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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: November 8, 2015
Guest: David Itzkoff, Amanda Terkel, Ana Marie Cox, Nan Hayworth, Sheldon
Whitehouse, Neil Malhotra

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Live from New York, it`s Donald Trump. Good
Sunday morning. Thanks for getting up with us on this day. Many of us
were up until the early hours of the morning last night. In order to catch
Donald Trump hosting "Saturday Night Live." Something few presidential
candidates have ever done. There were plenty of protesters last night as
well but were there many laughs to go with it?

Our report in just a moment on that. Plus, Trump`s closest rival for the
Republican nomination Ben Carson responds to reports questioning his past
in a new interview with NBC News. All those details on that are just
ahead.

We`ll also take a look at the only poll that matters, Election Day, and a
key block of voters that`s often overlooked. Asian Americans and Pacific
islanders. Also this hour, it`s been a long wait, but for many President
Obama`s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline was worth waiting for. That`s
coming up in just a few minutes as well.

But first, we begin this hour with Donald Trump`s headline performance
hosting "Saturday Night Live" last night. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP: A lot of people are saying, Donald you`re the most amazing
guy. You`re brilliant, you`re handsome, you`re rich, you have everything
going. The world is waiting for you to be president. So, why are you
hosting "Saturday Night Live," why? And the answer is I have really
nothing better to do.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: Now, during that monologue Larry David playing himself, mock heckled
Donald Trump. Hispanic advocacy group offered $5,000 to anyone who would
call out Trump during the broadcast. Another sketch, imagine the perfect
world of a Trump presidency. New laws issued over Twitter, victory over
ISIS, and the Washington Monument covered in gold mirrored glass. It also
included a visit from the Mexican president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enrique.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought you the check for the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God, that`s so welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is far too much money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I insist. Consider it an apology for doubting you
as history shows us, nothing brings two countries together like a wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: Latino groups protested Trump`s appearance on the show. They were
marching from Trump Tower to Rockefeller Center. They were demonstrating
against the derogatory comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants when he
launched his campaign.

In the wake of his comments MSNBC`s parent company NBC Universal dropped
coverage of Trump`s "Miss Universe" pageant earlier this summer. As you
might remember, NBC also replaced Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," but
Trump was able to hold onto his "SNL" gig on NBC last night, even
weathering opposition from the congressional Hispanic caucus. Here`s
California Congressman Loretta Sanchez on the House floor earlier in the
week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ: I hope "Saturday Night Live`s" producers, writers
and cast members will consider how Donald Trump hosting "SNL" will
compromise the integrity of their show. Having Mr. Trump degrade the
quality of "SNL`s" humor because racism isn`t funny. It`s lazy, and it`s
cheap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: Joining me now "New York Times" cultural reporter Dave Itzkoff. Also
with us is our panel, former Republican congresswoman from New York Nan
Hayworth, "Daily Beast" contributor Ana Marie Cox and "Huffington Post"
senior political reporter Amanda Terkel. It`s nice on a Sunday morning to
be able to sit down and talk about something or somewhat entertaining ...

(LAUGHTER)

LUI: perhaps for some. For some. Dave, you are our expert in
entertainment here. How did he do? What`s the grade on Donald Trump?

DAVID ITZKOFF, THE NEW YORK TIMES CULTURE REPORTER: I thought Larry David
was an excellent host. Donald Trump I`m less won over by. But I think,
people were expecting something on the order of, say, you know, Stephen
Colbert roasting George W. Bush at the White House correspondents dinner.

LUI: Right.

ITZKOFF: This was never intended that way. They never - the show was
never going to lay a glove on Trump, it was never going to be a roast or a
satire of him.

LUI: Safe was a win. Wasn`t it?

ITZKOFF: I think you`re right. I think I mean the show certainly has
benefited from all the attention and notoriety that he brings and makes
them look like they`re important in the cultural conversation, which they
are, and Trump gets 90 minutes of air time, whether he`s the focus of the
jokes or just a passing player in some of these sketches.

LUI: As you saw from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, it was not all fun and
games, right, as we saw the march from Trump Tower. Amanda, you were with
them. And what did you see?

AMANDA TERKEL, WASHINGTON POST: They were pretty upset, obviously, that he
was getting this platform. They said, you know, I think of the chants was
racism is not funny, he shouldn`t be on tonight. And so, they marched from
Trump Tower, they marched over to NBC Studios, they stood outside for a
while. There were about 12 counter protesters supporting Trump, one person
was actually supporting Ted Cruz, she just wanted to be there to support
him being on "SNL." But so there weren`t many people out there supporting
Donald Trump.

But, you know, they said he`s not funny, he shouldn`t be getting this
platform, and there was the Latino group who offered $5,000 if someone
yelled out "Trump is a racist" during the show, and Larry David sort of
took that away.

LUI: So he gets $5,000, Larry David does.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rich normally get richer in this society, and
there`s the proof.

FORMER REP. NAN HAYWORTH, R-N.Y.: Donald Trump probably brought some added
attention to this season for "SNL," and I thought he, ordinarily it`s
satire, but what he was saying about himself in the introductory monologue,
I think he really means it.

LUI: I don`t think that was prescripted. I was like that`s not written
down.

HAYWORTH: That`s the way he is.

LUI: He looked very natural, I think for those who were watching the show,
it was like he was a cast member the way he was working with the other cast
members of "SNL."

ANA MARIE COX: I didn`t know it was required that you had to be funny to
be on "SNL," that`s news to me.

LUI: Right.

COX: I don`t know, I`m not a huge fan of the show in its current
iterations, so I`m not sure if it was especially unfunny or like normally
unfunny.

LUI: Maybe careful is what you`re saying?

COX: Some people who said -- have floated the idea that perhaps it was
especially unfunny, and this is all an elaborate attempt by the writers to
torpedo Trump`s campaign by making him look ridiculous, although he didn`t
look ridiculous. The whole show looked ridiculous. I thought the Larry
David thing was disappointing, it defanged the idea of calling him a racist
by saying we only call him a racist if you`re paid to say so. It made the
whole spectacle seem like something that you were doing only for money,
which cheapens it.

LUI: Or entertainment, perhaps.

COX: Or entertainment. I thought the best sketch--

(CROSSTALK)

COX: The opening sketch was good, and I thought the sketch where -- that
imagined the Trump presidency, I thought they could go very high concept
and just do the entire show as just a deadpan presentation of the entire
Trump presidency, and that might have been pretty funny. Your interaction
with the Mexican president.

HAYWORTH: In Donald Trump`s mind, that`s the way he says hello.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one clapped for Ivanka coming out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well --

ITZKOFF: I think you have to look for the moments of political protest
where you can find them, whether it was the audience failing to applaud for
Ivanka or even if you look at Larry David`s sort of bemused expression in
the closing credits when they are giving their good nights, and even he
seems -- if you can read the body language -- and anybody can interpret it
the way they wish -- but he seems to be saying, even I don`t know what I`m
doing here.

HAYWORTH: Wouldn`t you just love to see an hour of Larry David taking over
for Bernie Sanders?

LUI: It`s too easy of a role for Larry David and for Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

LUI: Dave, thank you so much for stopping by.

ITZKOFF: Certainly, my pleasure.

LUI: An entertaining evening no doubt for you as you watched the entire
"SNL" episode, appreciate it.

And now we`re going to switch to another major political headline we`ve
been watching over the last week, the Keystone XL pipeline, officially
rejected by President Obama Friday, this decision comes after a heated
seven-year political battle that played out in Washington and out on the
campaign trail.

In announcing his reasons for the rejection, the president slammed the
politics that fueled this debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: For years the Keystone pipeline has occupied what I frankly
consider an overinflated role in our political discourse. It became a
symbol too often used as a campaign coddle by both parties rather than a
serious policy matter, and all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline
would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some,
nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: Republicans criticized that decision. Jeb Bush called it an attack
on the economy and jobs, and the new House Speaker Paul Ryan said the
president`s decision was "sickening."

On the Democrat side Hillary Clinton celebrated by calling for clean energy
and Bernie Sanders hailed the pipeline`s demise at MSNBC`s Democratic forum
on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: The issue of Keystone was kind of a no -brainer. It never made
sense to me from day one as to why you would extract and transport some of
the dirtiest fuel on this planet. So I said no to the Keystone on day one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: We`re joined by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode
Island and a member of the Senate Committee of Environment and Public
Works. Thanks for being with us on this Sunday morning. If you were
watching "SNL," we don`t want to hear about that yet, but thank you for
being here.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, D-R.I.: I`ll stay away from that.

LUI: You can stay away from that for now. The decision by the president
acknowledging part of it here that the pipeline would not lead to a climate
catastrophe, and Republicans saying the rejection was pure politics. So
when you`re in the president seat here, why now and why no?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think why now is to shore up credibility and continue
building momentum on the way to Paris. I think there`s a fair amount of
optimism that something significant is going to happen at cop21, and this
is a good lead-in to it. And why no is completely obvious, the pipeline
would have had very significant environmental consequences, not a silver
bullet to end climate change, but a very important win. This is something
that the environmental community fought very hard for, and so there`s a
separate piece here.

LUI: Right.

WHITEHOUSE: The town of Gettysburg was not the most important strategic
site in the Civil War, but it was where the armies clashes and it mattered
who won. This is where the environmental movement from the grassroots up
first really stood up to the fossil fuel industry, and it`s important that
we won.

LUI: Senator, as you do look though at the State Department`s report,
which you`re very aware of, they`re saying really in terms of the
environmental impact, it is not to the degree that you just described, and
so some might ask, if that is indeed true, why not go ahead and give the
Republicans this, if that is true, because it`s dead center on
environmental impact, and --

WHITEHOUSE: Because the leverage is not indeed true.

LUI: And leverage it for something that the Democratic Party might want, a
key wedge issue, for instance.

WHITEHOUSE: No, Representative Waxman and I wrote a lengthy report to
Secretary Kerry, rebutting what the State Department had said, and in a
very short nutshell, their problem is that they assumed $75 or more price
per barrel of oil, we`re way below that, and at these numbers, the State
Department report completely falls apart. It`s the State Department report
itself that describes the environmental harm from this project and from the
tar sands, but then they say it was going to happen anyway because oil
prices would be so high. With oil prices low, the argument disappears, and
what we`re left with is just the environmental harm that the State
Department report describes.

LUI: So we`re watching that slide rule, aren`t we, multifactorial, one of
which is the price per barrel, and there is also the issue of unemployment,
we`re looking at not high single digits. The CPI is also looking pretty
good. If we were in a different situation, Senator, what would that
decision be for President Obama today? Would it have been yes, we`ve got to
do this?

WHITEHOUSE: I would certainly hope not. I think if you take any kind of a
long view and see where the carbon concentration is in the atmosphere, you
see how rapidly oceans are acidifying, you see the phenomenal weirding of
weather around the world that people are really noticing now, you got to at
some point address climate change, and if you`re not going to do that by
stopping the dirtiest fuels on the planet from getting across our country
and to market and putting that marker down, then I don`t know what you`re
going to do. That would have been a real sign of surrender on this, and I
think that would have been a terrible mistake, even in a more challenged
economic environment.

LUI: We got to go here, Senator, but what is the one thing you want to see
come out of Paris?

WHITEHOUSE: I think global price on carbon would be the very best deal,
and as you let me go, let`s all say congratulations to New York Attorney
General Schneiderman for his subpoena of Exxon.

LUI: And he appreciates the shout out. Thank you, Senator, I appreciate
your time today. Sheldon Whitehouse, thank you.

WHITEHOUSE: Of course.

LUI: Still ahead the latest on the cause of the plane crash in Egypt.
Bill Neely joins us live from Sharm el Sheikh.

But first the rise of the angry voter. New poll numbers show why folks are
so upset, but is it driving how they will vote in the end?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LUI: I`m guessing it wouldn`t surprise you to learn that according to this
week`s NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll voters are kind of fed up.
Seven in ten Americans surveyed say they agree with the following
statement, quote, "I feel angry because our political system seems to only
be working for the insiders with money and power, rather than it working to
help everyday people get ahead."

While it`s not limited to party, with 77 percent of Democratic and 63
percent of Republican primary voters angry with the political system in
general. There is a huge difference in what exactly voters are angry
about, though, with seven out of every ten Republicans expressing unease
about what`s described as widespread illegal immigration, the shrinking
role of religion in public life, and gay and lesbian rights. Only 12
percent of Democrats agree with them.

That helps explain why Hillary Clinton has emphasized her support of gay
rights as well as other signs of a changing society. While Republican
primary voters have been backing the candidates who are best voicing their
fears, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, it`s clear that the rise of angry
voters have defined the early primary contest so far. Question is will
Carson or Trump here be able to ride the wave of dissatisfaction all the
way to the Republican nomination, if not the White House? All right. Our
angry panel joins us again.

Ana Marie Cox, Nan Hayworth and Amanda Terkel, this idea of having an angry
electorate and the differences according to party is pretty clear. It`s
dissatisfaction at least on the left on the political system overall, and
on the right it`s specific issues politically that their party cares about.

HAYWORTH: Mostly it`s the economy, Richard. That really fuels enormous
frustration among I think everyone in our society. They may assign the
origin of our ills to different entities, if you will, which is why there
are different sets of solutions coming out from Republican or Democratic
sides. But I think it all stems from a feeling of frustration and betrayal
in a sense by federal government that has promised far more than it can
deliver, and people are suffering. They don`t have the jobs they should,
young people are coming out of college with enormous debt, thanks so
federal policy.

LUI: But is it the appearance of money and the effect it has on power? We
look at the very words itself, of course there is the pocketbook issues
which you bring up.

COX: I think a little bit off here, what we`re seeing in that poll at
least, yes, the economy is a problem for almost everyone except for the
very, very rich, you`re seeing a correct expression of that anger. It is
true that our political system and our economy does not work to help the
average person, that it helps the very, very rich, and wages are increasing
on the very rich. 90 percent, you might know the numbers better than I do,
the wage increases we`ve had in this country, a vast majority of them have
gone to the upper 1 percent or 0.1 percent.

LUI: The gap is growing.

COX: The gap is growing and growing. People are properly angry. I don`t
know what gay and lesbian rights has to do with that, and I think that
where you see the gap between the voters also is who is angry. And I just
want to point out that anger can turn out people to the polls. The
conservatives are going to lose if the Democratic Party is as angry as they
are because they have the demographic numbers to bring more people to the
polls.

LUI: In an absolute sense just by looking at our numbers. Amanda.

TERKEL: This is why you see a lot of the outside candidates catching on.
This is why Bernie Sanders for example has been doing a lot better than
people expected him to, because that message that the system is rigged, as
you hear from Elizabeth Warren all the time, is really catching on. The
inclusion of gay and lesbian rights is very surprising. I guess it`s sort
of anger and frustration that America is changing in a way that some people
who have been politically powerful can`t really keep up with. I don`t
think that`s necessarily true with younger generations of Republican
voters, for example. It seems to be these politically powerful white
conservative wealthier voters see that America no longer looks like them.

LUI: Is that what you`re seeing in your respective beats and your
respective everyday activities, that the everyday voter, the electorate is
actually this angry, does it jive with those numbers that you see?

HAYWORTH: I have many gay friends who are very angry. I`m not being
facetious, about this strong feeling that government is failing those who
most needed to work for them, and we see that evidence every day.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: -- gay and lesbian and trans people can be kicked out of their jobs
and homes, I would be angry.

HAYWORTH: That is not what is animating this deep sense that something
needs to change, and I think one of the more emotional issues at least I
see, and I live in an area that really is like a microcosm of the country,
the way the Veterans Administration has treated our veterans. It has
failed on every level, including in self-discipline. People look at that
and almost all of us know a veteran or have a veteran who is in our
families, certainly I do, and there is this deep sense that government has,
takes much from us, but does not return value for that compulsory
investment, and I think that is going to drive.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: More to the rich, really.

HAYWORTH: The bigger the government, the more it goes to the rich. They
have the power.

LUI: One of the storylines we have talked about a lot this past year is
Baltimore and Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, this seems to maybe fit in with
that I can`t believe the country is in this state. We don`t see change,
I`m angry at the fact that we have to talk about this today.

TERKEL: Right, and right now they`re not seeing change through the
political system, so they`re taking to the streets, activism, social media,
what you`re seeing on college campuses for example, because the political
system is not the ones protecting them. They`re having to look at
different routes.

LUI: OK. My friends, stay angry, we`re going to move on for a little bit.
Still ahead for you this hour, the latest on the investigation into last
week`s Russian plane crash over Egypt. We got new details, and next, a
report on how Silicon Valley is helping California weather the drought.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LUI: Welcome back to politics. In just a few minutes but first we want to
update you on the latest in the investigation into what caused a Russian
charter jet to crash last weekend in Egypt. We`re learning more about what
investigators heard on the voice data recorder on this Sunday, and there
are new questions about whether luggage was properly checked before the
flight. NBC News` chief global correspondent, Bill Neely, has the latest
for us from Sharm el Sheikh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS: Good morning, Richard. This investigation is now
focusing on fractions of a second, the final second of the cockpit voice
recorder, and that noise that points to an explosion. Its sound waves may
help unlock this mystery, and now the FBI is getting involved.

It`s not unusual for the FBI to be asked to help in a disaster. It is
unusual for the Russians to ask. The FBI has said yes, though a spokesman
told NBC News its role will be modest. Russian teams have taken away 15
sacks of sand from the site, and according to Egypt, human remains for
analysis. They`re looking for evidence of a bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number one most important thing is testing the
residue of this airliner to try to see whether there`s any kind of traces
of explosives.

NEELY: Investigators now know the time after takeoff when disaster struck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 23 minutes and 14 seconds.

NEELY: At that moment on the cockpit voice recorder, the CVR, something
extraordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A noise was heard in the last second of the CVR
recording.

NEELY: Every fraction of that sudden noise will now be analyzed and
compared with the sound of other crashes. Investigators have found the
plane`s autopilot was on, suggesting the crew felt everything was normal
until that moment. Some parts of the wreckage, they said, are still
missing. They suggested that even a passenger`s lithium batteries could
have caused this. They`re also examining reports that a baggage scanning
machine was often broken, that baggage handlers weren`t monitored, and the
deliveries to the airport weren`t properly searched. 11,000 Russian
tourists have now been evacuated from the airport in one day. It will take
nearly a week to get them all out. In St. Petersburg, where most of the
victims were from, the church bells tolled once for every victim, 224
times.

And here the search goes on for those missing parts of the plane, bad
weather is hampering it. We`re on day eight. New clues, but still no
answers. Richard?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LUI: Bill, thank you so much. Bill Neely in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, with
the latest on the Metrojet crash.

Here in the U.S., as a new wet season starts out west, water conservation
efforts are getting a much needed boost, including an infusion of cash from
Silicon Valley, all this as a new poll names the average Californian as one
of the top ten water users in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUI: The home of Silicon Valley has just become the home of water
technology. A new report from Next Ten shows California received more
venture capital for water technology than any other state in the union over
the last five years. But it`s not only money. A recent conference focused
near Silicon Valley focused on ideas, on water saving innovations, like
those 36-cent shade balls. They save 300 million gallons of water a year
in Los Angeles reservoirs. Low tech solutions are just as important.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my gray water system for the washing machine.

LUI: Leslie Martin is an early adopter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I have to do is crank that up now.

LUI: Her shower and tub also dump into a basin, mixed only with organic
soaps and products, Leslie`s water has a second life before leaving her
home. Her California home saves water not only for her crops, but also for
the state`s farmers and their $45 billion industry, something fruit and
vegetable customers as far away as Canada were watching, worried prices
could jump by a third because of California`s drought.

Then Beverly Hills was fined for being one of four cities not saving water.
Were conservation incentives working?

Penalty pricing does not work in Beverly. Only turning off the water does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But for the big middle, prices work.

LUI: That`s why incentives like tiered pricing have worked in some 30
states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That tends to scare people away from using too much
water. And they want to make sure that they stay down in those lower price
tiers.

LUI: If you go to Israel, they`ll say even the toughest drought situations
can be turned around. It had a California-like drought a decade ago. Today
the country produces 20 percent more water than it needs. Back in
California, researcher Ken Barenclaw (ph) is not worried about running out
of water any time soon. He`s worried about something bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been very extended 100-year dry periods. We
could be beginning one of those.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LUI: According to the report, the three states that are most frugal with
water usage, that`s Wisconsin at number one, which averages 51 gallons per
person per day, Maine with 54 gallons and Pennsylvania at 59. By
comparison, California averages about double, 109 gallons of water per
person per day.

All right, still to come, the bright and mysterious light that streaked
across the Southern California sky last night, panicking many residents.
That`s coming up.

But first Ben Carson responds to the recent scrutiny into his life story,
that interview is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LUI: Ben Carson has received a lot of attention this week, not all of it
positive. In a statement to Politico on Friday, his presidential campaign
tried to clarify some of the candidate`s past statements about his
background, saying that Carson did not seek to attend and therefore could
not have been, could have not been offered admission to the U.S. military
academy at West Point, as he has claimed in the past. Now, Carson wrote in
his 1990 autobiography that he was offered a full scholarship to West
Point, a key part of his personal narrative he has repeated since. Take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: I was offered a full scholarship to West Point, got to meet
General Westmoreland, go to congressional Medal of Honor dinners, but
decided really my pathway would be medicine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: The Carson campaign is now saying that as a top ROTC student back in
his home town of Detroit, Carson was told by a senior commander that he
could get into the service academy, but that he ultimately decided not to
apply. In an interview for this morning`s "Meet The Press," Carson told
Chris Jansing that he has nothing to apologize for here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS JANSING, NBC: I want to just go back to West Point for one second,
and as I`ve been looking into it -- and I happen to have someone close to
me who is going through the process of trying to get into West Point -- do
you feel in some way it diminishes the cadets today to suggest that you had
a scholarship or you were told you could get in, when they have gone
through this rigorous process, when they have made the application, when
they actually got accepted?

CARSON: I don`t think so. I really don`t think that at all. In fact,
I`ve gotten some support from West Point graduates.

JANSING: You don`t think you owe them an apology at all, particularly the
people who have gone through this rigorous process?

CARSON: There`s nothing to apologize for. What I was doing was
emphasizing what a great place West Point is, and what an honor it would be
to go there. So in no way am I trying to diminish them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: For the rest of that interview, you can go to "Meet The Press" today,
Chris Jansing, that discussion with Ben Carson. This incident follows
several reports now that raise questions about the veracity of a number of
elements in Carson`s own telling of his life story. The "Wall Street
Journal" fact-checked another part of Carson`s book in which he claims to
have been the most honest student at Yale. The recent controversies have
traveled with Carson to Puerto Rico, where he`s campaigning this weekend.
NBC campaign embed Shaquille Brewster on the campaign trail with Ben Carson
joins us from Puerto Rico. Shaquille, good to have you.

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, MSNBC: Good morning. I can tell you, Dr. Carson`s
helicopter just landed here. He`ll be speaking to this convention of
Puerto Ricans in just about an hour, and in that speech he`ll forcefully
push for Puerto Rican statehood or Puerto Rico statehood.

We were able to get some of the excerpts from the speech, and in those
remarks, we expect him to call the thousands of Puerto Ricans at this
rally, "mes hermanos americanos (ph)," a reference to my fellow Americans.
He`ll say that in his mind, the statehood issue was settled after 2012,
after Puerto Rico had a referendum here, that the issue has been settled
since then and will call on Congress, push Congress to act immediately in
supporting Puerto Rican statehood.

Now Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have expressed their support for Puerto Rican
statehood before, but this really plays into Dr. Carson and the Carson
campaigns what they call 56 jurisdiction strategy, to play not only in the
50 American states, but also play in the six U.S. territories.

What we should not expect to hear from Carson in this speech, however, is
how he would address Puerto Rico`s fiscal crisis. An aide tells me he`s not
going to bring that up in the speech, but he will speak to reporters at the
end of his speech, so expect that to come up then.

LUI: All right, thanks so much, Shaquille Brewster for joining us in
Puerto Rico, along with Ben Carson. Carson`s life story is a big part of
his appeal among conservative voters. It`s a narrative in which a troubled
young man sought spiritual redemption before becoming a groundbreaking
neurosurgeon, and then presidential candidate, and that story may also be
resonating among the independent voters Carson would need to win the
general election.

In the latest NBC News poll, Carson ties Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
in a hypothetical head to head matchup. So that`s the good news for Ben
Carson this week, but will the increased scrutiny that comes with being the
front-runner ultimately lead to more problems for the Carson campaign?

Panel still with us today. So his life story, and it does not seem to be
sinking based on the fact checking that "Wall Street Journal" has done as
well as some of the reporting here. Will that haunt him all the way to
November 2016?

COX: I think that it can. Other analysts have said this and I repeat it,
which is that right now these critiques from the mainstream media are not
hurting him with the base. It`s very easy to go on the offensive against
the mainstream media will only help him with the voters that needs to win
the nomination. I think once, should he get the nomination, these stories
will matter a lot more to the general population.

I`m fascinated by this. I think it`s incredible he`d embellish on a story
that at its heart is already so amazing. Why would you tell a story about
having been a thug and then becoming a brain surgeon, when actually to have
been a nerdy, pocket protector kid in inner city Detroit and never having
had to become anything else to have survived that childhood.

LUI: I don`t know if he appreciates that, though.

(LAUGHTER)

COX: But to survive that childhood with his nerdom intact, to never have
to do anything else, and then to become the incredible surgeon that he was,
why embellish on that?

TERKEL: He has inspired people long before he ran for president, people
who don`t normally vote for Republicans, and so he could have a lot of
cross-party appeal, but these types of things, these sort of --

LUI: That`s what the numbers seem to show.

TERKEL: These are not helping him at all, because even if people don`t
remember every little thing that he`s embellishing, it puts into people`s
mind, I can`t really trust him anymore. I don`t really know about this,
and that is where he may be getting conservatives who like bashing the
media.

(CROSSTALK)

LUI: How did he handle the questions from Chris Jansing?

HAYWORTH: Dr. Carson`s compelling personal story is a key part of his
candidacy, so he`s running because he has many ideas about better policy,
but also as we know, that compelling aspect of his rise is that here is
this man who has done these incredible things from a background that would
not have been conducive to that.

I think Dr. Carson clearly doesn`t necessarily, certainly doesn`t welcome
this kind of questioning. I think he feels it`s very asymmetrical compared
to the treatment that obviously then candidate Obama received, but I think
he`s got to be prepared to withstand it.

TERKEL: That`s what happens when you run for president.

LUI: And just to the news, running for president in Puerto Rico saying he
supports statehood, and that is definitely addressing the middle, something
that I remember back from the last cycle was a big discussion for us when
Mitt Romney was there.

COX: I was born in Puerto Rico actually myself.

LUI: Resident expert here.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: So I know I don`t look it, but I was, and I also was a long-time
resident of D.C. So statehood is something I care about a lot. I hope
this does make some difference, and in the long-term campaign for Puerto
Rican statehood. I don`t know what it will do for him specifically, does
seem like something that Republican nominees are starting to embrace as an
issue.

LUI: Right.

COX: I know it goes back to Karl Rove to have a strategy to appeal to what
the Republicans see as a potential voting block in Hispanic Americans, so
you know, I hope that that works out.

LUI: Ana, we`ll leave it there. We have more in a little bit.

I have a question for all of you, have you read a good book lately? Why
you`re probably in good company if you have not, and next the voting block
Jeb Bush calls the canary in the coal mine for Republicans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: I think I have the economic and social justice agenda now that,
once we get the word out, will, in fact resonate with the African-American
community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: That was Bernie Sanders on Friday night, telling MSNBC`s Rachel
Maddow how he thinks he can build his appeal among African-American voters,
one of the key voting blocks that helped President Barack Obama secure the
White House for two terms, and one that no doubt will be important again in
2016.

Now, some now argue that different minority voting block is not getting the
same level of attention. Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. A
demographic that makes up almost 6 percent of the U.S. population,
according to the Census Bureau. One that voted nearly 3:1 for President
Obama in 2012. "New York Times" op-ed this week asked why Asian Americans
are such loyal Democrats today. Writing quote, "in some ways, Asian
American voters combining personal health, entrepreneurial success, high
incomes, traditional family values and a strong work ethic would seem to be
ideal recruits for the more conservative political party," a point Jeb Bush
made two years ago calling Asian American voters the canary in the coal
mine for Republicans. This past summer, Bush said this when trying to
clarify his use of the term anchor babies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH: What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being
committed, where there`s organized efforts -- and frankly it`s more related
to Asian people -- coming into our country, having children in that
organized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright
citizenship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LUI: Here to help us look at this more joining us Neil Malhotra, professor
of political economy at Stanford. Thanks for being with us here, Neil. I
want to start with some data, and it shows how quickly Asian Americans are
supporting the Democratic Party today. It has grown, it`s now almost at
the same level as blacks and equal to Hispanics on this chart here, and
that`s that dark line at the 73 percent. Why are we seeing this increase
in support for the Democratic Party, when it would look like at least on
one shade of it, one level, that they would be going right instead?

NEIL MALHOTRA, STANFORD: Well, I mean the figures that you cited don`t
seem that different from Jewish Americans, and our research has shown that
Asian Americans feel that the Republican policies socially exclude them
from the American fabric, and it is those feelings of social exclusion that
drive them to the Democratic Party. So it could be issues like immigration
that kind of make Asian Americans feel that Republicans don`t fully include
them into American society.

LUI: When we look at this, though, they`ve got no political power, whether
they`re liked by the left or the right here, and are not courted as the
Jewish American voters you`re alluding to is courted.

MALHOTRA: That could change in the future. So part of that is that Jewish
Americans have become increasingly politically active, and as Asian
Americans have kind of put themselves into American society over several
generations of immigration, you could be seeing the same thing. And the
other thing your figures showed is the Asian American voting rates are not
close to 100, that it could be potentially a constituency up for grabs, and
therefore I think my prediction is that they will be paid more attention to
in the coming years.

LUI: So is this the year? 2012, the big headline was, this is the year
this key voting block, the swing vote as many have called, because you look
back at 2014, and Jason Chung (ph) from the RNC will say look, in 2014 they
went right, in fact we got some data on that when you look at it. For the
midterms, they voted in large numbers for Republicans in local and
congressional races.

MALHOTRA: Yes. So that`s another sign that you would say maybe in 2016
the media will focus more on this constituency and the candidates will as
well. So if you find for example in 2016 that they move more towards the
Republican Party than in future election cycles, you`ll see both parties
trying to capture this vote as well.

LUI: So there is going to be a presidential town hall in Las Vegas, Nevada
in August 2016. It is with the Asian-American Pacific Islander community.
It is a presidential town hall here. Will they show up?

MALHOTRA: You mean the Republican candidates?

LUI: Both candidates.

MALHOTRA: Both candidates. Yeah. I mean -- yeah, I mean I think they
definitely will. Part of it is also not just the regular voting block,
which you could say that the engagement level is lower than African-
Americans and Hispanics, but also among kind of elite donor community. If
the donor community kind of says this is important to show up for, then I
think the candidates will follow suit as well.

LUI: Thank you so much for joining us on this Sunday morning.

MALHOTRA: Thanks for having me.

LUI: You bet. Up next, the streak of light in the night sky that really
had some people freaked out in Southern California last night. That
mystery straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LUI: We want to take a look at some of the headlines making news this hour
beginning with this story from "The Hollywood Reporter" for our panel here.
It`s very interesting, we were talking about this earlier, that $5,000,
well, the newspapers reported that a Hispanic advocacy group that offered
$5,000 to anyone willing to heckle Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live"
last night tweeted after the segment that it`s going to pay up! No response
yet from Larry David. What do you think? They`re going to give him the
money? Ana had a very specific point saying -- they are supporting,
therefore, a very serious issue, purely on entertainment issues.

COX: I`m divided on this, because part of me is like it will give them
more coverage for their campaign, and I actually happen to be sympathetic
to what they`re saying, and so go for it. Also I would be interested to
see what Larry David does. I think the line between himself and his
character that he plays as himself --

HAYWORTH: There is no line.

COX: It doesn`t seem to exist. So maybe in character he would just keep
the money. We`ll see what he does with it.

LUI: We`ll see what he does with it.

HAYWORTH: I think a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" special and I can`t wait.

LUI: There you go, it will be well written, no doubt.

OK, another headline we are watching, the San Diego Union Tribune, we were
talking about that mystery light in Southern California. It was a missile
test. A Navy missile. The cause of this mysterious light appearing last
night in California. The Navy saying it was launched from a submarine and
not armed. Some of the social media -- can you imagine looking up and
seeing that though?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looks like an episode of "the X files" or something.

COX: Maybe it is a really new stealth "X files."

(CROSSTALK)

COX: That`s what they want you to believe, it is a missile.

LUI: You already have earthquakes you`re worrying about, now you`ve got
missiles flying over Southern California.

OK, Pew research study. Slightly fewer Americans are reading print books.
Very interesting. Wonder what it says about us. 27 percent of Americans
have not read a book at all in the past year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Electronic or print?

LUI: Electronic or print, is what I`m told, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are busy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll have to look it up.

(CROSSTALK)

TERKEL: I have. I just finished "Dream City" about Marion Berry`s time in
D.C. I love the public library system in D.C. People are busy, you`re
raising kids, you`re working one or more jobs.

LUI: We time snap more, don`t we? We`re reading constantly but we don`t
maybe read long form as much as we did before.

COX: I read so many tweets it probably adds up to one of these book things
you`re talking about.

LUI: How do you spell it, right.

(CROSSTALK)

LUI: "Time." This is the word of the year for 2015 -- "binge-watch." Fits
in very appropriately with what we`ve been talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

LUI: Very good. It`s been great to hang out with all of you. Ana, thank
you so much, I really appreciate it. Nan, thank you as well, and Amanda,
as well. Have a good Sunday. Appreciate it.

Thank you for joining and getting up with us for UP today. Up next is
Melissa Harris-Perry. Stay tuned and we`ll see you next weekend. Have a
great week.

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

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