicana has
received nearly 18 inches of rain. The interstate there that goes through
town, Interstate 45, has been inundated on both sides north and southbound
lanes.

Traffic was backed up for miles. The freeway is just now getting back open
again. But all eyes are looking to the southwest. That`s where the
remnants of Hurricane Patricia are expected to move along the Texas Coast.
The rain that we`re getting here in Texas is part of another system, but as
the two mingle together over the state of Texas, the fear is that there
could be more flooding. That`s why emergency management, people are in
their offices today in Houston and in Galveston and also in other cities
along the Texas Coast waiting to see exactly what Patricia is going do
once it gets out of Mexico -- Richard.

WOLFFE: It`s just a huge amount of water. My thanks to Charles Hadlock in
Dallas.

Still ahead, the political storm that overtook Washington, D.C. this week
and the calm at the center of it all. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weathered more than
eight hours of aggressive questioning during Thursday`s testimony before
the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Republicans attended yet again to
find fault with her handling of security in the diplomatic mission in
Benghazi where four Americans were sadly killed in 2012. But their efforts
largely fell flat as a poised Clinton parred question after question. As
day turned to night, the former secretary of state momentarily lost her
voice but still maintained her composure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: (Coughing) -- excuse me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you need some water, ma`am? Would you like us to
take a 60 second, two minute break?

CLINTON: No. Just let me grab a lozenge. So Congressman, I have the
utmost confidence in both of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Doesn`t need anyone`s help, thank you. The only real fireworks of
the day were between Democrats and Republicans on the committee like this
exchange when ranking member Elijah Cummings tried to make public the
testimony of Sydney Blumenthal, a Clinton confidant who was the frequent
subject of republican questioning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, we`re not going to take that up
at a hearing, we`ll take that up --

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Mr. Chairman, I consulted with the
parliamentarian and they have informed us we have a right to recorded vote
on that motion.

GOWDY: Well, I`ll tell you what was true --

CUMMINGS: We went, you know, you -- you ask the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth. And that`s what we want to have. Let the world see
it.

GOWDY: Why is it that you only want Mr. Blumenthal`s transcript released?
Why don`t you --

CUMMINGS: I`d like to have all of them released.

GOWDY: The survivors, even their names. You want that? You want that
released?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Cummings was in the spotlight again seven hours later calling out
the committee as a partisan attempt to sully the former secretary of state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINGS: So, I don`t know what we want from you. Do we want to badger
you over and over again until we get tired and so we do get the gotcha
moment that he`s talking about? We`re better than that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: This is how an emotional Secretary Clinton responded.

CLINTON: Thank you, Congressman. I came here because I said I would. And
I`ve done everything I know to do as has the people with whom I worked to
try to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that. And I
recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee, but I can
only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: When it was all over, Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy was asked what
new information the -- hearing revealed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOWDY: In terms of her testimony, I don`t know that she testified that
much differently today than she has previous times she`s testified. So,
I`d have to go back and look at the transcript.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Joining me now is David Brock, founder of the pro-Clinton`s Super
PAC, Correct the Record. David, good morning.

DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, CORRECT THE RECORD: Good morning. Thanks for having
me.

WOLFFE: So you`ve been in the trenches of these things for a very long
time.

BROCK: Yes.

WOLFFE: We heard Trey Gowdy say they didn`t come up with much after all of
these questions. What is it about the Clintons and the Republicans`
attitudes to the Clintons that drive these kinds of exhaustive
investigations that appear not to yield a whole lot?

BROCK: Well, I think if you go back to when Secretary Clinton left office
in 2013, the Republicans knew a couple of things. They knew they didn`t
want to run against Hillary in November of `16. So you had a number of
organizations, a republican organizations and Super PACs formed in the
spring of 2013. And the strategy was the second thing they knew, is they
couldn`t really get at her on an issue, so they settled on a strategy of
character attacks and scandal mongering and that`s what we`ve seen for
really two-and-a-half years now. And Benghazi is the center piece of that.

WOLFFE: Well, they try investigations before. All the document dumps and
everything else and they don`t go anywhere.

BROCK: That`s right.

WOLFFE: So why not try something different? If you want to attract her
character, there are a lot of ways to do without having committees and, you
know, subpoenas and all of these stuffs. Why did they keep making this
mistake again? And again, it seems like they`re obsessed or fascinated
with this kind of hunt?

BROCK: Yes. I mean, they`re destined to repeat the error of the 1990s, as
you remember all the scandals of the `90s. And how did that end? It ended
with President Clinton with sky high approval ratings on Hillary in the
Senate.

WOLFFE: Uh-hm.

BROCK: So, I think that`s how this story ends too. But, you know, I mean,
you know, old habits die hard and there`s something about -- there`s an
obsessiveness about the Clintons, and they think they`re always going to
find the magic bullet. And it always alludes them and it`s, you don`t know
whether to laugh or cry.

WOLFFE: So, we`re going to have to explain what they thought was the magic
bullet which was Sydney Blumenthal.

BROCK: Right.

WOLFFE: I think many people don`t have a clue who he is or what role he
played in the `90s.

BROCK: Sure.

WOLFFE: But I want to listen to this sound because I think your
organization comes up. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOWDY: Well, he worked for the Clinton Foundation.

CLINTON: That`s correct.

GOWDY: Okay, he worked for Media Matters.

CLINTON: I`m sure he did.

GOWDY: He worked for "Correct the Record."

CLINTON: I`m sure he did.

GOWDY: When you were asked about Sydney Blumenthal, you said he was an old
friend.

CLINTON: Uh-huh.

GOWDY: Who sent you unsolicited e-mails which you passed on in some
instances because you wanted to hear from people outside what you called
the bubble. We will ignore for a second whether or not the Sydney
Blumenthal is outside the bubble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Okay. So explain. What did Sydney Blumenthal do, who is he and
why are they so obsessed with him?

BROCK: Well, he`s a longtime friend of both of the Clintons. I think
their relationship states to 30 years. He was an adviser to President
Clinton in the White House during his second term. And you know, we did
come up there, he is now a colleague of mine, he`s been a friend of mine
for about 15, 16 years. And so I think what the republican theory here is,
so was a lot of e-mail traffic between the secretary and Sydney
Blumenthal and it seems like what they`re trying to construct is that
Sydney had played some role in starting the war in Libya and was going to
profit from it somehow which is nonsense.

But the telling part here is that the chairman asked -- we coded 18
questions about Benghazi and 36 questions about Sydney Blumenthal. And I
think when he used his first round of questions to go after this subject,
one, he lost a lot of the press because it seemed like a tangent, it seemed
like a dark hole. That he was crawling into. And, you know, the testimony
of Sydney Blumenthal which they won`t release will show that he knew
nothing about Benghazi. He certainly wasn`t what they tried to claim the
chief adviser on Libya.

WOLFFE: Right.

BROCK: And so it`s all fabrication.

WOLFFE: All right. David, stay with us. The Benghazi committee may not
have heard much new during Thursday`s hearing, but how much of what they
discussed was actually true? We`ll do a little fact check on the other
side of this break.

And later, an omelet mafia? Why the Feds are investigating the egg lobby?
Apparently that`s a thing. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: As we`ve been discussing this morning, this week`s Benghazi
hearings didn`t drop any new bombshells that we know real gotcha moments.
The republican members of the committee certainly tried their hardest to
paint Hillary Clinton into a corner. But Chairman Trey Gowdy had a tough
time answering the crucial question of what his committee had uncovered.
As in the new stuff, after all those documents and questions, as we saw
time and again on Thursday, the presidential candidate definitely steered
clear of any of the GOP`s traps. But if you happened to be on the internet
yesterday as I was, some on the right would have you believe this was not
the case. Exhibit A, if you stumbled on Breitbart, you could read about
Hillary Clinton`s five biggest lies in her Benghazi testimony.

Now, after reviewing all the actual testimony of eight hours and 17 minutes
of it, not including the breaks, we thought it would be a good idea to
disentangle the biggest misconceptions, separate fact from fiction and
conduct our own myth busting of the Benghazi hearing this morning with our
panel.

I want to introduce our donut hungry panel for today, Victoria DeFrancesco,
MSNBC contributor and professor of the University of Texas. Ben Domenech,
publisher of The Federalist and senior fellow at the Heartland Institute.
And April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington Bureau chief for
American Urban Radio Networks. David Brock is back with us. Good morning
to you all.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Richard.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Good morning.

WOLFFE: Victoria, I want to start out with you. Fact check number one.
The claim that Secretary Clinton lost interest in Libya as evidenced by her
e-mails. Let`s listen to this now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This pile represents the e-mails that you sent or
received about Libya in 2011, from February through December of 2011th.
This pile represents the e-mails you sent or received from early 2012 until
the day of the attack. There are 795 e-mails in this pile. We`ve counted
them. There are 67 e-mails in this pile in 2012. And I`m troubled by what
I see here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: And then Hillary Clinton says, Congressman, you know that she
didn`t conduct her business by e-mail. Piles of papers represents the
email I find a little bit troubling. But let`s take that as a real
representation. What kind of measure is that as a fact check?

DEFRANCESCO: Well, when I was seeing that, the first thing that came to
mind is quantity does not equal quality. And I thought that was such a
flimsy argument that the committee put forward to say, this is what we saw
in terms of e-mails for 2011 and this is what we saw for 2012. How about
the content. Why don`t we look at what was going on with that
communication. And then beyond that, look was what going on a person to
person communication. So I just thought it was, it was a red herring.
That it`s one sack of papers versus another, it was completely empty to me.
If they would have gotten to the content, that would have been a different
story.

WOLFFE: Do you think there was anything in it?

BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST: You know, I do think there`s something in
it. The problem with this hearing I think overall is that the actual
critique that Republicans have of Secretary Clinton is actually about
policy. It`s not about this sort of scandal conversation or something like
that.

WOLFFE: Uh-hm.

DOMENECH: It`s overall. You know, was the Libya policy, was the Libya
move which you pushed the right move.

WOLFFE: Uh-hm.

DOMENECH: I think that that`s not necessarily something that you conduct
in a Congressional investigation. That`s an argument that you have in
front ever the voters.

WOLFFE: Right.

DOMENECH: And this is something that I think that is another example there
where it`s like, the amount of e-mail that you receive on an issue is not a
scandal, you know, either here or there. It`s just indicative of how
engaged you are with an issue and that`s a political conversation, not a
scandal.

WOLFFE: Great point about the policy. Let`s turn to facts check number
two. The claim that the Obama administration intentionally misled the
American people about what caused the attack. Let`s listen to Jim Jordan
and what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You picked the video narrative. You picked the
one with no evidence and you did it because Libya was supposed to be, as
Mr. Roskom pointed out, this great success story for the Obama White House
and Clinton State Department.

CLINTON: Well, I wrote a whole chapter about this in my book "Hard
Choices." I`ll be glad to send it to you, Congressman because I think the
insinuations that you`re making to a grave disservice to the hard work that
people in the State Department, Intelligence Community, the Defense
Department, the White House did during the course of some very confusing
and difficult days. There is no doubt in a my mind that we did the best we
could with the information that we had at the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: April, we`ve both been in the White House.

RYAN: Yes.

WOLFFE: We both covered the run up, the war in Iraq.

RYAN: Yes, we did together. Yes, we did.

WOLFFE: And intentionally misleading the American people is a grave
charge. Did you feel looking back that you were intentionally misled about
the events of Benghazi?

RYAN: Well, you know, being there for as long as we have and seen what
we`ve seen and understanding how intelligence is compiled at first. And I
think one of the things that we were caught up in at that time was the fact
that everyone wanted information immediately and that was a big problem.
And when you start compiling information, it`s just that, it`s information.
You never go off of that first bit of information and they did
unfortunately.

WOLFFE: Uh-hm.

RYAN: And you have to analyze it. I mean, I`ve talked to generals, I`ve
talked to people who sit on certain committees in the House when it comes
to intelligence. You know, it`s just that, information at the very
beginning. And it takes a while before they analyzed. And what they had,
they went off -- I believe they went off too soon because people wanted
information. People died. Four Americans died. An ambassador died. And
people wanted information. And they went knee jerk with that to their own
detriment. And that`s one of the reasons why people are talking about
Benghazi still. But it was all about the fact that if they would have
waited to give information, I think they had analyzed the information, what
had happened, I don`t think they would have gone off talking about the
video at first.

WOLFFE: Maybe that`s a fair point. Mishandling the press is a mistake,
but it`s not intentionally misleading the American people.

BROCK: Right. There was no deliberate effort to mislead. And there is
basically a conspiracy theory underneath this. That there was a massive
cover-up that would have involved lots of people in the government. When
in fact what they were going off was what the intelligence community was
finding. And you know, what people often forget is President Obama did say
the next day, he did refer to an act of terror.

WOLFFE: Uh-hm.

BROCK: And so, I think this whole conspiracy theory is nonsense. Now, you
could say, it might have been better for them to have gotten to the right
conclusion quicker --

WOLFFE: Right.

BROCK: Sure. But there was a lot of conflicting information and that`s
the bottom-line and that`s what eight Congressional investigations have
found, that have looked into the Talking Points in this whole issue.

WOLFFE: And it did involve CIA (INAUDIBLE) and a CIA complex.

BROCK: Right.

WOLFFE: So we can understand the full story wasn`t out immediately.

DEFRANCESCO: Right.

WOLFFE: Fact check number three, Secretary Clinton didn`t care about the
human costs. Let`s listen to what she actually had to say about that claim
at the hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: You know, I would imagine I`ve thought more about what happened
than all of you put together. I`ve lost more sleep than all of you put
together. I have been wreaking my brain about what more could have been
done or should have been done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: And if they were trying to present Hillary Clinton as unfeeling
and uncaring, didn`t exactly work out that way.

DOMENECH: Look, Congressional hearings of this kind simply do not work.
Okay. They don`t work for the people who are trying to put someone in this
-- on the spot. Members of Congress are not very good at being
prosecutorial when it comes to asking questions. They`re more in favor of
giving speeches and things of that nature. I think in this context once
again we see a situation where you have this big build up to a hearing and
then the witness turns in to a sympathetic figure. Okay. They have the
opportunity to seem competent and statesman like and serious and the
members of Congress are just taking pot shots at her. That`s what we saw
here again.

DEFRANCESCO: And I think we also see the human side of the person.

WOLFFE: Right.

DEFRANCESCO: So it`s easy to have the rhetoric that Hillary Clinton
doesn`t care about the loss of human life. But when she`s sitting there at
the table with the spotlight on her and she`s asked this question and you
see the emotion in her --

WOLFFE: Right.

DEFRANCESCO: -- you can`t deny that she does not care about the human
cough.

WOLFFE: We`re sadly going to have to leave it there. Thanks to David
Brock for joining us. Panel stick around.

Still ahead, all signs appear to be pointing to the new speaker of the
house named Paul Ryan. We`ll talk to someone who knows him better than
anyone about what kind of speaker Paul Ryan will be.

And next, who did President Obama say reminds him of the internet`s grumpy
cat? Those details are right ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: There is a lot going on this morning so let`s get caught up
quickly on some of the other headlines making news with our panel.

First of all, Obama`s speech at the DNC forum yesterday, he called out
Republicans, you`ll be surprised, Republicans, for seeming down on America
and he made this face when he compared them to grumpy cat. That`s not a
bad grumpy cat, isn`t it?

RYAN: No.

DOMENECH: Pretty good.

RYAN: He then sings, that`s a good thing though.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLFFE: He has a human side of him.

RYAN: He has his own blackberry and he`s going on the internet.

WOLFFE: Can you get another Blackberry?

RYAN: His Blackberry, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLFFE: All right. More seriously, the Guardian, USDA scrambles to
investigate egg lobby as the CEO resigns. There`s a yolk in there
somewhere. Here`s the story. The American egg board backed by the USDA
aggressively sought to undermine this company Hampton Creek, this is the
egg free mayonnaise company. There`s actually a serious issue in this.

DOMENECH: This isn`t a serious issue, okay. This is an example of big egg
cracking down on upstart mayo company. I`m entirely in favor of
mayonnaise, I think it`s a great American tradition but I think at this
case, you see the downside of a government policy that`s been around since
the depression that`s being manipulated by corporate giants against --

WOLFFE: Right.

DOMENECH: -- this upstart company. This is a good example of cronyism at
work.

WOLFFE: I think that is probably a bipartisan consensus. Would you eat
egg with mayonnaise?

RYAN: I do. I do. There`s nothing wrong with that.

DOMENECH: -- isn`t it?

RYAN: Yes. What`s wrong with it?

DEFRANCESCO: And miracle whip. I don`t eat miracle whip --

RYAN: There`s a lot of people out here who cannot do soy, who cannot do
certain things and eggs.

WOLFFE: Talking of processed food, I want to hit this story from news day.
This is a really important thing. Cheese addiction versus drug addiction.
According to a new study in the United States National Library of -- and
processed food like cheese or cake, act similarly to addictive drugs,
processed food has a fast rate of absorption and higher level of sugar and
fat the more addictive the foods are. Of the 35 foods included in the
study, the most addictive was pizza.

DEFRANCESCO: I`m guilty. I`m guilty.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLFFE: It`s designed to be addictive.

DEFRANCESCO: Yes. And I am one --

RYAN: -- when you`re depressed, what do you do? Get the cheese.

DEFRANCESCO: And the cake, too. When I go to the supermarket, I`m just
going to admit this her, I buy birthday cake and it`s not the my birthday,
it`s not the birthday of anyone in my family. But I buy birthday cake.

WOLFFE: You are addicted. And we have to break this addiction just for
you for public health.

DEFRANCESCO: Yes.

DOMENECH: Absolutely.

RYAN: Choose life. Choose life.

DEFRANCESCO: I`m a big fan of the --

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFFE: All right. We`ll going to have to wrap it up there. Another hour
of news and politics is straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Can Paul Ryan do the impossible?

(MUSIC)

WOLFFE: Thanks for staying with us this Saturday morning.

Still, we`ve got lots to get to this morning. We`ll talk to a former
member of Congress who can shed some light on how Paul Ryan may handle
taking on the speakership and the insurgent Freedom Caucus.

Plus, California`s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is here to tell us how
he`s pushing for tough new gun reform in his state.

But first we did go to Mexico where Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever
recorded, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm made
landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico last night.

MSNBC meteorologist Bonnie Schneider joins us.

What`s the latest, Bonnie?

SCHNEIDER: Well, the latest is what a difference a day makes, Richard. We
had this massive storm at landfall, Hurricane Patricia, a category 5, but
here we are right now. It`s a tropical storm. So, the winds have really
weakened, all the way down to 35 miles per hour.

The movement is still rapid to the north-northeast at 21, and the pressure
is rising. So that`s some good news. This will storm will go down in
history as the fastest pressure drop we`ve ever seen with a storm. So keep
that in mind.

At landfall, this storm was so intense that the pressure dropped from
Thursday to Friday all the way at 100 millibars. That`s never happened
before in the western hemisphere. So, once again, it sure is going down in
history.

But what`s next for this big storm? Well, it is weakening as it comes over
land and we are anticipating the storm to continue to weaken. The problem
is we still have a lot of rain to deal with and the photography will
certainly cause flooding.

What about Texas? This is really fascinating because we not only have
Patricia coming into play, but Gulf moisture coming in, as well. These red
boxes you see here, these are all flash flood warnings and it does include
the city of Austin which has already received quite a bit of rain and Waco
shattered a record yesterday. So, you have areas that are completely
saturated.

Corsicana, over a foot of rain. So more is coming. And that will
naturally lead to flooding.

This is our target that we`re watching very closely over the next day or
so. Houston, Texas, doesn`t look that bad right now, but our computer
models are forecasting a lot of rain for Houston. Look how much, all the
way up to another 6 1/2 inches. That might not seem like a lot, but it
really is because when you`re looking at some of these parts of Texas, for
the past month or so, they didn`t get any rain and then all of a sudden, to
get so much all at once will make a huge difference.

So we`re watching for the rain threat as well as into Port Arthur,
Beaumont, even into Lake Charles, Louisiana, this is one to watch over the
next few days -- Richard.

WOLFFE: That is a lot of rain. My thanks to Bonnie Schneider.

Turning now to the soap opera that is the search for a new House speaker.
A saga whose ending may finally be near, with word late Thursday that Paul
Ryan will run for the position.

Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
has said in an e-mail to colleagues that this was a job he never thought
he`d seek, writing, "I never thought I`d be speaker, but I pledge to you
that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve. I would go all
in."

It`s yet to be seen if Ryan can be a unifying figure. He`s received a vote
of support from the Freedom Caucus, though the group of conservative hard
liners did not fully endorse Ryan.

But he`s backed down there one of his demands agreeing to delay talks about
reforming a procedural motion used to oust a House speaker.

So, can Paul Ryan be a unifying figure for Republicans? Can he be a
unifying figure for this fractious party at this time?

We`re now joined by a former Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette of
Ohio.

Good morning, Congressman.

FORMER REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Good morning to you.

WOLFFE: So I want to play you something that Paul Ryan said Tuesday night.
Let`s listen to it now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We need to move from an opposition party to
being a proposition party. Because we think the nation is on the wrong
path, we have a duty to show the right one. Our next speaker has to be a
visionary one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Congressman, it feels like Paul Ryan has been a propositional
politician for quite some time. He`s proposed budget ideas and policy
ideas. Doesn`t the speaker need to do something more than offer
propositions? You have to build voting coalitions and whip votes and get
people together. Does he have those skills?

LATOURETTE: Well, I think he`d be the first to admit that he has to make a
transition between running a committee and he`s run two. He`s the Budget
Committee and now the Ways and Means Committee which takes a certain skill
set that he`s pretty good at, to be a member and in this case the leader of
the House Republican conference. I think that he would be happy to admit
that he has to learn this as a skill.

But I think that the way that he went in and handled -- this fact that he
doesn`t want the job. I mean, I don`t think anybody that is sane that
would want the job today. But he didn`t want the job, but he said, "I will
do it because I`m being begged if these things fall into place." And
that`s the way to handle it. If he just said, literally, and you have some
people would give their eye teeth to be the speaker, to just step into the
role, that wouldn`t solve anything. You still have these 40 or 50 folks in
the Freedom Caucus not being happy.

WOLFFE: You made the point that no one sane would want the job.

Let`s listen to what Paul Ryan actually had to say that was critical of his
own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: All of us are representatives of the people, all people. We been
entrusted by then to lead and yet the people we serve, they do not feel
that we are delivering on the job that they hired us to do. We have become
the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Congressman, we have become the problem. How does Speaker Ryan
solve that problem?

LATOURETTE: Well, he solves the problem by moving forward going back to
your earlier, quote, "propositions".

One of the problems of the Republican conference and apparently his is that
it`s easy just to say no. I mean, so people voted over 50 times to repeal
Obamacare. It happened again yesterday on reconciliation. I think what
he`s saying is that it`s incumbent upon the members of the Republican
conference as the leadership, the majority party, to put forward ideas.
So, it`s not enough just to say no Obamacare. It`s no Obamacare, OK, then
what?

The "then what" has been missing consistently and I think his criticism is
leveled at those who just want to tear down the institution rather than
moving it forward.

WOLFFE: Let`s bring in the panel here.

Ben, how do you feel about the prospect of Paul Ryan to not just satisfy
the Freedom Caucus but unify this party?

DOMENECH: It`s fascinating how the Tea Party get what is they want but
then they`re never happy with it. You know, they get the budget caps that
they want, but then they oppose it, that sort of thing, over and over
again.

I think this is what is happening with Paul Ryan right now. The Freedom
Caucus effectively scalped Speaker Boehner, they treated Kevin McCarthy
like a sad clown, and now, they have moved on to Paul Ryan. They`re not
particularly happy with him in the sense that he is someone who voted for
the auto bailouts. He is someone who voted for a lot of things that they
dislike.

But he`s also someone who views the Freedom Caucus as I think you ought to,
which is basically the dynamic that you see played out in the NFL over and
over again, with the quarterback dealing with a wide receiver who just
keeps demanding the ball. In this situation, the Freedom Caucus is Terrell
Owens, it is Keyshawn Johnson, it is Randy Moot (ph), and they just want to
be able to take the ball to go to the floor to get a few of the votes that
they want and I think he`s going to give to them.

WOLFFE: April, is there going to be maybe a small window where Speaker
Ryan can actually get something done, maybe even with this White House?

RYAN: I don`t know because he`s coming in already talking certain things.
He`s already -- something that the White House wants. They want parental
leave and he is the man who made it clear, hey, you know, I`m coming in
kick and screaming because of peer pressure, I will do this because you
view me as the new rock star, political rock star, I`m coming, but I`m not
going to give up my family time and the Obama administration wants family
leave. They want certain things very liberal for all people and Paul Ryan
is saying no to certain thing.

So I think he`s going to come in trying to be totally different than John
Boehner because John Boehner was someone who was able to compromise. He
was -- for the president to say that we liked him, you know, with what he
did even though he caused some discontent in the White House at times, they
don`t want for have someone who is perceived like John Boehner to work with
the White House. And I think Paul Ryan is that person for them that will
stand against the White House.

WOLFFE: Victor, you`re in Texas. You`ve seen where, you know, you`ve got
really strong conservative caucuses that can pull the central part of the
party to the right and maintain a hard line all the way through. Does the
freedom caucus have staying power? Will it permanently be a thorn in his
side?

DEFRANCESCO: It`s going to be a tough job for Speaker Ryan and I liked
your piece, Ben, yesterday about the quarterback analogy. But I just think
it will be too difficult because of that power that the freedom caucus has,
because the structural elements of the conservatism of the Congress remain.
We still have that.

And if anything, I think it will pull further to the right because we`re
getting in to campaign season. We`re going to see more of the Trump effect
and we`re going to go further and further to the right and I think Paul
Ryan is going to have a really tough job of bringing them together. Yes,
he will --

(CROSSTALK)

DOMENECH: Again, it`s not about ideology. It`s about structural reform.
What the Freedom Caucus wants is for Congress to behave differently and to
run differently.

WOLFFE: And to have a weak speaker. They want to have a weak speaker.

I just want to give the last word to the congressman here.

Congressman, "The New York Times" editorial board, no friend clearly of the
Republican Party or Paul Ryan has said Paul Ryan could be the speaker the
Freedom Caucus wants but is not the one that the nation deserves, which is
a slap really.

But do you think that he can do more than be the speaker for the Freedom
Caucus?

LATOURETTE: I think there`s a couple of things. One, he`s going to have a
honeymoon period regardless of how crazy these people are and I think that
that`s important to see what he gets done there, what Boehner gets done for
the rest of October.

But more importantly, I think that the dynamic that is different that your
panel has not the really hit upon is that the other 200 members of the
Republican Conference are pissed. I mean, they`re not happy that these 35,
40 people are running the show, that are basically holding up democracy and
threatening to shut down the government and kick out the speaker. And
you`ve now seen a backlash that I think will permeate.

And the test is going to be, you have a supermajority of the Freedom Caucus
saying we`ll live with Paul Ryan, it`s these 10 or 12 outliers that are
still out there. And I`m going to be watching during the month of November
to see how they behave or don`t behave themselves. And that`s going to
tell the tale of the Ryan speakership.

WOLFFE: OK. Last word, quickly, April.

RYAN: You know what? The way Paul Ryan would have power is if he could go
back to something called earmarks. That`s when a leader really hits hard.

Congressman, do you agree?

LATOURETTE: Oh, my God, I loved earmarks.

RYAN: See? There we go.

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: No, that`s propositional politics.

My thanks to former Congressman Steve LaTourette for joining us this
morning.

Still ahead, Ben Carson takes the lead in Iowa. How will Donald Trump go
on the attack? We`ll have more on that later.

And next, President Bush, that`s Bush 43, says there`s one 2016 Republican
candidate he just doesn`t like.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Sometimes it`s hard to keep track of the crossfire especially when
the Bush family is firing in all directions. Well, Jeb Bush continues to
take shots at Donald Trump, his brother, former President George W. Bush
recently unloaded on another Texan, Ted Cruz.

According to "Politico", Bush told donors at a private fundraiser in Denver
last weekend, quote, "I just don`t like that guy."

But that guy used to be his own policy adviser during his 2000 presidential
campaign. He reportedly told the donors he thought Cruz has been
opportunistic for appealing to Trump.

Cruz reacted on "Bloomberg" yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As it concerns to President
George W. Bush, I like and respect him, and I was proud to work on his
campaign, to work in the administration. Nobody is surprised that
President Bush is supporting his brother. And it shouldn`t surprise anyone
that he`s attacking candidates that they perceive as a real threat to their
campaign.

REPORTER: You`re the only one he`s attacking.

CRUZ: Well, that may say something. But what I can`t say is I`m not going
to respond in kind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Let`s bring the panel back here.

Victoria, in actual fact, Ted Cruz is leading in none of the polls. So
what is George W. Bush doing here?

DEFRANCESCO: I do think that there is a little bit of a personal element.
Ted Cruz is the anti-George W. Bush and I`m going to bring it back to Texas
where George W. Bush built a political career on consensus, on reaching
across the aisle, on working with different elements within his party and
across the aisle with Democrats. And Ted Cruz comes in into Texas politics
and blows that all up. He blows that all up at the state level and then he
comes into the national level and blows it up again.

So, I think that there is an element of you`re blowing up the consensus
that I have built, at least, at the state level and, of course, there is a
familial element. And as you said, the Bush family right now is firing on
all cylinders.

WOLFFE: So, Ben, I want to dig more into this animosity that Ted Cruz
inspires. We have sound of other GOP members talking about Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is what he had to say about the Huckabee and Cruz
appearance in support of Davis today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Quite frankly, I don`t
think you should grandstand on this stuff. This is serous issue. I don`t
know if she`s looking forward to a visit from Senator Cruz or not, we`ll
see. But the fact is, you know, I don`t think you should grandstand on
this and plays politics.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted has chosen to make it
really personal and call people dishonest in leadership and call them names
which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the
Senate. And as a consequence, he can`t get anything done legislatively.
He`s pretty much done for and stifled, and it`s because of personal
relationship.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This whole idea that we`ll
shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare in 2013, this plan never
had a chance.

INTERVIEWER: Is Ted Cruz a false prophet?

BOEHNER: You can pick a lot of names out. I`ll let you choose them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: OK, Ben, he calls people name, he grandstands, may or may not be a
false prophet. What is it about Ted Cruz that annoys people so much?

DOMENECH: Richard, Ted Cruz is now and has been for months in my opinion
the likeliest nominee of the Republican Party in 2016.

He is this for a number of reasons. He appeals to the base in a very
strong way. He has the second most small donor donations. He also appeals
to the party elite. His wife worked for Goldman Sachs. He has the resume
of someone who looks more like a party elite than does like he a populist
tea partier.

He has able to kind of cross pollinate. He has the second most money
overall. He`s very intentional about the way he`s approached this
campaign. He`s drafting behind Donald Trump at the moment I think on a
number of different fronts, and I think that that is what irritates people.

It`s not so much that Ted Cruz is in the position of being the antagonist
of the Republican leadership in Washington. It`s that he`s very good at
it and that bothers them. And I think in this case, it bothers George W.
Bush who looks at this scenario, who looks at this party and sees it being
tugged far more in the direction of what Ted Cruz believes it ought to be
than he what it thought to be.

WOLFFE: I agree with you about his prospect, but his appeal clearly
doesn`t extend to his own party in Congress, even before he looked like he
had a viable campaign. There is something personal about the way he deals
with people. Isn`t it?

DOMENECH: Absolutely. He`s willing to call Mitch McConnell a liar. He`s
willing to say all these sorts of things. He`s willing to break the rules
in a lot of different senses. And think that this is a situation where
that rule-breaking really bothers the people who thought that David
Dewhurst ought to be the senator from Texas.

DEFRANCESCO: He`s so smooth too. So, what was interesting was, his
response to George W. Bush`s criticism and say, I have nothing but respect
for him. In fact, I hold a special place for him because I met my wife on
his campaign. So, I think that makes people even madder that he`s so
smooth.

RYAN: How lovely.

WOLFFE: April, President Bush likes to do this presidential punditry. He
doesn`t do it so much in public. But behind the scenes, I remember him
handicapping the race back in 2007 and `08, he has lots of opinions about
his brother and about John McCain back then. You know, this is the kind of
thing maybe he was just letting slip.

RYAN: It was not a Freudian slip meaning a slip that reflected a thought.
I think it was strategic. And I`m going to go to something that Donald
Trump says. This is huge, OK?

And the reason why I say it`s huge, you`ve seen this president stay back
and not talk so much about anyone, particularly Barack Obama, because he
could have thrown him under the bus many times to save himself, he never
did. But now for him to talk about someone in his own party, that is,
quote/quote, "Donald Trump, that`s huge."

DEFRANCESCO: One person.

RYAN: Well, no, he`s talked about some other people. But anyway, well,
maybe quietly.

But it`s telling in a lot of ways. It`s telling one, that he does not like
-- he does not like Ted Cruz. He feels he`s polarizing. And he sees where
the party could be going if Ted Cruz where to even get some kind of
traction. He also is showing that he does not like Donald Trump by going
via Ted Cruz.

So, he`s letting it be known. And I`m going to tell you -- giving a little
insight on George W. Bush, when I had some personal times with him when
President Obama and John McCain were running against each other, he told me
himself he saw the overt and subtle racism. So, he will talk -- he will
talk privately about things, and it`s also in my book. So, he allowed me
to say that about the book.

So, he will talk private about things that he sees. But for him to go out
publicly, this is huge.

WOLFFE: April, what`s the title of that book?

RYAN: "The Presidency in Black and White", my up-close view of three
presidents and racism in America.

WOLFFE: So, go out and buy it. OK.

RYAN: Thanks.

WOLFFE: Stay with us, panel.

Still ahead, Ben Carson surges past Donald Trump in Iowa. We`ll have the
latest numbers for you later in the hour.

But first, Tropical Storm Patricia is heading north. What can we expect
from the remnants of the storm? That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: If you`re just joining us, we want to get you up-to-date on the
latest on Patricia. The storm made landfall last night in Mexico as a
category 5 storm. It`s weakened to a tropical storm.

NBC`s Joe Fryer is live in Ixtapa, Mexico.

Joe, what you got?

FRYER: Yes, good morning, Richard.

You know, consider this. When this thing started off in a 24-hour period,
it went from 85 miles an hour to 200 miles an hour in a 24-hour period.
Now, in just about the same period of time, the storm has dissipated now 50
miles per hour, still though, Mexican officials are warning people not to
let down their guard, to be careful because this can be dangerous. These
are still fairly strong winds. The rains can cause flooding and mudslides,
so they want people to be cautious.

But after the main part of this storm hit landfall early Friday night, it
was 165 miles an hour. But it seems the strongest hit some sparsely
populated area which was is good news. Mexico`s president saying overnight
that the first reports seem to indicate there is not a lot of damage or as
much damage as one would have expected with the storm of this magnitude.
Still, once it gets light out as it`s starting to now, crews need to go out
and assess the damage especially in some low-lying isolated areas, a lot of
fishing villages up and down the coast that may have been hit hard by this.

But the two main population centers, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, those
places not hit as hard as some feared. Manzanillo might have been hit a
little harder. Some reports of downed trees, flooded roads. There might
be some landslides this and around that area. Puerto Vallarta, the popular
tourist town, a lot of tourists got stuck there unable to get in and out
because the flights were canceled.

So, a lot of people hunkered down hoping that it would not be as bad as
some had predicted. And so far this morning from what we`re hearing from
people who waited out the storm there, the damage is pretty minor, no major
damage reports. And so far, no reports of any fatalities caused by this
massive hurricane which at one point was the largest, strongest storm ever
measured in the Western Hemisphere -- Richard.

WOLFFE: That is a relief. My thanks to Joe Fryer in Ixtapa, Mexico.

Now, we want to turn to Texas, which could see as much as 10 inches of rain
over the next 24 hours. There could be two to three inches of rain each
hour from Corpus Christi to Houston.

NBC`s Charles Hadlock is live in Dallas.

How is it going there, Charles?

HADLOCK: Well, we`re watching closely Hurricane Patricia as it moves
across Mexico.

The weather we`re having here in North Texas is not directly associated
with that hurricane, but the remnants of that storm are expected to move
over parts of Texas over the next 48 hours from now. But we`ve already
been saturated with another weather system that has dumped 5 to 7 inches of
rain here in Dallas.

You go just to the southeast of here in the town of Corsicana. They`ve had
around 18 inches of water. The Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston is
closed in that section through Corsicana because the water is now over the
roadway. It`s even over the railroad tracks in parts of that town.

So, they`re having to deal with that as even more rain tips to fall. The
water -- the rain should taper and lighten just a bit over the next 24
hours or so.

This is the Trinity River behind me. It looks massive right now, but this
is what the flood way is supposed to do. The river is rising just a bit,
but it`s not going to be a major flood concern here in Dallas. But we`re
watching the remnants to see what the rest of Hurricane Patricia does as it
moves across the mountains of Mexico and along the Texas coast.

Houston emergency management officials, along with the folks in Galveston
are on alert just in case they have rising water there from the storm
that`s headed their way -- Richard.

WOLFFE: OK. Thanks for the update, Charles Hadlock in Dallas.

Still ahead, Republicans are trying to burst Trump`s bubble. And next,
while Congress is gridlocked, one state is pushing forward with a raft of
progressive policies.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: If one Democrat has his way, gun control won`t just be a topic of
debate in next year`s election, it actually will be on the ballot.

Last week, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom announced he`s
backing a ballot initiative that would make the state`s tough gun laws even
tougher. His plane would make California the first state in the nation to
require instant background checks for ammunition purchases. It would also
outlaw the possession of high capacity magazines. This follows strict new
legislation the state enacted earlier this month banning concealed weapons
at California campuses.

Golden State stands in stark contrast to more than a dozen other states
that have pushed to ease gun restrictions at schools in a wake of a spate
of shootings. It`s not just gun control where California is standing out
as a progressive pioneer. In recent weeks, the nation`s largest state has
enacted a flurry of liberal legislations, as the nation`s toughest
legislation taking on the gender pay gap, an aggressive new law to combat
climate change, and a sweeping new law that expands voting rights,
automatic voter registration which goes into effect in January. It`s a
program that Hillary Clinton has already promised to embrace at the federal
level.

The Democratic frontrunner also held up California`s paid leave program as
a model for the rest of the nation at last week`s Democratic debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, DEBATE MODERATOR: Carly Fiorina, the first female CEO of a
fortune 50 company, argues if the government requires paid leave, it will
force small businesses to, quote, "hire fewer people and create fewer
jobs".

CLINTON: Well, I`m surprised she says that because California has had a
paid leave program for a number of years and all of the --

BASH: She said on a federal level.

CLINTON: Well, but all -- on a state level, a state as big as many
countries in the world. And it has not had the ill effects that the
Republicans are always saying it will have.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: So, is California becoming the proving ground for progressive
policies that Democrats want to take national?

Joining me how is California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be here.

WOLFFE: Thanks for joining us.

NEWSOM: Thanks for having me.

WOLFFE: So, some unkind critics have suggested that this gun control thing
is really about your governor`s run. Is it actually good politics?

NEWSOM: I don`t know about the politics. I know it`s a good policy. I`m
a parent, first and foremost, and I can`t sit there and reconcile a world
that I`m living in where 297 people are shot every single day, 88 people
gunned down and killed.

A country where just last week, we had a 6-year-old kill a 3-year-old. We
had a 4-year-old killed in a drive-by shooting because of a road rage. And
we sort of throw up our hands and some folks say, well, stuff happens.

I don`t subscribe to that point of view and in the spirit opening here, I
don`t think California has subscribed to that point of view. We want to
step up. We want to step in. We want to lead the way and we want to be
accountable to the world we`re living in.

WOLFFE: It`s not like the NRA isn`t present in California. It can
mobilize in California just like it can everywhere else.

Why do you think you can bypass them there when other politicians elsewhere
seem to be afraid to take them on?

NEWSOM: Their home court is the legislative branch. And they have been
very successful in California, dominantly Democratic state. They have
killed a lot gun control legislation, gun safety legislation.

Our home court is the people, direct democracy. And we think going
directly to the people on background checks for ammunition sale, point of
sale, going to the people with bans on magazines and high capacity clips.
And it will be resonant and we think California can once again establish
its leadership position.

WOLFFE: You know they`re going to spend against you in the governor`s race
there.

NEWSOM: That`s fine. You know, trust me -- I`ve been out front in a lot
of issues. I`m used to the consternation, the critique. Life is short.
Guys like me come and go. How many thousands have you interviewed over the
years?

You have a moment in time. I want to spend this moment in time not
dreaming of regretting. I don`t want to be on some panel of elders looking
back saying I could have, would have, should have. When it comes to gun
control, I got a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. That`s why I`m
doing it.

WOLFFE: I want to bring in April.

RYAN: Lieutenant Governor, I mean, I`ve been watching this debate for many
years. You know, Clinton -- Bill Clinton was trying to close the gun show
loophole. We heard about background checks. We`ve heard all of the
support for background checks from both Republican and Democrat. But it
just never happened. The NRA is still powerful. How will you get your
message out to marry the Second Amendment, but also people who say, "I have
right to life as well?

NEWSOM: Yes.

RYAN: How do you marry that?

NEWSOM: Well, I subscribe in the Second Amendment. But it`s not
unlimited. And that`s the words of the Supreme Court themselves. The fact
is NRA is remarkably successful and I grant them that success, and that
influence, intimidating or asserting themselves through legislative
branches.

But where they`re not as successful, where we believe or positing they`re
not going to be as successful is with direct democracy. And in California,
we know well, we sometimes have direct democracy that runs amok. Sometimes
direct democracy works in our favor. In this case, we`re going to bring
five provisions directly to voters and I think the voters overwhelmingly
will not be intimidated by the tactics of the NRA and will be I think
persuaded by the arguments.

RYAN: But we`ve seen as a nation, we`ve seen presidents killed.

NEWSOM: Yes.

RYAN: We`ve seen congressional -- a congresswoman shot. We`ve seen
children killed. We`ve seen someone go into a church --

NEWSOM: How about children? More preschoolers gunned down in this country
than police officers in the line of duty.

RYAN: How about that?

NEWSOM: I mean, so at a certain point, enough. And, you know, with
respect you know, I remember, right after Oregon, just a few weeks back,
three weeks back when the president came out, he made a point that was very
resonate to me. He said at the end of the day, we`re all answerable and
the society becomes collectively how we behave.

And I was going to put out a press release -- I couldn`t even put out a
press release. I thought what -- just here is another the day when I`m
throwing out another press release. So I really felt compelled do
something about it. And, you know, again, it`s the spirit of the DNA of
California, right? A state that prided itself on being on the cutting edge
and this state is back.

And we`ve proven one principle and I think this is the most important
message about California, is you don`t have to be profligate to be
progressive. All the work we`re doing asserting ourselves on those things
you just mentioned are being done in a surplus environment. We had a $27
billion budget deficit five years ago. People are talking about a
dystopian state. People talking about -- a presidential nominee, Mitt
Romney, saying it`s going the way of Greece.

Now, we`re debating the size of surpluses. So I think we`re proving
Democrats cannot only govern, Democrats can govern in a thoughtful and
judicious way and invest in the future.

WOLFFE: California has also changed. This isn`t Ronald Reagan`s or
Richard Nixon`s California anymore.

NEWSOM: No.

WOLFFE: So, what is going on in that trend in California, and is that
something that is happening nationwide?

NEWSOM: Well, I think it all goes -- if it there is any trend, it should
be a wake-up call to the Republican Party in this country. It goes back to
1994 in Prop 187.

RYAN: Uh-huh.

NEWSOM: You had a governor of Pete Wilson that advanced very isolationist,
xenophobic and issued a Prop 187 targeting immigrants in our state.
Interestingly, he just doubled down. He just came out, that former
governor said, "I would do it again today". And that was the beginning of
the end of the Republican Party.

And here we are starting to reconcile things that not only happened in `94
in immigration, but also as it relates to criminal justice. We passed
three strikes in 1994, and just last year, we amended our three strikes and
we`re finally righting the wrongs and moving in a (INAUDIBLE) progressive
direction.

DOMENECH: So let`s go back to the idea that California is exporting
policies that the Democratic Party ought to have. The National Rifle
Association is actually more popular than either President Obama or Hillary
Clinton, OK? It is according to Gallup, you know, an organization that has
enormous popularity among the American people.

You`re taking a charge against them.

NEWSOM: Yes.

DOMENECH: Isn`t it a risk for the Democratic Party to get too far to the
left on the gun issue, out of step with the rest of the country even if
it`s not out of step with California?

NEWSOM: Yes, I think there`s always a risk, but it`s always the right
thing to do the right thing. So, from -- look, my perspective, it took a
lot of guts, you`re absolutely right, for a presidential candidate to stand
there in the debate the other day and say, it`s time to, quote/unquote,
"take on the NRA". The last time that happened, it did not go so well for
Al Gore in Tennessee or Florida. It didn`t go so well, even Bill Clinton
with some of his policies in Arkansas. So I don`t deny that risk. But
there`s a principle here.

RYAN: But Al Gore`s issues were different. It was deeper than that.

NEWSOM: I have no question about that. No question.

DEFRANCESCO: You have an uphill battle, but also you`re building from a
place of having the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. So, yes, when
it`s an uphill, but when you`re bringing it to the public, you`re not doing
a 180. You`re saying we have these laws in place, let`s take it to the
next level. It`s not taking it to Texas and saying we want to put these
policies in place.

NEWSOM: No question about it. So, we come from a very high bar. But we
can raise that bar even higher. And we can I think assert ourselves with a
different strategy. Again, we continue to fail or run short in the
legislative framework, but going directly to the voters.

And, by the way, there are 16 or so states that can follow this same track
and a lot of them are conservative states. If folks are frustrated, there
are different strategies and this is a new way I think of engaging the NRA
and talking to their members who overwhelmingly support the principles
we`re asserting in terms of background checks and finally a having them
represented not by their leadership, but by good public policy.

WOLFFE: All right. Applaud you for taking action on a very important
issue. Gavin Newsom, thank you for joining us.

NEWSOM: Thanks for having me.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

Still ahead, the new information we learned from Hillary Clinton`s 11-hour
hearing.

And next, is Donald Trump`s time at the top of the polls coming to an end?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Donald Trump has spent weeks attacking Jeb Bush. Today, he`s
campaigning in the former Florida governor`s home state holding a rally a
few hours from now in Jacksonville, Florida.

NBC`s Hallie Jackson is in Jacksonville.

Hallie, what have you got?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Richard. They just opened
the doors. People started streaming in to this plaza here, Jacksonville
Landing. You can hear the sound check going on, the music that`s playing
behind us. And in a couple hours, Donald Trump will be taking the stage.

This is his second rally in Florida in less than 24 hours and last night
down near Miami, he was interrupted a couple times by protesters coming in
and making a little bit of a ruckus.

I want to you listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I said there`s no way --
that`s all right.

(INAUDIBLE)

(CHANTING)

TRUMP: USA, USA --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON: Trump continuing on with his speech. Some of his supporters
trying to drown out the protesters with chants of "USA, USA". We`ve seen
this in the past, remember in Richmond, something similar happened.

But one thing we haven`t seen much of at a Donald Trump rally, attacks
really against Dr. Ben Carson, Trump`s main rival right now nationally and
in Iowa, where Carson is surging over Trump. He`s now up in recent polls
including the Bloomberg/"Des Moines Register" poll, up about 9 percent over
Donald Trump.

And Trump doesn`t seem to be taking it too well. He talked about the polls
a lot last night. He says he doesn`t believe them. He thinks he`s doing
better in Iowa than the numbers actually show and he took aim at Carson,
calling him low energy. He`s sort of made fun of him for sleeping through
the poll results.

I`ll tell you this morning, I spoke with a top campaign aide for the Carson
team and he told me, hey, I`ll tell you what? Dr. Carson was wide awake.
We`ll see what Donald Trump has to say about Carson, about some of these
other candidates at his rally that begins here at noon.

Richard, back to you.

WOLFFE: And we`re wide awake, too. My thanks to Hallie Jackson in
Jacksonville, Florida. Donald Trump has been leading in the national GOP
polls for over 100 days now.

But trouble is looming for him in Iowa as you heard. Dr. Ben Carson is
surging to the lead in two new polls there. He`s up 9 points in
yesterday`s "Des Moines Register"/Bloomberg poll and the former
neurosurgeon is up eight points in the Quinnipiac poll released Thursday.

Now, Trump may have more cause for concern about his future. Some
Republican establishment figures are announcing this week they`re rallying
the troops to try to take him down. In South Carolina, former Republican
Party chair Katon Dawson is asking major GOP donors to pour in millions of
dollars for a new super PAC there. Trump is still leading big in South
Carolina.

And "The Washington Examiner" reported this week the conservative Club for
Growth is also trying to raise millions of dollars for a broader effort to
defeat Trump nationally.

So with pressure on Trump coming from all sides, how long can he hang on to
the lead?

I want to bring back the panel.

Ben, Club for Growth is no pushover. They have had an impact. They can
organize. Can they take him down?

DOMENECH: You know, I don`t know that these organizations are necessarily
needed in order to take Donald Trump down. I mean, he is obviously someone
who has profited from the amounts of media attention that he has, as an
insult generating comedy machine. You know, he is without equal within the
field.

But I think that when you look at these poll numbers, when you look at what
is happening in Iowa in particular, here`s what you see -- you see
supporters being people who are not typical primary voters, not typically
people who show you up, and you see Ben Carson getting a lot people who
previously backed Mike Huckabee, who previously backed Rick Santorum, a lot
of social conservatives who do go into those gymnasiums for eight hours in
Iowa in the winter and make the case for their candidate. I think that Ben
Carson`s voters look a lot more like the type of voters who actually show
up and that`s really I think ultimately going to be the thing that takes
Trump down.

WOLFFE: So, Victoria, we had Hallie talking about this, but I want to
actually listen to what Trump said about Ben Carson, because it`s getting
fascinating here.

Let`s take a listen to what Trump said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I love Iowa. And I honestly think those polls are wrong. We have
a breaking story, Donald Trump has fallen for second place behind Ben
Carson.

(BOOS)

We informed Ben, but he was sleeping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: Yes, so I think he`s making fun of us, by the way. Or people like
us.

The Carson campaign responded, "I have news for Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson was
very much awake as poll number one was announced, and then poll number two,
and then poll number three," so on and so forth.

Is Carson getting under his skin, Victoria?

DEFRANCESCO: He is. And he`s also taking a deeper look at Iowa. And if
there`s one thing we know about Iowa is the majority of the Republican
primary voters are evangelicals and faith is very important to these
voters, something where Trump can`t really connect with them on. He`s had
trouble with the God issue.

And second, those evangelical voters don`t necessarily go for that red meat
of let`s send all the immigrants home, let`s build the walls. Remember,
these are the voters that in 2000 voted for George W. Bush who had that
Christian message who in fact said, you know what, we need to inform
immigration because this is about family values and we need to bring them
into the fold. Those Iowa voters are not ultimately going to fold towards
Donald Trump.

WOLFFE: OK. Sadly, that`s enough Trump for now.

Up next, what we learned about this, what we learned this week about
Hillary Clinton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLFFE: Let`s be honest, presidential elections are strange. I`ve covered
many of them from start to finish and the rap on the media is often right.

We focus too much on the slips and the stumbles, on the photo-ops and the
TV ads, and too little on the substance. And there`s nothing more
substantial than the question of character. Who has the judgment and the
temperament to be the commander-in-chief? If the long presidential
campaigns can tell us anything, it`s when the candidates encounter some
unexpected and uncontrolled stress test, something that forces the
candidates to think on their feet, react to pressure and show us what
they`re really made of.

Those moments are precious and we know them when we see them. The way
candidate Obama dealt with the Reverend Wright firestorm. The way
candidate Bill Clinton bounced back in New Hampshire.

I think we saw one of those moments in the extraordinary marathon testimony
of Hillary Clinton on Thursday. Even more impressive than the endurance
test after hour upon hour of baiting and berating, the truly impressive
display was Clinton`s mastery of the detail and the diplomacy of her
response. She was both forceful and respectful. She called for
statesmanship over partisanship. She insisted that Democrats and
Republicans need to find a way to work together.

For sure, there were unanswered questions about her use of a private e-mail
server. But those questions pale compared to the complexities of a world
in conflict. There are serious problems facing the next president, the
humanitarian crisis of huge numbers of refugees, the human rights horrors
inflicted by the Syrian regime and ISIS. The grotesque inequality before
the world`s rich and poor.

We desperately need to find a way to work together to solve these global
challenges. The world needs American leadership. No other country will
step up to the same effect. But to do so, America first needs to elect
grown-up leaders on both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania
Avenue.

Agree or disagree with her policies as you like, but Hillary Clinton
demonstrated over 11 hours how she`s one of the very few grown-ups in the
room.

Like to thank our panel, Victoria DeFrancesco, Ben Domenech, and April, for
joining us this morning.

And thank you for getting up with us today.

We`ll be back tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern Time. But before that,
you`re going to want to watch the brilliant Melissa Harris-Perry because
she`s coming up next.

Have a great Saturday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question: is Paul Ryan
really a family guy?

Plus, the Benghazi committee sideshow.

And, how the Supreme Court could dismantle Roe.

But, first, the vice presidential Rose Garden announcement that has me
worried about democracy.

(MUSIC)

HARRIS-PERRY: Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. We`ve got a lot to
get to this morning.

But, first, Hurricane Patricia, the strongest ever recorded in the western
hemisphere hit land. The storm was still firmly within category 5 range
when it made landfall last night, packing winds of up to 165 miles per
hour.




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