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

March 13, 2011

Today’s broadcast, hosted by Chuck Todd substituting for David Gregory, began with a recap of conditions in Japan including a live report from NBC’s Lester Holt, and discussions with the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and President Marvin Fretel of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Next up was Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). Asked about the latest short term budget proposal, Schumer said he is in favor. Todd raised the issue of splits in Democratic ranks with members who want deeper cuts. Schumer downplayed the differences.

The proposed continuing resolution would expire on April 8. Schumer says we should follow that with a budget that will get us to the end of the year. When asked about President Obama’s leadership (or lack of leadership) on the budget, Schumer dodged.

On Libya, Schumer welcomed the decision of the Arab League to endorse a non-fly zone, and he praised how the White House is handling the issue.

Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN), a frequently mentioned 2012 GOP presidential possibility, was the next guest. On the budget problem, Daniels said “don’t offer anything you can’t pay for” is a good philosophy. Todd tried to pin down Daniels, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, on whether or not this kind of thinking should have prevailed in the Bush Administration. But Daniels never really answered.

On the current situation in Indiana, Todd displayed a graphic showing that unemployment there had grown 69% since Daniels took office. Daniels said this is the same in almost every other state. But added Indiana has now created an attractive business climate which will pay dividends to the state going forward.

On Wisconsin, Daniels said he believes in collective bargaining for the private sector, but said there are serious problems with it in the public sector.

On 2012, Daniels has suggested that conservatives call a truce on divisive moral issues until we get the economic house in order. Todd played clips of other potential GOP candidates criticizing this approach. Daniels says we should ask politicians, “Are you more committed to results or rhetoric?” Basically, if you want the US to survive, he added, we are going to have to fix economic growth and the lack of economic opportunity.

Further on 2012, Daniels says he is thinking about running, but would not be pinned down on a decision date.

The roundtable included Todd, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, and Michelle Norris of NPR. I heard these points being made:

  • The slow start in the GOP presidential nomination race is puzzling.
  • Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-MN) mistaking New Hampshire for Massachusetts in the start of the American Revolution is probably not the last gaffe we will see from her.
  • Mitt Romney has many of the traits needed for a presidential candidate, but some influential people in the party’s nominating process don’t trust him.
  • Eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting would mean that a number stations in small markets, with very few media options, would go away.

(Note that promotional material for the show released Friday said Ed Gillespie, Anita Dunn, and maybe Karen Hughes were also going to join this roundtable. Frankly, I am glad they went with a smaller group)

The program concluded with a tribute to the late David Broder. Broder first appeared on Meet The Press on July 7, 1963 at the age of 33. He went on to appear on 401 broadcasts, a record for the show. In a January 2003 clip, just a few weeks before our invasion of Iraq, Broder seemed to predict quite accurately all the troubles we would find ourselves in all these years later.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

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