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Notes from the June 26, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

June 26, 2011

Today’s broadcast featured Governor Chris “I-am-not-running-for president” Christie (R-NJ). Christie is hot off a big budget victory in New Jersey which limited union benefits and rights. He says it will save the state $120 billion over the next 30 years.

When asked about the budget stalemate at the federal level, he said President Obama must get personally involved in the negotiations. According to Christie, the executive has to be the guy out there pushing and leading.

Also on the federal budget, he says the GOP has set significant long term debt and deficit reduction as a principle. Without that, he says, the country is “careening into an economic crisis” none of us can handle. Christie adds that we are in no danger of cutting too much spending

On Afghanistan, he wisely decided not to comment.

Will he endorse a Republican candidate during the primaries? Not necessarily. He says Americans want someone who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth even if it is unpopular.

On whether or not he is personally too abrasive, he says “I am huggable and lovable.” Everyone in politics sounds the same, he adds, but I don’t. He has ruled out a presidential run many times, and here he repeats his additional conclusion that any candidate would be crazy to pick him as a running mate.

Next up were Senators Jack Reed (R-RI) and James Webb (D-VA). Reed says the president’s announced pace of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan seems appropriate. Webb said his concern is that we need to do more to rebuild our own country and also focus on new security challenges like China.

Host David Gregory probed the ambiguity around whether the president has a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan. Webb says this is a legitimate question but had no answer.

Libya was discussed, but not much new was said. Web questioned our role there and the president’s rationale. The Senate is preparing a Kerry-McCain resolution giving support to limited engagement in Libya. Webb says he will support the amendments to the resolution being drafted by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).

The roundtable featured David Brooks and Matt Bai of the New York Times and Katty Kay of the BBC. Across the board there was worry that the Congressional negotiators will cut a budget deal but the public won’t buy it. This debate, therefore, should be out in the public both to build support and re-assure the markets.

The new Iowa poll is interesting, says Bai, but meaningless.

Note that there is NO Meet The Press next Sunday due to NBC’s Wimbledon coverage.

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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