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Notes from the July 18, 2010 broadcast of Meet The Press

July 18, 2010

There was an unusual format for today’s broadcast. All four guests [Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)] were on for the full hour… no pundit roundtable in the second half. Will this work?

David Gregory starts the program with the controversy over the comments made on Meet The Press last week by White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs. Because Gibbs’ comments were factually correct (the math shows the Democrats could lose control of Congress), most Americans will chalk this kerfuffle up to typical DC in-fighting. More here.

Sessions says the Democrats are 2/10 of the way through their big government agenda… and Republicans want to stop them. Where did he come up with that figure? Von Hollen counters, “It is still fresh in voters’ memories” what Republicans did to this country.

In the Gibbs discussion, Gregory asks a good question about how the Democrats delivered to President Obama his big legislative victories, but now it looks like Obama is not being a good ally. Van Hollen deflects the question. No real follow up from Gregory.

On jobs, the Republican guests say the Democrats have created a job killing environment. The Democratic guests say the GOP has been killing the jobs legislation.

Sessions says our candidates will say that government must live within its means. But will voters believe these messengers really mean it this time? After the break Sessions repeats this theme and says Republicans will balance the budget. Gregory pounces on this and asks, then what painful cuts will you make? The budget cannot be balanced without stopping some spending. Which spending will you stop?

Sessions cannot name the program he will cut. And Gregory has a similar exchange with Cornyn and the same results.

At about 37 minutes into the broadcast, I felt the conversation really seemed to run out of steam. Maybe using the full hour for this wasn’t a good idea.

There was a brief exchange about the role of the Tea Party movement in this campaign, but no real light was shed. Cornyn said there was “no basis” for the racism claims against the movement. This statement will likely prompt a reaction from those who have seen the signs, etc.

Gregory concluded the conversation by asking for predictions on the midterms. Everyone said their side would control Congress. But only Sessions committed to a number. He says the GOP will pick up over 40 seats in the US House.

The Meet The Press Minute, from just three days before the 1974 midterm elections, was interesting. Hard to believe that election took place only three months after President Nixon resigned. Not hard to believe, though, that it resulted in a landslide for Democrats.

Today’s transcript will be here. Carrie Dan of NBC News also did a live-blog of today’s Meet The Press broadcast.

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