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Notes from the April 3, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

April 3, 2011

(More pre-show Meet The Press photos on Instagram this morning.)

Today’s broadcast began with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). My DVR ate part of the broadcast, but MTP Executive Producer Betsy Fischer tweeted: “Durbin on Terry Jones: ‘this pastor w his publicity stunt w the Koran endangers the lives of our troops and a lot of innocent people.’”

Host David Gregory tweeted: “Sen. Durbin on #MTP: POTUS working behind the scenes with both political parties telling them not to allow the gov’t to shut down.”

Gregory asked Durbin if he would be interested in becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Durbin did not sound the least bit enthusiastic about taking that job, but he also did not rule it out.

Next up was Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. On the Libyan rebels, he said we know they are against Moammar Gaddafi, but we don’t know what they are for. He did, however, play down speculation that the rebels include terrorist elements. He simply said we need to know a lot more.

He said Republicans agree that, “Gaddafi remaining in power is not an option,” and this should not be a partisan issue. Gregory asked if events in Libya are in the US vital interest. He then replayed Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ fumble on this question from last week’s show… but Gregory did not replay the much more relevant and cogent answer from the Secretary of State. To his credit, Rep. Rogers answered that the military action in Libya is in our interest, and said we should all stand with the president.

Rogers adds that if this action ends in a stalemate with Gaddafi still in power, we will have to be worried about Gaddafi’s terrorist potential.

When asked about the Koran burning in Florida, Rogers said it “absolutely has consequences.” He noted the First Amendment rights involved, but also said it jeopardizes our men and women in uniform and in harm’s way.

Gregory asked, “If we leave Iraq, will Iran become the dominant actor there?” Rogers says no, but we have to keep an eye on it. He then makes a vague reference to potential Iranian influence in Bahrain.

In the roundtable, Republican strategist Mike Murphy says the real budget battle, much bigger than the battle over continuing resolutions, will begin next week when House Republicans unveil their proposal. (Note that next week’s guest on Meet The Press will be Rep. Paul Ryan [R-WI], chair of the House Budget Committee, to talk about the new plan.)

Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize, was asked about President Obama’s effort to lower American oil imports. He says we have already made significant progress on this, and he highlighted the unsung growth of oil production in North Dakota. The state is now the fourth largest producer of US oil, ahead even of Louisiana.

Everyone around the table, including Mike Murphy, seemed to support the US military action in Libya even if some thought President Obama’s speech was muddled. E. J. Dionne quoted Nick Kristof’s column on the subject this morning, “We are inconsistent. There’s no doubt that we cherry-pick our humanitarian interventions. But just because we allowed Rwandans or Darfuris to be massacred, does it really follow that to be consistent we should allow Libyans to be massacred as well? Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to consistently save none?”

In a quick discussion of unemployment, Gregory noted that even though the overall rate dropped to 8.8% this week, the rate among blacks rose .2% to 15.5%. Marc Morial of the National Urban League added that government budget cuts will lead to more urban unemployment and more black unemployment.

And as tradition dictates, the roundtable ended with talk of 2012 presidential politics. There was some talk about the impact growing minorities and changing demographics will have on the race. But overall, I heard nothing new in the conversation.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

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