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UP, Transcript 1/3/2016

Guests: Kathy Obradovich, Michael Tobin, Steve Clemons, George Takei

Show: UP  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.


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.


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.


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 Timm.

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 organizing?

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 that.

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 your state.

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 with that?

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.


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 feels.


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 make it.

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 is.

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 managing expectations.

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 Hampshire.

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, white Americans.

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 there.

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 deed.

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 diplomatic missions.

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 time there.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. Louis.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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 moments.

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 internment camps.

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 loyalty questionnaire.

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 historic site?

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 done now?

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 so much.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 1980s.

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 they think.


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 least.

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 previous administrations?

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, right?


LUI: And so is that an opportunity to stay at home and do something about it?

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.