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Notes from the February 13, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

February 13, 2011

Today’s broadcast began with NBC’s Richard Engle in Cairo. He spoke of a “wave of empowerment” sweeping the country. He also reported on the ruling military council’s moves to dissolve parliament, suspend the constitution, honor all treaties, etc.

Robin Wright and former US Ambassador Martin Indyk discussed what will happen next in Egypt… no one is really sure, but most are hopeful that Egypt is on a positive path. The conversation ended by noting that tomorrow’s demonstrations in Iran are worth watching.

Next up was Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH). He said President Obama has handled Egypt “…about as well as it could be handled.”

Moving on to discuss the battle over the US budget where the biggest news is that the most conservative GOP members want the leadership (like Boehner) to cut even more. Boehner promises they will get to the full $100 billion in promised cuts.

In response to criticism that the cuts are too much, Boehner said, “We are broke!” Host David Gregory followed up by saying that if you were serious about cuts you would look at the biggest items in the budget: the military and the entitlement programs. Boehner says the current cuts are just the first step.

Boehner said the president’s budget to be unveiled tomorrow will continue to destroy jobs “…by spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much.”

On the need for Congress to pass a continuing resolution and raise the debt ceiling, Boehner said our goal is to cut spending, not to shut down the government.

In response to Gregory’s questions about the persistent lies that President Obama is a Muslim, Boehner repeated his belief that the president was born in the US, and that he takes the president at his word when he says he is a Christian.

On the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Boehner says he has never seen such an open field.

In the roundtable discussion, New York Times columnist David Brooks was critical of the way Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her department handled the Egypt crisis. He wonders how they could have thought that the protesters in Egypt would accept Mubarak sticking around through the transition. Brooks said President Obama was superb at times in this crisis, but Obama really struggled to control his administration, particularly the State Department.

The whole group seemed to really press Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL), a tea party favorite, on why his budget discussion does not include the biggest parts of the budget, specifically Social Security. Schilling, echoing Speaker Boehner earlier in the broadcast, could only say, we will get there.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D) was asked about how cities like his can deal with the federal budget cuts. He said simply, “Tell us the truth, and we will get on with it.”

Moving on to the 2012 GOP race, everyone seemed to agree that there is still no front runner.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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