Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: January 4, 2015
Guest: David Avella, Elahe Izadi, Eleanor Clift, Steve Moore, Andrew
Young, Hendrik Hertzberg, Karen Tumulty, Clarence Page, Brian Wice, Paul
Butler, Al Trautwig, Selena Roberts
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Mike Huckabee makes his move. All right, good
morning, and thanks for getting up with us this Sunday morning. We were
treated overnight. It`s the clearest sign yet that the holidays have come
to a close, that a new era in Washington is about to begin. President
Obama is leaving Hawaii in the early hours of the morning. This putting an
end to his 15-day vacation in the state where he was born and raised. He
is heading back to Washington, in the White House, as we speak. We`re
going to have more in just a little bit on how he`s planning to kick off
the New Year politically. It is also turning out to be a morning of bad
news for John Boehner. Or at least a headache for John Boehner. The
details on that and a whole lot more also still ahead.
But it was a busy night overnight for news. We begin this morning with a
Republican making a big move towards a presidential campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), ARKANSAS: There`s been a great deal of
speculation as to whether I would run for president. And if I were willing
to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show, but I can`t make
such a declaration. Be clear, I`m not making that announcement right now
and my timetable is still just what it was before, later this spring. But
I agree with Fox that this is the right thing and now is the right time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And with that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee ended his
six and a half year run as a Fox News host last night to pursue a potential
White House campaign. Huckabee also has a book coming out. It`s called
"God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy." Something that seems standard for
presidential candidates these days, the campaign book. Huckabee received
more votes than any Republican except eventual nominee John McCain in 2008.
He passed on a follow-up bid in 2012 preferring to stay with his Fox News
show. "National Journal" reports that Huckabee has been privately meeting
with activists and donors for the last six months now. And there have been
strong expectations in Republican circles that he would make this move.
Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, southern Baptist minister won the
Iowa caucuses in 2008, thanks to deep support among evangelical Christians
in the state. He will be participating in Iowa Congressman Steve King`s
freedom summit later this month in Iowa. That`s an event that Jeb Bush
just announced that he will not be attending. One of the early 2016 tests.
That`s just three weeks from now. The most recent poll taken last October
had Huckabee still leading in Iowa. Albeit with only 13 percent in a very
crowded, cluttered field. And if you look at the national polls right now,
Huckabee is right in the mix essentially tied with Rand Paul who until this
point has received a lot more media attention.
So, let`s talk about this big first move for Mike Huckabee for 2016.
Bringing in our panel this morning, we have Elahe Izadi, reporter with "The
Washington Post" David Avella, he`s chairman of the group "GoPack" and
Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent with "The Daily Beast." So, Mike
Huckabee, OK, he makes clear he is not officially in, but this is a pretty
big move for him to make. You give up that Fox News show, you give up that
paycheck. He`s making a pretty emphatic statement here and again, a lot of
the reporting that`s out this morning saying he`s been communicating to
Republicans that this is going to happen. So, in terms of the impact on
the race, I mean I`m looking at this and, David, you know the Republican
world as well as anyone here. But my read is - is bad news for Rick
Santorum, this may be bad news for Ted Cruz. This is bad news for anyone
who sees their political future in the Republican Party as appealing to
those Evangelical Christians because Huckabee until further notice, he is
DAVID AVELLA, GOPAC: Governor Huckabee is going to be a very strong
contender for the nomination. It was interestingly noted that he came in,
he had more votes than anybody but John McCain. And the last time I
checked, unless you come in first, you`re not the nominee. And his biggest
challenge, and he brings - I mean, first say, he brings a lot of
advantages. You don`t have a show on television for six years unless you
have followers. Unless you have supporters across the country. So, he
brings a lot to the table and he has a lot of good policy ideas
particularly even on the economic messages that`s going to appeal to a lot
of Republican voters. His biggest challenge, and one of his advisors told
me in 2008, the reason he didn`t run is he didn`t want to raise money. And
Dan Balz wrote a wonderful piece for "The Washington Post" that said the
nominee for both parties is going to have to raise $75 million. So, unless
Mike Huckabee gets comfortable with the fact that if you want to be
president, you`ve got to ask people for money, big dollars and small
dollars. You are not going to be president of the United States.
KORNACKI: He`s also - He didn`t like raising the money, he also - he`s
done well for himself financially. Nothing wrong with that. But, you
know, this is a guy, he talked about this a lot in 2008. That he didn`t
necessarily come from money and hadn`t made a lot of money in politics. He
had an opportunity to do that. Certainly seems he did that. But a lot
here - I guess the question is, the Mike Huckabee of 2008. It was a
surprise that he broke out like that, that he won Iowa. You look at him
six years later, do you think the last six years have positioned him better
for a follow-up run, has the TV showed helped him in that way? Or is he -
is he sort of old news at this point?
ELAHE IZADI, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, there is actually some skepticism
out there that he is seriously interested in running and that this is going
to actually help him get more money.
IZADI: I mean, for the first time, I think in 2012 was the first time he
was earning millions of dollars in his life and he has a new book coming
out and some people are speculating, well, maybe this is just a way to
generate some publicity for that and will he really want to depart with the
income that he`s getting from these speech engagements and from the show?
So, that is ...
KORNACKI: He is giving up the show money. We know that.
AVELLA: Just keep in mind, he`s not Hillary Clinton. He doesn`t get
speaking fees like she does, and Fox News is paying him quite well.
IZADI: Yes, right.
AVELLA: So, I don`t know that this is all about making himself more
marketable. I mean, he`s on television right now. If he wants to sell
books, he uses his television.
IZADI: Yeah, but if he pursues a run that he actually views isn`t
realistic, how is that going to hurt him in the future if he wants to get a
show or do other things like speak, have another book.
AVELLA: Well, it could be tougher to sort of figure that line out. I
remember talking about Newt Gingrich in 2012 all the way up until the point
that he won South Carolina, people were trying to figure out, is this guy
really running or is he trying to sell books, is he trying to do - he kind
of did both.
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Lightning can always strike. This is
called milking the process for all it`s worth. Extending the announcement.
He can still accept his speaking fees until he formally announces, and I
think this is probably a case of not wanting to secede his position as the
top evangelical candidate in the race to Ben Carson. Because Ben Carson is
already out there and he does better in the opinion surveys almost than any
other Republican than Jeb Bush. And I think this does set up the contest
between the evangelical vote and the more moderate vote, if you want to
call it that.
CLIFT: TV show conservative vote that Jeb Bush is going after, I think
it`s fascinating that Jeb Bush may want to skip Iowa altogether.
KORNACKI: Yeah, I mean I wonder in a way is there good news here for Jeb
Bush because Huckabee showed in 2008, incredible loyalty to him among
evangelicals. He could not get past that. There were other groups, you
know, outside of the ...
CLIFT: The more the merrier on the far right of the evangelical side from
the Jeb Bush point of view, but, look, there are lots of reasons to run for
president short of thinking you can win. I think this is kind of a career
extender for Mike Huckabee. I mean sure, he`s doing his show, he`s doing
well. But, you know, what have you done for me lately? So, now he`s going
to be back in the headlines. We`re talking about him and other people will
be talking about him. And he has a compelling personality. He has got
humor. He tells wonderful folks details, so he`ll make an impact, but I
don`t think we`re going to be talking about nominee Huckabee.
KORNACKI: Do you think, David, quickly, do you think he can win Iowa,
AVELLA: He can win Iowa. If he puts together the right campaign. It`s
early here now and he does bring a lot to the table. But the next couple
of months, we`re going to see. The field is certainly going to be a lot
stronger now than when he ran last time and whether Eleanor mentioned Ben
Carson, there is Rick Santorum, there is Mike Pence, there is Governor John
Kasich. I mean there is going to be a lot of strong contenders and you`ll
get three people coming out of Iowa. Can he be one of those three? He
could. But we`re going to have to wait and see.
KORNACKI: Yeah, I made sure to check in, as soon as the announcement came
last night, what was Rick Santorum tweeting about it? He said, go
KORNACKI: It didn`t work for him anyway.
KORNACKI: Didn`t say anything about Huckabee. Later this morning we`re
going to talk about the controversial new film "Selma" with one of the
pioneers of the civil rights movement Andrew Young, very excited about
that. But first, we do need to report on the passing more overnight news
here, the passing of another iconic figure from that era. We learned last
night the former Massachusetts Senator Ed Brooke died of natural causes.
He was 95 years old. He was the oldest living former U.S. Senator. Brooke
a liberal Republican was the first African-American to win popular election
to the U.S. Senate. He was elected in 1966. He served two terms
representing Massachusetts through 1978. Brooke received the presidential
Medal of Freedom in 2004. The Congressional Gold Medal five years later.
President Obama releasing a statement that reads, "Ed Brooke stood at the
forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness. During his
time in elected office he sought to build consensus and understanding
across partisan lines, always working toward practical solutions to our
Brooke once said that he was "Thankful to God" that he had lived long
enough to see Barack Obama become the country`s first black president.
So, Eleanor, the news about Ed Brooke, I`ve always said, I`m from
Massachusetts, so I`m a little partial to his story. But he`s one of those
- he is a gigantic figure historically who I think - because it`s been so
long since he`s been on the public stage, nearly 40 years since he lost
that election. He doesn`t necessarily get his due. I mean I think a lot
of people reading this are finding out about him for the first time, but Ed
Brooke, I mean, the idea of a state like Massachusetts where bussing would
be the big issues in the 1970s. In 1966, electing an African-American to
the U.S. Senate, a Republican, too. An incredible story.
CLIFT: Right. And that`s what he`s remembered for. The first African-
American elected to the U.S. Senate since reconstruction and he had a lot
of other firsts after that. But that was back in the day when the
Republican Party was actually quite liberal, progressive. I mean today, Ed
Brooke would not fit into the Republican Party. And he had his
difficulties then. I mean he I think refused to appear with Ronald Reagan
and he very much stood up for his own view of politics. And so, I think he
would probably say the party left him behind. And it`s hard to associate
him with any groundbreaking legislation or anything. But his - just
getting elected in a state like Massachusetts, which we think of as great
liberal state, but, as you point out, that terrible issues over bussing and
everything, and he transcended that at a time when the American people
really didn`t think those problems could be transcended. And I think we
thought he was the beginning of a real large transformation and that really
didn`t happen. He stood alone for a very long time.
KORNACKI: The other sort of piece of history that intersects a person from
history - who intersects with Ed Brooke. It was in 1969. He gave the
commencement address at Wellesley University in Massachusetts, and
Wellesley also after that, they had a student speaker graduating class
staying up and there you go, the student speaker upstaged him by
criticizing his speech. That student speaker`s name was Hillary Rodham.
KORNACKI: She graduated from Wellesley, she upstaged him, Ed Brooke, at
that - at that graduation. So, I`ve been looking to see if there is a
statement from Hillary Clinton, I don`t think there`s been one yet. But a
little interesting intersection there. Anyway, we are going to have a live
report from the White House when we come back the president returning from
Hawaii. A lot on his plate this week and in the year ahead. We`ll hear
from the White House, a report there and we`ll talk more with the panel
about that when we come back.
KORNACKI: In just a few hours from now, President Obama will be landing
back in Washington, D.C. And as he`s been traveling back from Hawaii, his
aides have been busy telling reporters how the president is planning to
kick off the new session of Congress. The idea from his aides, at least,
that he`s going on offense. Major newspapers with lots of headline this
morning, leaked to them by White House aides who described how the
president is going to go on the road to promote his agenda ahead of the
State of the Union address, which is two weeks from now. NBC`s Kristen
Welker joins us now from the White House with all the details. So, good
morning to you, Kristen. So, he`s going on offense and State of the Union
is two weeks from now. What are the kinds of things we can be expecting to
hear from the president these next couple of weeks?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, that`s absolutely right. Good
morning, Steve. What`s interesting is that this strategy is a bit of a
break from tradition. Usually President Obama and his predecessors really
dating back to Bill Clinton deliver their State of the Union addresses and
then they hit the road to sell whatever message or policies they`ve just
announced. This year, though, the president is going to hit the road
beforehand, as you said. This Wednesday he`s going to embark on a three-
state tour. He`ll be announcing executive actions along the way. First,
he`s going to travel to Tennessee to talk about higher education, then he
heads to Arizona where he`ll talk about housing and then it`s Michigan
where he`ll discuss jobs. White House officials say the president will
spend the next several weeks really crisscrossing the country trying to
highlight the themes that he is ultimately going to lay out in his State of
the Union address and also, of course, his goals for the remaining two
years of his presidency. The strategy here, Steven is that the president
is really eager to show that he still has muscle to get things done,
especially as he prepares to work with the Republican-controlled Congress.
Lawmakers, of course, return from recess on Tuesday. And Republicans are
under a lot of pressure, as well. Americans, of course, just fed up with
the grid lock here in Washington. So, both sides have talked about trying
to find common ground on a number of issues. Things like tax reform,
infrastructure projects, trade projects, but it doesn`t seem like there`s
going to be a whole lot of bipartisan agreement. At least in the first few
weeks because Republicans initially are going to introduce legislation on a
controversial Keystone XL pipeline as soon as they get back. That is
something that the president has signaled he`s opposed to. They are also
going to try to bring up a bill to repeal President Obama`s health care
law. He is, of course, going to repeal that. The president returns here
to the White House in just a few hours. Some big battles on the horizon.
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker live for us at the White House.
Thank you for getting up this Sunday morning. Really appreciate that.
WELKER: No problem. Thank you.
KORNACKI: Bring it back to the panel here, so the president is coming back
to Washington. Elahe, does he have - it feels to me he might have a little
bit of momentum here. He ended the year with the immigration executive
action, he had the news on Cuba, got some good economic news. Those poll
numbers, which have been, so they`ve actually, not a lot, but they ticked
up a little bit here. Does he have some momentum coming into this year?
IZADI: He certainly feels like he does. He`s planning to announce more
executive actions, and this tour can also be viewed as a way to counteract
the message that will be coming from Republicans in Congress who will be
pushing forward these proposals which were mentioned that the president
very much opposes. And so, rather than leaving that vacuum, he`s able -
he`s going out and talking about his proposals. The immigration is going
to be another one coming up in Congress, the funding for DHS, the
Department of Homeland Security runs out and that`s going to be another
battleground for Republicans in Congress. And speaking of immigration,
Louie Gohmert, Republican in the House is announcing that he is going to
challenge Speaker Boehner for the speakership and that is immigration is an
issue that has galvanized a number of Republicans, not many, but a number
of Republicans in the House and, you know, then again being, continues to
be a thorn in the side of ...
KORNACKI: Yeah, well, that`s the other piece of big news this morning.
We`re going to have more on this in just a few minutes. But right, Louie
Gohmert from Texas, he`s outspoken conservative force in the House saying,
if they got that formal vote this week in the House, David, on, you know,
will John Boehner get two more years as speaker? We remember that scene
two years ago where he sat here and, you know, there were a number of
Republicans who didn`t vote for him. They voted for other random names.
It turned out there`d been a coup attempt in the works two years ago, it
kind of fell apart in the end. Louie Gohmert making it move like there is
- this morning, Boehner having to worry about here?
AVELLA: The speaker does not have to be a member of Congress. And I would
offer any of the three of us have just as good a chance of being speaker as
CLIFT: No, I think ...
KORNACKI: But so here, David, - it`s not ....
AVELLA: I would vote for Speaker Boehner.
KORNACKI: Well, it`s not the question of would Gohmert become the speaker,
it`s the goal these conservatives have is to deny Boehner that first ballot
and they need what - about 25/30 to do that. That`s what Gohmert is
looking for here.
AVELLA: The number of Republicans in Congress are now at a historic high.
Speaker Boehner will be re-elected. There may - this will be one of the
most unimpressive elections for speaker he will win.
AVELLA: He will be the speaker when it comes up and, look, there will be
people announced and Congressman Gohmert has every right to run. If he
thinks he can be a better speaker. The question is, can he get 218 votes
to become speaker and there is no indication today that he can.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting developments. So, Eleanor, how do you read
that? Was this going on on the Republican side and the president coming
back? What do you think? What do we expect in the next week?
CLIFT: I agree. I think Speaker Boehner will handily get another two
years as speaker and Louie Gohmert is not the face of the Republican Party
who wants to put on their new effort which is now we`re all about governing
and getting things done and not about throwing bombshells. Gohmert is the
sound bite dream for the media, to be honest. And I think the president
has wind behind his back now for the first time. He is at 48 percent
inching near that magic 50 percent approval, his policies seem to be taking
hold and the economy seems finally to be working, and I think he learned
the lesson of the last election and that is being on the defensive doesn`t
work. I mean, they kept him bottled pup. I mean that he was frustrated,
he said his issues were on the agenda and they were. And he is out there
as the minimum wage is taking hold in a number of states, most of the
country. So, I think, you know, he`s doing the right thing. He`s getting
up and using the bully pulpit that he has really not used to the extent he
should for the last six years. So, I think, you know, progressives are
heartened by this new president they see out there.
KORNACKI: They basically, the White House spent the last year saying, if
it`s bad for Mark Pryor in Arkansas, then don`t say it. Don`t do it. You
are not to worry about it anymore.
And we are going to take a break here, but we will show you on the other
side. We`ll talk about this news that Louie Gohmert is making this
morning. We will show you exactly what he had to say, talk a little bit
more about it. They get a live report on that. In fact, later in the
show, also we have a chance to talk more about Ed Brooke and his legacy
with Andrew Young, a civil rights icon, a former congressman, former
Atlanta mayor as well, former ambassador to the U.N. He also was an aide
to Martin Luther King Jr. Also you can speak with him about the new film
"Selma." There`s been some controversy lately about whether that takes too
much dramatic license when it comes to its portrayal of the politics behind
the civil rights movement. So stick around for that. Until then, thanks
to Eleanor Clift with "The Daily Beast," "The Washington Post" Elahe Izadi,
David Avella from GOPack. Well, lots more ahead. Also, we will go live
this morning to Indonesia for the latest on the search for victims of the
AirAsia crash. We will find out how North Korea is reacting to word of the
sanctions the U.S. has imposed against that country in the wake of the Sony
And we will remember Mario Cuomo with our pick of the most influential
speech if not the best speech in the modern political era. It has had a
huge impact. Everyone is following - a lot this morning. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Lots of news and politics we`re keeping an eye on this morning.
This is not really the time of the year for this, but parts of Mississippi
were severely damaged by a series of tornadoes that tore through the state
yesterday. Luckily, there are no reports so far of any major injuries and
an American health care worker who was exposed to Ebola in Sierra Leone
will arrive at a Nebraska hospital today. A hospital that has successfully
treated several Ebola patients. New arrival isn`t sick or contagious right
now, he`s just going there as a precaution.
And North Korea is calling the new U.S. sanctions against the country
"hostile and repressive."
The White House says the sanctions are in response to the Sony cyberattack.
And then only minutes ago this morning this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: We`ve heard from a lot of
Republicans that Gee, I`d vote for somebody besides Speaker Boehner, but
nobody will put their name out there as running. So, there is nobody else
to vote for. Well, that changed yesterday when my friend Ted Yoho said I`m
putting my name out there and I`ll be a candidate for speaker and I`m
putting my name out there also today to be another candidate for speaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s Congressman Louie Gohmert`s announcement - is it a sign,
excuse me, of just how volatile 2015 is already proving to be for
Republicans on Capitol Hill. With lots more potentially on the horizon.
We`re joined now by Frank Thorp, he`s a Capitol Hill producer for NBC News.
So, Frank, I want to do a sort of a preview of what to expect in Congress
in the next week and the next year. But let me just start with this Louie
Gohmert news this morning. So, he`s basically saying hey, look,
Republicans, if you don`t want to vote for John Boehner, vote for me. Or,
you know, vote for Ted Yoho from Florida. We were talking about this a bit
in the earlier segment here. It seems the idea is to try to deny Boehner
that first ballot victory so he doesn`t get to 218 on the first ballot. Is
there any chance that happens?
FRANK THORP, NBC NEWS: I don`t think so. There is no indication that
Speaker Boehner is in any trouble being re-elected as speaker. And I mean
you have to remember that Congressman Louie Gohmert voted for former
congressman Allen West two years ago in the race for speaker two years ago.
Congressman Ted Yoho voted for then majority leader Eric Cantor. So, these
are some of the usual suspects. Some folks that we kind of expected to
vote against Boehner in the first place. So I don`t think that Boehner is
in any trouble being re-elected speaker. While I think it is notable that
there are this - there is this number of members that are coming out and
publicly saying that they would run against him. I mean remember two years
ago we were watching this election and there were conservatives on the
house floor with secret lists of who they thought were going to vote
against Boehner. That turned out not to be enough to take on Boehner. I
think nine Republicans voted, actually voted for someone other than the
speaker. 12 total. Some voted president and not, and just didn`t vote at
all. So, it would have to be a pretty huge coup for them to take down
Speaker Boehner. They need at least 29 votes to take him down.
KORNACKI: All right. So, let`s assume Boehner survives this week. There
is a little bit of drama there and he gets through it. OK, so, we have the
new congress in place. And this will be - the Republicans are basically on
Capitol Hill. They will be as of this coming week and their strongest
position there basically in a decade. You still have a Democrat in the
White House, though, at least for the next two years.
So, what happens? Let`s take the first issue here of the Keystone
pipeline. Republicans talking about this all through 2014. They say now
that they have got the majority in both chambers, they are going to pass
this thing, they are going to put Obama on the spot. How is this going to
THORP: Well, Republicans are going for a couple of quick wins here. They
want to be able to show that they can govern. That was their message when
after the November elections and Keystone they see as one of those possible
quick wins. It will be interesting, you know, all indications are that the
incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell will allow for a more
thorough energy debate surrounding the Keystone Pipeline bill, when it
comes up in the Senate. They are going to hold a hearing on Wednesday,
they are going to mark the bill up on Thursday and indications are that
they`ll actually allow Democrats to introduce amendments on this bill,
which is kind of a little bit of a shift from what we`ve seen in previous
years under Majority Leader Harry Reid.
So, it will be interesting to see whether or not they can get that bill
passed. They also want to work on other bills. Jobs bills that have
passed out of the Republican House in the previous months and years that
haven`t seen the light of day over in the Senate, even though they`ve
passed with bipartisan support. They want to send bills to the President
Obama`s desks. Whether or not they`re bills that President Obama will sign
or they are bills that President Obama will veto. They want to show that
their congress, the Congress under their, under their majority can actually
KORNACKI: You know, are there any signs it`s a little early right now, but
when we have this whole government funding - a few weeks ago, the one thing
that was made short term was funding for the Department of Homeland
Security. I think that`s coming up in February. Is that something, do you
think Republicans are going to get hung up on that and stage a big fight
around that or is that something they`re looking to find a way to side
THORP: Well, I think that`s a really good question and I don`t think that
they know the answer to that yet. There are some indications that they may
next week try to start working on a bill that would fund DHS. So, like you
said, as part of the cromnibus funding bill that funds the government
through the end of September, it only funds the Department of Homeland
Security until the end of February. That was an effort to set up a fight
or to set up a debate on President Obama`s executive action on immigration.
I think, one thing that we should probably keep our eyes on is at the end
of the second full week in January, both Senate and House Republicans are
going to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to have their yearly retreat. And
they`re going to sit down and really discuss with the entire party what
they`re going to do on immigration, what they`re going to do on Obamacare,
what they`re going to do on these hotly contested issues that they are
going to need to call - around, if they want to do anything, get anything
KORNACKI: All right, NBC News` Frank Thorp, Capitol Hill producer. Really
appreciate the time this morning.
Also, my goal was to make 2015 Cromnibus mention free and fortunately, we
didn`t make it through that segment without it. But that`s fine. I had to
do it. Anyway, Frank Thorp, thanks for the information this morning.
Really appreciate that.
And still to come this morning, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is
about to find out whether he`ll spend ten years in prison. That`s what
federal prosecutors want. He has some surprising allies, though, in his
corner who are asking for leniency for him.
Plus, our investigators also any closer to finding the black boxes to try
to figure out what caused AirAsia flight 8501 to go down. We`re going live
to Indonesia, next.
KORNACKI: It`s been one week now since AirAsia flight 8501 issued a
distress call and disappeared from radar over the Java Sea. Divers have
been trying this morning to find victims and examine the wreckage of that
flight. For more now on how that is going NBC`s Katy Tur joins us from
Surabaya, Indonesia. Katy, what is the latest over there?
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: They were able to get four more bodies from the water
today, Steve. Bringing the total up to 34 so far. Also, a bit of news out
of Jakarta today. They held a news conference where they said that they
do, in fact, believe that weather was the main factor in this crash and
they think that the engines probably iced over, much as we saw in Air
France. That`s not confirmed, though, right now, that`s what they are
saying from all the evidence they`ve been able to gather so far. They are
not going to know, though, until they find those black boxes. They also
were able to get a big piece of wreckage from the water today, bringing the
total wreckage they`ve gotten up to five large pieces. They are still
looking for the main part of the fuselage, though, and they are looking in
an area where they believe it is. They want to get divers down there, as
you said. But the weather has just been too much of a problem. Today they
went down, the currents were too strong and the visibility was too low.
So, they came back up here. So, they`re focusing now on trying to find the
black boxes. Which they believe are in the same general area. They`ve got
five ships that are looking for these black boxes, they can detect the
pings, remember the pings - we learned so much about during MH-370, the
same thing that they`re doing here. But they`re very optimistic. They
believe that they are going to be able to find those black boxes tomorrow.
Hopefully, if the weather starts to cooperate out here. Steve?
KORNACKI: All right, NBC`s Katy Tur in Surabaya, Indonesia, really
appreciate the time this morning. Thanks for that.
And up next, why you can`t always believe the numbers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a new poll that shows Jeb with a commanding
lead as the GOP frontrunner for president. But how well does he do up
against Hillary Clinton? We have some interesting numbers to share with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, as we said, some big news overnight about Mike Huckabee
potentially getting into the presidential race, but the other big news on
the 2016 front this week was that poll you were just hearing about right
there. And if you heard about the new Republican presidential poll this
week you probably heard it framed that way. The idea that Jeb Bush was
suddenly surging into "THE LEAD" after announcing his exploratory committee
recently. I want to put the numbers this week in some perspective, though,
because I think it`s a lot less clear what exactly is going on here, if
anything is going on here. So, let`s take a look - let`s use the big board
for this. This is - CNN poll this week. So, we`re going to show you the
last CNN poll before this. The basis for this idea of a surge. And you
can see in November 2014, this was the entire Republican field and you saw
Jeb Bush sort of at the top there, very close, though. 14, 11 for Ben
Carson and ten for Mike Huckabee, Christie at nine. So, this surge we are
talking about, what does that look like? Let`s take a look. The most
recent one that came out just in the last week. There it is. Bush going
from 14 to 23. A jump of nine points. So, sure, that`s significant. He`s
more clearly in first place. Now you see Christie bumping up from 9 to 13.
And take a look at Huckabee here, by the way. Huckabee in the news this
morning was at 10 falling to six a little bit. So, a little bit of a drop-
But again, this is what it looks like right now. Jeb Bush at 23, Christie
at 13, you`ve got Rand Paul, he`s just sitting around. There he is, he is
about, you know, six percent. So, my reaction to this is it`s not
surprising with all the news that Jeb Bush made that he would pull into the
lead like this. But 23 percent for a guy named Bush who is supposed to be
the one who can unite the whole party and sort of end a lot of this chaos,
that is not necessarily that high. But there is a really big asterisk that
comes with this, and that`s the simple fact that in this November 2014 poll
- once to get poll that back then, they also included Mitt Romney. I don`t
know if Mitt Romney is going to actually end up running. But It`s been
very interesting to me to see what happens when you pull Mitt Romney
against Jeb Bush.
Because look at this. Back in November when they did that. Mitt Romney
was more than doubling up Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush running - being paired
against the guy who lost the 2012 election for Republicans and more than
twice as many Republicans were saying back then, yeah, we`d rather go with
Romney again than Jeb Bush. This new poll did not include Romney against
Bush. I think that`s a key benchmark if you want to talk about a Bush
surge, if you want to talk about Republicans rallying around Bush. Are we
at a point where they are saying yeah, we`d rather have him than Romney.
Or are they still saying, Romney versus Bush? Because take a look at this,
every other major national poll that has been taken that has paired Romney
and Bush has shown the same thing. Romney 21, Bush 10, Romney 19, Bush 10.
Five-point lead, eight-point lead.
So, that tells me I`m a little less certain that Jeb Bush has surged into
the lead here. I think he has got to prove a lot more. But anyway, to
talk more about the Jeb Bush/Mitt Romney dynamic, joined now by Steven
Moore of the Heritage Foundation joins us. I have got to swipe him in to
get him on the screen. There he is. There is Steven Moore joins us live
from Phoenix, Arizona. Steve, welcome this morning. So, I want to get to
the Jeb/Romney question. But let me just start with the big news of Mike
Huckabee making a pretty big step here towards a presidential candidacy. I
know there is a bit of a divide at conservative circles where he is very
popular among evangelical, social conservatives and sort of more economic
conservatives have had some reservations about him in the past. What is
your reaction to Mike Huckabee getting into this?
STEVE MOORE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I`m not surprised at all that Mike
Huckabee is taking a very serious look at running and he has - he, among
all the field, the 10 or 12 people you just had on the screen. He is
probably the most popular with social religious conservatives, which is a
big part of the Republican base. And don`t forget - don`t quote me on
this, but I believe, Steve, that Huckabee won the Iowa primary a number of
years ago. The caucuses there. So, he will be a force to be contended
with, no question about it.
CW: Would you be comfortable with somebody like Mike Huckabee as the
MOORE: I would be comfortable with any of these people over Hillary
MOORE: By the way, that`s I think the way that most conservatives and
Republicans feel. You know, you`ve got ten or 12 people that are going to
be running and, you know, it`s a fairly impressive group of people. You
know, some really outstanding governors, Jeb Bush, a former governor.
You`ve got some really outstanding senators and I think most conservatives
I talk to say I think any of these people over Hillary.
KORNACKI: Well, so, yeah, so what is the reaction then in the Republican
world and the world you are traveling to Jeb Bush these last few weeks?
Because I`m putting the numbers up there and I`m saying, I`m still not that
impressed that Republicans are rallying around this guy. What is your
MOORE: I disagree with you a little bit on that one, Steve. I think that
Job had an outstanding month, I think there is a kind of Jeb mania going on
right now. Now, you are right, whether this is durable, we will see, but I
think so far I don`t think Jeb could have scripted this any better.
There`s been a (INAUDIBLE), that he is the one, and also you`re seeing a
lot of the big money people now centering around Jeb Bush. I think that`s
a big problem, by the way, for Mitt Romney if he wanted to get in. and by
the way, I would also make the case, Mitt Romney had the worse month
because I think Jeb has stolen his thunder. But I agree with you, there is
no way that Jeb Bush is going to be coronated, and I told the governor
this. I said you`re going to have to fight for this, Jeb. No one is going
to hand this to you and you have got a lot of outstanding people out there.
You know, people like Rand Paul and Mike Pence or John Kasich and so on
that are going to be - fight like dogs for this. So, it is going to be a
dog fight and you`re also right, by the way, that to some extent at this
point, when you look at these polls, it`s essentially name recognition.
Most Americans don`t even know who a lot of these governors are.
KORNACKI: All right, Steven Moore, I know it`s really out there in
Phoenix. Really appreciate your time this morning.
MOORE: Yeah, did you know - it was 32 degrees here in Phoenix.
KORNACKI: I`m looking at the ..
MOORE: No, there is no global warming, Steve.
KORNACKI: Oh, come on now.
Great political moments don`t come along very often. Up next, we are going
to take a look at the speech responsible for how many great America - of a
moments in American politics in the past 30 years were made. It`s the
incredible legacy of Mario Cuomo. And later how great moments are
remembered. There is the new film "Selma" stray too far from the real
relationship between Martin Luther King and LBJ. Former aide to Doctor
King Andrew Young will be here to talk about that, plus a whole lot more.
So, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO CUOMO: A shining city is perhaps all the president sees from the
portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone
seems to be doing well. But there`s another city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That speech from the 1984 Democratic National Convention is the
reason Mario Cuomo`s death this week is such an event. He was a first-term
New York governor when he gave it and it gave him overnight political
immortality. For the next two presidential elections polls showed Cuomo
the runaway favorite among Democrats. Even though he never stepped forward
and ran. That speech, more than anything else is Mario Cuomo`s legacy.
And his passing is a reminder of just how rare moments like that are. How
rare it is for a political speech to stop everyone in their tracks to
captivate millions of people to make such an impression that we`re still
talking about it years and decades later. Think about how many political
speeches are given every year. How many have been given over the last few
decades. Now think about how many you actually remember. How many moved
you at a way that you can still feel today. Maybe you remember Ted Kennedy
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED KENNEDY: For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For
all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause
endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Of Ronald Reagan, when the "Challenger" exploded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN: The crew of the space shuttle "Challenger" honored us by
the manner, in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them nor
the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey
and waved good-bye. And slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Or even an Illinois state senator who got to speak at the 2004
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA: We are one people. All of us pledging allegiance to the
stars and stripes. All of us defending the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s the company Mario Cuomo put himself in with that speech
he gave 30 years ago. When he took the stage that night, no one knew who
he was and barely anyone was listening. But within minutes the room was
silent, except for his voice. And millions of Americans listened in awe
and inspiration. Much to say about Mario Cuomo himself. We thought we
talked this morning about the immortality he attained with that speech,
with his words, with how he delivered them, with what they said to people.
The art of the perfect speech. What are the ingredients?
Joining me to discuss this is Hendrik Hertzberg, he was President Jimmy
Carter`s chief speech writer. He`s now stuff writer at the New Yorker
Magazine. And you were telling me in the break, you are in the room. San
Francisco, July 1984. What was that like to be there for that speech?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG, FMR. WHITE HOUSE SPEECHWRITER: As great as that speech
is on television. And you can go to C-span and watch the whole thing. It
was even greater in the room because of the mastery of Cuomo, as a speech
deliverer. And it was as if he was surfing the crowd. He was playing it
like a great organ. And the thrill of this for a very demoralized at that
point Democratic Part was - it wasn`t just the words he was saying, - it
wasn`t just the ideas he was expounding. It was the sense of mastery of
control. You know, we can take our destiny. That was utterly
KORNACKI: What are - I was trying to think about this before and I`m
having trouble putting it into words. But like what the ingredients are to
get that kind of effect because you read the words and this is so true in
so many speeches, and they are powerful, and they resonate in some level,
but there was - there was something extra. Is it the delivery, is it what
he communicates in terms of, you know, this is an Italian American
(INAUDIBLE), people responding to his identity?
HERTZBERG: It`s some kind of magic. I mean all of those separate elements
you can go after each one of them separately and not quite get to the point
where you`re Mario Cuomo or (INAUDIBLE) or Abraham Lincoln. It`s like
asking, you know, what makes a great song. Is it the words? Is it the
melody? Is it the singer? It`s all of those things together in some
inevitable way. And you can chase it all you want as a speech writer or as
a politician. Unless God has touched you with that magic, you`re not going
to get there.
KORNACKI: You know, people sometimes say politicians who are very good
with words. You hear about the president all the time. It is just words.
He can only give a good speech. But Cuomo I think is testament to the
power of speech making. It`s very important. He communicated values. He
communicated ideas with that that are still able to inspire a political
party three decades later.
HERTZBERG: Yeah, as did Cuomo with his speeches. It`s interesting because
that was the keynote speech at the Democratic convention. That Cuomo
speech was the Democratic - speech at the Democratic National Convention
and they both catapulted these men into a position where they were 80
percent of the way of being president in a sense. Just from that one
speech. It`s absolutely wonderful, isn`t it?
KORNACKI: So, what - you have some experience, too. You say you were
Carter` - you were Carter`s chief speech writer. I apologize for playing
Ted Kennedy in 1980 ...
KORNACKI: But you also before that, you worked in New York politics when
Hugh Carey was the governor here and Mario Cuomo was the secretary of
state. So, you saw Mario Cuomo up close and personal very early in his
HERTZBERG: Yeah. I joined with Governor Carey for just - for a few
months, almost as a lark I`ve been writing for "The New Yorker" and I
thought I tried something different for a while. I didn`t know how to
write a political speech. What I used to do in Albany, I`d go over to
Mario`s office. He was - he had this job as secretary of state that didn`t
have a lot of responsibilities. He had a lot of time on his hands. I
would just go over there and toss out a subject and he would start, you
know, he`d sit back and start talking and I would just be taking notes,
taking notes, taking notes. Go back and write the speech for Carey, get a
lot of praise for what a wonderful speech, got to be a presidential speech
writer, thank you very much, Mario Cuomo.
KORNACKI: So, when you`re in San Francisco in `84 and Mario Cuomo is going
to speak - did you have an inkling that something like that was going to
happen just having seen him before?
HERTZBERG: I did. I did. I think I even wrote something about it that
ahead of time, that this was going to put him on the national map. I had
no idea what he was going to say, but I have no idea of how he was going to
say it. And then to be in that room. I was maybe 40 feet from Tim
Russert. Tim Russert was his top aide then and I looked over at Tim while
Mario was speaking and, you know, that big Irish mug was just suffused with
ecstasy. Watching this and knowing how it was going over and he was, he
was actually mouthing the words with Cuomo as he spoke like somebody at a
rolling stones concert.
HERTZBERG: Or singing "Give me Shelter."
KORNACKI: Yeah, and that was, I mean, that was Russert worked with Cuomo
and had that vision and taking it nationally. I`m sure in that moment
thought, here it is. This is what we`ve been - and it is that we talked
about in the show yesterday, the great mystery for the ages. Why didn`t he
get on the plane? I guess we`ll - I guess we`ll never really know. But
there`s some great what ifs there.
HERTZBERG: You need to be Shakespeare to answer that question.
KORNACKI: Yeah, that`s a good way of putting it. Thanks to Rick Hertzberg
for joining us this morning. I appreciate that.
Another full hour of news and politics still ahead. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: What did Steve Scalise know and when did he know it?
All right. Thanks for staying with us this hour. We are very excited this
morning, the special guest Andrew Young is here to discuss the legacy of
former Senator Edward Brooke, who died overnight, and to weigh in on the
historical accuracy of the film "Selma." It`s not every Sunday morning
that sports reporter Al Trautwig joins us. More on why, I`ll tell you
about that later.
In only two days, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is going to find
out if he is going to spend the next ten years in prison. We`ll bring you
the very latest on that. A busy hour of news and politics is ahead. But
we thought it made sense to begin right now with the person who had what
was probably the worst week in politics. Congressman Steve Scalise of
Louisiana. The fallout from the revelation that the House majority whip
and also the third ranking Republican gave a speech to a white supremacist
group has been significant, with even some Republicans, including Sarah
Palin, turning on him.
Scalise has apologized for the speech saying it was quote, "a group whose
views I wholeheartedly condemn." He said he had no idea about the racist
nature of the European American Unity and Rights Organization. That was
the name of the group he spoke to. He said he had no idea about the racist
nature of the group when he gave that speech in 2002. But there is some
context here that is worth keeping in mind. Chances are you know who this
guy is. That is David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan leader, who ran the white
supremacist group that Scalise addressed in 2002. Throughout the 1990s,
David Duke was a political force in Louisiana. Now it`s true that he only
won a single election, it was for state representative, but he also
demonstrated repeatedly that he had a significant right-of-center political
constituency. It`s a constituency that every other politician in Louisiana
had to at least be aware of. Duke actually beat a sitting Republican
governor in a 1991 jungle primary, even though he then lost the runoff to
Democrat Edwin Edwards. He still managed to win 55 percent, a majority, 55
percent of the white vote in that race. And in 1999, David Duke came
within 3,700 votes, that`s just 3 percentage points, of making a runoff in
a congressional election. That was only three years before, three years
later, in 2002, that Duke`s group invited Steve Scalise, who was then a
state legislator in Louisiana, to speak.
So sure, it`s possible that Scalise is being upfront here. He was just an
ambitious state legislator in 2002 with little support staff, who accepted
pretty much every speaking invitation that he got and always delivered his
standard stump speech about state budget issues when he`d speak to those
groups. And really, he didn`t have any kind of idea what kind of group he
was walking into on that particular day.
But it`s also true that David Duke, and more to the point that David Duke`s
supporters, represented a significant political constituency in Louisiana
when Scalise gave that speech, so much that it also seems plausible that he
did at least have some idea what kind of group he was appearing before when
he got that invitation.
Here to discuss more about this big controversial story this week, we have
Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent at "The Washington Post"
and columnist with "The Chicago Tribune," Clarence Page. Clarence, let me
start with you. I think we laid out there what Scalise said, what his
version of events is in 2002. A little bit of context there. When you
look at what he said, do you buy his explanation?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Not entirely, Steve. Because certainly,
Scalise knew the fellows who invited him to this meeting. They knew that
both of those fellows were advisers to David Duke in his successful
political runs back there in the late `90s. And it`s -- besides it`s part
of the political culture in the Republican and conservative circles in
Louisiana, that you`ll know somebody connected with David Duke. Duke
himself is somebody who is political poison, as far as other Republicans
are concerned. He`s like the man who must not be named. And, yet, he`s
got a potent mailing list and phone list. He`s got a lot of people there
in Louisiana who like him, who will vote for him. He got a majority of the
white vote running for governor. He is certainly someone who, while
politically incorrect, is viewed as being someone who is really plugged
into the base of the party. So, it`s very hard to believe that Scalise was
completely ignorant on that score. But you know, politics are different
when you go from the state level to the national level.
KORNACKI: That`s, Karen, that`s the part that I get stuck on when I look
into this, it`s the invitation to speak came from a guy who was known as
David Duke`s basically political lieutenant in Louisiana. I think when we
look at the sort of national image of David Duke. It`s been a while since
David Duke ran for office and he is completely marginalized now, but back
in 2002, when you`re getting an invitation to speak at an event from
somebody who you know is close to David Duke, the fact that that didn`t set
off alarm bells, I guess does that say more about Steve Scalise or more
about how politics have changed? How do you interpret that?
KAREN TUMULTY, WASHINGTON POST: First of all, the person who extended the
invitation said that he also made it sound like it was just a bunch of
neighbors. But Steve Scalise is lucky here. Lucky and smart on a number
of scores. You know, he`s lucky that there is no video or no audio of this
or he would be getting haunted by it over and over and over again. Don`t
forget, Trent Lott got basically kicked out of the Senate over something
like this at just about the same thing. The other thing is, Scalise has
gotten out in front of it, he has apologized for it. He has also had
people who could validate him. Including an African-American Democratic
congressional colleague. Congressman Richmond saying, look, this guy
doesn`t have a racist bone in his body. And finally, unlike with Trent
Lott, there doesn`t appear to be a pattern of these kind of statements and
these kinds of appearances. All of those things, I think, could sort of
just really seal his doom. But at this point, I think, you know, he`s sort
of gotten what appears to have been a mistake under control.
KORNACKI: Clarence, this was another interesting piece of this.
Congressman Richmond, the only African-American in the delegation from
Louisiana, it seemed he did this without any urging from Scalise. He sort
of came out of his own volition and basically vouched for him, and then he
made a statement that was interesting to me, where he basically said
Scalise now has an opportunity. Assuming Scalise survives this. He has an
opportunity maybe to broaden his political base a little bit, to broaden in
terms of how he represents the state of Louisiana. That move was
interesting to me. Do you think Steve Scalise might emerge from this
changed in some way when someone like Congressman Richmond vouches for him?
PAGE: I think Scalise himself understands that politics are different on
the national level. But, you know, the relationship between him and
Richmond is not extraordinary at all. Scalise is a nice guy, first of all.
Secondly, this is Louisiana, and black or white, Republican or Democrat,
you work with the colleagues that you have or you have constant gridlock.
They have -- Scalise and Richmond had a working relationship for a long
time. It`s kind of like me and Rachel Maddow point out we don`t agree with
Pat Buchanan, but Pat Buchanan is a nice guy whom we have gotten along with
over the years. At the same time, Scalise is very much trusted by the
right-wing Republicans in Congress. And John Boehner needs that. And
that`s why he was elected to this position in the first place, because he
does get along with people across partisan, ideological lines well enough
that you can get business done.
KORNACKI: Karen, it`s an interesting point too. We were talking this
morning about Louie Gohmert putting his name forward just this morning and
saying, listen, Republicans, you have this election for speaker next week.
I don`t like Boehner, if you don`t like Boehner, vote for me or vote for
Ted Yoho from Florida. So some rumblings there on the right of trying to
at least embarrass Boehner with the vote this week. When you look at the
role that Clarence is talking about there, that Scalise plays in
leadership, he is the base`s guy in leadership, and you look at how John
Boehner very quickly came out and stood behind him this week. Do you think
there is an element of, hey, Boehner is looking ahead to the speaker`s vote
this weekend and how he handled this?
TUMULTY: I also think that Boehner is in a stronger position than he was
in say a year ago or a year and a half ago, to sort of keep his troops
under control. He`s got a bigger majority than he had. He`s also, you
know, we saw how he kind of tapped down any talk of a government shutdown,
as well. You still do have the Ted Yohos out there, the Gohmerts. Right
now I think John Boehner has a better command of the Republican conference
than he has had in quite a while.
KORNACKI: Clarence, final question. Just in terms of the image of the
Republican Party. Karen mentioned the Trent Lott incident of 2002, where
Trent Lott got up at the 100th birthday celebration for Strom Thurmond and
he basically said, hey, if he had won in 1948, when he ran as a
segregationist, we wouldn`t have had all these problems we had ever since.
And Trent Lott was forced out of the Republican leadership, and there was a
lot of concern back then. You know, Republicans, there has been this
transition in the South where the white voters in the South used to all be
Democrats and segregationists. Today white voters in the South
overwhelmingly Republican, and there have been some sort of awkward moments
in that transition. This seems like it`s another one of those. Do you see
long-term damage here to the Republican Party from something like this?
PAGE: It`s a setback for their efforts to diversify the party after the
racially divided Mitt Romney defeat. But they had work to do all along.
But the political culture inside the Republican party needs to change. Jeb
Bush, I think, certainly going to be a real test here, because he`s trying
very hard to reach out to the middle. Even at the expense of some primary
voters, it looks like. At the same time, Democrats are starting to look
again at the fact why are they doing so badly with blue collar whites,
which has been the case since 1964. Just like Republicans have gained with
that group. So, it`s going to be interesting in 2016, as far as both
parties and their efforts to reach out.
KORNACKI: Karen and Clarence, thanks for joining us.
Will there be prison time for a one-time Republican rising star? Big
prison time maybe. That`s straight ahead.
KORNACKI: At least ten years in prison is the sentence that federal
prosecutors are hoping for against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
In two days from now, he and the world will find out if that`s what he
gets. McDonnell was convicted of 11 counts of public corruption back in
September. His party is asking for three years of community service. He`s
actually not the only one asking the U.S. district court for leniency in
the case either. He has Democratic Senator Tim Kaine in his corner, as
well. Somewhat surprisingly, Kaine, who is also a former Virginia
governor, has written a letter to the federal judge on the case, saying
quote, "I think Governor McDonnell`s commendable action in restoring voting
rights to so many disenfranchised felons during his time in office warrants
positive consideration." McDonnell`s own daughters are also backing their
dad by throwing their mom under the bus. They sent sharply worded letters
to the judge arguing that Mrs. McDonnell`s greed was the root of the
couple`s criminal actions.
It`s hard to believe that less than three years ago, McDonnell was
considered a potential future occupant of the White House. Now he could be
facing some serious time in the big house. Just how much time is the
former governor going to get? Joining me now former federal prosecutor Paul
Butler, who specialized in public corruption at the Justice Department.
He`s now a professor at Georgetown University. And if we have Paul on, you
know we`re also going to have on criminal defense attorney Brian Wice.
Brian successfully worked to overturn the money laundering conviction of
former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Our legal dream team
back with us, thank you to both of you for being here.
So, Paul, the prosecutor, let me start with you. The announcement last
month that the prosecutors wanted a minimum of ten years and a maximum of
more than 12 years for McDonnell caught a lot of people by surprise. It
was more harsh than people were expecting. How do these things usually
work? Do the prosecutors usually get what they`re looking for? Is that the
kind of sentence we can expect this week?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Steve, it`s not just the prosecutors. It
is the federal sentencing guidelines. This is a law that Congress passed
that suggested how much time people should get in situations like this.
Look, this is the guy who was the highest elected official in the state.
He`s sworn to uphold the law and, instead, he violates it. Eleven felony
count conviction. It`s not just a one-time thing. He was like, yo, hook
me up with the Rolex. Yo, hook my wife up with a $20,000 shopping spree.
Yo, hook my daughter up with a wedding reception. And the amount of money.
You know, I used to prosecute these kinds of cases, and we were always
amazed with how low folks would go, public officials would go in terms of
will he be willing to commit a crime. The low dollar amount. This is a
lot of money. This is $175,000. So should a judge look at this sentence,
look at comparable crimes and sentence him the way he would sentence anyone
else? Yes. That means ten years.
KORNACKI: Wow. So, Brian, from the defense team standpoint, I notice this
all the time in sort of sentencing processes like this. You start hearing
about the letters that are sent to the judge asking for leniency. So, in
this case, you got the daughters weighing in on behalf of Bob McDonnell.
You also have a rival politician, a Democratic politician, Tim Kaine
weighing in, catching people by surprise there. Do any of these letters,
do they ever carry weight with the judge?
BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sometimes they do and sometimes
they don`t. Steve, in a situation like this, over 400 letters that
District Judge James Spencer has received will ultimately be trumped by
these draconian -- a fancy legal term for really, really bad - sentencing
Look, there is this urban myth that any defendant in any criminal case has
a right to a trial and to testify and not to be taxed for it. It`s just
not true. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, if you go to trial, the
judge will generally make a finding you perjured yourself in a situation
like this, he`ll make a finding that former Governor McDonnell was a leader
or a manager or organizer, and by the time you get through stringing these
guidelines together, the cubs are likely to win a World Series ring before
he even sees what passes for parole in the federal system, which doesn`t
KORNACKI: That`s interesting. In terms of strategy, Brian. In terms of
the defense`s strategy. Given how stringent these guidelines are, was the
defense in terms of maybe trying to cut a deal or something? Was there some
negligence in terms of how the defense was put together?
WICE: That`s a great question, Steve. The governor had a chance early on
to plead to a single count that would have carried a sentence of no more
than 36 months, including the prospect of community supervision, and his
wife would have caught the elevator, that would have been it. He rolled
the dice. They came up snake eyes, and, unfortunately, that deal is gone
with the wind. You make a great point. I never understood with my GED in
legal studies, guys, a defense that is premised on throwing your wife under
the bus to create a latter-day Lady Macbeth. To me, didn`t have any
traction at all, and now Tuesday is going to be judgment day.
KORNACKI: And, Paul, if this ends up being, if we end up talking about a
ten-year sentence for a former governor. I mean, I`m struggling to think
of another big-name politician who has done that kind of time. I can think
of politicians that have gone away to prison to a year or two, even five,
six, a ten-year sentence, does that send a message maybe even to the rest
of the political system?
BUTLER: That`s the point. The point is that nobody is above the law,
including the governor of Virginia. You know, his, even now judges will
give you credit. Even after you`re convicted if in your sentencing, you
take some responsibility. You say you know what, I did it. It was a
mistake and I deserve to be punished. He`s still trying to throw his wife
under the bus, getting his own daughters to throw the wife under the bus.
It`s like he still doesn`t get it. So the judge will sentence him not just
to send a message to everybody out there that if you commit a crime, you do
the time, but to send a message to Governor McDonnell himself that what you
did is wrong and if you don`t realize it now, you`ll realize it after you
sit in jail for ten years.
KORNACKI: That`s interesting. So there is also the possibility, we ask
about these letters, maybe weighing in terms of leniency, it also could
work the other way. This could also offend the judge.
BUTLER: Yes. He doesn`t deserve any special breaks just because he is the
governor and had all this influence. In a way, that`s why he should get
more punishment. Steve, we can actually think of a couple of people.
Congressman Jefferson in New Orleans, he got 13 years. Governor
Blagojevich in Illinois also got time. So, you know, it`s not just the
drug king pins now who are victims of our very harsh sentencing policy.
It`s hard to keep the genie in the bottle, and when we try to lock up
everybody and throw away the key, it turns out that applies to big-time
politicians, as well as low-level criminals.
KORNACKI: Congressman Jefferson. He was found with $90,000 of cash in his
freezer. Literally, cold, hard cash. Thanks to former federal prosecutor
Paul Butler and attorney Brian Wice. Appreciate you joining us this
Big day in New York and also a tragic day in New York. You`re looking live
now at the arrivals for Officer Lui`s funeral. This is one of the two NYPD
officers who was executed while sitting in their squad car. We will have a
live report from that funeral, next.
KORNACKI: Today is going to be another trying day for the NYPD. Thousands
of officers will be in Brooklyn for the funeral of Officer Wenjian Liu.
He`s one of the two police officers who was shot and killed two weekends
ago. As with his partner who was laid to rest last weekend, Mayor Bill de
Blasio will be at today`s funeral. MSNBC`s Adam Reiss is also there. He
is live in Brooklyn. They are starting to assemble, Adam. The mayor will
be there later. Can you set the scene and tell us what we should be
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Steve, the family is arriving as we speak
right now, and we expect to see some 25,000 officers from New York City and
around the country to mourn and pay their last respects to Officer Wenjian
Liu. He had come to America 20 years ago looking for the American dream.
Just 32 years old, seven-year veteran, two months he was married. Only two
months, and today he will be buried. Now, the mayor will be giving the
eulogy, and will be looking to see if the officers turn their back on him.
The commissioner has said they should respect the funeral. This is a
hero`s funeral. This is for grieving, not grievances. Steve.
KORNACKI: Politics, as you say, sort of infused in this. Everyone will be
looking to see what happens when the mayor arrives, how that goes over
today. My thanks to MSNBC`s Adam Reiss in Brooklyn. Of course, we`ll have
much more coverage of the funerals throughout the day here on MSNBC.
Later on the show, or ahead in the show, we should say, one more candidate
throws his hat into the ring. We`ll circle back to that, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here
at Fox. As much as I have loved doing the show, I cannot bring myself to
rule out another presidential run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, as we`ve told you this morning, last night former Arkansas
Governor Mike Huckabee announced that he will end his weekly Fox News
program to potentially run for president in 2016. Huckabee also sent out
an e-mail to supporters saying he wants to quote, openly talk with
potential supporters and donors. Huckabee is the second Republican to make
a big move for 2016. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is out in front, at
least in terms of expressing intentions, announcing a few weeks ago that he
is actively exploring a race. This week we learned that Bush has resigned
from all the boards of all the corporations and nonprofits he was a member
of, including his own education foundation. New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie also out there, says that Bush`s decision will not affect what
he`s going to do. So far he looks like a candidate, though, spending
nearly half of his time out on the road this past year, 42 percent of it,
according to the "New York Times." That in his role as the chairman of the
Republican Governors Association. Rand Paul from Kentucky also appears to
be gearing up for a run.
But right now it is Bush and Huckabee who have made the first official
moves while close to two dozen other names, two dozen, are currently being
bandied about when it comes to the GOP nomination. You have got enough
names there to field two football teams, I think. Only one year from now,
Republicans will begin voting and picking their candidate. How is this
incredibly large field that`s taking shape going to shake out in the year
ahead? Joining me from Washington to help figure out that question, we have
MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt. She joins us now. So Kasie,
this Mike Huckabee move. Mike Huckabee now as we head into 2016 versus the
Mike Huckabee of 2008, who won Iowa, who was this beloved figure to social
conservatives, evangelical Christians in particular, do you look at Mike
Huckabee now and say this is a stronger candidate or do you look at Mike
Huckabee now and say maybe he`s a little bit of old news here and he got
some more competition this time?
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, Steve, honestly, I don`t. In
the trips that I`ve taken to Iowa and we were actually there quite a bit in
this cycle in 2014 because of the Senate race, he is still a beloved figure
there. For someone like Mike Huckabee, that`s the road to a potential
nomination. It runs through Iowa, and potentially South Carolina. It runs
through that evangelical conservative base of the party, and as this early
primary starts to take shape, you are starting to see moves on both sides.
You have Jeb Bush on the establishment side, now you have Huckabee on the
conservative base side, and you`ll start to see those two groups fight it
out behind the scenes. You`re already seeing Jeb Bush get in the way of
Chris Christie and his early plans. You`ll see Huckabee sort of get in the
way of potentially Ted Cruz. Somebody like maybe a Ben Carson coming up in
South Carolina, there`s going to be a Tea Party forum later this month,
then in Des Moines we`re going to have a Steve King event. I think this is
already off to the races, so to speak. Huckabee will, I think, have as much
of a chance this time as he did in 2008.
KORNACKI: I think that`s a really good way of looking at this. Those two
separate tracks. Call it the establishment track, call it the social
conservative track, whatever label you want to put on it. In terms of, you
look at the social conservative side with Mike Huckabee. In terms of that
establishment track right now, we were talking earlier in the show, the
Romney noise sort of on hold now, that Jeb Bush has made his move, Chris
Christie clearly interested in that thing, that competition between Jeb
Bush and Chris Christie. Where does that stand right now and how do you
see that shaking out?
HUNT: I think that Jeb Bush`s early moves really put some pressure on
Chris Christie, and the people that I`ve talked to lately about the sort of
state where Chris Christie`s potential campaign is that it is a little bit
further behind where Bush is, and that suddenly is a dangerous place for
him to be. I think there`s some pressure on Christie to move forward just
to show that he`s past the GW Bridge scandal in part. That`s not what is
pushing him out, but I think Bush`s early move definitely step straight
into especially his finance path. I`m hearing from Republican sources that
Bush is hiring, working on hiring a finance staff, that some supporters
might be preparing to launch a super PAC as early as next week. I think as
that establishment sort of fight moves forward, they`ll want to coalesce
around somebody as early as possible, really, because you want to be able
to put up somebody strong against this as you showed an incredibly wide
field of people who are going to be running on the right.
KORNACKI: I think back to 2008, and Huckabee had a very successful
campaign at least in Iowa and a few other states, but that came out of
nowhere. Two years earlier, nobody thought Mike Huckabee was going to do
what he did in 2008. You looked at the names we put up there. Two dozen
of them basically. Is there one on there you look at and say, there`s some
breakout potential here, some dark horse potential, somebody to be keeping
an eye on in 2015 who we`re not necessarily talking about right now, but
who could really, whether it`s on the social conservative side or in the
establishment track, who could really make some noise in the coming year?
HUNT: Honestly, one person I have my eye on is Mike Pence, he is the
governor of Indiana and somebody who has close ties to actually the Koch
brothers network, and that sort of brand of social conservatism or actually
not even social conservatism, but libertarianism and that right wing, big
money part of the party. I think he`s somebody who -- now there is a bill
in the Indiana legislature to allow him to run for governor and president
at the same time. I think he`s somebody who could potentially pick up
steam if he decides to really get into it.
KORNACKI: Mike Pence, we`ll keep an eye on that name. We`ll keep an eye
on about 23 others, as well, because I think we have to. Kasie Hunt,
appreciate you joining us this morning.
And in just a few minutes, we`ll talk about the controversial new film
"Selma" with one of the pioneers of the civil rights movement. Andrew
Young. Looking forward to that one.
Also looking forward to this. Al Trautwig is here to help us figure out
what is ahead in 2015 on the only topic I enjoy maybe as much as politics.
KORNACKI: So, when we had him on a minute ago, Brian Wice did not think it
was a possibility. But the Cubs are overhauling their lineup, they are
looking for their first World Series since 1908. Could this be the year?
Of course we ask that every year about the Cubs. As we continue our look
ahead this weekend to the big events, the big personalities that will shape
2015. We want to take a look at one area we haven`t gotten to this
weekend, and that is the area of sports. And joining me at the table this
morning, we have a great table, we have Selena Roberts, a former
sportswriter for the "New York Times" and "Sports Illustrated," currently
founder and CEO of Roopstigo.com, a digital sports network, and Al
Trautwig, veteran sports commentator at NBC Sports and the MSG network,
also from the 1993 movie "Cool Runnings." Great to have both of you here.
So the world of sports, looking ahead to this year. I think the thing to
start on, what we`re living through right now, which is the first time ever
in college football, they have a playoff. They had four teams that played
the other day, on new year`s day, and Ohio State and Oregon emerged from
that. They`re going to play in a national championship game. Huge step
for college football here.
SELENA ROBERTS, ROOPSTIGO.COM: It`s a big money party right now, isn`t it?
College football is getting what they wanted, which was this four-team
playoff and you get into the end of the year and you have a legitimate
one/two option here. The one who is going to win it and no one is going to
dispute it. If it`s Ohio State, no one is going to sit there and say the
BCS formula didn`t put that into the mix. So there is not a lot of debate
now. Which is great for college football and having a definitive number
one. You also have to look behind the curtain a little bit and say, what
does this mean for everybody else? That`s one of the issues they`re going
to wrestle with again in 2015. You just had another school in University
of Alabama, Birmingham who had to shut down their football program because
they couldn`t compete. You see this incredible money party for the big
guys. But then it`s going to --
KORNACKI: The rich getting richer.
ROBERTS: But it is exciting. You can`t deny how exciting it`s been to
KORNACKI: It`s the most illogical thing in sports to me. You can have
these 13-0 college football teams that can`t play for the national
What does this do to college football? It has traditionally been more of a
regional sport. Is college football now taking a step to being a lot more
on par with the NFL? This country is so football crazed as it is.
AL TRAUTWIG, SPORTSWRITER: I think they have gotten this right. There is
definitely an attraction to this playoff system, and I think if you are
looking forward in this year, there`s going to be a way to figure out
paying these players somehow. I have not, have you heard any suggestion of
a system that works for all of collegiate sports, to get these athletes
ROBERTS: I`m a big proponent of the Olympic system in a sense. If you are
a star player in college football and the endorsement money comes your way,
you should be allowed to receive the endorsement money. I think back in
the day, when Johnny Manziel a couple of years ago was at Texas A&M, when
you had Nike knocking on the door, saying we`ll sign you for a deal, you
should be allowed to receive the deal. I think it takes the burden a
little bit off of the universities to come up with the kind of money that
it`s going to take to impress these guys. But I think in the long run, it
will take corporations to do it.
TRAUTWIG: It`s not the big sports that complicates things. It`s the other
sports. It`s Title IX, and I haven`t heard of an idea, but it`s going to
happen. This Ed O`Bannon lawsuit is going to go further and it`s going to
be (inaudible), there`s no question about it.
KORNACKI: Compensation (inaudible). Let me ask you the other side of
football. The NFL. We`re in the middle of the NFL playoffs. Two games
last night. Obviously a lot of off-field controversy for the NFL this
year. As you look ahead to how 2015 is going to play out in terms of Roger
Goodell`s status as commissioner, in terms of how the issue of violence
against women is addressed. How is that going to play out this year, do
TRAUTWIG: He took a bigger hit than I think was even imaginable. The
thing about it is in my world when I do a game, I know that I can predict
about 90 percent of what`s going to happen. It`s the 10 percent that I
can`t prepare for. They could have prepared for this. Where are we in
domestic violence? They could have prethought it. And they didn`t. And
even when they had a chance to think about it, they didn`t think about it.
So, now the next big story is, who is going to step out on a limb and hire
Ray Rice. Who`s going to do that.
KORNACKI: Do you think that a team will take him this year?
TRAUTWIG: Don`t you?
ROBERTS: I don`t think Ray Rice plays again.
ROBERTS: Because he`s a diminished, declined player, too. You have to
remember who he was when all of this went down.
TRAUTWIG: Think of everybody who got a second chance. That`s
ROBERTS: That was before this big crisis. I do think that second chances
were given out like pamphlets before. Like anybody who came back, you
could say, well, everybody deserves a second chance. This was so visceral
in people`s mind with a videotape.
TRAUTWIG: But you wrote a book about Alex Rodriguez. He is going to get
his third, fourth, whatever chance in the spring.
ROBERTS: I think when you look at what doping is compared to what domestic
violence is and the reaction to the video that everybody saw, and we
haven`t seen yet Roger Goodell`s nightmare play out yet. There is an
independent inquiry that will come out in the next month or two that is
going to basically say what did he know and when did he know about the
videotape in question. So I think given the surrounding sort of cultural
change that is happening in the NFL with domestic violence and Ray Rice`s
positioning in that, that right now, if there was a team desperate enough
to go for a playoff run and they wanted a runningback, they would have
taken Ray Rice by now. I think it`s a lot more work for him to do to ever
have a chance.
TRAUTWIG: The fact that Roger Goodell was made vulnerable by any
circumstance is unbelievable.
KORNACKI: The $44 million commissioner. In the seconds we have left, it
is the off season in baseball, the Cubs are loading up, they stole from the
Red Sox. How about the Cubs this year? Do you think the Cubs can actually
win a World Series this year?
TRAUTWIG: Did they sign Mike Huckabee?
KORNACKI: Who is your World Series pick? Any crystal ball here?
ROBERTS: I love the Kansas City run. There`s magic right there, and I
think the Cubs have a little bit more to do to get to that magical point,
but they`re on their way. I think Theo has reversed a curse before, so why
not see how it could happen again.
KORNACKI: You take the Red Sox and the Cubs to the World Series
(inaudible). Thanks sports reporter Selena Roberts for joining us this
morning, commentator Al Trautwig. Appreciate you both being here.
One of the most critically acclaimed films this awards season is one of the
most controversial. We`re going to discuss that controversy and a whole
lot more with civil rights pioneer Andrew Young. He will be our guest
right after this.
KORNACKI: January is one of the best months of the year for movie fans.
It is the unofficial start of award season, which begins in earnest only
one week from today with the Golden Globes. One of the most talked about
films this award season, one that`s nominated for four Golden Globes, in
fact, is "Selma." It is the first major feature film abut Martin Luther
King, but "Selma" is generating some controversy, as well. Not for its
depiction of the civil rights leader, but for its treatment of President
Lyndon B. Johnson and the implication that he was not necessarily
supportive of, and maybe even hostile, to the civil rights` leaders protest
campaign in Selma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want federal legislation granting Negroes the right
to vote unencumbered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s fine. But most of the South is still not
desegregating. Let`s not start another battle when we haven`t even won the
first. This voting thing is just going to have to wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The film also suggests LBJ was complicit in the FBI`s secret
effort to discredit Martin Luther King. Johnson defenders have been quick
to suggest that President Johnson and Dr. King were partners during the
civil rights movement. Director of LBJ`s presidential library museum says
"Selma`s" characterization of Johnson quotes, "flies in the face of
history. In truth, the partnership between LBJ and MLK one civil rights is
one of the most productive and consequential in American history." One of
Johnson`s former top aides called the Voting Rights Act one of his greatest
legislative achievements. He viewed King as an essential partner in
getting it enacted. He also suggested that the marches in Selma were
actually Johnson`s idea.
Film`s director defended her work, tweeting that quote, "The notion that
Selma was LBJ`s idea is jaw dropping and offensive to the black citizens
who made it so." She also tweeted, quote, "bottom line is, folks should
interrogate history. Don`t take my word for it or LBJ`s rep`s word for it.
Let it come alive for yourself."
Joined now by Andrew Young, who was an aide to Martin Luther King Jr. He
was also the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Carter administration,
as well as a congressman and former mayor of Atlanta. Really appreciate
you being here today, sir. Thank you very much for your time.
I want to start with some of the most controversial elements of this movie
and just try to establish the basic historical facts here. So, we played a
clip there, and this is one that has gotten a lot of attention. A December
1964 meeting between Martin Luther King and President Johnson. Martin
Luther King making the case for a voting rights act, and President Johnson
telling him this thing is just going to have to wait.
I believe you were at that meeting. Is that how it played out?
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER MAYOR OF ATLANTA: It played out almost that way. But
President Johnson did not say that it had to wait. He said that I have a
great agenda, and I can`t just -- I just got through. Remember, this was
December, the Civil Rights Act of `64 had just passed in July. So we`re
coming six months afterwards, and we did not expect him to commit. But we
did expect him -- we were really kind of letting him know that we had to
pursue voting rights.
His agenda, I found later, was that he thought that the Great Society,
Medicare, Title I, age of the disadvantaged, should -- would be easier for
him to bring first. If he had said that, we would have probably agreed
with him. But we didn`t have a choice. Because three days after we got
back to Atlanta, and this was right after Dr. King won the Nobel Prize,
Mrs. Amelia Boynton came over from Selma, and Jim Clark had enjoined the
movement against holding an NAACP Emancipation Proclamation service in a
church. Jim Clark had said no political meetings can occur in churches.
Mrs. Boynton`s husband had to be buried from the street because Jim Clark
would not let her husband`s funeral cortege go into the church.
So we were responding to an emergency. We were responding to a crisis.
And we agreed that we would go to Selma the 2nd of January. But at the
time when we met with President Johnson in the middle of December, neither
Dr. King nor President Johnson had thought of Selma.
KORNACKI: The other element here that a lot of people around, who were
around the former president are objecting to is a scene that strongly
suggests that LBJ was complicit in what J. Edgar Hoover`s FBI was doing in
terms of surveillance of Martin Luther King and in sending a tape to
Coretta Scott King of MLK having some kind of extramarital relation. The
scene plays out where the president gets frustrated with Dr. King. He`s
aware of this surveillance and then he places a call to J. Edgar Hoover,
and then you`re shown Coretta Scott King dealing with these revelations.
Is that fair to LBJ?
YOUNG: That I don`t think is fair to LBJ, because it was actually Robert
Kennedy who signed the order allowing the FBI to wiretap all of us. I had
a wire running into my house that I just discovered about two years ago.
And it`s probably been there since I moved into that house in 1966.
We knew we were bugged, but that was before LBJ. And the present FBI
director keeps that letter on his desk, and he makes the people read it,
and says that that was one of the lowest positions in the history of the
FBI. Now, even as I say that, one of the things that I like about "Selma"
and one of the things that the movie shows, if we would look at it, is that
this was the one time that everybody got everything right. SNCC and SCLC
disagreed, but with John Lewis` help, we got it right, we got it together.
Johnson actually did a marvelous job, and Nick Kotz`s book on LBJ and
Martin Luther King described the detailed ways in which Lyndon Johnson used
his mastery of the political process to deliver this bill. We could not
have had this bill without Lyndon Baines Johnson, but Lyndon Baines Johnson
could not have passed it without Martin Luther King, without the death of
Jimmie Lee Jackson, Viola Liuzzo, James Reeb, Schwerner, Chaney and
Goodman, in Mississippi Medgar Evers. It`s unfair for anybody to talk
about credit. Too many people gave their lives. Too many people risked
KORNACKI: I think that`s a great point, and in terms of the portrayal of
the people on the ground who were waging this fight, there have been no
objections that have been registered by anybody of this film. It`s
strictly about that relationship between MLK and LBJ.
YOUNG: Let`s even say, though, that on this occasion, 30 days, 90 days
after President Johnson said he didn`t have the power to pass civil rights
legislation in 1965, he was standing up on the 28th of March with a joint
session of Congress. And he introduced legislation which changed the
South. That`s what we want to celebrate in the "Selma" film.
KORNACKI: That was the LBJ speech where he said we shall overcome.
YOUNG: He said we shall overcome.
KORNACKI: We`re short on time, I don`t mean to cut you short, but I do
want to also, we have the news overnight of the passing of Ed Brooke, Ed
Brooke the first popularly elected African-American U.S. senator in
history, served two terms from Massachusetts, died at the age of 95 years
old. I just wondered your thoughts on Ed Brooke, his life and his legacy.
YOUNG: My thoughts on Ed Brooke was that he was one of those people in the
Senate that worked with Lyndon Johnson. When I got to the Congress, we
worked together on a number of urban finance bills, the passage of our mass
transit legislation, the helping to build our airport. All of these
things. And he was quiet, he was strong, but we lost another visionary
also this last week. And that`s Mario Cuomo. Those were two of the great
men of American politics. They saw clearly. They were not petty. And
they held, even though one was Republican and one was Democrat, they held
the national interest as their priority in anything and everything they
KORNACKI: All right, Andrew Young, former U.N. ambassador, former Atlanta
mayor and civil rights icon. Appreciate your time very much this morning.
Thank you, sir, for getting up with us.
And thank you at home for joining us this morning. We`re going to be back
next weekend, Saturday, Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. Stay tuned here
on MSNBC today for the continuing coverage of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu`s
funeral. And coming up next, is Melissa Harris-Perry. A busy day, it
continues. Thanks for getting up with us. We`ll see you next week.
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