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Notes from the January 2, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

January 2, 2011

Today’s first guest was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). He appeared via satellite from Clemson, SC and was in front of a very tasteful Meet The Press blue background. Thank goodness the orange bookshelf graphic was gone.

According to Graham, the stimulus package has made the economic recovery more difficult. Extending the tax cuts helped a little, but “Obama healthcare” puts a huge burden on small businesses and states. Host David Gregory didn’t really challenge him on much of this.

“The American dream is to own a home you can afford,” said Graham. From what I can see the dream (or at least the reality) is to own a home slightly beyond what you can afford. Oh well.

Graham was not happy with most of the actions taken during the lame duck session.

Gregory asked Graham if he would vote to raise the debt ceiling. Graham laid out several conditions, including Social Security reform, he would need to see met before such a vote. Specifically he would be in favor of putting a “means test” onto Medicare part D (the prescription drug benefit).

On Afghanistan, Gregory played a cut from Vice President Joe Biden on Meet The Press two weeks ago saying the United States will be out in 2014. Graham said Biden and the White house have “walked that statement back” a little since then. Graham says we need to maintain a relationship with Afghanistan to make sure it never falls into the hands of terrorists, including the Taliban, again. He favors permanent US air bases there.

Graham says $4 a gallon gasoline is coming, and we have to work together to end dependence on foreign oil.

He made a nod toward supporting Mitt Romney for president in 2012, but he also said the situation is rapidly changing.

In the roundtable… David Brooks thinks there is a chance Democrats and Republicans could agree on a compromise which includes deficit reduction and economic growth measures.

Senator-elect Pat Toomey (R-PA) came across as a serious, knowledgeable person.

At one point, Yale Professor Stephen Carter raised some interesting ideas about reform of the tax code (expanding the taxpayer base and cutting corporate rates), but Gregory abruptly pulled the conversation back to what liberals think of President Obama.

The panel concluded by discussing the politics of snow removal in the Northeast. New York City Mayor Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Christie are the apparent losers in this. Newark Mayor Booker came out a winner.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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