UP with STEVE KORNACKI
November 30, 2014
Guest: Kellyanne Conway, Ana Marie Cox, Lynn Sweet, Glenn Thrush, Darren
Goode, Rashad Robinson, Ed Rendell, Hakeem Jeffries, Sherrod Brown, Stephen
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Darren Wilson resigns.
Good morning. And thanks for starting your Sunday morning with us today.
We want to begin with a huge developing story out of Ferguson, Missouri.
NBC News can now confirm that Officer Darren Wilson has resigned from the
Ferguson police force. We expect Ferguson officials to speak about the
resignation at some point today. Wilson has been on paid administrative
leave since the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown back in
August. And on Monday, as you recall, the St. Louis County prosecutor
announced that a grand jury that has been looking into the matter had
decided against indicting Wilson in relationship to that shooting. In his
resignation later, Officer Wilson writes, "It was my hope to continue in
police work. But the safety of other police officers in the community are
of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will
allow the community to heal." Wilson`s resignation comes - came on a night
of relative calm in Ferguson. More than 100 protesters gathered near the
police headquarters there. Officers, though, only made two arrests.
To discuss the latest developments out of Ferguson and the week`s other big
stories in news and politics I`m joined by our panel this morning. We have
Republican strategist and pollster Kellyanne Conway, Ana Marie Cox of "The
Daily Beast" and Lynn Sweet, columnist from Washington bureau chief for
"The Chicago Sun-Times." So, this start with this resignation of Darren
Wilson. There had been word that this was coming for the last few weeks.
I guess, one way of looking at this is what took so long.
KORNACKI: Like everything else, it seems in this case that there have been
leaks ahead of time and everything. It seems on one level unreal, like he
had to resign. Just this given - you can`t go back into a community like
that after something like this.
ANA MARIE COX, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. One thing that, you know, it`s
tough. Because I don`t think, I don`t want to be entirely callous to what
his life is like or it is going to be like, but in his resignation letter
he called his resignation the hardest thing he`s ever done. On Twitter
someone joked that they really had to look into their training practices at
Ferguson police department and said this is the hardest thing he`s ever
done. Because certainly, here`s another thing that one would hope - a
little bit harder. And the other thing is that, to say that he`s resigning
in order to allow to the community heal, there might have been some better
time to say that. There might have been something, if he had done that
somewhat earlier and shown some of the kind of remorse that I think people
were demanding to hear earlier, things might have gone a little bit
differently. Of course, it`s easy to say that. What`s troubling about
what`s happening there is that this just seems to be just a death of a
thousand cuts, you know, like I mean more than 1,000. Every day there`s
something new, little outrage and we can`t seem to have a moment to breathe
and to really kind of take a breath and heal. His resignation actually
probably does the opposite as it happens, as the timing is now.
KORNACKI: Yeah, I mean, so, there are several other, like we said, we sort
of anticipated that there would be a resignation at some point and there
are other things that are probably going to be happening in the coming days
or weeks. They will be at some point probably the announcement in terms of
will the Justice Department be pursuing federal charges, do you expect that
is going to happen? There`s the question of the family pursuing some kind
of a civil case and some kind of announcement there, I think, at some
point. So, there are some other moments you can sort of see on the
LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, right, and I can say that he didn`t
want to resign until he knew what would happen with the grand jury, which,
of course, the decision not to indict him triggered the protests there.
There are two investigations by the Justice Department going on. And I
think there is a chance that one or the other could probably find some
reason to press ahead and some kind of a charge against him. You know, one
is civil and one is criminal. And then as Ana Marie said, there is the
civil case, but when you look at his statement. I want to go back to the
idea of remorse. Even not that he has officially been found not at fault.
It doesn`t mean you can`t say I`m sorry.
SWEET: That you don`t say that is astounding. I know many police
officers. When you do, when you do use your gun, when you hurt someone
when you, God forbid, kill somebody, it`s OK to say you`re sorry, you wish
it didn`t happen even if you think you did the right thing. Or as he said
in the grand jury testimony, I wouldn`t have changed a thing I did.
KORNACKI: Yeah. You know, and Kellyanne, that was a reading or watching,
I should say, the interview he gave this week with George Stephanopoulos,
what struck me is the same thing that Lynn was just saying there. I mean I
- I guess on one level you can look at it, where it`s been months, we don`t
know what`s been going on in this guy`s life for month. This may be
something where there`s been lots of anguish we haven`t seen and you`re
seeing somebody who`s sort of emerged from that process and maybe it seems
to us more callous than it is. That`s part of the favorable
interpretation. But the other interpretation is, yeah, you know, you`re
going out there and you`re realizing you`re making statements and people
are hearing you for the first time. You have got to sound a little bit
more contrite, don`t you?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST POLLSTER: I think there are no
winners in the Ferguson situation, whatsoever, including with Officer
Wilson. I`m glad he`s resigned. I know people think he did it for
personal purposes, but he`s also saying, he is doing it to protect the
community, fellow officers, help the community heal. He`s a distraction.
I also hope that the rest of the community heals because it`s, it`s now in
doubt, Steve, whether some of these national retailers will want to rebuild
in Ferguson. I`ve read a lot of interviews with the one shop keeper who
said he provides, I believe his name is Mohamed Yakov (ph), I`m probably
saying it incorrectly, he said he provides the milk and the bread and the
eggs. People walk to his store and they rely upon him. It was looted in
August and then it was almost burned to the ground this last time. So,
there is a lot of healing that needs to be done. I can`t imagine anybody
who takes the life of another under any circumstances doesn`t feel remorse,
but I can`t get into anybody else`s head.
However, I do want to say even as time marches on it`s a very difficult to
see a single winner in Ferguson.
KORNACKI: No, I think, I think that`s true. We do have much more on this
later in the show. We`ll return to Ferguson a little bit about the
president`s role this week, too, and some of the things he said, some other
reaction to that, but switching gears a little bit, a lot more that we want
to cover that is happening this weekend. The Facebook post. The
interesting story last night, the Facebook post of a House Republican aide
criticizing Sasha and Malia Obama for their appearance at this week`s
national turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House. That post went up
yesterday and it`s now gone viral. And now deleted post. But in it
Elizabeth Lauten who is communications director for Congressman Steven
Fincher of Tennessee said among other things that the president`s daughters
ought to "try showing a little class and to dress like you deserve respect,
not a spot in a bar." Lauten who is also a former media director of the
NRC posted an apology saying in part "those judgmental feelings truly have
no place in my heart." Yesterday Sasha and Malia were back at their
father`s side at a public appearance when he went to the politics and pros
bookstore in Washington to do a small business Saturday holiday shopping
event. You can see them there with their father. So, this is a ....
COX: Where do we start?
KORNACKI: Do you remember when Bill Clinton became president and "Saturday
Night Live" did this caricature of Chelsea Clinton and it was such a
CONWAY: It wasn`t funny.
KORNACKI: It wasn`t funny. I remember people had a friend of mine in
school started wearing the Leave Chelsea Alone t-shirts. And it was just -
in politics, the kids don`t ask for it. They never - they don`t deserve
SWEET: Well, there is - OK, besides the fact, ladies, gentlemen, these
clothes seem wonderful.
SWEET: Those outfits were darling. So, whoever thought that, I mean, I`ve
seen women dress in some outfits.
COX: Have you ever been ....
COX: Have you ever seen the way the girls dress?
SWEET: Well, I`m not - Without going even to comparative situations look
at everyone you see and what is being run right now for our viewers.
That`s a darling outfit. But, and also, in case if you don`t know it.
This is a traditional thing for the girls to do with their dad and what
kind of professional PR person even would go there? OK, she might have
said, I hear - she had remorse and she prayed about it. I don`t care
what`s in her head. She might not have liked the outfits, what is in our
society now that everyone thinks they ...
COX: You pray before you say those kind of things and usually you`ll
probably get stopped. But the other thing is like, as much of a tradition
as pardoning the turkey is rolling your eyes at your dad, right?
COX: And you`re like your dad does something stupid at the holiday, and
you roll your eyes, your grandma is - no, thanks, I don`t want to
participate in this awesome family tradition, dad. You know, I mean that
it was normal thing about the White House as how contemptuous these girls
are in that tradition.
SWEET: But I thought they were within proper lines, it seems.
SWEET: I mean there was absolutely ...
KORNACKI: Very typical, I laughed because that`s a very typical teenage
moment. I can remember ...
CONWAY: Oh, dad ....
KORNACKI: My sister did that. I didn`t roll my eyes at my parents. We
all roll our eyes at our parents.
SWEET: But one other thing, too, in the end, I think they were serious.
So, even a little something like this, what`s - they were there, they were
polite. They showed up.
CONWAY: The clothing aside, they don`t look very happy to be there.
COX: Who would be if you`re a teenager?
KORNACKI: But there are teenagers, right?
CONWAY: And let me just state for the record, I can`t stand when the first
children are brought into almost anything. I really don`t like it. Never
talked about Chelsea Clinton, didn`t like it when the Bush girls were
picked on, pick a Kennedy card in terms of the first - first children. But
they seem to reflect their dad`s lack of joy on the job. This is the man I
haven`t seen have joy on the job for several years now and, you know,
there`s an old saying, if pap`s not happy, nobody is happy.
COX: No actually ...
SWEET: It`s when mama`s not happy.
CONWAY: I`m paraphrasing it for this situation. But, no, look, I was 13.
I was 16, that`s the ages of ....
COX: Do you think that these girls are ....
CONWAY: I`ve had a - so I never criticize anybody looks. And ....
COX: Do you really think these girls are somehow betraying like an
attitude that is somehow different from every other 13-year-old in the
CONWAY: No, of course not. However, you`re forgetting that they are as
the first daughters. In other words, if I hate the comments on the
clothing whatsoever, but they don`t look - they didn`t look really happy.
COX: But you`re commenting on the first daughters, still.
CONWAY: Take your daughter to work day.
CONWAY: But then it`s almost every single day.
COX: But you were saying, there is somehow being disrespectful of the
office because they are being teenagers.
CONWAY: No, I didn`t say that at all. I didn`t say that. No, I`m not
saying that at all. I`m saying ...
COX: Lack of joy on the job.
CONWAY: Does he look happy as the president?
COX: What they are doing is a job, and also what they`re doing is not a
KORNACKI: But I guess, I think it`s certainly possible if Barack Obama is
feeling frustrated, you know, certainly not the first president to feel
frustrated and, obviously, it`s possible that his kids are just reflecting
COX: I just said that. That`s what I said.
KORNACKI: No, not so much him.
COX: That`s what I just said.
COX: If anything, he actually had some fun on that particular - if
anything, he actually was having fun on that day.
KORNACKI: I just understand the woman and I don`t know her, but the woman
who is posting these things giving the title she had, media director and I
think she said social media role, you would think you would know better
than to go on social media and do something like that.
She may not be a social media director for very much longer, but she has a
long futures at punch line.
SWEET: Well, but I mean this is the thing - she social media-ed it and we
all know about it, and she ....
KORNACKI: They deleted the thing. You can never actually undo it once
it`s online. It`s always going to leave on and on and you can hit the
delete button the thousand times and people are going to have screenshots.
CONWAY: But here`s the deal - I hope it doesn`t matter to the Obama
daughters just like it`s not going to matter if people are now tweeting
about our appearances. It doesn`t matter.
CONWAY: So, and I hope it doesn`t matter to them. It shouldn`t matter to
them. They`re lovely young women who have bright futures. Obviously, a
very loving family. They even get to live with grandma, which I think is
great. I (INAUDIBLE) my grandma ...
KORNACKI: All right, look, two years left of the Obama presidency. So,
you know, if you`re out there listening, future people making posts on the
Facebook. Leave it to the president and the first lady. Leave the kids
out of it.
Anyway, interesting news potentially about Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
Interesting perspective on that. He came here last night. We`re going to
share it with you on the other side of this break. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. So here`s one that will make you sit up and take
notice. Nationally renowned political analyst Charlie Cook dropped an
apparent bombshell in his remarks at a recent private event. Remarks that
were reported last night in the "Kansas City Star" by a columnist says that
Cook said on the record that he does not believe that either Hillary
Clinton or Jeb Bush will appear in the 2016 general election ballot. Cook
is a top non-partisan political handicapper and he`s been doing that for
three decades now. Admired figure in Washington. He also said that
Hillary Clinton, in his estimation, has only a 25 to 30 percent chance of
even running for president. And if she does run, Cook says, she has "Lost
her fastball." He was apparently less than impressed with her recent book
tour. Cook did not have good news for establishment Republicans either in
the crowd saying that Jeb Bush is a long shot for the Republican nomination
citing Bush`s positions on immigration and education reform as two major
sticking points with the GOP base.
Well, I think clearly he has a point on Jeb and the Republican base. I
don`t think that`s - But this Hillary question, should we be taking the
step back here because we`ve been saying, for six months now, for a year
now, for two years now, Hillary Clinton 2016, the campaign basically
started, you know, eight years ago and it`s going to stop on the general
election day. I mean is there a chance she doesn`t run?
CONWAY: Yes, of course. And there`s an argument for what`s the rationale
for running. In other words, she`s been voted the most admired woman in
America three years running. You are not the most admired woman in America
when you run for president. You become a politician, all over again.
Hillary is the second most popular person in a two-person household. As
Republican strategist ...
KORNACKI: But the rationale then would be like, she`s a politician. She
ran for president, her husband was president. At a certain point when
that`s in your blood ...
KORNACKI: And you get the kind of poll numbers you are talking about it,
you want to cash it in?
CONWAY: That shows the weakness of the rest ...
COX: The politician looks at those numbers and says that`s why I should
run. Not whether I shouldn`t ...
KORNACKI: I`m the most admired.
CONWAY: But also, she`s not a risk taker. Show me a risk she`s ever taken
in life. She ran for Senate when her husband was the president in New York
State. Not - she ran in New York, not in Arkansas where she was the first
lady. Not in Illinois.
CONWAY: Staying ...
KORNACKI: I got to ask. Is this a Republican, though, looking at the
probably strongest Democratic candidate ...
CONWAY: No, I don`t think she is the strongest.
KORNACKI: I don`t want her - because you look at that Democratic bench and
you say, hey, we can beat them.
CONWAY: No, and here`s why I would love to see her run, because it allows
the Democrats for the first time to be the royalism party next in line. Go
for the next in line. The Republicans usually take that bait and they
lose. Next in line. Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, moderate guys.
They all lost.
SWEET: One of the things is when you talk about royalty. If you may
extensive, noblesse oblige, because there is, you know, she`s number one
and there`s no number two. I mean ...
CONWAY: Joe Biden. How is that?
CONWAY: You know, not the number two.
SWEET: He may be ...
CONWAY: At a vice president, you`re right.
SWEET: There`s not a Biden movement out there in the way that "Ready for
Hillary". I don`t see the "Ready for Biden out there.
CONWAY: I am personally ready for Biden.
KORNACKI: What is your take out of it? Do you think- what do you think
the chances are that she doesn`t run?
SWEET: I think right now I`d do 50/50.
KORNACKI: You think it`s that low, 50/50?
SWEET: Yeah, because, because - while you - I mean if nothing else, do you
want to factor in possible her health, his health, loving being a
grandmother and then just assessing the rough patch she`s been in since she
left. So, she left, Miss Pollster, what, at 100 percent and it`s only
KORNACKI: Can you imagine - can you imagine ....
COX: I want to say ...
KORNACKI: Trauma in the Democratic Party, if she wouldn`t ....
COX: Do you think that maybe the chances, there is some room for a doubt
in a way that I think a lot of us maybe who like covering Hillary aren`t
willing to recognize. That there is room to maneuver for her. Not - but
she could make it a choice that is different than what we all assume she`s
going to do. But that`s just human nature, too. I mean that`s just
nothing that is ever a definite. I want to try to be careful here because
I don`t think that I`m in a position of saying I don`t want Jeb to run
because I think he`s the strongest one. But like I personally as someone
who is more on the progressive side, do look at Jeb and see that is not a
slam dunk. So, I`m trying to get in the head of the Republican ...
CONWAY: Not even close.
COX: ... and say ...
CONWAY: At least you`re an honest - At least you are an honest
progressive, because a lot of Hillary supporters are pushing Jeb for a very
simple reason. They want us to come back, this panel, in four months to
even say - do you want the third Bush or the first woman, not a fair fight.
SWEET: Or the second Clinton.
KORNACKI: How do you remember George W. Bush versus Bill Clinton? I mean
those memories. I always thought the one thing on Hillary and I started to
sort of discount this just based on the moves she`s made over the last six
months. But a year ago, if you`d ask me about Hillary in 2016, what I
would have said is, I would have said, I do wonder, she could look at
basically, you know, she`s late 60s you got maybe ten really vibrant years.
We hope you can have as many as you can ...
SWEET: No, 60 is the new 30.
KORNACKI: Get 80 - I say, you know, get to 80 vibrantly for anybody.
KORNACKI: Male or female. I think ...
CONWAY: No, no, the Republicans is not discussing Hillary`s age.
KORNACKI: No, I`m talking about the age - I`m talking about the age of
anybody - was it Ronald Reagan when he was turning 70 or Hillary Clinton,
when she`s turning 70. The decision to make, what do you want to do for
those ten years. And the thing that I can see Hillary looking at,
potentially would be - look at what it was like in the `90s.
KORNACKI: Whitewater, investigations, Ken Starr, all - you know non-stop
efforts to derail the Clintons. Do you want to - you can win if you run,
but do you want to walk in and have the next ten years of your life be
defined by that?
COX: Except that I think there`s a part of me that - that she`s never
stopped fighting those battles and that this is a chance to like vindicate
the Clintons. Like this we`re going to do - and redo it, we are going to
redo it and it`s going to be even better that it was before.
CONWAY: To use your analogy, though, she seems more battle wary than
battle ready. This was a summer of unforced errors of that book tour, and
this is a woman going back to the 1990s. I think the Clintons,
particularly Hillary Clinton had a lot more in common with the average
woman in the 1990s. She now makes $200,000 a speech.
COX: That is 300.
CONWAY: OK, great, let`s raise it. $300,000 a speech. And serious point.
How do you run? I think Hillary Clinton is becoming the Mitt Romney of
2016. How do you run as accessible and relatable when you make six times
the amount of the average woman`s annual salary in one speech?
KORNACKI: Can the Republicans - Can the Republicans play that card against
CONWAY: Yes. It`s not that she has another titan - she needs another
titan to have a clash of titans. I think it`s one of these Tea Party
senators, and one these Midwestern governors who can overtake her or some
of these less known nationwide and inspires the grassroots and gets people
KORNACKI: Quickly, do you think Jeb Bush is running?
SWEET: Yes, maybe.
COX: Not necessarily.
COX: I actually, I actually, I`m not as sure about Jeb. And again, I`m
trying to sort of keep in my head that how unsure I can be about Jeb and
see how people can be unsure about Hillary. Because to me, I think - I
think that she sees no reason not to run. Do you think that the Mitt -
Mitt Romney analogy is a good one in some way. Because she thinks she has
earned that job, she things she has the resume for it, so she should get
it. That was Mitt Romney, the first two, Mitt Romney is like I`m the most
qualified, why aren`t you voting for me?
SWEET: But ...
COX: And so, a feeling ...
SWEET: That`s not bad. You`re making it look like that is a bad thing.
COX: No, no, no.
KORNACKI: But a lot more on that parallel, a lot more resistance to Mitt
among rank and file Republicans in the run -there was, there was no ready
for Mitt bus.
SWEET: OK. And when going down to your point about, well, there is a
difference between making $300,000 in a speech and giving it to your
foundation, which is what she does, and it`s not going into her own pocket.
CONWAY: Hundreds of millions of dollars, Lynn, and people are going to
want to know how do you make that money. People will ask how do you make
COX: Her defensiveness about that is actually ...
CONWAY: Correct. Thank you. Thank you. Which is part of the book tour.
Let me also do a whole feminist alert here as the conservative on the
panel. Feminist alert, we keep on talking about the popularity of her
husband. Is that really how women are supposed to send power? Her husband
was a great president?
KORNACKI: No, no, but I would say, look ...
KORNACKI: If you`re going to talk about Jeb - if you came to talk about
Jeb`s prospects without mentioning that his brother was president, I think
if you are talking about Hillary Clinton without mentioning that her
husband was ...
CONWAY: People are ready for a woman, but the question is not are you
ready for a woman, the question is ready - are you ready for that woman?
That`s a different question than - are you ready for ...
SWEET: But I think that`s been litigated so long ago and it`s done and I
think that is where she is battle tested.
CONWAY: But she ran in her positions on issues? What is the rationale?
CONWAY: Between herself and President Obama.
KORNACKI: No, it is. There is no - she is, she is successfully managed to
keep just enough above the fray where she has not had to weigh in any of
the things, any of these nightmares that the president ....
CONWAY: That`s inaccessible for a presidential candidate.
KORNACKI: Well, I`ve seen quite a few get elected doing it. And her
SWEET: The paper trail a mile long on her.
KORNACKI: Anyway. All right. We`ve got to leave it there.
SWEET: Fun topic.
KORNACKI: But something that almost never happens in the Obama White
House. Oh, by the way, the panel rejoins us a little bit later. So, why
is it happening? Something that never happens happened this week. Why?
We`ll tell you about that next.
KORNACKI: On the to-do list for the White House this week, find a new
Defense Secretary. The fourth one to serve under President Obama. NBC
White House correspondent Kristen Welker joins us now live from the north
lawn of the White House for the latest on the search. So, Kristen, any
idea who it is going to be to replace Chuck Hagel?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it is still fluid, Steve.
But here`s what we know so far. The front-runner seems to be right now
Homeland Security Secretary Jay Johnson. This is, of course, someone who
has a good relationship with President Obama. He recently spearheaded the
immigration reform policy that Mr. Obama just announced. But, again, I am
told the president hasn`t made a decision yet. He wants to make one as
soon as possible, though. Now, other names that we are hearing, include
Bob Work, he`s the current deputy secretary of Defense. Ash Carter, the
former deputy secretary of defense, also Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. Of
course, you will recall there is just a big headline about this, Steve.
Michele Flournoy, though, former undersecretary of Defense for policy took
herself out of the running this past week. She had been seen as the
frontrunner. She would have been the first woman to hold the job. She
cited family concerns when she took her name out of the running, but there
are also some reports that she may have had other reservations,
particularly after Chuck Hagel apparently clashed with the administration.
That had been widely reported and, of course, we heard all of those
conflicting statements from Secretary Hagel and President Obama.
Now, the decision to replace Hagel, I`m told, was really driven by the
sense that he just was not right for the job. The president had, of
course, picked him to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and
oversee that effort, but now, of course, the mission has changed. It is
now focused on ramping up the fight against ISIS. There are currently about
3,000 U.S. forces serving as advisors in that region, as you know, Steve.
But it also underscores the sense here that President Obama`s acknowledging
that there really need to be some changes to his administration. He is, of
course, facing the final two years of his presidency and he has been widely
criticized for not reacting quickly enough to Ebola or to the ISIS crisis
and some officials here within the administration say that Hagel was early
viewed as a Defense secretary who was more passive in the face of those
crises. So, as President Obama tries to determine who his next defense
secretary will be, you`ll likely see him pick someone who he thinks will
lead with a strong hand. Of course, this comes as Republicans are set to
take control of Congress. That could complicate things. Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, Kristen Welker. Live at the White House, and, of
course, we will have you back next week if you`re reporting there pans out
and Jay Johnson ends up being the next defense secretary. We will have you
WELKER: I will be here.
KORNACKI: We`ll have you back to say who is the next Homeland Security
secretary. So, it`s the musical chairs of politics. But anyway, thank you
very much, Kristen.
President Obama is known to be reluctant to fire anybody, especially
members of his cabinet. Maybe you remember how long it took him to accept
the resignation of Eric Shinseki. He was the secretary of Veterans
Affairs. This came after revelations about cover ups of mismanagement in
the VA health system. Chuck Hagel`s abrupt departure as Defense Secretary
early this week, moved at a much faster pace, that is a according to a
behind the scenes account that says that Hagel`s discussions with the
president about his future began in a series of three meetings that started
just a few weeks ago and those sessions apparently didn`t go well with
Politico reporting that "after several lackluster, low-energy sessions
Obama was so unimpressed by the performance of his laconic self-effacing
Defense Secretary that he decided Hagel just wasn`t the man for the job,
according to senior administration officials. Cue the press conference
that you saw this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Let me just say that Chuck is and has been a great friend of mine.
I`ve known him, admired him and trusted him for nearly a decade since I was
a green behind the ears freshman senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Obama heaped the lavish praise on Hagel at that Monday press
conference, but behind the scenes his own aides were privately telling
reporters much less kind things about Chuck Hagel.
Vice President Biden was stone faced at that event. One report say, he was
upset at the treatment of Hagel. It was his long time Senate colleague and
friend, upset the treatment he was receiving and Hagel apparently clashed
with National Security Advisor Susan Rice. There were also tensions with
White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough as well who reportedly
complained about Hagel`s inability to control the Pentagon brass that
extensively works for him.
And about Hagel`s slow response to approving detainee transfers out of the
U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. "Clearly, the White House and the
Pentagon were not on the same page." But even by the absurd standards of
Washington, the spectacle this week was something. The very public praise
of Hagel and the very damming attacks on him all coming from the same White
House on the same day. Glenn Thrush is a senior staff writer for Politico
magazine. And the author of its "Behind the Scenes" story on Hagel. He
joins us now. Glenn, thanks for taking a few minutes. So, look, I try, I
think I`m pretty cynical when I look at politics and I`m not surprised
when, you know, the politician has got his arm around somebody one moment
and somebody else is stabbing him in the back in the next moment. But the
sequence of events here this week, just the speed with which this happened,
when Obama came out there at the press conference. He wasn`t just saying
nice things. I mean I think every year he goes to the Kennedy Center and
he reads those commendations for like - music - sounds like that. Chuck
Hagel was born in Nebraska, simple man and then the next thing you know, is
White House is out there just talking about what an incompetent dufus he
was. What is the story here?
GLENN THRUSH, POLITICO: Well, I think both accounts are actually true
weirdly. I think the president does feel personally warm for the guy and
he set him up to fail. I think there is a real sense on Obama`s part that
he didn`t do right by Chuck Hagel. Look, you know, from the very first,
Steve, you saw these confirmation hearings where people were checking to
see if there was a tranquilizer dart in Hagel`s neck. He was narcoleptic.
He really during subsequent - during subsequent congressional hearings and
during White House situation room meetings. The guy didn`t have any
energy. Obama picked him to be sort of a low-key guy who was going to
preside over the ramping down of the military and he gets hit with this
ISIS thing. And the basic feeling here was that Obama has a sense that
this was a guy he liked personally, but you don`t really necessarily pick
your friends to do these important jobs.
KORNACKI: So, how did it go down then when you say you have a series of
discussions that took place over the last few weeks. Who initiated that?
When it came to the end of it, did Hagel still like Obama? Did Obama still
like Hagel or was that all just - just phony there on the public faces?
THRUSH: I don`t - I really don`t think it was - I don` think it was that
phony. Look, I reported a year ago that there were people in the White
House, particularly on the national security establishment that regarded
Hagel as a paper tiger and thought that he needed to show the president
more in order to hold his job? Frankly, I was shocked that Hagel stayed on
as long as he did. I think the midterms had a lot to do with it. The
president didn`t want to change for us as in midstream. But Obama
initiated this series of discussions. He`s been really unhappy. That`s
the subtext here. He has been really unhappy with this national security
team, they really blew the ISIS thing. I think the Ebola thing, there is
less of - sense of frenzy about now, but he is very much of the mind right
now that things have to change. And really, this is the first shoe that
will drop. I don`t know if there is going to be a greater shakeup, but
this story, the story that really underlies the Hagel story is this
conflict between White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and National
Security Advisor Susan Rice. There`s a lot of dissatisfaction with the
process that Rice is running. Hagel ran afoul of that and I think this is
the first step in Obama trying to clean, clean up that process. I don`t
know if it`s going to result in more personnel changes, but there is a
clear sense of dissatisfaction on the president`s part.
KORNACKI: And what about, there was the report this week, too, that Joe
Biden, a friend of Chuck Hagel`s was very upset by all this. What do you
know about that?
THRUSH: Well, we reported that Biden was really upset with the way that
Hagel was treated personally. You know, Biden was the person that brought
Hagel`s name to the president when he was considering replacements for Leon
Panetta. Even though Obama himself had had a relationship as he discussed
in the press conference. It was really Biden that made that marriage
happen. And Biden felt, Biden just came back from an Asia trip, a lot of
the machinations that went on when Biden was overseas and my reporting was
that there was not a lot of satisfaction and, really, you don`t have to dig
very far. You have to look at his expression during that press conference.
He was just staring down at the ground and really looked like he wanted to
get out of there as fast as he possibly could.
KORNACKI: Yeah. And I mean sometimes at those events, Biden is not even
that subtle. He`ll whisper something and it gets caught in the mike. And
we all hear, boy, there is the vice president. Too bad he didn`t do that
there. But that`s great reporting, Glenn, if you haven`t read his article.
And you wondered how solve (INAUDIBLE). Politico`s Glenn Thrush,
appreciate the time this morning. Thank you very much.
THRUSH: Take care.
KORNACKI: Still ahead, President Obama could leave a huge environmental
legacy. There`s only one thing standing in his way, though. And it`s not
the Republican Congress. It`s next.
KORNACKI: The biggest thing standing between President Obama and a bigger
presidential legacy may not be Republicans in Congress. The president
enters his final two years in office and looks for ways to rack up some
achievements by going around Congress. He is also setting up a potentially
defining showdown with the Supreme Court. That`s the court that`s led by a
5-4 conservative majority. Earlier this month the Supreme Court agreed to
review a key piece of Obama`s landmark health law. Putting supporters of
the Affordable Care Act on edge, all over again, and now, this week, the
court has taken up a challenge to the sweeping regulations limiting mercury
emissions from power plants that were issued during Obama`s first term.
Coal industry arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency did not take
into account the huge financial costs of implementing the new standards.
President Obama has aggressively used his authority under the Clean Air
Act. Just one day after the Supreme Court agreed to review Obama`s new
mercury standards, the administration unveiled a set of proposed
regulations to curb ozone levels, with more reforms set to be coming. The
cumulative impact of Obama`s new EPA rules could be huge. The "New York
Times" writing, quote, "President Obama could leave office with the most
aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any occupant of the White
But that statement comes with a big asterisk. The possibility that the
Supreme Court could still upend much of Obama`s sweeping environmental
advances. Joining me now from Washington, D.C., is Darren Goode. He`s a
senior energy environmental reporter for Politico. Thank you for taking a
few minutes this morning. So let`s just start in terms of what the White
House is looking to do here. In an ideal world, we`ll take the court issue
separately in a minute. But in an ideal world, using the power that they
say they have, what specifically is it they want to do over the next two
DARREN GOODE, POLITICO: This is kind of a golden age for environmental
regulations right now. The administration is able to do on its own, carve
out a legacy on climate change and more broadly on the environment by
bypassing Congress, which as you know, is not really doing anything right
now. What they want to do is mostly use existing laws, especially the
Clean Air Act, which was initially signed by Richard Nixon and has been
really battled tested in courts, including by the Supreme Court, and it`s
largely held up. And they`re trying to run with that. They`re saying,
look, we`ve had a lot of battle scars already, excuse me, on this law. So,
we`re going to try to aggressively interpret that law and go as far as we
can. We`re seeing that, for example, with the first ever carbon
restrictions for power plants. That`s going to be regulated under the air
act. We`re seeing those tougher ozone standards that you mentioned. That
mercury rule, which the Supreme Court is going to be looking at. So,
they`re taking this existing law and saying, look, we can`t make new law
right now, but we`re going to stretch this existing law as much as we
KORNACKI: Now, one of the issues that arises here though is if that is the
approach they`re taking, and understandable if Congress isn`t doing
anything, we`re always talking in such long term, long term about the
effect of environmental regulation, though. What is going to happen in 10
years, 50 years, 100 years. These regulations will only be good as long as
Obama is president. They`ll expire with his presidency?
GOODE: Yes and no. If you yield the executive authority sword, yes, it`s
easy to be slayed with that sword, too. The next administration could
conceivably come in and say, we don`t like a lot of what he`s doing. But
here`s the thing, though, if this is battle tested in court, if the courts
say that the administration acted properly in setting these standards, it`s
difficult to then come around and try to repeal those, because you`re
supposed to be doing that when you do any kind of standard, either you
upgrade a standard or you try to water it down, you`re supposed to use the
best science. And so the courts are going to be looking at that, too. You
can`t just simply go in there and say, I don`t want to do this anymore and
do away with it. Everything gets litigated. Everything. Everything that
the current administration is going to be doing is going to get litigated.
Everything that a future presidency will try to do, perhaps to undermine
what this president is doing, is going to get litigated.
And, so, probably the best thing for what this administration can do is try
to finalize these rules and try to have states start to implement them.
It`s going to get -- they`re going to get sued, and if the courts side with
these current rules, with what this administration is trying to do, it does
make it difficult for a future presidency to undermine that.
However, any time you don`t use Congress to codify something, then you lose
that extra level of protection. Case in point, these upcoming U.N. climate
talks. The president is putting together what is probably going to be a
big, nonbinding agreement in Paris next year. The U.S. and China had a big
announcement just the other week about what those two countries are going
to be doing domestically to try to cut emissions ahead of these big talks.
KORNACKI: Right, it doesn`t go through. It doesn`t go through the Senate.
So, a new president comes in in a couple years and says, you know what, I
don`t like this treaty. You don`t have the weight of a Senate
ratification. That`s the game we`re playing when president and Congress
aren`t on the same page on anything. Anyway, Darren Goode of Politico,
thank you for joining us this morning. Really appreciate that.
GOODE: Thank you.
KORNACKI: We already talked this morning about one political analyst`s
prediction that Hillary Clinton is unlikely to run for president. Still
ahead, we`re going to be looking at some hurdles she could face if she
runs. Why that decision not to run may be on her mind. We`ll bring out
the big board and we`ll show you why. Interesting numbers. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Holiday weekend brings the news that former New York Governor
Mario Cuomo has spent his Thanksgiving in the hospital. Doctors have been
treating the 82-year-old for a heart condition. He`s apparently been in
the hospital since just a few days after the election. Having appeared at
his son`s Andrew`s re-election party back on election day. Andrew Cuomo
says the former governor is in good spirits. Mario Cuomo last served as
governor of New York in 1994. He was a giant in American politics in the
1980s and early 1990s, delivering a famous speech at the 1984 Democratic
national convention. The men with polls showing him the overwhelming
favorite, nearly entering the 1992 presidential race only to leave a New
Hampshire bound jet idling on the Albany airport tarmac on the day of the
filing deadline the first in the nation primary state. Famous moment in
American politics there. We`ll keep monitoring Mario Cuomo`s condition and
bring you any updates as they become available. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: We mentioned earlier in the show that Charlie Cook, who is one
of the most respected political analysts out there, made a little bit of
news last night saying he thinks Hillary Clinton in his own estimation has
only a 25 percent chance of actually running for president in 2016. And
obviously, that`s not something that any of us have really been
considering. We all have been treating Hillary Clinton as the absolutely
certain candidate, as the clear, overwhelming frontrunner, and all sorts of
things like that.
So it did, we thought, raise the question of, what are her numbers like and
how would they factor into any decision in running for president. So we
thought we`d use the big board, because there are some interesting sort of
trajectories here to take into account that tell a more complicated story
about Hillary Clinton than I think we appreciate on the surface. First I
want to show you this. This is her favorable and unfavorable opinion,
favorable opinion and unfavorable opinion goes back all the way to 2000.
We can stretch that back into the `90s, but we`re going to sort of simplify
it here and show you from 2000 on. She gets elected, remember, to the
Senate in 2000.
And what you see is basically for all of that decade, she is a U.S. New
York senator, she is a potential presidential candidate. You know, the
numbers are basically about the same. She is what you`d call polarizing.
She has a lot of people who really like her, and a lot of people who really
don`t like her. What jumps out to you on here? It`s this moment right
here. Look at that. Suddenly those lines separate. The favorable score
soars and stays up there, and suddenly the unfavorable score plummets and
stays down there.
Look exactly where that is. It is in 2008. Specifically, that`s the
spring of 2008. That`s April 2008. That`s when it became clear she was
not going to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008 and that
Barack Obama was going to be. Do you know what happened at that exact
moment? Republicans, who for all those years, because they assumed Hillary
Clinton would ultimately be their opponent in the presidential race, had
continued to attack her and her husband nonstop, had kept her numbers right
there, very polarized. Suddenly they stopped. She was no longer a threat
to them. The threat to them politically was Barack Obama. And so
Republicans started doing something very interesting rhetorically. They
trained all of their fire rhetorically on Barack Obama and they turned the
Clintons in their own telling into the quote/unquote good Democrats. How
many Republicans -- think about this, how many Republicans did you hear in
the four, six years after 2008 talk about how it`s too bad President Obama
hasn`t learned from Bill Clinton`s example as president. Remember how Bill
Clinton reached across the lines? Hillary Clinton, remember her appeal to
those working class voters, how come Barack Obama doesn`t do that.
You heard that kind of rhetoric from Republicans. They basically laid off
the Clintons, and that`s the result. You can see her poll numbers just
soared. It was in that time that the idea of Hillary Clinton being this
incomparably overwhelming 2016 candidate took hold. You can see, 64, 31.
That was her favorable rating October 2010.
Then after the 2012 election, Republicans basically woke up and realized,
look what we have created here. Look what we have contributed to. We have
contributed to those poll numbers. That 64-30, and suddenly Hillary will
be our worst nightmare in 2016. We better do something about it. So they
stopped treating her as an ally, they stopped treating her as the good
Democrat to contrast the bad Democrat Obama with. They started treating
her as just another Democrat. You can see, think of all these headlines
you`ve seen now for the last year or so.
What has that done? Take a look. This is new polling. This is this week.
This is Quinnipiac University. Their polling institute. Look at her
favorable/unfavorable score. It`s not terrible. You can get elected
president with a 50 to 45 favorable/unfavorable score, but she has fallen
far, far from where she was in those six years or so, five or six years or
so after the 2008 election. She`s falling down to earth here. This is
very much where she was before that moment in 2008. So, now, when you pair
her with potential Republican opponents in 2016, well, she`s ahead of Jeb
Bush by five. That`s not bad. It is a competitive race. Obviously you
would rather be 46 than 41. Look at the other ones. Rand Paul, same
thing. 46-41. Look at this one, though, against Chris Christie, dead
So this whole idea of Hillary Clinton being the overwhelming favorite,
being the one who is unstoppable, the Democrat who -- President Obama may
not be as popular as he used to be, but don`t worry, Democrats are
thinking, we have Hillary Clinton. Well, what the numbers are telling us
is she certainly could win. She would be a well-funded candidate, she has
a lot of the country that really likes her, but those old negatives. The
negatives that were there for all those years before 2008. The negatives
that were there for all those years in the 1990s, they`re back, and it is
making her as polarizing now as she was back then. Those years after 2008
were basically an aberration. So it does raise a question for Democrats
who for the last few years have looked at her numbers and said, this is our
best bet for 2016, do they still feel that way?
Well, that`s when we get into -- the best thing she has going for her when
you talk about 2016 right now is this. Pair her, or match her up against
any of the other Democrats who are mentioned as potential candidates, and,
my goodness, it isn`t even close. If you think back to 2008, when we said
Hillary Clinton was the favorite over Barack Obama, it wasn`t 57-13 Hillary
over Obama. It was like 55 to 40 or something. It was much closer. So,
she is still in much better shape within her party than basically any
candidate in either party has been at this point in the process in modern
history. She is still overwhelmingly the favorite of the Democratic side
if she does decide to run. But the thing that maybe she has to think about
and maybe Democrats have to think about are those other numbers we showed
you. The Hillary Clinton of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 who even some
Republicans liked, who had that 70 percent favorable score, that Hillary
Clinton is basically gone. You now have that pre-2008 Hillary Clinton back
right now, at least when it comes to polling. Which means she could win
the general election in 2016; she could also lose it. It`s a very
different position to be in than she was a few years ago.
Anyway, speaking of the presidency. Is the bully pulpit not so bully
anymore? That and another hour of news and politics straight ahead.
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks for staying with us on a busy Sunday morning.
We have a lot to cover this morning, including, I`m really looking forward
to this, a feisty, friendly, maybe a little bit trash talking debate over
which city should host the 2016 Democratic national convention. Three
luminaries from the three finalist cities are going to duke it out. The
first official debate of 2016. We`ll also look at the most surprising name
to throw her hat into the nascent Republican 2016 field. That pronoun is
your hint. We begin this hour with the morning`s biggest story. That is
the resignation of officer Darren Wilson. The now former Ferguson Missouri
police officer wrote in his resignation letter, quote, "it was my hope to
continue in police work. But the safety of the other police officers in
the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my
resignation will allow the community to heal." Wilson says the Ferguson
police department told him it had received threats of violence if he
remained with the force. Wilson has been on paid administrative leave
since he shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown back in August.
The first person undoubtedly, also the most prominent person to speak out
after the Ferguson grand jury announcement was President Obama. Starting
only minutes after the St. Louis County prosecutor wrapped up his own press
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First and foremost, we are a
nation built on the rule of law. And, so, we need to accept that this
decision was the grand jury`s to make. We need to recognize that the
situation in Ferguson speaks to the broader challenges that we still face
as a nation. The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep
distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Reaction to the president`s speech was mixed. The Atlantic`s
Ta-Nahisi Coates observed that Obama`s comments Monday night were in his
words, quote, "offered with all the energy of a man taking items off a to-
do list." Obama had a difficult needle to thread on Monday. He was
speaking as violence was beginning to take over at the largely peaceful
protests on the streets of Ferguson. The next day, he elaborated on his
thoughts with an immigration speech in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Frustrations that we`ve seen are not just about a particular
incident. They have deep roots in many communities of color, who have a
sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly.
The key now is for us to lift up the best practices and work city by city,
state by state, county by county, all across this country, because the
problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem. And
we`ve got to make sure that we are actually bringing about change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And despite seeming more passionate on Tuesday, President
Obama`s overall tone stood in contrast with some previous statements he`s
made on race, when African-American Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was
arrested after entering his own home back in 2009, or after George
Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford,
Florida, back in 2012.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I
think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is
absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. And that
everybody pulls together. My main message is to the parents of Trayvon
Martin. If I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon. And I think they are
right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to take this with
the seriousness it deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Those reflections on race generated a huge backlash on the
right, a backlash that may have impacted Obama`s statements this week. We
used to say one of the biggest powers of the presidency is the power of the
bully pulpit. For the national audience, the president has the unique
ability to promote national dialogue and debate, to say pretty much
whatever he wants, and to get other people talking about it. But in this
era of political polarization, of hyperpartisanship, it seems difficult, if
not impossible, for the president to start a true national conversation
without stoking a high-profile heated partisan debate.
Here to discuss the president and Ferguson, we have Rashad Robinson, he is
the executive director of Color of Change, and back at the table with us,
we have Ana Marie Cox of the Daily Beast and Lynn Sweet, the Washington
bureau chief and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times.
So, Rashad, let me start with you. It is - it was a national moment this
week. I mean, that announcement. I saw the ratings here. Just look at
how many people were watching TV that night. It was crazy. Not just this
channel, everybody. So everybody was watching this, everybody was watching
what was happening in the streets afterwards, whether it was in Ferguson or
nationally, and so into that steps the president and delivers messages we
just showed there. What did you make of the role he played this week?
RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: I think it was
disappointing for many people. You had this backdrop of people protesting
and the president coming out, not a lot of energy, as Ta-Nehisi said, and
people were, I think, looking for some sort of direction. The president
even the next day talked about what should be happening at the local and
the state level. Well, he`s the president, and he`s in charge of the
federal government. And there are things that the federal government can
KORNACKI: So what specifically? What did you want to hear?
ROBINSON: I wanted to hear, sort of, what are the next steps? We have been
talking about this for several months now. My organization, others have
delivered petitions with a host of things that can be done to incentivize
good policing around this country. He can use his bully pulpit to
actually, you know, maybe pick up on that speech he did in Philadelphia,
the speech when we were sort of dating Obama. Now we`re married to Obama,
and he gets out there, and he doesn`t actually give us sort of a clear
direction of where we`re heading next.
People have been protesting for over 100 days. They have put this issue on
the national debate and made this a national conversation. You know, over
and over again, we hear these stories, and nothing seems to be done. But
something is different about this Ferguson moment. This is going to be
part of his legacy. Sort of what does he do in this moment of crisis,
where the country is looking for our first black president to say something
about the fact that over and over again, young black men are being killed
by police. And there is no accountability. Nothing is being done and
justice is not being served. He is the first black president. He does
have a responsibility.
KORNACKI: So why do you, what do you think is holding him back?
ROBINSON: Well, I do think that, you know, we have seen the president at
certain times reluctant to sort of take that next step in speaking about
race. I think you were absolutely right to say that, you know, he`s going
to be attacked for it. He is going to be pushed back, but he`s got two
years left of his presidency. He has no more elections to run. You know,
he is the president of the United States. He has the attorney general and
he has a Justice Department. There are a host of things he can do, and
there are a host of things he can speak out on and take some heat around.
But at the end of the day, people are taking over the streets in a way that
we`ve never seen before. They are stopping people from shopping, they are
stopping people from traveling. This new generation of young activists are
making their voices heard. And as we look back at sort of the anniversary
of the Voting Rights Act and last year the anniversary of the Civil Rights
Act, it was the protesters who put it on the table. And it was the
protesters that forced the president to have to do something.
Obama`s legacy will be, does he stand up and do something? We just saw him
take executive action on immigration. What is the executive action going
to be on this issue?
KORNACKI: What do you make of it, Lynn?
SWEET: Right now I make of it is that his response isn`t something that
people can see as a short term gain. Meaning he created My Brother`s
Keeper, which I`m sure you know about. It`s a organization that was
actually built on some other programs out there, including Becoming a Man
in Chicago, but that, that spawned its whole own bureaucracy, which I`m
sure you`re familiar with.
SWEET: So what does he do? You know, when in default, the Obama
administration goes out and they create this quasi public corporation, you
go to the private sector, so it`s not transparent, it`s not-- you can`t
really know what`s going on. They raise $200 million to do programs and
studies. And they expanded their reach after Ferguson, and then women got
-- of color got a little upset because why aren`t we included in it in, and
they`re doing studies.
COX: It`s also a bank shot, right? My Brother`s Keeper is a bank shot
into the problem of police brutality or problems between the races. It`s
sort of saying, it`s doing this thing, which he does a lot, which he takes
on the role of calling on both sides. He calls on both sides to examine
their actions, says trust between police and communities of color. When,
really, the moment that we`re seeing is not about distrust between, it`s
about a specific act of violence upon a community. And the death of Tamir
Rice which happened just days before, where the video of these two cops
pulling up to a playground in Cleveland, is it? And shooting a kid with a
bb gun within two seconds of arriving, and not performing any kind of first
aid. That poor kid died on the ground, 12 years old, on live camera, and
that is something that happened in the context of all of this. People are
out there protesting in Ferguson, I think they say over and over again,
this is not about Ferguson. He said it`s not a Ferguson problem, it`s a
national problem, but it`s a problem of violence.
KORNACKI: Right, I think it gets -- I think it gets tricky from the White
House`s standpoint, I can imagine. Trying to decide. It`s always tricky
to decide what the president should be saying. But you say this is not
really about Ferguson. But a lot of people I think, sort of watching this
nationally, are going to say, if the president comes out and makes some of
the statements that you`re talking about, Rashad, they would look at that
and they would say, well, he`s basically saying this grand jury screwed up.
This grand jury didn`t do its job right. He is challenging the, and I
don`t know that --
SWEET: But they`re saying already with the Justice Department independent
SWEET: But they aren`t pursuing their own investigation. They are
already, I don`t want to use the word second guessing everybody. I don`t
know the right word, but the federal government has already imposed its
investigation over the local one. So that makes the point you`re making.
ROBINSON: But what we can say is that in this situation, some things were
not handled correctly. Right? That young man`s body was laid out in the
street for four hours. You know, and then we see the Tamir Rice situation,
we see Eric Gardner in New York, we see Trayvon Martin and the way the
Sanford police botched that case. We continue to see those moments over
and over again, and the president gets out and talks about how we want to
do things at the local level and at the state level, when this is a federal
issue. And the relying on local governments and state governments to solve
civil rights issues has never helped black people. It is not the way that
civil rights issues have moved.
KORNACKI: Here`s the question I would ask, though. I feel like this White
House, the Gates things in 2009 or 2010 when that was.
SWEET: July 2009.
KORNACKI: I think that was because, that was a press conference that was
called to talk about health care. And he took a question at the end of it.
SWEET: It was my question.
KORNACKI: There we go. (inaudible). So, that was, you know that was
something that they were, they didn`t anticipate what they would --
SWEET: They didn`t anticipate the answer. They anticipated the question.
KORNACKI: But they didn`t -- when he spoke, he didn`t anticipate that that
was going to be - he thought when he walked off the stage that day that
health care was the thing that everybody was going to be talking about.
COX: I just remember, I was -- actually happened to be there and I
remember that he seemed, it was an unusually, you know, vehement remark
from him. Much like the Trayvon Martin thing was something we don`t
usually see from him. Came from a place that resonated not just because I
think it upset people on the right, but because people on the left were
like, okay, he feels, he speaks, he bleeds. This is someone who we`re so
used to taking the office of the president actually, and contrary to what
Kellyanne Conway had said, he takes it very seriously and he`s very aware
of his place in history. We always talk about that. He hardly ever lets
himself be a person in that office. So, these instances where we see him
react like a father, react like a black man, it is always amazing to be
reminded that that is there. Here he was reacting like the president. I
understand that constrains him. I understand that. But that was so
remarkable and so heartbreaking to see that speech alongside the images of
Ferguson burning, and knowing he was not reacting to those same images.
ROBINSON: Just to Lynn`s point, though, speeches are fine, but he also has
the ability in the next two years to push his Justice Department to do some
things on the policy level, to incentivize good policing. That would be
better than any speech.
KORNACKI: That would be the thing to watch for, too, is -- first of all,
we need a new attorney general, but that`s something else to look for.
Anyway, Rashad Robinson, Color of Change, thanks for joining us this
morning. Ana Marie and Lynn, you`ll be back a little bit later in the
hour. And up next, three prominent politicians will duke it out over
which of their home towns should host the next Democratic convention. The
first debate of 2016 will be heated. Stay tuned.
KORNACKI: You`ve probably heard this before, Ohio has voted for the
winning candidate in every presidential election since 1960, so as swing
states go, it is a very swingy swing state, and it wasn`t a surprise when
the RNC announced in July that the city of Cleveland would host the
Republican national convention in 2016. The possibility of having both
major party conventions in the same state, I guess that`s not that
surprising either. This week the DNC named Columbus as one of its three
finalists to host the Democratic national convention in 2016. But it also
named the two other finalists to host that Democratic convention, and they
are Brooklyn, New York, and Philadelphia. Now, landing a political
convention in your city is a very big deal. It means millions of dollars
for the local economy, plenty of national exposure, a big ego boost for the
residents, I guess, so we can`t blame former Philadelphia mayor and
governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell for highlighting every New Yorker`s
worst nightmare in hopes of bringing the convention to the city of
brotherly love and keeping it away from Brooklyn.
According to "New York Post," Rendell sent the DNC articles about the Big
Apple, including one that focused on the city`s bed bugs. Call it the
first negative attack of the first official campaign of 2016. The campaign
to play host to the Democratic convention. And consider this, the first
official debate. That`s what we`re going to do right here. We have major
political leaders from each of those three finalist cities here with us now
to tell us what`s so good about their cities and why their party should
stay as far away as possible from the others.
Let`s introduce them. We have Ed Rendell, he`s with us now continuing his
fight for the city of Philadelphia, and we also have his opponents,
advocates for the two other cities vying for the convention. For Columbus,
Ohio, we have Senator Sherrod Brown, and promoting Brooklyn, we have
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes parts of Brooklyn.
So, gentlemen, I`ll quickly give you the ground rules here. We`re going to
do three rounds. I`m going to stop clock here, and I am going to be
ruthless with this thing. 35 seconds in each round. The first round is
positive campaigning. I just want you in 35 seconds to make the positive
case for your city. Governor Rendell. Philadelphia, the positive case, 35
ED RENDELL, FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: In 2000, we ran what is
regarded as the best convention in the last 25 years when we had had the
Republicans. We`re the city where the nation was born. We made history,
we`ll make history again by nominating the first woman for president of the
KORNACKI: Stop, that was much quicker. You picked up some time there,
thank you very much.
Congressman Jeffries, Brooklyn. The case for Brooklyn in 35 seconds.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, D-NEW YORK: We`ve given the world a Jackie Robinson,
Coney Island, junior cheesecake, Jay-Z and Chuck Schumer. That`s a
wonderful combination. It`s an embodiment of our tremendous diversity.
Diversity is the great strength of the Democratic Party. Diversity is the
great strength of this country. There is no better platform to communicate
that to the country in the context of a presidential campaign than in
Brooklyn, New York. And that`s why we`re ready, willing and able to put on
the best convention that this country has ever seen.
KORNACKI: All right, Jay-Z and Chuck Schumer in the same sentence there.
OK. Columbus, Ohio. Senator Sherrod Brown, you`re on the clock.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN, D-OHIO: Yes. Set the stage. Summer of 2016,
Republicans in Cleveland. Their nominee speaks. You have got to love
this, at Progressive Field, the Republican nominee, to 40,000, maybe 50,000
people. Two weeks later the Democrats come to Columbus, go to Ohio
Stadium. 100,000 110,000 enthusiastic people trump any or blunt any
advantage that Republicans might have gotten from going to Cleveland.
Columbus is a fast growing city, largest city in Ohio. Walking
neighborhoods, all the convention is within walking distance.
BROWN: The difference is people really want it in Columbus.
KORNACKI: All right, Senator Brown, that concludes the positive
campaigning around, and now we move to what we`re calling the trash talking
round, and this is inspired, Ed Rendell, by your fear of bed bugs in New
York City. We`re going to give you each 35 seconds. You made the case for
your city and now I want you to tell people who are making this decision
why they should stay the heck away from the other cities. Ed Rendell, 35
seconds. Why should they stay away from Columbus and New York?
RENDELL: Columbus is a great town with a great mayor, but their most
famous citizen is Erwin Mayer (ph) versus Benjamin Franklin. In terms of
Brooklyn, it takes about an hour and a half by car to get from the hotels
in Manhattan to Brooklyn. David Letterman said New York has a bed bug
problem, and the New York State Department of Health said don`t ride the
subways in August, they put out a warning because of excessive heat. How`s
KORNACKI: There`s some negativity. Congressman Jeffries, the case against
Philadelphia, the case against Columbus. You have 35 seconds, sir. Go.
JEFFRIES: Columbus is a great city, but, as you indicated, the Republicans
are going to hold their convention in Ohio. We have got a great mass
transportation system, great hotels, great restaurants, great cultural
institutions, and the people of Philadelphia and Governor Rendell
understand that, because every weekend the people of Philadelphia get on
Amtrak to come to New York City to enjoy the splendor of the Big Apple. We
want to broaden that and make sure the entire country gets that wonderful
opportunity. Our mayor has put together a tremendous host committee, and
we`re prepared to host people from all over this country with the splendor
that we have got to offer, our wonderful diversity.
KORNACKI: All right, time. Veering away from the trash talk. I`ll remind
you, this is the trash talk round. Senator Sherrod Brown, the case against
Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Go.
BROWN: I just can`t be particularly negative. As a progressive, I won in
a swing state twice by talking about values and my state and what we do,
and, you know, let them attack each other.
But, the fact is, people in Columbus really want this. I know the
politicians like Governor Rendell and Congressman Jeffries, they want this.
And the business elite in their two cities want this convention. But Ethel
and Fred in Park Slope or Ethel and Fred in South Philly, they don`t care
about this convention. In Columbus, everybody is on board. Republicans,
Democrats. People really want this convention. They know it will be the
first time in American history when the same state and two different cities
get the convention.
KORNACKI: Time. Ok. This brings us to our final round. We`re going to
call this the lightning round, and this is a very short answer here, and it
is the best thing about my city is -- Ed Rendell, the best thing about
Philadelphia is what?
RENDELL: We have a great mayor in Mike Nutter, who has a high regard for
the groundhog and would never hurt a groundhog.
KORNACKI: Oh, you took a shot at de Blasio there. Congressman Jeffries,
the best thing about Brooklyn is what?
JEFFRIES: We`ve got 100 different languages spoken in Brooklyn, and that
doesn`t even include our official language of Brooklynese, that`s because
people from all over the world come to Brooklyn to pursue the American
dream. To make it in America, and that`s why we will be the best place to
host the Democratic national convention.
KORNACKI: All right, Sherrod Brown, the best thing about Columbus.
BROWN: People who have never been to Columbus, every time they come on the
first visit, they go away talking about what a great city this is. That
will happen for thousands of delegates when Democrats in the summer of 2016
KORNACKI: All right. That concludes the first debate of the 2016 cycle.
Governor Rendell, Senator Brown, Congressman Jeffries, thank you for making
the case as best you could. Thank you for keeping it as clean as possible,
too, we appreciate that.
Up next, the woman not named Hillary who is thinking about running for
KORNACKI: So, a few weeks ago we launched a series to look closely at each
potential presidential candidate as they emerge for 2016, and when we did
that, we didn`t think this name would come up. Carly Fiorina. But
according to the "Washington Post" this week, the former Hewlett-Packard
CEO is now considering entering the 2016 Republican field. "Post" said she
talked to potential donors, she`s recruited campaign staffers, she`s even
planned trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the early voting states.
She even hinted at a possible run on "Meet the Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How serious are you about running for president?
CARLY FIORINA: Well, that will be something I consider at the right time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you are considering.
FIORINA: Well, when people ask you over and over again, you have to pause
and reflect. So I`ll pause and reflect at the right time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That means something, you`re pondering. You`re going
to go to Iowa soon?
FIORINA: You have to ponder when people keep asking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: If Fiorina seems like a long shot, it may have to do with the
fact that she has only run for office once before, back in 2010 when she
challenged California Senator Barbara Boxer and lost by ten points.
Fiorina still owes vendors about $500,000 from that campaign. But could
her business background being the first female CEO of a Fortune 500
company, make her appealing on the national stage, especially when the
biggest issue on the minds of voters continues to be the economy? She also
apparently impressed Iowa Republicans during a recent trip to West Des
Moines with prominent conservatives out there commending her on quote, her
ability to articulate a positive conservative vision. So is Carly Fiorina
serious about running for president, or is she just taking advantage of a
moment when just about anyone can say they`re thinking about running and
get all the free publicity that comes with that?
Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation knows Carly Fiorina well. He
joins us now from Washington. So, Stephen, you`re our eyes and ears on the
right. I love having you on to talk about the 2016 field as it takes
shape. You know Carly Fiorina. I gave the cynical interpretation of this,
and we see candidacies or sort of fake candidacies like this every four
years in both parties. Somebody says, yeah, I`m thinking about it, they
get the attention, they don`t really run. How serious is she about
actually running for president?
STEPHEN MOORE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think she is pretty serious, Steve.
I do know her and I`ve talked to her about it, and I think she wants to
run, quite frankly. And I think if she can raise the money, she`s in the
Look, she`s got a great story to tell. Number one, you`re right, she does
not have very much political experience. She did run for the Senate in
California and lost to Barbara Boxer, but the fact that she`s not a
professional politician, I think in this kind of political environment is
an asset for her, not a liability.
KORNACKI: But even the fact that she ran and she lost. I know it`s
California, but at the same time, 2010 was a great Republican year. She
had tons of money behind her and it wasn`t that close of a race. It was
still a double-digit loss.
MOORE: Yeah, although she kind of beat expectations, though. California
is a very tough state for Republicans.
Look, I would make the case for her a couple of ways. One is she has a
great story, Steve. I mean, she started out as a secretary and she worked
herself up to being the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. That`s a big deal. That`s
a great kind of Horatio Alger story. I would make a couple other points
about her. Most importantly, she has sex appeal, with no pun intended.
But Republicans need a woman on that stage. Steve, we have been talking
about a dozen candidates who may run for president on the Republican side.
She`s one of the very few women that are pondering this, and I would say
this as a Republican, one of the things I would like about Carly Fiorina is
as you were just talking about, the likely Democratic candidate is going to
be a woman. But you know what, Carly Fiorina, unlike Hillary Clinton, is
KORNACKI: So, that`s interesting. You think with Hillary Clinton taking
shape, and again, we talked earlier in the show, Charlie Cook is out there
saying he didn`t think she is going to run. But let`s say Hillary Clinton
is running. How much would that factor into that, within the Republican
electorate, the decision makers in the Republican Party, that idea of, I
mean, we saw this a little bit, the decision, I think back to that decision
to put Palin on the ticket in `08. McCain was looking at this historic
Democratic ticket and said I need to do something, and that`s what he came
MOORE: Yes, I think, I`m going to make a prediction on this show that I
think the Republicans will have a woman on the ticket. Might not be Carly
Fiorina at the top. But you could see someone like Susana Martinez from
New Mexico. She`s being talked about as sort of the number one vice
presidential candidate. So, yeah, Republicans do want to put a woman on
the ticket, and I would simply make the point, you know, if you`re going to
have 12 guys on the stage, Steve, it`s important for Republicans to have at
least one or two women on that stage. I have always said as a Republican,
the thing that scares liberals the most is a black Republican. But second
most is a woman Republican who is articulate and attractive. As Carly is.
KORNACKI: Is it too cynical to suggest that she`s running -- she`d run for
president to run for vice president? Get the exposure.
MOORE: Steve, that happens all the time. I mean, so, yeah, half of the
Republican candidates who are going to be running for president are
actually running for vice president. And, you know, as you know, when we
pick a vice presidential candidate on the Democrat or Republican side, you
know, the vast majority of the time it`s one of the people who ran for the
top of the ticket. So, Carly would be, I think, someone who would
certainly be considered as a VP candidate. Again, do people want
professional politicians right now? After the last election, I`m not sure
KORNACKI: Yeah, I think it`s a new rule of politics. If the question
begins, is it too cynical to suggest, the answer is no. So, anyway, Steve
Moore, appreciate the time. Appreciate you joining us this morning.
MOORE: Take care.
KORNACKI: Still ahead, how many former presidents can you name? We`ll see
how you stack up, a very interesting survey. We`ll tell you about it.
KORNACKI: Ray Rice`s old team, the Baltimore Ravens, take on the San Diego
Chargers at home later today in Baltimore, where hometown fans will no
doubt have some strong opinions about an arbitrator`s decision on Friday to
reinstate the former running back. As Kristen Welker reports for us this
morning, there are new questions about Rice`s future as well as renewed
scrutiny of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: As the Ravens prepare to take the field
later today, fresh reaction from Baltimore fans after an arbitrator
reinstated Ray Rice, who`s currently without an NFL team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that everyone should be given at least a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was awful. He could have killed her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m glad he`s back. I hope he gets picked up by a good
WELKER: In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer, Janay Rice is also
shedding new light on the ordeal. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initially
suspended Rice for two games, then after video of the assault surfaced,
suspended him indefinitely. Goodell justified the decision saying in part
said Rice was ambiguous in their original meeting.
MATT LAUER, NBC: Was Ray ambiguous?
JANAY RICE: No. Not in any way. I feel like if they wanted to know more
details, they would have asked. But there were no further questions. It`s
been consistent with everything that he`s been saying since February.
LAUER: So, when the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, says Ray was
ambiguous and an NFL says that it was a starkly different sequence of
events, is the commissioner lying?
JANAY RICE: I can`t say he`s telling the truth. You know. I know for a
fact that he told, that Ray told the honest truth. That he`s been telling
LAUER: And you think the league and the commissioner covered their butts?
JANAY RICE: I think they did what they have to do for themselves.
WELKER: But Janay was mostly complimentary of Goodell. Saying overall, he
tried to be fair. Still, the ruling is a blow to the NFL commissioner, who
is facing renewed calls to step down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he was the head of a public company, he would
probably be fired but, of course, he`s running the NFL, which makes a ton
of money. I don`t think he is going to be going anywhere any time soon.
KORNACKI: That was NBC`s Kristen Welker reporting. In a statement, Ray
Rice thanked the judge and his wife, and said, quote, I made an inexcusable
mistake. I`m thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to
address this issue. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the NFL said the league
respects the arbitrator`s decision to reinstate Rice, and added he should
be eligible to play should he sign a new contract with a team.
Still ahead, the biggest news this week to affect our pastry plate.
And up next, proof that we probably all need a U.S. history lesson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I`m going to give you one minute to name as many
presidents as you can. Ready, go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Washington, Adams, Roosevelt, Jefferson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roosevelt, Teddy, Franklin. Truman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George W. Bush. George W. Bush Sr.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama, George Bush, George Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin
Franklin. I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: William Howard Taft.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kennedy. Roosevelt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George W. Bush. Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh. Drawing a blank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, how would you do if we gave you that challenge? Or how would
you do if you were given that challenge by a team of researchers. There is
some interesting new research that came out this week that`s part of a 40-
year study that looks at the question of how forgettable are U.S.
presidents? If you ask people to name presidents, invariably there`s a few
they`re always going to give you. Whoever is in office right now. George
Washington, Abraham Lincoln. But there have been 44 presidents in American
history. So the question is, how many of them do people actually remember?
And how do those memories evolve over time?
So this study, what they did this week, we can show you the results from
it. This will not make much sense, because there`s about three or four
different things going on here. These are the overall results. I`ll tell
you how they did this study. And then we`ll zoom in and look at some
interesting stuff. What they did here was starting in 1974, then again in
1991, again in 2009 and again this year, the people doing this study took a
group of college students, gave them a piece of paper, and said, can you
write down all of the presidents of the United States? And then they
looked at what percent could identify George Washington. What percent
could identify Gerald Ford and so on, and they looked for changes over time
and what that tells us about our collective memory of our heads of state.
The most sort of important people in this country.
Take a closer look here and you`ll see what I`m talking about. This should
move over if I do that. So here we go. So, George Washington. First
president. In 1974 the first year they did this, 100 percent, they all
knew him. 100 percent still in `91, they did it again in 2009. Close to
100 percent. There are some numbers from 2014 we`re not throwing in here.
It`s just easier if we stick with these three, but you can see George
Washington, everybody always knows George Washington. Abraham Lincoln
pretty much the same. 92, 94, 94. That`s one no matter when you ask it,
people will get it. And if you look at it more currently, you can see how
it works. You know, in 2009, everybody knew Barack Obama, brand new
president, everybody knew George W. Bush, just left office. Just about
everybody knew Bill Clinton. A few were starting to forget George Bush Sr.
By that point it had been almost 20 years since he left office. Ronald
Reagan, you can see it`s been 20 years since he left office, and he was
down to 83 percent, still a very high recall, but you can see public memory
starting to fade a little bit.
So, we can look a little bit closer how this works. Because there are some
sort of dramatic examples here. Look at Lyndon Johnson. In 1974, the
first year they did it, Lyndon Johnson left office five years earlier. The
whole country still knew who he was. 17 years later, still a lot of people
knew, but you can see slippage, 71 percent. And then look at this, less
than 20 years after that, down to 42 percent. So one of the things that
people doing this study are finding is that someone like Lyndon Johnson,
who is a giant of history, giant of political history in so many ways. The
trend here suggests that when you go out 20, 30, 40 years from now, you are
going to have under 20 percent of the country who will know who Lyndon
Johnson is. And you can see the same things that are happening with some
other fairly well-known, fairly recent presidents.
Look at Harry Truman, 81 percent back in `74. Down to 41 percent in 2009.
Clear, dramatic slippage. It`s not stopping for Harry Truman. Look at
Gerald Ford. The president in 1974. In 1991, an ex-president. In 2009,
look at that, he`s gone from 100 in 1974 to fewer than half the country
even being able to identify him. The man on the street thing we just
showed you. One person called him Harold Ford. I`m not sure we give him
credit for that or not.
Here is an interesting one, though. We can sometimes people actually learn
more about presidents. They become more remembered as time goes by. John
Adams, the second president, actually a very good example of this. He had
fallen to 68 percent in 1991. By 2009 he jumped to 81 percent. What
happened? What would have happened for a guy who`s been dead for like 150
years, what would have happened in all that time to revive his memory?
Well, here it is. One of these is John Adams and one of these is the actor
Paul Giamatti. And remember there was the whole HBO mini series about John
Adams with Paul Giamatti. That happened in that time. There was the best-
selling book about John Adams. A historian and a movie in Hollywood
basically revived his memory and more people suddenly knew who he was.
This gets to the ultimate question of who are our most forgotten
presidents? Who are the least remembered presidents? You can see there are
three of them. As of the most recent time this survey was taken. Franklin
Pierce, Chester A. Arthur, Warren Harding. Those names are the least
commonly cited by people when you ask them to name all the presidents.
Only about 10 percent are ever able to name any of these three. So you
would say these are our three most forgettable presidents. Not sure how
you would do. Maybe give yourself a test. Take 15 minutes, take a piece
of paper and write down as many presidents as you can. Maybe look for this
research online and see how you stack up. See how many you can remember.
Still ahead, the Obama administration has weighed in about our pastry
plate. Those details are next.
KORNACKI: So there is this thing we have in New York City, a rule that was
put in place by Mike Bloomberg a few years ago. You go into a restaurant,
you go into a fast food place, you go in any place that serves food, you
look at the menu, you see your item, you see the price and you also see the
calorie count. The number of calories that are in the item. The idea
there was to dissuade people from eating unhealthy, to make them a little
bit more conscious about how they eat. I personally trained myself to
never actually look at the calorie count. I can look at the menu without
ever seeing calories. I figure everything is going to kill me, I just
don`t want to know about it.
But anyway, Sarah Blake (ph), she is an associate professor at John Hopkins
University, and she says that studies show that only about 30 percent of
New York consumers actually notice that calorie information, they are
probably like me. So will the same be true for all Americans? We`re about
to find out, because on Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration announced
that all chain restaurants with more than 20 locations, as well as vending
machine, are going to have to begin listing calorie information. The rules
are in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2010.
For those that do look at the calorie counts, it seems to work.
Researchers at Stanford University found there was a 6 percent reduction in
calories per transaction when Starbucks began posting calories in New York
City, and it was largely making different food choices, not drink choices
that accounted for the drop. So is calorie listing a good thing? Are there
better ways to get people to think about eating healthy? I want to know
what our panel thinks, but before I do, I want to point out a few additions
to our normal UP pastry plate. You see this thing every week. Take a
look, we went and decided let`s comply with the new rules, and you can see
280 calories on this puppy here. This is the driest, blandest looking
thing, and it`s 280 - you see why I don`t look at the menu. This is
delicious. There is only 470 calories. 470 still seems excessive for
Joined back by our panel, and this is -- we`ve been living with this in New
York City for a long time. We`re all going to have to live with it. What
do you think of this?
CONWAY: It makes eating very joyless.
COX: You`re all about joy today.
CONWAY: I am all about joy. `Tis the season. I remember going to Yankee
Stadium on opening day, and they new calorie counts, at the Yankee Stadium,
and I was pregnant. They had the calorie counts, and over here it said
pulled pork barbecue said like 600 over there, said pulled pork barbecue
over 1,000, and I said I want that one, because -- that tells you
something, too. I think restaurants are doing the best they can, but they
can`t always get it right. If you want extra cheese on it, that`s not
reflected. If you decide you want the mayo on the side, that`s not
reflected. So I think educating consumers is great. It`s when they feel
coerced, the whole big gulp regulation really rubbed people the wrong way
because it actually put a restriction --
KORNACKI: I always wondered how many people -- my attitude towards this
has always been, like I basically know if I had to put a healthy, unhealthy
list on a piece of paper, I know if I pick the Boston cream donut, it`s on
the unhealthy side. It`s only 310.
COX: Let`s be frank here. There is an obesity epidemic in America. About
300,000 people a year die of obesity related diseases, which is a lot more
than Ebola, and we got very, very excited about anything we could do to
stop that, right? The people that are gaining weight in America are not
people sitting around this table. I mean, you know, present company we may
all be watching our weight, but the real obesity epidemic is among the
poor, and who are people that may not be looking at the calorie counts on
these menus. This is a problem, that`s a very long way around to get at
the obesity epidemic. I`m in favor of informed consumer, which I think
most conservatives and free market people would be in favor of as well, but
I`m not sure this is the way.
KORNACKI: Why stop at calories? There is so much more in food that
SWEET: This is and maybe we`ll get to it, if it turns into a political
issue for what is being said, choice, informed, what is the right size of
it. Maybe you`ll make a smaller donut, but there is nothing wrong with
this. It`s hard to take any issue in a vacuum. I had in an earlier
segment that 470 --
KORNACKI: You had the -- okay. Lemon cake with frosting.
SWEET: I haven`t done my five miles today, and I didn`t do it yesterday
and I owe the five mile bank, I only took a piece of it. I didn`t know the
number. I`m horrified at what it is because I had to go for the big thing,
but if you have cravings, now, maybe this will help people who watch this
stuff anyway, and I know that obesity is a problem, but I don`t see the
downside that some of the trade industries are arguing about.
SWEET: No, no, no, I had my bites, I`m done. It turns into this horrible
political thing left and right.
KORNACKI: No, no, no, I`m curious as consumers, too, we have this plate
here. Now that you see the numbers, is anything, 470, 470 surprises me.
If I had to say at the beginning what is the most calories here, this bone
dry desert dry, that`s definitely the healthiest.
KORNACKI: I would guess that`s 300, I would have definitely said this
Boston cream thing is the worst. I assumed the cream in there clogs your
arteries or whatever.
CONWAY: It`s vanilla pudding.
KORNACKI: I don`t know much about cooking.
CONWAY: You know about donut eating. But here is the other thing. If
people going into Starbucks aren`t freaked out by the prices, I don`t think
they will be freaked out by the calorie counts, and the other thing is,
people, this is a simple pleasure to some folks. Everybody can`t afford a
luxury caviar and champagne. This is a simple pleasure to folks. And I do
like the more movement in classes. I do like education saying that kids
have to have gym more times a week and everything. All these initiatives
really haven`t led to helping this obesity epidemic. I think inviting
people to walk around in pants that no longer snap, zipper or button may be
a bigger issue.
SWEET: That`s the way to do it.
KORNACKI: This is a bad example, we got a plate of donuts. We figured
that donuts are all kind of bad. I think intuitively you kind of know, I
may not know the exact calorie count of the bison burger with bacon and
cheese, but I know it`s not --
KORNACKI: Eat your heart out if you want. If you are calorie conscious. I
want to thank my panel, Kellyanne Conway, Ana Marie Cox and Lynn Sweet for
joining us this morning. Up next is MHP. We`re back next Saturday,
Sunday, 8 am Eastern time. Thanks for staying with us.
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