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Notes from the November 28, 2010 broadcast of Meet The Press

November 28, 2010

Today’s show began with correspondent Richard Engel live in Seoul discussing the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Still, no one is sure which way this is headed. David Gregory also asked Engel about the impact of the new Wikileaks documents expected to be released any day now. Allies around the world have been notified that the leaks could include embarrassing information.

The first guests were Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Kyl said we should not back down on Korea. Durbin said this is the kind of crisis which calls on us to be more bipartisan and cooperative.

One production note… again with the bad bookshelf graphic. This time it was behind Durbin (speaking from Springfield, IL) and the color of the fake books oddly matched that of his face. Meanwhile, Kyl (from Phoenix) looked great with a blue graphic including the MTP logo which matched the rest of the set. The contrast between the two could not be have been more clear. Let’s retire the amateur bookshelf graphic for good.

Moving on to the START treaty on nuclear weapons inspections and reduction, Durbin said a failure by the Senate to ratify will pose a real danger to the United States. Gregory asks Kyl about the criticism that he is acting in “bad faith” on START since he has been given everything he asked for on the issue. Kyl says his position now is that there isn’t time to deal with START in the lame duck session since there is so much else to do.

Durbin points out how the Russians are now helping our cause on Iran, but this will be put in jeopardy if we don’t ratify START.

On the TSA security pat-downs, Durbin says just 1% of travellers over the holiday period objected to the procedures, so it seems like the issue has been blown out of proportion. Kyl says our procedures need to focus more on the person rather than the weapon. He says the TSA should ask, “Who looks like they need a second screening?”

On extending the Bush era tax cuts… Durbin says the first thing to do is promise the middle class that the cuts will be permanent. He adds that dealing with the expiration of unemployment benefits in the next few weeks should also be a priority.

Kyl says no one is talking about tax cuts, we are just talking about keeping in place what currently exists. He says the “job creators” would be hurt if we don’t extend the current tax rates.

Moving on to the roundtable… Columnists E.J. Dionne says that if the Republican position is to “not move an inch,” then the American people want the president to call them out.

Former Republican party chair Ed Gillespie says the White House has not been giving due respect to Senator Kyl on the START issue. The rest of the panel was kind of shocked that Gillespie could peddle something so blatantly untrue.

Dionne says Congress should pass the middle class tax cut extension in the lame duck session because everyone agrees on it. And if the tax cuts for the wealthiest are so important, the Republicans can pass it when they take control in the next session.

On the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination… Gregory displayed a poll showing Mitt Romney leading the large pack of potential candidates at 20% and Mike Huckabee at 16% among Republican voters. On Palin, Peggy Noonan said we are all waiting to see her plans. Her guess is that Palin won’t run, but until she tells us, she soaks up all the oxygen in the discussion.

Gillespie thinks he has a zinger when he says, “Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have their fingers on the pulse of the country. I am just not sure which country.”

Gregory closes the broadcast with sports questions to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Gregory is happy that Davy Lopes is leaving as first base coach of the Phillies to join the Dodgers in the same role. Nutter says the city has embraced Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick. He said Vick has learned from his mistakes and is doing things off the field to show what a good person he is.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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