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Notes on the March 25, 2012 Broadcast of Meet The Press

March 25, 2012

This morning’s Meet The Press opened with a brief mention of yesterday’s Louisiana primary where Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) beat Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) 49% to 27%. Romney, however, still holds more than twice as many convention delegates as Santorum in the race for the Republican party’s presidential nomination.

Senior presidential adviser David Plouffe appears on Meet the Press, March 25, 2012Today’s first guest was presidential adviser David Plouffe. After a brief exchange on North Korea and President Barack Obama’s remarks in Seoul ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit, Host David Gregory went to the shooting case of 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Florida. No new ground was broken, but Gregory really dug in on the role the president should play in discussing race in America.

Moving on to high gas prices, Plouffe had good answers about recent success in America’s long range strategy for breaking free of foreign oil (see this story Inching Toward Energy Independence in America). Plouffe emphasized that we need an “all of the above” energy strategy. “This is sad for the country. Things like biofuels, wind, solar, and next generation autos used to be bipartisan issues. Now they are mocked by the Republican Party,” Plouffe added.

Gregory showed a clip of then-Senator Obama at a gas station campaign appearance in 2008 complaining about $4 gas. Plouffe countered that the solutions proposed by the president in those remarks are things being mocked by Republicans today.

Even though recent reports show significant improvement in domestic oil production, Gregory persisted in critical questions about the president’s energy policy. Gregory says experts tell him these improvements are the result of Bush-era policies. Plouffe shares credit with previous administrations but says President Obama has added to it and moved to diversify energy sources.

On healthcare, Plouffe is convinced of the constitutionality of the new laws. He also said, “Mitt Romney is the godfather of our healthcare plan.”

I was pleased that the 2012 presidential horse race wasn’t really mentioned until 16 minutes into the broadcast. Gregory then jumped to 2016 with some half-clever question about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton running for the White House. Plouffe easily dodged this.

The Trayvon Martin cases was almost the only topic in the political roundtable discussion. All the right things were said. Gregory played former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s comments where he described President Obama’s very humane comments about the shooting as “appalling.” The roundtable mostly ignored that.

NPR’s Michele Norris described “The Talk” which happens in black households where parents have to tell their sons that sometimes, no matter what they do, they will be viewed as suspicious simply because of their color. The reaction to the Trayvon case, she said, is partly an anguish over the reminder that “The Talk” is still necessary.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says the pictures of Trayvon Martin may make him the Emmettt Till of this generation. Till was the 14-year old boy beaten to death in 1955 for whistling at a white girl.

The program ended with a one-on-one discussion with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about her new book “Drift.” The book explores how America got comfortable with the idea of a permanent state of war. One quote shared from the book stuck with me, “Half of the American public says it has not even been marginally affected by ten years of constant war.” What does that mean for the country?

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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