UP, Transcript 1/3/2016
Date: January 3, 2016
Guest: Kathy Obradovich, Michael Tobin, Steve Clemons, George Takei
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC ANCHOR: An election year starts and America is angry.
A very good morning to you. I`m Richard Lui. Thank you for getting UP
with us this Sunday morning. Donald Trump speaks out about the NEW
terrorist recruitment video that contains a Trump sound bite.
We`ll take a look at the state of the race 29 days out from the Iowa
caucuses. Also new this hour, a brand new survey from NBC news that shows
how angry Americans are as they get ready to pick a new president.
Overseas, violent protests break out overnight outside the Saudi embassy in
Tehran after Saudi Arabia executes a Shiite cleric. We`ll look at how the
tension could impact American diplomatic efforts in the region.
Plus the ugly history of Japanese-American internment, as the Senate moves
to make the largest of the internment camps a national historic site, our
special guest actor and activist George Takei starring a new Broadway
musical inspired by his very own experiences in one of the camps.
But we begin this morning with Donald Trump responding for the first time
to that new terror recruitment video containing a sound bite from the
billionaire candidate himself. That video from the al-Qaeda affiliate, al-
Shabab features Trump`s call for a ban on all Muslims entering the United
States. Here`s what he had to say about that in an interview to air later
this morning on CBS` Face the Nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, there`s a problem. I
bring it up, other people have called me and they say you have guts to
bring it up, because frankly, it`s true, but nobody wants to get involved.
Now people are getting involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: The controversial development comes only 29 days before voting begins
in Iowa. Caucus goers will kick off the 2016 presidential election on
February 1st. Senator Ted Cruz leading in Iowa by roughly three polls –
three points rather, in the polling average by Real Clear Politics.
Attack ads are going after Cruz on his opposition to ethanol and renewable
fuel, a big issue in corn-growing states, and a pro-Cruz superpac is
getting ready to fight back with a multimillion-dollar ad buy.
Meanwhile, the former front-runner in Iowa, Ben Carson, is looking to reset
his campaign after five high-level staffers quit earlier this week.
Despite the turbulence, early numbers show Carson pulling in nearly $23
million in the final quarter of the year, $3 million more than Ted Cruz.
And then there`s Jeb Bush who this week canceled a major TV ad buy in Iowa,
using that money to bulk up his staff on the ground there instead. The New
York Times reporting this week that the Bush campaign is lowering
expectations, stating two main goals in Iowa. One, to finish no lower than
fifth, and two, to beat Chris Christie.
Who will emerge as the anti-Cruz, anti-Trump establishment favorite?
that`s the question. Joining me now to discuss the state of the ground
game in Iowa is political columnist for the Des Moines Register, Kathy
Obradovich. Thank you for being with us, Kathy.
KATHY OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTER, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Thanks for
having me, Richard.
LUI: All right. Also joining us is our panel, former Bush-Cheney senior
adviser and MSNBC contributor Robert Traynham, former senior aide to
Senator Chuck Schumer, Michael Tobin, and MSNBC political reporter Jane
Kathy, we`ll start with you first. Who has the best operation right now?
You saw the average that we`re pulling from Real Clear Politics right now.
But we started the New Year, all the eyes are on your state.
OBRADOVICH: Yes, so I think that you look at really two things you have to
do in the last month of the caucuses. The old saw in Iowa is organize,
organize, organize, and get hot at the end. So who`s doing that
Ted Cruz, top of the polls in Iowa, and he does have a good ground game.
That`s really important because you have to get your people out on a hot –
or a really cold February night, and be there for a couple of hours. So
you really have to deliver your people.
Donald Trump, people question, you know, does he have the organization to
deliver on his support, and I think he does. He`s got some really smart
people organizing for him in Iowa and I think he will have that – you
know, that push to get his people out.
Marco Rubio, who I think is the biggest contender right now for the
establishment Republicans as well as some conservatives, big question about
whether he has any sort of organizational muscle in Iowa. And people have
actually expressed some concern about whether he can do anything with that.
You mentioned Jeb Bush adding to his organizational muscle in Iowa. That`s
a really smart move I think. Advertising is not what takes people to the
caucuses. You need people on the ground to do that.
Jeb Bush could perform better than his poll numbers if he has a strong
enough organization, and you know, I think that coming in fifth in the
caucuses is not going to be good enough this year. He needs to move into
fourth place. If Ben Carson continues his freefall, Jeb Bush could do
LUI: All right, 29 days to go. What are you watching then? What is going
to be the key move? Obviously the ground game is one of the items you
brought up, and the ad campaign you`re saying will be less effective along
the way. But there`s also the messaging and who is resonating right now in
OBRADOVICH: Right, so the get hot at end cannot be under – cannot be
overemphasized, right. So what`s going to be important? The debates first
of all, are going to be extremely important. Debates have driven poll
numbers. You know, Ted Cruz had that sort of moment where the
conservatives coalesced around him, but he had it at Thanksgiving. He`s
got to do something to stay hot at the end.
I think that there`s going to be some things that happen during the
campaign around advertising. It may not be the advertising that drives
poll numbers, but it is something that people pay attention to, so it
drives the narrative.
And also, who is driving big crowds and having big rallies? And that`s
where Donald Trump shines. He is – he is a master at drawing media
attention, and you know, so part of the question will be who can compete
LUI: I want to drill down a little bit more on Jeb Bush. And he spoke to
NPR`s Steve Inskeep this week. Here`s what he had to say about his
position in the early states including Iowa. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think I have to win any of
them, because we`re organized in every state. The good news is
expectations are low for me, and I`m definitely going to beat those. I
feel really good about New Hampshire to be honest with you, just the way it
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LUI: Jane Timm on our panel here, it sounds like those expectations are
about an inch off the ground, and so if you can jump an inch, you`ll can
JANE TIMM, MSNBC REPORTER: I mean they`re pretty low for Jeb Bush, but I -
LUI: Right. I don`t have to win any of the early states.
TIMM: He`s still talking about New Hampshire awfully a lot, and I think
that`s his key moment. If he cannot get a second place win at least in New
Hampshire, he`s done, he`s done. And we`ve seen him moving his staff to
the early states.
We see him changing ad buys, he pulled an ad buy I think in Iowa, which was
never a very good fit for him of course as a moderate in this race. But he
needs to win New Hampshire or at least come close. He`s got – he`s still
got to win it. He can say it`s not a big deal as much as he wants, but it
LUI: Right. He is just trying to set, I guess, the expectations for the
outcomes. Robert, so Jeb Bush, we`d not even be talking about him when
we`re looking at Iowa?
ROBERT TRAYNHAM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What Jane said a few moments ago
is actually – she hit the nail right on the head. What he`s doing is, is
he`s redoubling on his staff, and bowing (ph) down on the advertising.
Here`s why. Iowans really don`t care about advertising. They`re motivated
by word of mouth.
What the Republican Party historically has always done is beat up the
presumptive nominee, and nominate these individuals, meaning in the first
couple of states that actually don`t become the nominee.
So what Jeb Bush has to do is lower the expectations and probably try to
hold on there into Super Tuesday. If in fact he can hold on to Super
Tuesday, then mathematically he can still win this nomination. It doesn`t
matter about Iowa. It doesn`t matter about New Hampshire. What does
matter is South Carolina and the rest of the national (inaudible) at the
end of February. That`s what matters.
LUI: So let`s take what all three of you said so far, and now I want to go
to you here, Michael, and that is the idea of OK, that the messaging just
doesn`t sound strong. It`s not robust, it`s not forward, it`s not like I`m
in control, I`m doing well.
MICHAEL TOBIN, FORMER AIDE TO SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: I don`t know that
that`s in his temperament, I don`t know that that`s in Jeb Bush`s DNA.
Maybe it was in his brother`s we saw, and it wasn`t really in his father`s,
but it`s certainly not in his. And I think that he needs to share the
decisive action and I`m moving past this already, I`m conceding this.
That`s great, I`m not going to win here, I`m moving on, exactly what you
said. This is what we`re going to do on Super Tuesday. And it sort of
sounds to those of us who have kids, you know, anywhere between 8 and 15,
you know, you get to say they manage expectations. This test wasn`t so
important, and then you come home with a grade that – you know, they`re
TRAYNHAM: I`ll remind you, Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, the Republican nominees
in 2008 and 2012, they didn`t win Iowa, and they also didn`t win New
LUI: Well-known numbers. That`s right.
TRAYNHAM: And again, I can – when you look at the map – and also, and
this is very important, when you take a look at the amount of money that
Jeb Bush has in the bank, he has the money to stay in this until Super
Tuesday. Now if you lose the Super Tuesday, then he`s out.
LUI: OK. Des Moines Register political columnist Kathy Obradovich, thank
you so much for your time and thank you and have a good Sunday. And I want
to go back to what we started the show with, and that`s the idea of anger,
speaking of the election to our panel, who many are going to the primary
season feeling a little bit of that.
A new NBC news survey monkey online poll out this hour, it features – is
featured now in the February edition of Esquire Magazine. You can see fire
and rage on the screen there. And some of the numbers just getting into it
for our panel I`ll throw it out to you here.
Is the overall anger of the electorate – and the numbers here, this is
interesting, because overall when the question was asked, do you feel more
angry about events in the news more often today than you did a year ago?
And the answer to that was 49 percent, so pretty much even.
However when you break it down by party, and we look at Republicans versus
Democrats for instance, Republicans 61 percent feel more angry about the
events that are happening today than they do – than they did a year ago.
Democrats 42 percent.
And what might be asked then is, and I was – you probably saw the
headline, does Donald Trump`s voters have enough anger to get out there and
vote for him? Because that`s the question, if he is tapping into that idea
of the electorate, will they, at the end of the day, come down and vote for
him? So how would – how would you explain why we have this difference,
Republicans versus Democrats? Jane?
TIMM: You know, I feel like anger has been so powerful on the GOP side,
and when you look at what Republican voters are angry about, they`re angry
about the status quo. They`re angry that nothing seems to get done in D.C.
They`re angry at the, you know, the economic structures that have created,
you know, a lot of middle class unemployed or underemployed, you know,
There`s sort of that – I mean even Obama has talked about this, this sort
of like white blue class anger that is there, because a lot of the jobs
that used to, you know, create the American dream, manufacturing jobs, are
just gone right now.
LUI: Also when we look at the gender breakdown, 53 percent of women feel
more angry today about events than they did a year ago, 44 percent for men.
Are you feeling less angry?
TOBIN: I don`t know that the right word is angry – anger. I think it`s
about anxiety, I think people are feeling anxious. And I understand that
that`s not a headline, and that`s not what we`re talking about at Trump
rallies, but I really think the issue is one of anxiety.
And I think in periods of transition like we see, one presidential
administration, a first African-American president, to perhaps a first
female president, and then we have all this tumult on the Republican side,
international affairs, wars, terrorism, thinning out of the middle, changes
in our economy, more than we`ve seen in 4, 8, 12 years ago.
We`re seeing issues of anxiety, and I don`t know that it`s anger. I think
if people who are anxious are asked are you angry, you know, given the
choice between anger and anxiety, I think the real issue is one of anxiety.
LUI: Well here`s an interesting one for you Robert, here, broken down by
race, and it has whites at 54 percent, African-Americans at 33 percent, and
Latinos at 43 percent, not fitting some of the story lines that are put up
by certain individuals in terms of those who might be angry.
TRAYNHAM: I`m going to try to put some context around this, and I`m kind
of throwing, you know, darts in the air here. Take a look at where we are
today. Americans are in a funk. When you wake up every single morning,
you hear about black lives matter, you hear a lot of people out there who
are angry with the police and with the establishment. You hear over and
over and over again that the more you work, the harder that you work, the
more your jobs go overseas.
So you know, I`m not a white American but I`m surmising here, as a white
American I`m looking at this country and I don`t recognize it anymore. It
doesn`t speak to me anymore and I`m afraid, and there`s a bit of anxiety
And so the question becomes is, what can be done to fix in this? And I`m
not exactly sure, and I`m making this up here, I`m not exactly sure that
Donald Trump has the answers, but he`s speaking declaratively to me, he`s
able to fix things at least imaginatively. That gives me hope, that gives
me something to cling onto. And I think – go ahead.
LUI: We`re going to talk about that very topic later in the show. I want
to get to another bit of the study here which I found interesting. They
tried to quantify, and I say do try, they try to quantify the level of
anger when you did say you were angry.
And the top three, I`ll read to you, this is about how your view is about
how others are being treated. So African-Americans about how other
African-Americans are treated, 70 percent, that`s a higher quantified anger
quotient, by the way, they`re describing. Hispanics feeling about how
other Hispanics are being treated, 55 percent. African-Americans about
LGBTQ people, 49 percent. So we can see certainly the opposite of what the
last data point was in that once you are angry, the level can be high. So
it`s a little bit different than the last numbers.
TRAYNHAM: Yes, but – and let me – can I speak to this for a second?
Because I can speak specifically for African-Americans. African-Americans
have always thought that President Obama has not been treated with the same
dignity and respect of his white counterparts.
You go back to Jan Brewer and pointing to the president when he got off air
force one, you go to the congressman from South Carolina who said “you
lied” when the president (inaudible). I mean these are real, tangible
things where as an African-American when you see that, and you say that
doesn`t – that wouldn`t happen to Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, or
George W. Bush.
LUI: OK, I want to get this in to you guys, have to go quickly on this,
and this is about the question do you believe the American dream once held
true but no longer does? That was the question, OK. The answer by whites,
they`re saying the American dream no longer holds true 54 percent, African-
Americans 39 percent. Robert? Jane? - Michael? Jane? Sorry.
TOBIN: Please, after you.
TIMM: You know, I think that is what is fueling both Bernie Sanders and
Donald Trump, this idea that something – the system is rigged, and it`s
rigged against the little guy, and I think the majority of white Americans
think it`s rigged against them.
LUI: The dream is not there.
TIMM: They see demographic changes around them, and they say, you know,
why am I pressing one for English? That is the kind of – the sort of
unrest with this.
LUI: Bernie Sanders is going after that, right?
TOBIN: He absolutely is, which is interesting because he`s on the far
left, but here he is going after alienation and a feeling of disconnect on
issues that are actually driven by a more progressive agenda like marriage
equality, and other issues.
LUI: All right, great stuff, panel. I`m sorry we have to go. We`ll of
course have an opportunity to revisit this very topic of the election very
shortly. We`ll talk to the panel later in the hour. Right now we`re
following a developing story this morning out of Iran, where violent
demonstrations broke out overnight outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran,
after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric. We`ll have the
latest on that right after this.
LUI: Angry protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran overnight.
You`re seeing here some images from the Associated Press, protesters
throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, setting fire to the building after
Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric and 46 others yesterday.
To our knowledge no one was hurt or injured in those protests. The Iranian
students` news agency reported 40 arrests. Iran`s supreme leader saying
that Saudi Arabia will face divine vengeance. The executed sheikh was a
critic of Saudi Arabia`s treatment of its Shiite minority. Saudi Arabia is
defending the execution as part of the war on terrorism. Here with more
details, NBC`s Ali Arouzi live in Tehran for us. Hey, Ali.
ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS TEHRAN BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, Richard. That`s right,
angry protesters raided the Saudi embassy in Tehran last night over the
execution of prominent Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Protesters shouted death to
Saudi Arabia, threw Molotov cocktails at the building, before pouring
inside and ransacking the premises.
Flames and smoke could be seen billowing from the windows. Protesters last
night also ransacked the Saudi consulate in Mashhad, a major city in the
northeast of Iran. Iran`s ruling establishment were very quick today to
condemn the execution, Iran`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the
highest authority in the land, said in a tweet that Saudi Arabia will face
divine revenge for Nimr`s execution, calling it a huge crime and a wrong
The country`s very powerful revolutionary guard also vowed revenge on the
house of Al-Saud. Iran`s President Rouhani in a more balanced statement
said Nimr`s execution violates human rights and Islamic values, but the
damage to the Saudi embassy was by no means justifiable.
Rouhani went on to say that he`s ordered Iran`s interior minister to
identify the attackers and bring them to justice in order to put an end to
these sort of crimes, and guarantee the full safety of the country`s
Now, having said that, there`s no love lost between rivals (inaudible) Iran
and Saudi Arabia, and this latest episode is sure to fan the flame of
tension between the two countries. There were more protests today in
Tehran, they weren`t allowed to gather outside the Saudi embassy.
They gathered outside Palestine Square, a famous place where people get
together to protest political things, and a few hundred protesters gathered
there, burning the U.S. flag, the Israeli flag, calling for death to
America, Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia. A prominent cleric there
addressed the crowd saying this was just the tip of the iceberg, and that
the Saudis are going to face a lot more from Iran. Back to you, Richard.
LUI: NBC`s Ali Arouzi. Ali, thank you so much in Tehran, 5.51 PM local
To discuss how the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could impact
American diplomatic efforts in the region, let`s bring in Steve Clemons,
editor-at-large of The Atlantic Magazine. One of the questions here,
Steve, is this sheikh and who he is and how important he was, at least to
peace or lack thereof between these two countries. What do you know?
STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC, EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well I think in the eastern
provinces of Saudi Arabia, where you had both an area there, and in
Bahrain, that began to rise up and demand for more essentially justice from
the Saudi regime and in Bahrain from their Sunni-dominated regime, Bahrain
is a Shiite majority country.
And in that Arab Spring moment, when we saw protests throughout the region,
Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr really called for a more robust movement, and he was
arrested shortly after that as part of the protests that were going on.
Most look at him as being the voice of that opposition that was calling for
greater sectarian justice inside Saudi Arabia, and so it`s a confusing
picture. Those that are on the side of the Saudi regime look at him as
someone who is, you know, brewing rebellion.
Those that are human rights activists say he was calling for greater
democracy and greater fairness within that system. The importance of this
is, is it pours fuel on a fire that was already raging between Saudi Arabia
and Iran throughout the Middle East.
LUI: So the question might be here, Steve, based on what we`ve seen just
within the last 24 hours and the execution here of the sheikh, his
followers, his supporters, and what might happen after that.
CLEMONS: Well I think what happens now is everything gets worse, to be
honest. When you look at the fact that various – the Iraqi army just took
back Ramadi within – from ISIS within Iraq, that that depended upon
activities of Shia militia coming in and basically knocking off supply
routes, that sort of coordination inside places Iraq is going to crumble.
In Geneva we have coming up a peace process at the end of January that will
try to begin looking at Syria, and you`ve got the Saudis and the Iranians
both at the table, and John Kerry looked at that as an accomplishment.
That is now going to be fraught with new problems.
LUI: OK, so to support different sides of this argument, how might this
exacerbate the tensions right now? What is the worst case scenario that
you are watching?
CLEMONS: Well, I think, you know, one of the things you worry about, which
the Iranians have not done other than the embassy, is whether or not you`ll
begin to see greater armed tension between the Saudis and Iranians.
They`re right next to each other across different sides of the strait. So
that could be an increasing complexity. But I think the bigger challenge
is you have proxy wars brewing between Shiite and Sunni interests
throughout the Middle East. I expect all of those to intensify.
And so while you may not have the direct collisions between Iran and Saudi
Arabia, it won`t matter because you`re going to see manifestations of the
tension everywhere else. And in many of these other places you have the
French, the British, and the Americans trying to tamper down some of these
tensions. And you`re going to see it all get worse in these various
places, particularly in Syria.
LUI: Yes, speaking of which here, you talked about the tensions here,
which – and you`ve been watching this between Iran and the United States.
This weekend Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sped up development of Iran`s
missile program. That was in response to the U.S. preparing new sanctions
again Iran for recent missile launches. Put this all together in terms of
U.S. involvement, and what has happened just within the last 24 hours.
CLEMONS: Well I think the United States has been trying to broker a
different arrangement in the region that hopefully would get the Saudis and
the Iranians to begin to deal with each other, to keep the Iranians away
from a bomb and away from provocative military actions.
Their missile test moves in the wrong direction. Killing Sheikh Nimr al-
Nimr goes in the wrong direction. The state department just essentially
castigated the Saudi government for what it did, for doing something that
made already bad tensions worse.
So when you look at the behavior of both of these countries, it means that
the tectonic tension is going to get dramatically worse now, and the way
they`ll manifest it is greater arms development, nuclear – not nuclear
development, but at least ballistic missile development, and the Saudis may
engage in their own course of actions in the same direction.
LUI: Not going the direction a lot of folks want it to. Steve Clemons,
thank you so much on a Sunday.
CLEMONS: Thanks, Richard.
LUI: All right, up next, the swollen Mississippi River is now surging at
10 times the speed of Niagara Falls, and the worst may be yet to come for
people living south of St. Louis. Those details next.
LUI: The historic floods in Missouri and Illinois are starting to recede
this morning. Last night President Obama signed a state of emergency for
Missouri, directing federal aid there as the flood surge heads south of St.
Forecasters are warning the Gulf states that the high waters are heading
their way. By late next week, Memphis is expected to see waters rise to
moderately dangerous levels, and Governor Bobby Jindal has preemptively
declared a state of emergency in Louisiana. So far 24 are dead, and 4 are
still missing in flooding.
Up next, the ugly history of Japanese-American internment, as the Senate
moves to do something about it. Actor George Takei joins us to discuss an
often overlooked part of the American story, right after this.
LUI: A new bill in the Senate would recognize a Japanese internment camp
as an official historic site. At its peak during the Second World War,
Tule Lake Segregation Camp in northern California incarcerated more than
18,000 Japanese-Americans, growing into the largest of the 10 internment
camps during the war.
Senator Barbara Boxer who introduced the bill, saying in a statement,
quote, this legislation will give Tule Lake the national recognition it
deserves, while honoring the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans who
were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in one of our country`s darkest
Here to discuss the bill, actor and activist George Takei. He and his
family were held in an internment camp during the Second World War. He
currently stars in the Broadway musical Allegiance, which is inspired by
his own family`s experience in the camps. George, thanks for being here
with us today.
GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR: Good to be here, but with all respect, sir, I`d like
to correct what you said about the Japanese internment camps. They were
American internment camps. We were not imprisoned by the Japanese, so I`d
like to get that once and forever established. They were Japanese-American
And yes, the establishment of Tule Lake Camp as a national site managed by
the national parks system is very important, because Tule Lake is probably
the most significant of all of the 10 internment camps. It was also the
largest internment camp, housing at its peak 18,000 people, but it was also
selected to be the segregation center a year into internment, because of a
LUI: Question 28.
TAKEI: Question 28. It was one sentence with two conflicting ideas. It
asked will you swear your loyalty to the United States of America and
forswear your loyalty to the emperor of Japan? This being asked of
American citizens who were unjustly imprisoned for no reason other than
that we looked like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor.
There were no charges, no trial, no due process, and to ask American
citizens to forswear our loyalty to the emperor of Japan was insulting.
We`re Americans. But for the government to assume that was outrageous.
So if you answered no, I have no loyalty to the emperor do forswear, you
were answering with the same no to the first part of the very same
sentence, will you swear your loyalty to the United States? If you
answered yes, meaning I do swear my loyalty to the United States, then you
were confessing that you had been loyal to the emperor of Japan.
LUI: And would it be perceived in the community that you`re keeping your
head low and allowing yourself and your community and the country really to
be insulted in such a manner, and so those who said no, I object to that,
they were sent to Tule Lake?
TAKEI: And that was our family, my parents answered no to that and the
other controversial questions.
LUI: George, talk about that, because of your experience in an internment
camp at a very young age.
TAKEI: I was by that time 6 years old. I was 5 years old when we were
first taken to Santa Anita racetrack, the assembly center, and then from
there we were taken to the swamps of southeastern Arkansas.
And then a year into imprisonment the loyalty questionnaire came down, and
because my parents answered no on principle, my father said they took my
business, they took our home, they took our freedom, but I will not give
them my dignity. That`s what – the one thing I will not give them.
LUI: When we think of your play that`s running on Broadway, much loved and
very well attended, how does that reflect your experience and why Tule Lake
is so important as it`s now being determined whether it will be, again, a
TAKEI: Well it is, as I said, the largest – it was the largest internment
camp. Today there is nothing there except for the concrete structure that
was built by the internees called the stockade, where the particularly
unruly ones were imprisoned.
And it is important because it tells a story that`s particularly timely for
our times today with a broad brush painting all Muslims as potential
terrorists. If you go to Arlington National Cemetery, some of the markers
there have the Muslim symbol on them.
Muslims have fought for this country, they have died for this country, and
the message sent out by Allegiance, is that that kind of thing in our
history must never happen. And we tell that story eight times a week, and
we have a seat reserved in the theater for a Mr. Donald Trump.
LUI: Who you invited.
TAKEI: He has a seat reserved for him and we`re counting the days that
he`s missing the performance.
LUI: If he were to show up and sit down in that seat, will you alter your
play at all for him, or you will continue straightforward with what you`ve
TAKEI: Well the lesson he has to learn is the story that we are telling
right now. It will not be altered. And I – you know, I worked on his
show, Celebrity Apprentice, and I`ve had conversations with him privately
on marriage equality. So we have a relationship established, and I hope
that he comes and after he`s seen Allegiance, that he`ll come back stage
and we`ll have a very interesting discussion.
LUI: This was a very interesting discussion. George Takei, actor and
activist, thank you so much for sharing your experience as well as the
importance of Tule Lake, as it now moves forward in the Senate. Thank you
TAKEI: Thank you very much.
LUI: All right. Take a look at what happened yesterday at a Bernie
Sanders rally in Amherst, Massachusetts, when a Donald Trump supporter
heckled Sanders. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today in
America, today in America, the top –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) liar!
SANDERS: Here is a Trump supporter worried about Mr. Trump`s money. I
say to Mr. Trump and his supporters that the billionaires in this country
will not continue to own this nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Yet ironically, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders might both be
fighting for the very same set of American voters. We`ll explain that,
right after this.
LUI: Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and a big
tenet of his presidential campaign is going after the billionaire class.
So you may find it more than just a bit surprising to find out which set of
voters Bernie Sanders thinks may be up for grabs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Many of Trump`s supporters are working class people, and they are
angry, and they are angry because they`re working longer hours for lower
wages. They`re angry because their jobs have left this country and gone to
China or other low-wage countries. They`re angry because they can`t
afford so send their kids to college so they can`t retire with dignity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Bernie Sanders is going after many of the same voters that Donald
Trump is, even campaigning in some of the reddest parts of Iowa. And it
also goes the other way with the New York Times reporting that Donald Trump
appeals to a certain kind of Democrat.
Sanders and Trump may be about as far apart ideologically as any two
candidates in the field, as has been said, but let`s break out a Venn
diagram for a second. If you map out both sides, both are trying to appeal
to similar voters, Americans who are fed up with the political
establishment, middle-aged white men in the middle is the overlap, as well
as fed up with the political establishment, as I have just noted there.
Let`s bring back our panel right now. And who would have ever thought that
they would be going after the same voters? Jane, I want to start with you,
since you have written about this.
TIMM: You know, on the trail the candidates feel very similarly. When you
go to a Bernie Sanders rally or a Trump rally, you could be at either one.
Of course some of the rhetoric at a Donald Trump rally tends to be a little
bit more inflammatory than at a Bernie Sanders rally, but both of these
candidates have struggled with minorities, who – because they are
appealing often to people who talk about the economic structure.
And that`s not necessarily what, you know, black lives matter protesters
have said, you know, we need to be talking about at Bernie Sanders rallies.
Both of them say the system is rigged. The big difference here is that
Bernie says it`s the banks who have rigged it, and Donald says that it`s,
you know, bad leaders, bad deals, and not enough success. Basically he
says not enough Donald Trump.
LUI: We also have a map where we do lay out where that support is for the
Donald Trump as well as the Bernie Sanders voters. You can see that the
darker the red is, from the New York Times here, shows where that support
is, it shows where Republicans are most likely to support Donald Trump, the
darker areas there, where he has the most support, and then also the less
affluent and less educated, and that`s also part of that evidently.
So it kind of starts from the south, moves up the Appalachia and into New
York City. Very interesting here, and tie that together if you can here
when we look at this, Michael, what has just been said by Jane, and how
they are going after the same voters, but it is also on just a certain part
of the country.
TOBIN: It is a certain part of the country, and it`s areas where folks are
more likely to respond to that sort of volume and red meat. And I call it
red although on the left you wouldn`t call it red, you`d call it I suppose
very blue meat.
The irony is that Trump is painting himself as an anti-establishment
candidate, when his billions were made building subsidized developments
here in New York City. And how he has managed to rewrite his own personal
history to appeal to far right evangelical anti-establishment angry or
anxious voters in Iowa, it just boggles the mind.
It used to be you had to be a governor, right, to run for president in a
year where people who were anti-Washington, because you didn`t want to be a
U.S. senator. Now apparently you have to be a builder from New York City
or a socialist from Vermont. It`s just – there`s no rule book. We`re in
completely uncharted territory.
LUI: Robert, as we look Ross Perot as the previous, if you will,
entrepreneur billionaire who ran for president, it`s exactly opposite
geographically when you look at the New York Times map. Where Ross Perot
was getting a lot of his support was west of the Mississippi. And this is
where Donald Trump is not getting any.
Will Donald Trump be able to win over the Bernie Sanders supporters,
whether they be east or west of the Mississippi, based on, as was said here
by Michael, it`s totally different now. We can`t look at the precedents.
TRAYNHAM: Yeah, I`m going to go to grassroots here. The Bernie Sanders
supporter and the Donald Trump supporter, they`re one and the same.
They`re the same type of a voter that is just frustrated.
LUI: As Jane was saying.
TRAYNHAM: Exactly, that is just frustrated with the establishment. Look,
in the `70s, they were called the silent majority. In the `80s, they were
called the Reagan Democrats. In the `90s they were called the (inaudible).
LUI: That`s right, that`s right.
TRAYNHAM: It`s the same type of voter there, and what they`re drawn to,
and it goes back to my earlier point, they`re drawn to some type of hope or
some type of vision for the country, because what they feel as though, is
that their current elected establishment is not speaking to them.
LUI: They were drawn to Hillary Clinton in the last cycle.
TRAYNHAM: They were, and it`s funny, because and that`s where you saw –
if you remember, that`s where you saw Barack Obama`s numbers dip a little
bit, when he said privately at that San Francisco fundraiser, these are
Americans that are clinging to guns and their religion.
Those are real people out there, that thus in the process, feel like no one
is speaking to them. Hillary Clinton can speak to that audience simply
because she is a quote-unquote blue collar Democrat, and her Democrat –
her cross tabs really do speak to that demographic. The difference is, is
that with a Donald Trump and with a Bernie Sanders, they are anti-
establishment, although Bernie Sanders has been in the Congress since the
LUI: I don`t know. I disagree that it was the same as the silent
majority, because the silent majority was the establishment, and these are
the folks that are anxious about people who are out there organizing and
expressing themselves, and stressed out by the civil rights movement, and
stressed out by the war, and let`s just – here it`s the people who are
loud and the people who are anxious that (inaudible).
TRAYHAM: So in the 1960s, there was the riots and there was some other
things that were going on. And there were a lot of people, particularly in
Ohio, Kansas, Pennsylvania, in Michigan and so forth, that Richard Nixon
went in – went in and spoke to in 1972. They voted for him in landslides.
The exit polling showed exactly the same thing that we are seeing today.
I`m working harder for less, the American dream is becoming much more
attainable to attain to, and thus in the process I`m attracted to someone
that is going to actually fix something. In the middle of a – of a brutal
war in Vietnam, Nixon won overwhelmingly, and then Reagan won what, 49 out
of 50 states. It`s - I don`t – what are you saying?
LUI: I just don`t see the analogy – I don`t see the analogy between the
Nixon years and the Reagan years, and what we`re seeing now. I think the
voters are a whole different demographic. Go ahead, Rob.
TRAYNHAM: The voters – that`s not – that`s not according to the facts
but go on.
TIMM: I think what we are seeing now is that either way, you know, whether
a silent majority or not, is we`re seeing that these candidates, Trump and
Bernie Sanders, don`t look like politicians.
TRAYNHAM: That`s exactly right.
TIMM: I mean Martin O`Malley is like – has a lot of liberal credibility,
and has gotten nowhere, because he looks and he walks and he talks like a
politician. He is a, you know, born and bred, looks great in that suit, he
needs to be anything but. Bernie Sanders, he`s been in Congress, he`s been
in the political cycle, but he`s an independent.
LUI: And it sounds like all of you agree with that Venn diagram though.
The question is which way will they go, and who will be able to grab them?
TOBIN: But it does Bernie Sanders a disservice to compare him to Donald
Trump, because one of them (inaudible) –
LUI: I think Donald Trump might say the same thing.
TOIN: You almost called – (inaudible) Donald before, in the middle of
that, you stopped yourself, because they`re just completely different
people and while they may be appealing to the same type of anxiety in a
voter, they`re two very different people.
LUI: All right, we`ll just take a quick break. Up next, what President
Obama plans to do to avoid becoming a lame duck, our panel tells us what
LUI: As President Obama heads back to Washington departing Hawaii
overnight, he told reporters he`s fired up about his last year in office.
Politico giving some details on what that year will look like, reporting
that the president has asked aides to set up a busy international travel
schedule for him in 2016, with half-a-dozen trips in the work already, at
What can he accomplish in his final year and what have past commanders-in-
chief done as the clock ran out? Our panel – so this is pretty typical,
eighth year, lame duck year, the president will go abroad and solidify a
legacy. Anything else that you see here that might be different than
TRAYNHAM: You mean domestically or internationally or both?
LUI: In a presidency deciding to – a president deciding to go abroad, so
you can do domestically or internationally.
TRAYNHAM: Well I think that the script has been written many years before.
I mean –
LUI: Right, so what`s different?
TRAYNHAM: Well I think the difference here is that the president does get
some significant foreign policy wins in the second term. If you take a
look at the Paris (ph) climate change, when you take a look at presumably
the Iran deal, if you think that is a plus.
I think the president just really wants to go over to Russia and try to
solidify whatever relationship he has with Vladimir Putin, especially as it
relates to, you know, to the tensions in Russia. I think the president
also clearly wants to do something with the trade deal with China.
So – and then probably President Bush, rightfully so, gets credit for
PEPFAR in Africa, the whole AIDS thing. So I think the president
(inaudible) President Obama probably wants something like that with – on
that – on that legacy. And then lastly, Israel, that is the riddle that
every president has tried to – has tried to figure out the Middle East.
LUI: Well I don`t know if he can figure that in one year.
TOBIN: That`s what will be different. We are not going to see an eighth
year, last minutes of the term effort to secure peace in Israel and the
Middle East. That`s just a bridge too far, it`s not going to happen.
I think Secretary Kerry wants it to be done, I think he`s the type of
person who believes you get the right people in the room, you can make
progress. And I just don`t see the Obama presidency looking to invest any
kind of capital for what they believe just can`t be done.
LUI: But domestically can (ph), as we look at what has been discussed, and
we expect that this week, and that is executive action over gun rights,
LUI: And so is that an opportunity to stay at home and do something about
TIMM: You know, I argue that this will be the president`s biggest regret,
that he wasn`t able to get this through Congress after (inaudible). They
said, you know, if nothing could – if anything can change gun culture in
this country, it is 26 teacher – 26 students and their teachers in an
elementary in Connecticut.
This, I think, is what he`s going to try and get every last inch of ground
that he can cover with executive action, that he can find a legal opening
there, he`s going to do it in the last – the last year of his presidency,
so that he at least, you know, can sleep at night for him.
TRAYNHAM: Yes, the other last thing which I think that is foreign policy
but also domestic, is immigration reform. Clearly the Congress has no
appetite for that right now because of odds (ph) to the presidential year,
but it`s going to be really interesting to see if the president does
anything executive order there wise.
And then lastly, this is a bad legacy but also a good legacy potentially
for the president, and that`s ISIS. He has to try to figure out how to
stabilize the relationship that we have with the Middle East as it relates
to ISIS, and hopefully hand that off to a successor, in a – in a – in a
bow, if he can.
LUI: And Michael, how much he will be involved in the election.
TOBIN: Right. He`s going to be making executive orders and pushing a
domestic legislative agenda, perhaps focusing on international issues that
favor Democratic attempts to retake control of the U.S. Senate, and to
favor likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
TIMM: And what he does on immigration is very key for her, because she
struggles with that part of the (inaudible) –
LUI: But isn`t immigration really dead? It`s really dead for at least one
or two more cycles.
TIMM: You know, probably, when you`re getting through Congress, but
talking about, you know, raids that he might conduct on the people who came
across the border in that refugee surge last year, that puts her in a very
hard spot, because she then has to confront that issue (inaudible).
TOBIN: And the Republican nominee is we may see a value on their side, so
work on it.
LUI: Guess what? Ran out of time. Sorry. Jane, thank you so much.
Thanks so much Michael, Robert as well. You both – all three of you have
a very good new year.
And thank you for getting UP with us on this Sunday.
I`m Richard Lui. Up next, it`s “MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY”. We`ll see you next
weekend. Have a great week.
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