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Notes from the April 17, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

April 17, 2011

Today’s broadcast featured Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner who said Congress understands the importance of raising the debt ceiling. And he said that we all agree we need a long term plan “to bring our fiscal position back down toward balance so we can live within our means.”

And Geithner says we can do these things in parallel. He emphasized that there seems to be a lot of agreement around the goal of cutting 4 trillion over some time from the deficit. So this means we are going in he right direction.

Host David Gregory asked if President Obama has “poisoned the well” for potential compromise by ruling out any tax cuts. Geithner repeated that both sides seem to have the right goals and now we need to agree on a framework which will get us there.

On the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan for Medicare, Geithner doesn’t like it. He says the Obama Administration wants to reform Medicare spending, but not cut the guarantee of coverage.

When asked if he would stay on the job in a second administration, he replied that he was “not going to make news on that today.”

In the roundtable, tea party leader Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) says he won’t vote to increase the debt ceiling until he gets the deal he wants. Alan Greenspan asks, “Why do we have a debt ceiling anyway?” But the question is academic at this point.

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) echoed Geithner’s comment that we are already starting to see the outlines of an ultimate deal.

Tavis Smiley reminds us that budgets are moral documents. He says that he doesn’t understand how every debate in this country on money begins and ends with how we can further reward the rich and more punish the poor.

Greenspan made news when he said that the crisis is so imminent that we have to allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire and get the rest of the money from serious spending cuts. This would put the tax rates back to where they were during the Clinton Administration, he says.

On the 2012 presidential race, Jon Meacham says Donald Trump represents a “populist outbreak.” Smiley says, “Trump is playing us.”

Senator Lee says Mitt Romney is the GOP frontrunner. Granholm says Romney lacks a core, and this is one reason “Trump catches on with a certain segment.”

After a commercial break, Meet The Press experimented with a new segment they are calling “Trends and Takeaways” focusing on news made right during that morning’s broadcast. I have thought about such an approach in the past, and I am glad they are giving it a try. Gregory first mentioned an Associated Press story which highlighted Secretary Geithner’s comments that the Republican leadership knows the debt ceiling has to be raised.

The segment also highlighted Tweets calling attention to “lots of dysfunction” in government and Greenspan’s comments saying the Bush era tax cuts should be ended.

I like the self-reflective potential for this segment. And it acknowledges the reality that the Sunday news cycle is often driven by what happens on Meet The Press… so why not close the loop and be the first to comment on those headlines? I think they could be a little more aggressive about promoting the Twitter hash tag at the top of the show. And then do a more thorough analysis and distillation of the Twitter comments generated during the first half of the show. But overall this is a move in the right direction.

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, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

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