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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

Date: October 25, 2015
Guest: Phillip Stutts, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Bob Herbert, Andrea Dew Steele,
Rush Holt

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Is Hillary fired up and ready to go? Good
morning. Thanks for getting up with us this Sunday morning. I`m Richard
Wolffe. We`re waking up to the remnants of tropical storm Patricia. The
rainfall is bringing records in the southwest, while the Texas Gulf Coast
braces for the worst flooding in years. We`ll have the latest on that in
just a moment.

We`ll also go to Iowa this morning, where Katy Perry roared into action,
helping Hillary Clinton rally her troops at last night`s Jefferson Jackson
dinner. Speaking of 2016, we`ll talk about which other women you should be
watching out for on the trail this campaign year.

Plus Joe Biden`s bold call for new cancer research and Michael J. Fox`s
plea for a cure for Parkinson`s disease. Will they inspire the next

But we begin with breaking news in Texas, which is bracing for some of its
worst flooding in years. As much as ten inches of rain fell in parts of
the Houston area overnight, that`s on top of the nearly six inches that
fell on the city yesterday. NBC`s Charles Hadlock is live in Houston.
Charles, how is it this morning?

CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC NEWS: Good morning, Richard. Well, Houston is waking
up to yet more rainfall this morning. The good news is it`s tapering off
and the flooding overnight is not as bad as had been feared. We`ve got
about 10 inches of rain over a 12-hour period. The bayous here in Houston,
the waterways, can handle that amount of water. In fact, you can see, this
is part of Buffalo Bayou, this is a floodway as it makes its way around
downtown Houston. Downtown Houston is high and dry, there`s nothing wrong
there. There are no houses or structures flooded in Houston at this time.
It`s mostly streets and roadways that typically flood in a heavy rain, like
in any other city. That`s what Houston is dealing with this morning.

We really dodged a bullet here. The remnants of Hurricane Patricia posed a
major threat here after a low pressure system had already soaked parts of
Texas with up to 13 inches of rain in parts of north Texas. That system
moved away just as Patricia was moving in. A lot of people feared that we
could get even more rain, but it looks like the low pressure system is
moving off. The cold front has moved through, the rain is expected to
taper off later today, and Houston can begin the task of drying out here.

WOLFFE: That`s good to know. Thank you for the update. Charles Hadlock
in Houston for the latest on that storm system.

Let`s go to MSNBC meteorologist Bonnie Schneider, what does it look like?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, Richard, the threat today
actually pushes further to the east from where we were yesterday. Let`s
take a look, because it`s the central Gulf Coast I`m most concerned with
today for heavy rain, flash flood watches. Texas, Louisiana, Alabama,
Mississippi and Florida, mainly along the Gulf Coast. We could see four to
eight inches, plus ten inches in some isolated areas.

Looking back though over the past five days, already record rainfall as we
mentioned. Cities like San Antonio, Houston, Waco, all shattered records
yesterday for rainfall. Houston getting almost five and a half inches.

This is what we`re looking at right now, look at this batch of heavy rain
coming right into Lake Charles, into Beaumont, and New Orleans getting hit
with heavy rain at this hour. It`s really just the beginning. Because
throughout the day today, on Sunday and into Monday, this will ramp up.
We`re seeing lots of rain into New Orleans, plenty of gulf moisture, and of
course the remnants from Patricia all coming together to make for a flood
danger for today and tonight and even into tomorrow. So the heaviest rain
right now into southeast and southwest Louisiana, and we`ll continue to
watch that. Good news for Houston. It`s sort of tapering off there, but
it will take a little while for that water to recede with the flooding
there, and also it`s drying out in Dallas. So we`re looking at what`s
ahead, here is the latest computer models, I just put this together for you
to see what is ahead for the next three days. Vicksburg, Mississippi,
looking at a lot of rain, as well as central Louisiana, and even into the
Atlanta we`re looking at rain. Tuscaloosa as well, and Dauphin, Alabama.
So this is the area here, this pocket where you see the white, this is,
Richard, this is where I think we`ll see the worst of it going forward for
today and tonight. We`re going to keep a close watch on this region.
Hopefully it won`t be as bad as we what we saw in Texas. But with all this
rain coming in, it`s definitely something to monitor.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Bonnie Schneider.

Turning now to Iowa, where all three remaining Democratic candidates
attended the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines. That is the
traditional kickoff for the serious preparation for the first in the nation
election. An important messaging and organizing event that
unscientifically, measures a campaign`s momentum leading into the caucuses.
This year, Clinton brought along pop star Katy Perry to rally the troops
outside the arena. And her husband, former President Bill Clinton, joined
her for the first time on the campaign trail.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: You`ve got a lot of talk about
breaking the glass ceiling. And I want to talk about one barrier that has
not been broken. I want you to support Hillary for me, too, because I want
to break a ceiling. I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on
the job of presidential spouse.


WOLFFE: Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders marched with his supporters to
the chants of "feel the burn" with a marching band on the sidelines. But
none of it quite compared to this moment back in 2007, when another
marching band led then candidate Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and 4,000
supporters to that year`s Jefferson Jackson dinner. The event proved to be
a turning point in the Obama campaign, a definitional moment when he
crystallized his differences with one Hillary Clinton. The groundswell of
support eventually leading to the young senator`s surprise win in the Iowa
caucuses. Now, Bernie Sanders hopes to do the same.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.: And by the way, just remember, about eight
years ago, all of the political experts talked about how another Democratic
candidate for president just couldn`t win. He was unelectable. You
remember that guy? What`s his name? Oh, it`s President Obama.

Well, Iowa, I think we are going to prove the pundits wrong again. I
believe we`re going to make history one more time.


WOLFFE: This time around the field is a little bit different, but it`s
definitively now a two-way race. A Bloomberg Des Moines Register poll
showing Hillary Clinton regaining her lead in Iowa, now seven points up
from Bernie Sanders. Clinton taking the opportunity yesterday to go after
her nearest opponent.


it`s not enough just to rail against the Republicans or the billionaires.
We actually have to win this election in order to rebuild the middle class
and make a positive difference in people`s lives.


WOLFFE: Joining me now from Iowa is MSNBC political reporter Alex Seitz-
Wald. What stood out for you last night?

unquestionably the story of the night was Bernie Sanders, overshadowing
even Katy Perry and Bill Clinton. He threw out the stump speech he`s been
giving for something like 40 years, speaking in the round, got away from
the podium that he`s doing, and really went after the weakest points of
Hillary Clinton`s resume, on the Trans Pacific Partnership, on the Keystone
XL pipeline, on the Defense of Marriage Act, on super PACs. He portrayed
himself as the true progressive. He said he does not listen to polls. He
governs by principles. He said he`s come to forks in the roads, and he took
the one that was the right fork before somebody else, who he did not
mention by the way.

But I think this is one of the smartest and sharpest speeches Bernie
Sanders has given, but it also underscores a bit of weakness he has coming
into this. The story of the summer was these large rallies Bernie Sanders
was having, the weakness Hillary Clinton was feeling, but she`s had these
absolutely charmed two weeks, tons of victories, and I think he saw last
night that he needs to try to blunt her momentum and really try to go after
her, and there`s some risk here for him. His political brand is very much
tied up in running a positive campaign. He`s pledged to run a positive
campaign. He`s never run a negative ad in his life, and then he comes to
this event, this key Democratic event in Iowa, where everyone there is on
the same team in the same room, and he basically takes a sledgehammer to
Hillary Clinton.

His supporters in the room ate it up, they loved it of course, but I wonder
in the long-term if this is going to hurt him potentially taking the
sharper, more aggressive tone against Hillary Clinton.

WOLFFE: So Alex, it does sound like Hillary Clinton was a little more
subdued than that. What was the reaction from her supporters to her

SEITZ-WALD: Definitely I think she`s playing it a little bit safer.
Sticking with what she knows works. She came in, reiterating the message
she`s played before, and I think her campaign told me this is a chance for
them to introduce themselves to a larger audience beyond her core
supporters. They were very well organized. They had sort of a blue army
of people dressed in their same blue t-shirts, and they had these wands.
But you know, she took that slight jab at Bernie Sanders again, not
mentioning him by name, and saying she will actually make an impact in
people`s lives. But she comes now with this momentum. She`s feeling very
confident, and I wonder if she`ll take a step back a little bit and feel
much more, much safer, than she did just a few weeks ago.

WOLFFE: My thanks to Alex Seitz-Wald joining us from Iowa.

Here to discuss this is our panel. Former Jindal campaign manager and CEO
of Gobigmedia, Phillip Stutts. Realclearpolitics` Caitlyn Huey-Burns, and
distinguished fellow at Demos and former New York Times columnist, Bob
Herbert. Good morning to all.


WOLFFE: And I just want to start out with a compare and contrast with
Obama in 2007. The expectations are high at this kind of event. I don`t
know that any of them, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, can really live
up to that. I`m not sure even Barack Obama could live up to those
expectations today. Caitlin, do you think either of them could actually
live up to Obama in 2007, what he did at that dinner?

a real contrast I think at this point to the Republican side. If you`re a
Democrat, you are showing we have this organizational muscle, both
campaigns are trying to show that, but also show kind of the spirit and the
intensity. It is a little bit divided between two candidates, but on the
Republican side, you have several people running, and they haven`t yet
really coalesced around a single front-runner or two. So -- or someone
that they think can make it in the long run. So I think that Democrats can
take that away from it. But I think what we saw in 2007, I`m not sure that
can be replicated. That was its own.

WOLFFE: So, Bob, Bernie Sanders was trying to, you know, twist the knife a
little bit here, got a little bit pointed. I want to pick up in particular
something that he said in response to Hillary Clinton talking to Rachel
Maddow. First I`ll play what Hillary said to Rachel Maddow and then what
Bernie said last night.


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

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: It was a defensive action?

HILLARY CLINTON: It was a defensive action.

SANDERS: Now today some are trying to rewrite history by saying they voted
for one anti-gay law to stop something worse. That`s not the case. There
was a small minority in the House opposed to discriminating against our gay
brothers and sisters, and I am proud that I was one of those members.


WOLFFE: So Bob, DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, not actually true Hillary
Clinton saying she voted for it. She was obviously the first lady at this
point when DOMA came into being, but is there room here for Bernie to find
some space around this pocket of issues?

BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: I think Bernie has a real problem, and I think his
main problem is that he`s peaked too soon. I think he`s really peaked too

What would have been better for Bernie is if he had sort of like increased
his visibility steadily, and then won maybe a surprise victory in Iowa and
then moved on to New Hampshire. Bernie has been seen as a formidable
mainstream candidate for quite a while now, and now you`re open to attacks.
They`re not vicious attacks, but you are open to attacks, and now he has to
figure out a way to respond. He can`t keep saying the same thing over and
over again, and I think that he`s out of his comfort zone. So I think it`s
a real problem for him.

WOLFFE: That element of surprise is interesting. Of course Obama at the
JJ dinner was not the front-runner, and there was a surprise element to him
winning. Phillip, I want to pick up something Martin O`Malley, often
overlooked, let`s be honest, talked about in terms of Donald Trump. Listen
to what he said about Donald Trump last night.


FORMER GOV. MARTIN O`MALLEY, D-MD.: To that immigrant bashing, carnival
barker Donald Trump, let us stand together and say that the enduring symbol
of our nation is not the barbed wire fence! It is the Statue of Liberty!


WOLFFE: I think that`s what Donald Trump calls high energy.


WOLFFE: Obviously you`re always going to win prizes at a Democratic event
to go after Donald Trump, but problems for the Republican Party in being
painted into a corner with immigrant voters, Latino voters in particular?

PHILLIP STUTTS, GOBIGMEDIA: Let me just say, Bob is right with Bernie.
When you`ve got old, white and angry, whether it`s the Republican side or
the Democrat side, eventually it`s not going to pan out for the candidate,
and I think that`s the case with Donald Trump as well.

We do need to be appealing to more Hispanics in our party, but I would also
say this. Donald Trump right now is between 20 percent and 30 percent in
all the major critical states. That means 70 percent to 80 percent of the
primary voters among Republicans are not going to support him. And if you
look at the polling, it will say that they aren`t going to support him.
He`s got a very niche audience. In a big primary, he may slip through,
because he only needs so many votes, but I think he`s got a big problem and
he`s not helpful to the party right now.

WOLFFE: You mean he`s reached his own glass ceiling.


WOLFFE: Caitlin, one thing before we go, big endorsement for Hillary
Clinton from David Plouffe. David Plouffe, who I know pretty well, not an
obvious fan of Hillary Clinton. I mean, maybe he wasn`t ever going to go
for Bernie Sanders either, but it`s a significant signal for the Obama
base. Isn`t it?

HUEY-BURNS: Oh, sure. And the timing, of course, is significant. I mean,
right before she was about to go on the show at the dinner last night.

I think you`re starting to see and we`re starting to see this in polling
too, that Democrats overwhelmingly say they know, they believe she will be
the eventual nominee, and I think that is something that works in Bernie
Sanders -- works against him in this regard. So I think she can take that
away from it as well.

STUTTS: Could you imagine 20 years ago a former staffer endorses a
presidential candidate? It`s crazy.

WOLFFE: But everyone loved his videos, the base loved his videos, it says
a lot about digital campaigning, in that you can reach people and be known
as a campaign manager.

HUEY-BURNS: We saw Joe Biden this week, when he got out of the race or I
don`t know if he was really in it, but decided not to run, talked about
really embracing the Obama legacy and encouraging the other Democrats to do
so. We saw Hillary Clinton do a little bit more of that recently.

WOLFFE: We have to leave it right there.

Still ahead, we`ll have the latest on the crash of Oklahoma State
University`s homecoming parade yesterday.

And next, the women running for office who are not named Hillary Clinton.
Stay with us.



hearts that you cannot wait to see me debate Hillary Clinton.


FIORINA: But she reminded us over and over and over again in that debate
that she`s an outsider because she would be the first woman. She would be
the first woman president.

Let me start by assuring you that I will never ask for your vote or your
support because I`m a woman.


WOLFFE: That of course was Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina
on Wednesday, attacking the Democratic front-runner. It was hard to know
at this stage if Clinton`s strategy in embracing the historic nature of her
candidacy will help or hurt her. Recent Pew poll found when it comes to
politics, women are seen as better than men on traits like compromise,
honesty, and standing up for their beliefs. And another study found that
over the last seven years, women in the Senate have introduced and enacted
legislation at a higher rate than their male counterparts. They have even
gained more bipartisan support. However, men still make up 80 percent of
Congress, and of course, there`s never been a woman president.

When Pew asked what holds women back? The most common responses were that
women are held to higher standards, and the electorate isn`t ready for
women leaders.

So will a woman finally break through the ultimate glass ceiling, and what
can we expect from women in races up and down the ballot in 2016? Joining
our panel is the president and founder of Emerge America, an organization
that encourages women to run for elected office. Andrea Dew Steele,

ANDREA DEW STEELE, EMERGE AMERICA: Thank you for having me.

WOLFFE: What is holding women back from running for office?

STEELE: Well, the main thing is that women have to want to run. So at
Emerge America, we focus on recruiting women, and that means having lots of
conversations around kitchen tables, at community meetings, really
encouraging women to run. Because you can`t build the house from the top
down. So it`s great to focus on the presidency, but we need women running
all up and down the ballot. There are 520,000 political offices in this
country. So at Emerge America, we`re focused on building the bench,
filling the pipeline, getting women running and on the ticket with Hillary
Clinton. We have a whole campaign called follow Hillary`s lead. We want
to make 2016 more than just the year of one women. We want to make it the
year of many women.

WOLFFE: Even for Hillary Clinton, there`s a perception maybe for her that
her treatment is shaped by how people think about women talking in public
and being leaders. Let`s listen to what she said at the DNC women`s
leadership forum on Friday about the issue of gun control.


HILLARY CLINTON: I`ve been told to stop, and I quote "shouting about gun
violence." Well first of all, I`m not shouting. It`s just when women talk,
some people think we`re shouting.



WOLFFE: It`s a problem for women when they are running for office, isn`t
it? There is a different set of rules for how people treat them just in
their regular arguments and debating style.

STEELE: That`s true, Richard. But what we encourage our women to do is be
authentic, that`s all Americans want are authentic politicians. For
Hillary, for other women running up and down the ballot, and what we also
say is you`re not going to be treated like Hillary Clinton. If you`re
running for school board, you`re not going to be held to the same
standards. So just get in the races, put your name on the ballot, and
you`ll see, you`ll be able to handle yourself if you just are who you are.

WOLFFE: People you`re looking out for this season on either side, what
candidates stand out for you?

STEELE: I`m really excited about a lot of the Senate candidates, mainly
because we have several women of color running. We have Kamala Harris in
my home state of California, and she was one of my inspirations for
starting Emerge. She came to me in 2002. She was interested in running
for the DA and she said, what do I do? Where do I go? I said, Kamala, let
me figure it out. And that`s part of how I started the program, I did, of
Emerge. She`s exciting. If elected, she would only be the second African-
American ever, and we also have Donna Edwards running in Maryland. We have
Catherine Cortez Masto. If elected she would be the first Latina.

Of course, at Emerge America, we are really focused on the state
legislative races as well. We really have to do better as Democrats, as
progressives. Republicans have known this for years, and I admire them for
what they`ve done, but we`ve got to take back some of the state legislative

WOLFFE: Caitlin, do you see women in Washington operating at a different
level, getting more done?

HUEY-BURNS: Sure. I think you talk to women in Congress, and they will
tell you, they`re better listeners. We saw Patty Murray really break
ground with Paul Ryan, of course, on the budget a few years ago, and so you
definitely see that trend. I think it is very important to really
cultivate women running for office at the state and local level in
Congress, because then when it comes to the presidency, then you therefore
have a bigger bench. But women I talk to about running for office, the one
thing that they always point to is the difficulty in fund-raising, the
difficulty they think that they have in asking for money. I`m wondering if
you find that to be some kind of prohibitor or something that keeps people

STEELE: Well, certainly they are definitely nervous about fund-raising,
but what we do at Emerge is we walk them through the steps, and teach them
how to fund-raise. We take women through a six-month training program. So
we show them how to do this. I do a whole presentation. If you can potty
train a child, you can fund-raise.


STEELE: It`s not that hard if you just learn how to do it.

WOLFFE: Phillip, briefly, we`ve obviously been focusing on Democrats.
Republican women candidates you have your eye on?

STUTTS: Obviously Carly is at the top of the ticket. We don`t have
(inaudible) in the last cycle, at least with Elise Stefanik, youngest woman
ever in Congress. But really it`s all on Carly.

I find the ability to promote women in politics an incredible effort. I
don`t know if anybody is holding anybody back anymore. I just don`t see
that. I think men and women have the equal plain to go run for office.
It`s about how good their campaigns are at this day and age, and I
encourage more women in politics, but I don`t know if anybody`s being held

WOLFFE: It`s a much bigger discussion. Sadly we have to leave it there.
Thank you, Andrea Dew Steele, for joining us.

STEELE: Thank you, Richard.

WOLFFE: Still ahead, four people killed, dozens injured when a driver
plows into a parade at a college homecoming parade at Oklahoma State
University. We`ll go live to Stillwater for the latest.

Plus, new video from what appears to be inside the raid on ISIS that killed
an American commando.


WOLFFE: We want to bring you up to speed on the latest developments in
Stillwater, Oklahoma, where police say a driver plowed into a crowd during
the homecoming parade at Oklahoma State University. Four people were
killed, including a 2-year-old boy, and 17 people remain in the hospital.
Five of them in critical condition. NBC`s Jacob Rascon is live in
Stillwater this morning. What is the latest?

JACOB RASCON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. There`s new video out
that shows the moment of impact. We won`t show it in full, but in the
video, taken by a spectator, you see a gray sedan that plows into the
crowd, no brake lights are visible there. The list of victims has grown to
51, including the injured. Of course, four people as we`ve said have died,
including a toddler and a graduate student. Police this morning are
looking for more witnesses to the crash, and any video that might be out
there. They say that the person who has been arrested on a charge of
driving under the influence, Adesha Chambers (ph). One witness says she
was out of control after the crash. One witness telling the governor she
had to be held down until police arrived.

Investigators tell me that possible charges range from negligent homicide
to manslaughter, even to murder, depending on her driving history, her
intention, and whether or not she was intoxicated, among other factors.
This morning, 17 people remain hospitalized, five of those are in critical
condition, and as we said, the police are looking for any more witnesses to
come forward with new information. Richard?

WOLFFE: That`s a profoundly sad story, thanks to Jacob Rascon in
Stillwater, Oklahoma.

We have new video to show you that appears to be from the raid in Iraq in
which dozens of ISIS hostages were freed. This video was first obtained
exclusively by NBC News from the Jordan based news outline (ph) Arab 24.
This was apparently taken on helmet cams at a prison in northern Iraq on
Thursday. U.S. and Kurdish commandos pulled off that raid. A raid in
which Delta Force commando Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed. He
was the first American to die in combat operations against ISIS.

Still ahead, the breakthroughs Michael J. Fox said he sees in the future on
"Back to the Future" day.

And next, why Jeb Bush says he`s not too worried about his plummeting poll
numbers. Please stay with us.


WOLFFE: While many people said Hillary Clinton had her best week of the
campaign season, Jeb Bush may have had his worst. He is stuck way behind
the leader in all the new polls that came out this week. His campaign
announced major payroll cuts and layoffs. And get this, he has a higher
unfavorable rating than Ted Cruz. All that while more money has been spent
on TV ads for him than any other candidate, with very little to show for it
so far. Bush responded yesterday to the worries that his campaign is
falling apart this way.


FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH, R-FLA.: Blah, blah, blah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what they`re saying out there.

BUSH: That`s my answer, blah, blah, blah. Watch it. President Cain was
winning the Republican primary in 2007. Senator Clinton was up by 25
points against an unknown guy named Barack Obama eight years ago. I think
President Giuliani was leading the field for a brief time more or less this
same time. And so you look at the race. October is not when you elect
people. It`s February, and then you move into March, and we have a
campaign that is designed to win. And I`m going to win.


WOLFFE: Not if Florida rival Marco Rubio has anything to say about it.
Senator Rubio received rave reviews for both debate performances so far,
and there is only so much establishment money to go around. So with Jeb
Bush struggling, could another strong debate performance Wednesday night by
Marco Rubio make him the establishment`s choice?

Time to bring back our panel here. Phillip, some interesting insights in a
New York Times article from the Bush family circle. I want to pull up a
quote from John Sununu, who says "I have no feeling for the electorate
anymore. It`s not responding the way it used to, that priorities are so
different that if I tried to analyze it, I`d be making it up." I realize
this is Bush 41 we`re talking about, but still, it does feel like the Bush
formula isn`t working in the Republican Party today.

STUTTS: It isn`t. It`s a different electorate, a different primary
electorate. It`s more libertarian. It`s more anti-establishment. He`s
the establishment. I think if you look at the latest polling out of Iowa,
in July, there were 28 percent of primary caucus goers who said they`d
never vote for Jeb. Now that number is at 53. I don`t see him staying in
Iowa. I think they`ll put all their money and eggs in New Hampshire and
South Carolina. He has a robust operation in New Hampshire, a robust
operation in South Carolina, and I think he hopes to take that to the FCC
(ph) primary, which is March 1st, which is the southern states.

WOLFFE: That was Rudy Giuliani?

STUTTS: Giuliani`s was Florida, only. This is New Hampshire, South
Carolina. And listen, I`m not saying that is going to win.

Look, I don`t think Trump and I don`t think Carson are going to make it to
the end. Rubio is actually pretty primed sitting in third place, go back
to what Bob said earlier about making that run late before the Iowa votes,
and I think Rubio is in a good spot to do that. And a couple of people--

WOLFFE: And New Hampshire wasn`t Bush country back in 2000, as I recall.
Caitlin, we couldn`t do this segment without going back to Donald Trump.
Let`s hear what he said about Bush and Rubio I think in Jacksonville


because think of this. Think of this. Here`s a guy, here`s a guy wants to
run our country, and he can`t even run his own campaign. So Bush has no
money. He`s cutting, he`s meeting today with mommy and daddy, and they`re
working on their campaign. Rubio is controlled by his PAC, and he needs a
lot of water on top of everything else. Did you ever see a guy, did you
ever see a guy sweat like Rubio? I`ve never seen anything like that.


WOLFFE: High energy, low energy, sweating, no sweating. It`s got to hurt
when -- I mean, obviously Donald Trump is trying to hurt, but it`s got to
hurt when he can portray Bush in this kind of way.

HUEY-BURNS: Sure. And we`ve seen Trump be able to get under Bush`s skin.
What`s difficult for Bush, though, I think it was very hard for anybody
really to predict Trump`s rise, but I think that they underestimated where
the electorate is. Bush came into this campaign, campaigning specifically
on experience. His record as governor of Florida. And the electorate at
this point is saying, we don`t want that kind of experience at all.

So where Rubio can come in, remember, Rubio`s biggest liability was that he
might be -- he didn`t have much experience in government, that he would be
kind of the Barack Obama of this cycle in terms of being a first-term
senator. I think he`s been able to show that, one, he did not listen to
what the establishment said, and he always talks about the fact that he
didn`t wait in line and did run. I think he`s tried to wait it out, try to
wait for everybody else to fall, and he`s been successful in that regard.
And he`s been the only candidate to not let Trump get under his skin so
far. Trump has gone aggressively after Rubio.

WOLFFE: We`ll see if that continues. This could of course, Bob, be just
blah, blah, blah, but I want to pull up the numbers. The
unfavorable/favorable numbers for Bush and Rubio, because Bush is
struggling when it comes to the unfavorable numbers.

HERBERT: No question.

WOLFFE: Compared to someone like Marco Rubio, he`s negative 16, if you net
out the favorable and unfavorable. Rubio is plus 6. Of course, people may
not know fully who Marco Rubio is, so it might look different after people
start talking about him a bit more, but Bush, likability. It wasn`t
supposed to be this way for him.

HERBERT: It wasn`t. Actually I kept hearing he was going to be a better
candidate than George W. Bush was, but I think John Sununu is on to
something. There`s a profound change in the way we elect our presidents
now, in the United States, and Bush is playing essentially by the family
playbook, and that`s over. That goes back a long way. The elections are
now so much more like a reality TV show than they are like traditional
elections, and I don`t think that favors someone like Jeb Bush.

WOLFFE: Of course we could be to blame for that. I get plenty of response
here, why are we playing so much Donald Trump, we`re just feeding this
thing. The voters are responding, though. They like the reality.


HERBERT: They do, but when you look at the debates, for example, though,
the networks are very concerned about the ratings for the debates. That
wasn`t the case before. They want to pump up the electorate. They want to
give them entertainment. I actually am personally not that happy with it,
but I think that`s the direction we`re going in, and I think that
ultimately that`s going to hurt Marco Rubio, too, because I don`t think
he`s a great reality TV show candidate.

WOLFFE: Right. Well, maybe that`s not what we want in a president. But
we`ll come back to that later.

Still ahead, the ambitious goal Vice President Joe Biden laid out when he
announced he wasn`t running for president. Stay with us.



BIDEN: And I believe we need a moonshot in this country to cure cancer.
It`s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have
already been working hard on increasing funding for research and
development, because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in
science and medicine. The things that are just about to happen, and we can
make them real with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we
know it today.


WOLFFE: That was Vice President Biden on Wednesday, expressing his hope
for finding new funding to help find a cure for cancer soon. That same
day, which of course was "Back to the Future" day, the White House posted
on its website a letter from Michael J. Fox in which the actor and
Parkinson`s sufferer wrote he`s optimistic we`ll find cures to many
diseases that still plague us. He wrote "I believe that by 2045, we`ll
find the cures we seek, especially because of all the smart, passionate
people working to make it happen. Doctors and researchers around the world
are developing new tools to improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain
diseases, to tailor treatments for all illnesses through precision
medicine, and to make life better for millions of people."

Fox testified before Congress about the issue almost 16 years ago, urging
lawmakers to earmark more money for Parkinson`s research.

So how far away are we from finding new cures? And what role can the
federal government play in getting us closer? We`re joined by former
Congressman Rush Holt, who is also a scientist, a physicist I believe, and
now CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Good
morning, Congressman.

morning, Richard. Good to be with you.

WOLFFE: So a lot of this funding goes into the National Institutes of
Health, of course. NIH funding, I remember the days when NIH funding was
sort of handed on a platter to any NIH director who walked into Congress,
and then it stagnated. Doubled for a while and then stagnated. What is
the current prospect for this kind of biomedical research that we`re
talking about here?

HOLT: First of all, Vice President Biden, Joe Biden has been a champion of
research over the years, but I would say right now, there is no one who is
champion enough for research. I would like to think that our organization,
the American Association for the Advancement of Science is, but in any
case, we are underinvesting in research by a huge amount. NIH -- yes, as
you say, went through a doubling a decade or more ago, but in the last few
years, last five years, it`s fallen by about a quarter, about 20 percent
actually. NIH, the NCI, the National Cancer Institute, similarly.

So you know, Vice President Biden of course is talking about the disease or
the cluster of diseases that he now feels very personally, but in every
area of human welfare, there are real gains to be made, and we are nowhere
close to investing as much as we could productively invest. We could
invest several times what we are now investing in research and development,
and get returns well into the double digits, maybe the many double digits.

WOLFFE: So I want to ask, what we`ve seen over these last few years is of
course the rise of disease focused sort of lobbying groups, people are
interested in one type of disease or another. When they look at NIH
funding, they say well, it`s basic research, it is not focused on cures, so
where do you stand on where this extra money should go, whether it`s the
research end of things or a cure focus?

HOLT: Well, it`s because of the basic research, looking at bacteria and
hot springs, and eventually learning how to decode the sequence of words in
the DNA, which was not done as part of the war on cancer, that we now
understand that cancer is not one disease, it`s not like yellow fever or
smallpox, where there`s a single pathogen that we`re trying to beat. It`s
hundreds of cellular malfunctions that occur in many places in the body,
and it`s going to require thousands of different individualized
personalized localized treatments, and that`s what the president and the
vice president are talking about when they speak of this new personalized
medicine. That`s the result of really the basic research, not so much the
war on cancer.

WOLFFE: Congressman, just want to squeeze in a question from Bob Herbert
on the panel.

HERBERT: I just wonder why is there such extreme underinvestment in this
research, do you think?

HOLT: You know, it`s hard to say. We`re spending less than a percent of
our gross domestic product on research and development. I think any
corporation that spends such a small amount on ensuring its future means of
production would be considered derelict. We`re now tenth in the world in
research intensity. The private sector invests, oh, $250 billion in
research and development. That sounds like a lot, but it`s more development
than research. As a percentage of our national economic activity, it`s
really not that large. And when you look at whether we`re at all close to
a marginal return on our investment, in other words, slower and slower
payback -- no, we`re nowhere close to that. We could easily spend several
times what we`re spending now, public and private sector, on research and
development, and get a great return.


HOLT: As we did from, you know, MRIs and lasers. We`re living off of the
benefits of basic research that was done half a century ago.

WOLFFE: We are. And I could spend a whole hour discussing this, but
sadly, we`re out of time. Thank you to Rush Holt for joining us.

Up next, the world`s first monument to a Star Wars character. We`ll reveal
which one. Stay ahead.


WOLFFE: There is a lot going on this morning. We have to get caught up on
some of the other headlines making news with today`s panel. Panel, I have
to start out with this fascinating news from Odessa, Ukraine, where a
Soviet era statue of Vladimir Lenin has been converted into a Star Wars
character. And I think we can just about tell in this picture which
character it is. It is, of course, Darth Vader. I guess that`s a comment,
Bob, on what they think about Lenin nowadays.

HERBERT: Yes, it is. We have heard of the Empire Strikes Back. This is
striking back at the empire.

WOLFFE: Very nice. The evil empire. That`s very good. Rather than
removing the Lenin statue, they decided to transform it, which is
recycling, I suppose, in some cases.

OK. Another one from the L.A. Times. Digging for gold in the sewers.
This is stunning to me. A gold rush apparently, a new California gold rush
has begun as rumors of gold being found in Auburn, California. They
believe that they found gold in a storm drain. I think I`ve got a quote
from the police chief there, who says it`s extremely dangerous and he added
it`s, quote, illegal.


STUTTS: I`m a graduate of the University of Alabama. So whenever I hear
the word Auburn, because this is happening in Auburn, California, I think
of the sewer. It`s perfect. It really hits up my alley. Thank you.

WOLFFE: That`s very cute. Apparently, officials are worried that the
drains could be destabilized, no kidding.

Special (inaudible) from NBC News. Specialty drug Imprimis Pharmaceuticals
remember that story about the company that wanted to charge $750 for the
taxoplasmosis drug Daraprim? This new company Imprimis is saying it will
do a $1 version. We talked about science funding. Caitlin, the free
market at work. You can`t overcharge people like this.

HUEY-BURNS: Sure, and they`re showing they won`t pay for it. So I think
that`s a welcome development.

WOLFFE: Definitely. Drug used to cost $13.50 per pill. $750, they said
they could do it so they were going to go ahead and do it.

OK, last of all, I`m sorry, but it`s a New York story. There was a pizza
rat, and now apparently there is a pizza raccoon. This one enjoying in
Central Park a slice of Sicilian. Thank you, New Yorker 4 identified it
was Sicilian for us, and the #pizzaraccoon, has been buzzing on social

It says a lot about New York, doesn`t it?

HERBERT: Who knew there were raccoons in New York? What`s up with that?

WOLFFE: They`re everywhere. Yesterday, we did a story about how pizza is
actually addictive. There was a medical study--


HERBERT: -- weird animal story.

WOLFFE: We are. It`s also a weird human story. Okay, I would like to
thank our panel, Phillip Stutts, Caitlin Huey-Burns, and the wonderful Bob
Herbert, for being here this morning.

And thank you for getting up with us today. Up next is the brilliant
Melissa Harris-Perry. Stay tuned. We`ll see you next weekend. In the
meantime, have a great week.


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