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Notes on the June 24, 2012 Broadcast of Meet The Press

June 24, 2012

This week’s Meet The Press began with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the top contenders to be GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate. Host David Gregory began with a question about an expected decision from the US Supreme Court this week on the controversial Arizona immigration law.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), all rights reserved by NBC NewsRubio said he thinks Arizona has the right to pass this law (meaning it is constitutional in his opinion), but he does not think it is a model for other states or for the nation as a whole. Regarding the 12 million immigrants in the United States illegally at this point, Gregory asked, can any of them become a citizen without first going home? Rubio answered, in essence, “It’s complicated.”

He said that before a decision on that can be made, we first need to win the confidence of the American people that we have an immigration system that works, and we need to modernize the legal immigration system. (This discussion took over half of the time Rubio had on the program this morning.)

The US Supreme Court will also rule on the Obama Administration’s healthcare reforms this week. Rubio says the court will only tell us if the plan is constitutional, not if it is a good idea. He says we already see parts of the law hurting American businesses. However, Rubio did say he supports some of the popular provisions of the law.

Rubio appeared on Meet The Press on May 11, 2011 and said (in a tape played by Gregory today), “I don’t want to be vice president of the United States.” He added (back then) that he would not be the running mate under any circumstances. Now, however, Rubio is being vetted by the Romney campaign. This morning he flatly refused to say anything about the vice president job.

Gregory also mentioned that Rubio’s family became members of the Mormon church when he was eight years old. Rubio said his mother was an admirer of the family-wholesome message of the LDS church. But he says that by the time he was 12, he felt called back to the Catholic Church. He adds, though, that his switch back had nothing to do with the Mormon Church.

In the roundtable, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight Committee, discussed his effort to figure out what happened in “Fast and Furious,” an American program which seems to have given guns to Mexican drug gangs. This week, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to keep documents away from the committee investigation. Issa says he wants to know what the Administration was covering up.

Former Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) says the Administration has already given the committee over 7,000 documents and Congress has held 11 hearings. He called it all a “fishing expedition” and said it is not where the American people want Congress’ focus at this moment.

Even many Republicans (including the Romney campaign) are saying they don’t want Fast and Furious to be the story right now, according to Jonathan Martin of Politico. He says they want the focus on the economy.

On immigration, Martin pointed out that Rubio, like Romney, is so cautious on the topic because no one has an answer for the 12 million people living here without proper documentation right now.

On the vice-presidential contest, Richardson said choosing Rubio would help Romney in Florida and with Latino voters (though not enough to win the election). Others on the panel reminded that Romney is very cautious and will likely make a safe, traditional choice. Martin said the buzz he hears from the public is all about what a great choice former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be. Issa sang the praises of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) adding that if he isn’t the VP choice, Ryan will be a strong contender for a top cabinet position.

On the pending US Supreme Court health care decision, most agreed this will be a major defeat for President Obama if the court strikes down even part of the law. But they also agreed that such a decision could energize the Democratic base.

One final observation, on a weekend full of amazing news around the world (particularly the election results in Egypt and the potential for NATO to be drawn into the Syrian crisis after the downing of a Turkish plane), it is really amazing that nothing from the outside world was mentioned on Meet The Press.

Note: Next weekend I will be attending VidCon 2012 in Los Angeles and will not likely post here.

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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