Skip to content

Notes from the August 12, 2012 Broadcast of Meet The Press

August 12, 2012

There were last minute changes to the Meet The Press guest list. Former Governors Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Frank Keating (R-OK) were nowhere to be seen as attention turned to Governor Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) running mate choice, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Leading off, Republican Party National Chair Reince Priebus (also from Wisconsin) agreed that Ryan is a “game changing choice.” (Is this an admission that the game needed changing?)

We were a full six minutes into the program before it was mentioned that Ryan’s plan is to turn Medicare into a voucher system, but this quickly became one of the dominant themes of the morning. Priebus tried to deflect by saying that President Barack Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare. To his credit, host David Gregory called Priebus out, asking how he can criticize the president on this when Ryan’s own plan calls for deep Medicare cuts. Priebus did not acknowledge the contradiction.

When asked if the Ryan plans are now the Romney plans, Priebus said Romney admires, appreciates, and respects Ryan’s ideas, but Romney has his own plans. It seems the campaign is not giving a full embrace to the very things Ryan is most known for.

All rights NBC NewsNext up was Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) who immediately re-confirmed his lack of readiness for the big stage with his first words: “It is great to have a fellow cheesehead on the national ticket.” Gregory asked Walker to explain Ryan’s self-proclaimed favorite sport, noodling. Walker seemed unfamiliar with the term, but he did agree that Ryan is a game changer.

Gregory asserted that election history shows the side that wants to make the biggest changes to social programs loses. Walker said things will be different this time.

David Axelrod, top strategist in the Obama re-election campaign, was next. He said Paul Ryan choice will “thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party,” but will be troubling to the mainstream of the American public. Above all, Axelrod said, “It clarifies the choice.”

He reminded all that Ryan “rubber-stamped” every piece of the Bush economic plan. “What is surprising to me,” said Axelrod, “is that having been part of the first catastrophe, Congressman Ryan thinks we should double-down on that policy and do it all again.”

The conversation ended with a heated exchange about a commercial from a super PAC (therefore not controlled by a campaign) which implies a woman died due to job losses and policies created by Mitt Romney’s corporation. Axelrod changed the subject to point out that an official ad from the Romney campaign claims President Obama wants to cut the work requirement from welfare reform even though every independent review says that claim is false.

In the roundtable, the Washington Post‘s Dan Balz said we now have real clarity in the campaign. “The visions of these two nominees are as starkly different as anything we have seen in a long time.” Former cabinet secretary Bill Bennett said, “Paul Ryan is a serious man for serious times.”

The best part of the program was when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called out New Republic Editor Rich Lowry on a very real difference between what Ryan proposes (keeping the Obama era cuts to Medicare) and Romney’s very vocal pledge to reverse those cuts. “So we will have Romney vs Ryan on Medicare. That’s gonna be awkward,” said Maddow.

The debate between these two flared again later in the program. Lowry pushed Maddow for her own opinion on those Medicare cuts, but he did not address the more important difference between Ryan and Romney on this issue.

Even with this disagreement, the overriding message from the Ryan pick is that we now have real clarity between the two sides. As NBC’s Chuck Todd said (with some enthusiasm, I think), “We are gonna get a mandate election.”

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.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: