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Notes from the September 19, 2010 broadcast of Meet The Press

September 19, 2010

Two passionate and articulate guests appeared separately on today’s broadcast: former secretary of state, retired General Colin Powell and former President of the United States Bill Clinton.

Powell said that the Tea Party movement is important, and that he, like them, also wants to cut spending, lower taxes, and cut the deficit. But, according to Powell, to become a governing force we have to know “what” spending they would cut; they have to have an agenda. He said that matching the movement with a real policy agenda may be the key for the Republican party to harness this energy.

Powell compared his own political position to that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He discussed immigration, and said he supports the DREAM Act.

Powell encouraged critics to attack President Obama on policy not on silly things like whether or not he is an American. Powell speculated that if the unemployment rate were lower, less people would think the president was a Muslim. So, he says, lets confront the political battle on policy matters, not this side show stuff.

Powell said that the president has lost some of the ability to connect with people he displayed in the campaign.

On Iran, Powell said, “I don’t think the stars are lining up for an attack on Iran.”

Clinton said, “A lot of the voters voting for Tea Party candidates have very good impulses. They believe that for years and years and years the people with wealth and power and government power have done well while ordinary people have not. And that is true.”

When David Gregory asked Clinton if the 2010 elections will be like the 1994 midterms, Clinton said the problem this time is not just anger on the right. It is also an apathy among people who voted for Obama in 2008.

Clinton said the center of the political debate this year should really be around three questions: Where will the jobs come from? Who will finance those jobs? And who will do the jobs (if we haven’t trained the workers)?

I am always a sucker for the “Meet The Press Minute,” and this week was a good one. NBC News’ Edwin Newman died this week after decades of service including hundreds of appearances on Meet the Press. Gregory played a clip of Newman’s first time on the broadcast, July, 1960, grilling presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy. Gregory pointed out that just three years later, Newman was the first person on NBC Radio to announce President Kennedy’s death.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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