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Notes from the December 2, 2012 Broadcast of Meet the Press

December 2, 2012

All Rights NBC NewsToday’s Meet the Press opened with an interview host David Gregory conducted late Friday with Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, lead negotiator for President Barack Obama in the fiscal cliff talks.

The first round of proposals from the president were dubbed” unserious” by Republicans. Geithner said the administration’s goal is to extend tax cuts on the middle class, bring deficits down long-term, and invest in things that matter. He predicts there will be a deal by the end of the year. “The only thing that will stand in the way of this would be refusal by the Republicans to accept that rates are going to have to go up among the wealthiest Americans,” Geithner said.

Geithner said his plan includes $600 billion in spending cuts on top of the trillion dollars in cuts it enacted last year. Geithner is committed to bringing tax rates for the top 2% back to the levels of the Clinton Administration.

Geithner also supported what he referred to as “Senator Mitch McConnell’s plan” to bypass the annual debt ceiling crisis in Congress.

Geithner talked up America’s current economic growth saying, “The people running American businesses say they are in the strongest position they’ve been in maybe a decade in terms of their ability to expand and grow.” But he added that if we can fix the current problem, there is enormous potential to grow the economy even faster.

In the roundtable, President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist said the Democratic proposal is “…a massive collection of spending increases and tax increases.”

Congressman Chris Holland (D-MD) says the president’s plan is on the Internet, it’s transparent, and the next step is for Speaker of the House John Boehner to come forward with his plan.

Jim Cramer of CNBC predicts massive corporate firings by January 8 if Congress doesn’t solve the current crisis.

Next up were two moderate Senators calling for compromise, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). McCaskill made a strong case for how the politics of this will force Republicans to allow a small tax rate increase on the top 2% of wealthiest Americans. Corker wants to increase tax revenues, but he is still trying to avoid raising tax rates.

There was an extended discussion on the need for entitlement reform. The only real agreement was that all, including Corker, thought the Romney presidential campaign ad on the so-called $716 billion cuts in Medicare cuts by President Obama was misleading.

McCaskill said, “I feel almost sorry for John Boehner” because part of his base is being so unreasonable. McCaskill said, “He has to decide if his speakership is more important or is the country more important.”

Corker was asked about the possible nomination of Ambassador Susan Rice for Secretary of State. He said, “I don’t think she will be nominated.” He added, however, that he would give her a fair hearing if this happens. McCaskill said there appears to be a double standard when it comes to Susan Rice.

The program ended with a final discussion among the roundtable. CNBC’s Cramer said most CEOs (who are Republicans) are on board with compromise and President Obama’s plan. He said that they are opposed to Grover Norquist because it looks like he wants the economy to go over the fiscal cliff. Norquist denied this.

Norquist said, “The president is the one in the bank screaming that he is going to shoot all the hostages, and it is your fault if you don’t give him what he wants. That is not a reasonable position.”

Cramer responded, “This is about avoiding a recession. Which is going to happen.” Cramer asked Grover Norquist, “Are you going to sacrifice that on your cross of 2%? Is that what you want?”

Norquist responded that “Tea Party 2 will dwarf Tea Party 1” if the president pushes us off the cliff.

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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