Notes on the August 4, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press
Today’s broadcast began with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell updating us on the worldwide terror threat alert issued by the US government and others for today. Mitchell said there is a chance those threat alerts could be extended in certain places beyond today.
A tweet from @meetthepress summarized a bit of news Mitchell made on the program this morning:
“BREAKING: President Obama will not meet with Vladimir Putin on Russia trip if no change in #Snowden saga – @mitchellreports says on #MTP”
Host David Gregory said this was a “new low” in US-Russian relations.
Mitchell later added that the Department of Homeland Security is increasing security measures at American airports due to today’s terror threat alert.
Next up were Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) from the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss today’s terrorist threat. Gregory asked if the controversial NSA surveillance programs were instrumental in creating today’s threat alert. Senator Chambliss said yes. Later, Senator Durbin discussed some changes that could be put in place to limit the scope of NSA surveillance.
I was pleased to see Gregory replay the March 12, 2013 testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lying to Congress about these surveillance programs. However Gregory failed to follow up on why General Clapper isn’t being held accountable for his remarks.
Both Durbin and Chambliss expressed their opposition to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea of shutting down the government in order to defund Obamacare.
The roundtable featured former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) who said the terror threats we face today are due to the Obama Administration being too timid in their response to terrorists. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough pushed back and said that the president’s drone program has been very aggressive. Scarborough went on to say that Al Qaeda is no stronger today than it was when Barack Obama took office, and he said that many people believe it is much weaker. Scarborough said this is because the president adopted many of the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC agreed that the president has extended some of those policies, but said he has also ended much of the rhetorical bluster which really got the United States into trouble during the Bush Administration
Gregory asked about splits in the Republican Party over foreign policy, surveillance, intervention, and other things. Joe Scarborough and Rick Santorum said the media tend to ignore similar splits among Democrats.
There was a long discussion about Anthony Wiener and Bob Filner’s scandals. Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R-NYC) joined the conversation. I used this opportunity to make a new pot of coffee.
Gregory said that NBC Sports has learned that Yankee great Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the rest of the 2013 baseball season and all of the 2014 season.
The program ended with a tribute to the late NBC News correspondent John Palmer. Andrea Mitchell called him one of the greatest to serve at NBC.
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