Skip to content

Notes from the August 1, 2010 broadcast of Meet The Press

August 1, 2010

The conversation with Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen started with the Wikileaks documents and about how to prosecute the leaker. But David Gregory soon got to the real issue about the overall war: Do these documents prove we are now in a “lost cause”?

Mullen goes to the “nothing new in these documents” defense without answering the question. Gregory picks up on this to make Mullen acknowledge that our mission is to make sure Afghanistan can’t be a safe haven for the Taliban… but the Taliban are now stronger than ever.

Mullen’s answer is that we are now in a better position, and the next 12 months will be decisive. (This answer, however, was not very convincing.)

Moving on to Pakistan, Gregory has a survey showing 6 of 10 Pakistanis view the United States as the enemy. Mullen responds, “In many ways Pakistan is working with the US.” Isn’t that about the weakest statement one could make about an ally?

Gregory displays the disturbing photo on the cover of this week’s Time magazine. It shows a young girl whose nose has been cut off by the Taliban. (Note, Christiane Amanpour over on ABC’s This Week also uses this Time cover in her interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.) There are some advisors out there who contemplate bringing the Taliban into some kind of coalition government in Afghanistan. Pictures like this, highlighting the brutality of the Taliban toward women, should end all such talk.

Mullen made a little news during Gregory’s questions about Iran. The admiral confirmed the US has plans available in case the president decides to take military action against Iran. But his tone and body language confirmed that he is not eager to employ those plans.

Gregory also highlighted the growing suicide rate in the US military. There was no good answer here, but I am glad David raised the issue.

The second segment was largely about the economy, but it seemed unfocused. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said lots of uncertainty leads to paralysis in the business world. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said, “We are in a pause within a modest recovery” and that can feel like a new recession. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said we should start investing in things, like infrastructure, to stimulate the economy, and we can do this while also working on the deficit.

Greenspan actually said ALL of the tax cuts should be allowed to expire (not just the ones on the wealthiest Americans). He said tax cuts are usually a good thing, but not when they are done with borrowed money. Greenspan also made a little news when he said the biggest risk of a new recession comes if we see a further decline in US home prices.

At the very end of this rushed segment, Gregory plays a quote where Mayor Bloomberg pretty seriously rules out running for president. Gregory asks Bloomberg if he really meant it… and the mayor confirms. (Did we really need to see this exchange?)

The closing segment was a short discussion with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and political analyst Mark Halperin. Both guests seemed sympathetic to President Obama’s ability to use the “bully pulpit” to demonstrate where the growth and opportunity are really happening in the US economy.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

Finally, a little mini-review of Christiane Amanpour’s first day hosting This Week: She was very much leaning forward into the interviews with Speaker Pelosi and Defense Secretary Bob Gates. She did not rely heavily on quoting from news stories and columnists (as Meet The Press does) in order to frame questions. Instead, she seemed to “own” her lines of questioning and really press the guests for answers. Audiences may like this. But will DC insiders, used to more gentle handling on these talk shows, recoil? This should make for some interesting competition on Sunday mornings.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: