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Notes From the September 18, 2011 Broadcast of Meet The Press

September 18, 2011

This morning’s Meet The Press began with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) saying President Barack Obama’s idea to tax millionaires at least at the same rate as the middle class is a bad idea. McConnell went on to say if Warren Buffet wants to give back some of his government benefits (like Social Security) we can talk.

Oddly, McConnell added, “…means testing of benefits is one of the ways we are going to have to solve at least Social Security and Medicare’s problems long term.” When asked about tax increases, McConnell would only say that he would embrace tax reform.

Despite this, McConnell made a plea for bi-partisanship and gave four historic examples where divided government has done big things.

Host David Gregory asked for McConnell’s reaction to videotape of GOP debate audiences cheering for executions and denied medical care. The Senator’s response was a masterful swing of spin and distraction so wide he was able to mention failed solar energy company Solyndra three times. Artfully played, sir.

Gregory’s response to this, “All right, we’re going to leave it there,” will not likely make it into Meet The Press’s promotional highlight reel.

From the Meet The Press bookshelves (Photo from Meet The Press' Instagram feed.)

Former President Bill Clinton was up next to discuss the 7th year of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). He was able to mention that one focus of CGI is now global unemployment, and Clinton is an advocate for “shared prosperity” around the world.

When asked his views about the current DC debate, Clinton said economists agree the Obama plan will have a positive impact on the economy. But he is doubtful Republicans want that to happen.

Gregory asked Clinton about his former aide James Carville’s advice that President Obama fire a bunch of people in the White House. Clinton says this isn’t really necessary because now the president has a solid significant plan for economic growth.

Clinton offered a hesitant “yes” when asked if he thought President Obama could be re-elected.

The rest was pretty classic and typical Bill Clinton on politics, the GOP race (looks like we are down to Romney vs. Perry), and the battle over Palestinian statehood. Overall, I miss this guy.

In the roundtable, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin says Obama is still the frontrunner for 2012. Republican strategist Alex Castellanos says the president is “diminishing himself” by doing a national tour on the jobs plan. (I did not grasp his point.)

No new insight here on the GOP 2012 race, just re-affirmation of the Romney vs. Perry narrative. Castellanos says Perry is hurt by being seen as too aggressive.

At the end of the show, Gregory noted with high praise the 20th year at Meet The Press of Executive Producer Betsy Fischer.

Next week’s show will be live from New York City with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I, however, will be in China and South Korea and will not post a summary.

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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