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Notes on the May 2, 2010 Meet The Press broadcast

May 2, 2010

My random thoughts on this week’s broadcast. The full transcript will be here.

  1. Today was the first official use of the new Meet The Press set and the first broadcast of the show in high definition. I had seen earlier previews of the set, but not until today did it sink in just how huge the new set really is.

  2. The plan had been to start the show today with the pre-taped interview of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but breaking news about the car bomb in Times Square seems to have caused a last minute juggling of the line up. The broadcast started with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

  3. Napolitano had good, credible answers based on still evolving information from the Times Square situation.

  4. David Gregory moved on to the Gulf oil spill. Not a lot of new information in this conversation. Gregory asked if the federal response was too slow. As to be expected, Napolitano said no. Gregory also asked if BP misled the government about the situation, and she said no… but that we are disappointed that BP can’t stop the oil flow. Salazar said it could be three months before BP can complete a relief well which would stabilize the situation.

  5. As the former governor of Arizona, Napolitano was also asked about the new Arizona immigration law. She said the bottom line is that the country needs comprehensive immigration reform.

  6. The show then seguewayed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with no commercial break, and Gregory started with the oil spill issue. This felt like an odd question to me since Clinton’s office has no responsibility here. However, her response actually looked quite presidential.

  7. Gregory also asked Clinton about the new Arizona immigration law, particularly the international implications. Clinton expressed concern about the law, but didn’t really engage.

  8. In the next area of questioning, Gregory pressed Clinton for a response on the newly reported gains of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Clinton focused on the policymaking process and the difference between “reconciliation” and “reintegration.” While this was interesting, I am not sure it really answered the question, and Gregory moved on.

  9. Next up was the expected trip of Iranian President Ahmadenijad to New York for the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference. Clinton says he is likely coming “to divert attention and confuse the issues.” She adds that the US is not going to permit him to move attention away from the needed efforts to isolate Iran.

  10. Gregory asks Clinton if the unfolding election in the United Kingdom indicates the potential for a successful third party presidential run in this country. Shes say there is always room in democracy to bring forth ideas, but that the two party system has been a strength of America.

  11. On Sudan, Gregory asked if President Obama has backed down on President Bashir. Clinton repeats that Bashir is an indicted war criminal who cannot be taken seriously. She adds, “We are turning all of our attention to trying to help the south [of Sudan].”

  12. In one of the show’s oddest moments, Gregory asks a rambling question mixing the private sector, the Shanghai Expo, and the role of women. Clinton seemed to be expecting the question, but the answer was just as rambling. At the end she mentioned a new initiative to empower women which wasn’t explained very well and was not named.

  13. Clinton waffled a little when asked if she would stay in her job throughout President Obama’s first term. She said she intended to, but that the job is exhausting. She rejected the idea that she would be appointed to the Supreme Court, “I have never wanted to be a judge.”

  14. Next up was an interview with Florida Governor (and US Senate candidate) Charlie Crist. The national relevance of both the Florida Senate race and Crist’s decision to leave the Republican Party is taken for granted in Washington, DC. but I am not so sure this conventional wisdom is accepted outside the beltway. In any event, Gregory could have spent a moment putting the Crist interview in context. He does press Crist on which party he would caucus with if he made it to the Senate. Crist avoids an answer.

  15. Crist says he would push for an overhaul of the healthcare reform law and for new energy policies.

  16. Near the end of the Crist interview there is a camera problem where Gregory is shown standing up and moving out of frame while he is still asking a question about offshore drilling.

  17. And sure enough, the next time we see Gregory, he is seated at the other table. It will no doubt take a while to get the logistics of these two table right.

  18. In the same vein, when the roundtable discussion starts, the camera has trouble getting all of the guests on screen at the time Gregory was introducing them. It was a long time into the segment before we actually saw Congressman Mike Pence.

  19. The roundtable today was a serious, sober discussion — but ultimately rather boring. There was no heat and no real light, either. But due to the abundance of earlier guests, at least it was short.

  20. In the show’s closing minutes, it was interesting to see the retrospective of past Meet The Press sets. We have come a long way from the cloth draped tables of the show’s early days.
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