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Notes from the August 8, 2010 broadcast of Meet The Press

August 8, 2010

David Gregory began his questioning of Carol Browner, an energy and environment adviser to President Obama, by pointing out that her numbers about how much oil is left in the Gulf of Mexico differs from the estimates of some scientists. But no one explained the real world implications if there is a discrepancy in those numbers. I am glad to see Gregory being aggressive, but we also need to know why the numbers matter.

When BP pays penalties for its actions in the Gulf, the Gulf state governors say 80% of that money should go directly to Gulf states. Browner made news when she said the president supports this. She added, however, that Congress will have to agree as well to make it happen.

She also made news when she said climate change legislation could be taken up during a lame duck session of Congress. Later in the broadcast Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) noted Browner’s statement on this and said that passing a national energy tax during a lame duck session would be outrageous.

Next up was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). He said the current moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf should be lifted now. Boehner has also called for a moratorium on all new regulation of Wall Street, oil drilling, and more. He says we need to focus on enforcement, not new regulations.

Boehner said the economy has “paused” over the last three months. He said there is no job growth because the Obama Administration has made employers very scared. More mandates and talk of new taxes have left potential employers frozen.

On the expiring Bush tax cuts, Alan Greenspan said (on last week’s Meet The Press) we can’t afford ongoing tax cuts paid for with borrowed money. Gregory presses Boehner on this; Boehner says we have to get the economy moving, but he never answers the “borrowed money” claim… how will you pay for these tax cuts?

Gregory brings up an earlier idea from Boehner that the retirement age should be raised to 70 in order to save the Social Security program. Boehner does not repeat his support for that idea. He simply says something must change, and there are lots of ideas out there.

Regarding the mid-term elections, Boehner say there are 100 House seats “in play,” and 94 of them are currently held by Democrats. He says the Republican will be making a major push on the elections right after Labor Day. He touted this Web site:

Boehner said Republican will be offering up to 1.3 trillion dollars worth of spending cuts, including an immediate stop to the stimulus spending (because, he says, it is not working).

Some Republicans are calling for repeal of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Gregory points out that the Republican web site lists passing the 14th Amendment as a historic accomplishment of their party. Boehner says changing the 14th Amendment is “worth considering.”

In the roundtable there was a lot of conversation of Todd Purdum’s (one of today’s guests) article in Vanity Fair, Washington, We Have A Problem.

Finally, Gregory announced he is heading to Afghanistan… and next week’s show will feature his exclusive interview with General David Petraeus.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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