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Notes on the August 11, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

August 11, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsToday’s Meet the Press opened with Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, Ted Koppel of NBC News, and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee discussing the NSA surveillance programs and the revelations of Edward Snowden. All three men were deeply skeptical of comments made by President Barack Obama on these matters in his Friday news conference. Even the graphic used during the discussion, “Debate Over Government Spying,” revealed a different tone from previous weeks’ discussions on Meet the Press.

McCaul said the threat of Al Qaeda is getting worse not better. He criticized the President for wanting a return to a “pre-9/11 mentality.” Koppel cautioned, however, “Terrorism is the weapon by which the weak engage the strong. They cause the strong, in this case us, to overreact.” He used the TSA and the invasion of Iraq as examples.

Next up Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) of the Senate Armed Services Committee discussed reforms being made to prevent and prosecute sexual assaults in the military. McCaskill is proposing reforms that would beef up the military’s response to sexual assaults. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on the other hand is proposing moving sexual assault cases outside of the military justice system. It is good to see this issue getting serious attention with serious policy alternatives regardless of which path is ultimately chosen.

The political roundtable included Republican strategist Anna Navarro, David Brooks of the New York Times, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and former Governor and Ambassador Bill Richardson. Ignatius pointed out that Secretary of State John Kerry is making serious progress on Arab-Israeli peace talks and in talks with the Russians to plan a major peace conference on Syria. According to Ignatius, these developments are getting little attention because they are not flashy.

Brooks liked the President’s “smack down” of Russian President Vladimir Putin this week by canceling the visit to Moscow.

Next up was Congressman Steve King (R-IA) who made news this week with comments many thought were offensive about immigrants to this country. King is leading the fight against the bipartisan compromise immigration reform bill being considered by Congress.

When King finished, Republican strategist Navarro said she thinks King “needs therapy and medication.” She went on to say, “He is a mediocre congressman and the only time he makes national press is when he comes out and says something offensive.”

The program ended with a roundtable discussion on the sale of the Washington Post and the future of journalism. Kara Swisher, founder of summed up the significance of this story when she said, “A lot of people, especially in Washington not elsewhere, have this romance with newspapers that has been over for a long time with most of everyone else.”

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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