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Notes on the Meet The Press Broadcast of May 13, 2012

May 13, 2012

Today’s Meet The Press may have been one of the best, most substantive broadcasts in the David Gregory-era of Meet The Press.

MTP coffee mug, all rights NBC NewsThe program opened with Gregory predicting that last week’s debate over gay marriage (kicked off by Vice President Joe Biden’s comments on Meet The Press last Sunday) will be overshadowed in the coming week by a battle between Wall Street and Washington, DC. First up was JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in an interview taped Friday and already making headlines.

Dimon explained (without much detail) how his company lost 2 billion dollars in securities trading. He called it a “terrible mistake,” but added that he doesn’t know yet if laws or regulations were violated.

On regulations, Dimon said his company supports about 70% of the Dodd-Frank banking rules, but Gregory did not ask him which parts he opposes. Dimon acknowledged that the mistakes at JP Morgan Chase give a lot of ammunition to critics of banks and those trying to impose new regulations.

Gregory also played portions of an interview he did with Dimon earlier in the week (before the scandal broke). Dimon said he thinks people on Wall Street would be willing to see the Bush era tax cuts go away and pay higher capital gains taxes if they thought it was part of a larger plan to fix everything.

When asked if the US economy is better off than it was 4 years ago, Dimon dodged saying the US economy is easily the best in the world and getting stronger. Gregory should have asked if he, Dimon, is better of than he was 4 years ago–and the answer undoubtedly would have been yes.

Dimon is in favor of implementing the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. He called it a “fabulous roadmap” and said that, if implemented, “it could show that America is back.”

Next up, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said the whole issue of banking regulations will be decided in Washington by July. He was strong on the need to enforce existing laws and pass stronger ones, including closing the loophole known as “portfolio hedging.”

NBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin said the JP Morgan Chase case raises again the issue of “too big too fail.” He said it also raises the question of, “Are these banks too big to manage?” Sorkin said that we should keep in mind that the 2 billion dollar loss sounds like a lot, but it was actually a staggering 100 billion dollar bet which lost 2%.

Then we heard from Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus who said that on same-sex marriage, Americans now have a clear choice. He added that homosexuals deserve respect and dignity, but this does not change the definition of marriage.

Gregory made a comparison between laws limiting same-sex marriage and the old, racially driven, Jim Crow laws, but he specifically carved out the religious aspect implying there was no religious justification used in claims of white superiority. He should read more history.

In a similar vein, Priebus said the comparison was not a good one because the Jim Crow laws led to murder. My son Tom, watching at the time, said, “As if no one has been killed in this country for being gay.” Priebus also needs a history lesson.

On President Barack Obama in general, Priebus said, “He is in love with the sound of his own voice, but he can’t follow through on a promise.” In light of the JP Morgan Chase losses, Priebus says we need less, not more, banking regulation.

In the roundtable, there was discussion of the “palace intrigue” surrounding the friction among the president, vice president and their staffs over the roll-out of the same-sex marriage issue. NBC’s Chris Matthews wondered why these people are being so open about the discord.

In a more general discussion of the implications of the president’s decision, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) reminded all that in 1967 when the US Supreme Court gave support to inter-racial marriage, 70% of the American population opposed it.

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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