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Notes on the April 8, 2012 Broadcast of Meet The Press

April 8, 2012

This morning’s Meet The Press began with a meaty discussion of unemployment numbers and job creation nationally and in Ohio. Governor John Kasich (R-OH) gave specific details on how his state has grown jobs. Host David Gregory used this topic to create a good discussion about the competing views of government on display this election season. He played a clip of President Barack Obama criticizing the budget proposals of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Baltimore Archbishop-Deisnee William Lori appears on Meet The Press, April 2012Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction outline and condemned presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R-MA) for calling the Ryan budget “marvelous.” Kasich then praised Durbin’s service on the Simpson-Bowles commission.

Kasich was really “on” today and displayed a good deal of passion in his answers. Durbin announced that his Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding hearings on the scandal surrounding lavish spending at the General Services Administration’s 2010 Western Region Conference.

Kasich was given an opportunity to endorse Romney in the Republican presidential nomination race, but he took a pass. He did predict that in the general election for president, Ohio’s outcome will be “tight as a tick.”

The bulk of today’s broadcast was devoted to a discussion of faith in politics. Baltimore Archbishop-Designee William Lori backed away from using the term “war on religion.” Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-M0), a Methodist minister, also said, “There is no war on religion in this country.”

Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID), however, said, “There is an attack on religious freedom.” More significantly, Labrador took on Gregory’s question about how Romney’s Mormom faith will play in the general election. Labrador said the media will make an issue out of this. And when Gregory took issue with that, Labrador gave an example of what he twice called “nasty things” said by MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell regarding the founding of the Mormon Church.

Jon Meacham of Random House wondered if, because of Romney’s Mormom faith and the attempts to slander President Obama’s faith, we may see religion play less of a role in the general election because neither campaigns will want it highlighted.

Gregory played a clip of Billy Graham on Meet The Press in June of 1957 discussing the need to use all forms of new media to evangelize for Christ. His daughter Anne Graham Lotz was a guest on today’s program.

Meacham reminded us that Jame Madison wanted religion to be “a” force in American life, not “the” force. “If you have a pluralistic, democratic society in which religion is respected but not exalted above other forces, that is a pretty good system,” Meacham said. “That is what we have come up with. And I think we tamper with that at our peril.”

Note that as the Sunday shows played out this morning, the news of Mike Wallace’s death became known. CBS Sunday Morning and Face The Nation both paid tribute to their esteemed colleague, a man who shaped broadcast journalism since its infancy.

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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