tv Meet the Press MSNBC March 30, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
>> good morning. i'm chuck todd. david is on vacation. obama, putin showdown. thousands of russian troops are massed on the border of ukraine. can president obama and the west stop putin with new diplomatic efforts? the latest from eastern ukraine. new jersey governor chris christieiz+:s on the offensive after an investigation that he commissioned that concludes he didn't know about the bridge scandal. can he get his white house ambitions back on track? we'll be joined by his most prominent defender form are new york city mayor rudy giuliani and a democratic critic from new jersey. and less than 48 hours before the health care deadline. the obama white house heralded the big 6 million number.
will it still be a losing issue for democrats this election year? plus meeting america. kevin tibbles travels to the small town in iowa that hosted cold war leader nikki ta khrushchev. why are there new fears of a cold war in that same place today? from nbc news in washington, meet the president with david gregory, substituting today, chuck todd. >> as you can see, it's been a busy week. it's going to be a busy week. but we're going to start with ukraine. in the last 24 hours, a new flurry of diplomatic activity to the find a solution to the showdown over ukraine. john kerry turned his plane around to meet this russian counterpart sergey lavrov in paris today. president obama just returned last night from a trip overseas where he was trying to get europeans to take a stronger tact against vladimir putin. >> our people and our homeland face no direct threat trt
invasion of crimea. our own borders are not threatened by russia's annexation. but that kind of casual indifference would ignore the lessons that are written in the cemeteries of this continent. >> the well, on saturday, lavrov stated again that russia has "no intention of invading ukraine," and yet, there are thousands of russian troops still stationed on country's border. talk about this, i'm joined by former u.s. ambassador to russia mike mcfaul and the u.s. times peter baker, and co-author of the book "kremlin rising," but before we get to them, i want to go to my colleague in eastern ukraine. any sign there of increased troop movements on the border? what are you seeing and hearing? >> well, chuck, we've been on the ukrainian side for the past several days and made it out to the ukrainian russian border. we were unable to see a
makeshift ukrainian post set up by the border guard. about 200 men we saw. they've been positioned since march 5th when tensions rose. they say their morale is high and they would fight if they were forced to after the developments they saw in crimea. but the biggest concerns for ukrainian officials is what happens in places like da nansk. thousands of showed up to call on the russian government to intervene and protect their interests. why that's so the important for the ukrainian government and others, they're concerned that could be the pretext that russia uses to have more interference in ukraine's affairs and possibly even push forward. as you mentioned, sergey lavrov said russia has no intentions to move troops across the border. they say they would protect their interests if that happens. that is why the situation in donetsk and other cities is remains tense. >> thanks for that view from the
ground. what does this all mean? ambassador mcfaul, i want to start with you. we know this phone call between president obama and president putin seemed to be is the setup to get this lavrov/kerry meeting to happen in paris. what do you make of the two different readouts of the call? president obama made it seem as if a diplomatic solution is possible. putin's readout starts bringing up moldova and talking about possibly new interventions. >> well, that's exactly the point. i mean, it depends on what solution you're talking about and what negotiation you want. i think if you look at it from the russian perspective, the readout and other things that have been said, they're pivoting, changing the subject. they're saying crimea is done. we've taken that. now let's start negotiating about the ukrainian constitution. let's start negotiating about the autonomy of places like donetsk. as president kennedy said famously during the berlin crisis, he was not going to
negotiate about the freedom of berlin under the guise of what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable. this feels a little bit like that. they're changing the subject to talk about what they want, no the what we want to talk about. >> peter, putin wants to lock in crimea. and it seems as if the president is tacitly -- he never says it. he says we shouldn't but the europeans are basically saying look, if the status quo is crimea and nothing es, we can accept that. how does the president justify that? >> they'll never admit that the outloud. it will be like the baltics when we officially never recognized the fact that the soviet union had absorbed them. >> but they did. >> we couldn't do anything about it. what you're seeing here is a possible sort of defacto and acceptance of crimea as long as you don't go any further. the west wouldn't be happy with that, but that would probably be the best outcome they can expect at the moment. >> do you get the sense,
ambassador mcfaul, that these first and second rounds of sanctions is having enough impact suddenly putin is at least talking about a diplomatic solution and letting the ukrainian election process go through with international observers and so forth? >> no, i think the first round of sanctions were designed to punish him and his circle of friends and some of them have suffered. i think there's been real punishment. it's the specter of the new sanctions they have to think about, that the president talked about sanctioning different economic sectors. that's one cost now that they have to think about. the biggest cost, of course, is violence. i mean, there's no doubt in my mind if russia goes into eastern ukraine, some ukrainians will fight in a guerrilla struggle. that's first and foremost on his mind. i don't see it happening anytime soon. >> ambassador, moldova, is he headed there with the same rationale, protecting russian interests? is he going and is that next? >> exactly.
he's a revisionist power to you. things we thought were settled 20 years ago or at least in ice in these conflicts he's trying to say we have to open up the pandora's box. it's very dangerous. >> so he's going? >> he's going to make it an issue. he's going to make it an issue we have to now negotiate and we're going to negotiate in i think a weak position given where he is right now. >> peter baker, when president obama called russia a regional power, he was clearly irritated by the premise of the question. romney. but he wasn't ahead and said no, russia's not a superpower. it's a regional power. >> directly aimed at putin's self-identity. the crux of putinism is russia is a great power and one of the primary powers on the international stage and everything he does is geared toward proving that. >> all right. ambassador mcfaul out there in northern california, thank you, sir. peter baker, you're going to be back on the roundtable.
thanks. and now to the bridge scandal and the presidential hopes of new jersey governor chris christie. after the release of findings from an investigation that he ordered on himself, christie is going on the offense. to try to rescue his political future. >> the dysfunction in washington, d.c.ing is no longer being emulated around the world. it is being mocked around the world. >> the speech of a politician in political purgatory, chris christie in las vegas this weekend with other white house hopefuls looking for the support of some key major republican donors including sheldon adelson, the gop's super donor who gave more than $90 million in his attempt to stop barack obama's re-election in 2012. but after the bridgegate scandal, can the new jersey governor revive the broad support that led him to be tabbed as an early front-runner for the republican nomination? our most recent polling suggests he might have a tough time. our last nbc news "wall street journal" poll found his personal rating at just 17 positive, 32%
negative. that was a drop from his already bad poll numbers in january days after the scandal became national news. it's a far cry from those halcyon days of 2013 when days before his landslide re-election, he had a 2-1 positive rating. now republicans have a more negative view, 29% negative, 23% positive. still he is battling and this week decided he wanted out of purgatory. he sat for a network tv interview on thursday after the release of his own investigation that concluded he didn't know anything about the bridge plot. at a press conference on friday, his bravado was back, even attacking reporters. >> i don't know whether you can't take notes or you're not listening. >> christine, stop. you have to get the facts right if you're going to ask me a question. >> i'm joined by rudy giuliani. he's the former republican mayor of new york city appears on behalf of governor christie. he's in palm beach, florida. with me in the studio is loretta weinberg, democratic senate majority leader of new jersey and co-chair of the committee
investigating the governor. mr. mayor, you're a former u.s. attorney. if somebody came to you with an investigation that came to a conclusion like the one that christie's investigation did but it did not interview the five most important players in the investigation including bridget kelly, bill stepien, bill baroni, all these people all involved in it, would you accept that as a complete investigation as a former u.s. attorney? >> no, no, i would not accept it a a an complete investigation but i would accept it for what it's worth. in other words, i would go through it in great detail because it can give you a tremendous amount of information. so far, no one has gotten to interview those people including the joint committee. this report has gone as far par as anybody can go. it can give you very valuable information. for example, what kelly, stepien and these people were saying at the time to other witnesses. all of which is in the report. i happen to have read the report can be extremely important evidence. actually, i found sometimes the
things they say back then, that witnesses say back at the time the event is going on are far more credible than they might say to investigators later when they're looking for indemnification. so no, it's not a final or complete report. but nor should it be tossed aside as not having extremely valuable information. >> the governor's lawyer called it vindication. i take it you don't think you should use those words? >> well, i would say it's a vindication of the position that the governor didn't know beforehand and didn't order it about as clear as you can get it barring these two or three witnesses who might have something different to say now than they said then. based on what they were saying back then with witnesses who were interviewed, it is a vindication of the fact that the governor didn't know beforehand and didn't order it. >> in order to give this investigation a little more credibility, should gibson dunn the law firm that conducted it release the full transcript of the interview they did with
governor christie? >> that's up to them. i mean, i don't know how much more it contains. >> i'm asking you. do you think it would be better for governor christie if that were public? >> i think the more that's made public, the better it is. and the more they share with the joint committee and obviously, they're going to give everything to the u.s. attorney. i would consider that to be the most important part. are they giving everything to the u.s. attorney. >> let me ask you about chris christie's political future. here's a guy in 2013, had he sort of three big trademarks. he was seen as a competent guy, a straight shooter and had bipartisan credentials. you saw the poll number. he's lost the bipartisan credentials. now there's a question on on either competency or credibility. either he was out of the loop when this happened which is his contention or he's not been straight with us. how does he get this back to make him viable again? >> well, he's going to have to answer both those questions. i think this report is a good step in that direction.
it doesn't get you there. you didn't point out the fact that this report was done by a regular sistered democrat, randy mastro someone who took on the teamsters union and cleaned up new york from the mafia under threat of death several times. he happened to work for me at the time. so i know it. he's got a guy doing this report who's not about to do a whitewash. that isn't in his character, not somebody who took on the mafia under threat of death. i think this is a pretty strong report. it is not conclusive. no one claims it is, but it's a good step in the right direction. >> i've got to ask you about one part of the report. there seemed to be gratuitous mentions of bridget kelly and her personal life in there. do you think it ended up undermining the credibility of the report? >> i think the mention of it as i kolt tell seemed relevant to the fact that the two people might not be communicating. i'm not sure that would have been mentioned but for the fact there's an issue as to whether stepien. >> it got all of little
personal. >> and whether they were communicating with each other. >> it got awfully personal. >> yeah, but they had to explain why they weren't communicating. if they didn't explain why they weren't communicating, people who want to criticize the report would say why wouldn't they be communicating. they knew each other. these two people, i don't want to mention what the facts are. they apparently were having a fight and weren't talking to each other. if i were doing that investigation, i'd have to give an explanation of that. otherwise, you'd all start attacking me. one final point. had he not done this investigation, had he not done this investigation, he'd have been accused of closing his eyes to this. every single situation in which a chief executive is put under this kind of scrutiny, they order a report like this so they can get the facts. that's a responsible thing to do. now we'll have to see if it stands the test of time. >> rudy giuliani, thank you very much. now joining me is for the other side of this is loretta weinberg. senator, you're obviously part of this investigation. at what point are you going to
step -- what's it going for you to take to accept governor christie's side of the sorry? >> i'm willing to accept his side of the story all the way along as soon as we get all of the information, as soon as we get a chance to question all the people we would like to question and as soon as we get all the documents. you know, i'm glad. >> what are you missing? tell me what you're missing >> first of all we're missing the list of 70 people that were interviewed in this so-called report. we're missing all the transcripts. not only of this interview with the governor but his interview with all 70 of the so-called witnesses. and i'd like to know for a report, first of all, i'm glad to hear mr. giuliani said it wasn't conclusive. it's the governor who is saying it's conclusive. and for a report that was supposed to be so conclusive, footnoted, et cetera, how did they know who broke up a personal relationship? that gratuitous sexist language
in that report is infuriating, and anybody who put their name on that report should be ashamed of themselves. >> i guess i'm going to ask you though, you've been spending a lot of time on this. we know what governor christie's denial is. there has been no evidence to suggest that his denial is false. have you found any evidence to suggest this? >> we have not yet gotten all the evidence. we are waiting for a court decision concerning certain witnesses that are pleading the fifth. and one of the things i do know is that this incident was known on september 13th when the executive director of the port authority reversed it. let me just point out just to show you the level of mr. mastro's report, i wrote a letter. >> mastro the attorney that wrote the report on behalf of governor christie? >> exactly. thank you. i wrote a letter to the -- to a commissioner in the port authority on september 19th
asking questions. and i copied the governor on that letter. and i copied mr. samson who resigned as soon as the report came out, the former chair of the port authority of new york and new jersey. mr. mastro depicts that in the report as senator weinberg wrote a letter to the port authority. completely omits the fact that very plainly on the letter says >> do you think he ever read that letter? >> well, he mentions it in the report. apparently it's part of the file. but these are the kinds of omissions even just calling what really happened as a lane realignment. that's how he refers to it. it's a choice of words that were meant to give an impression that i think is inappropriate and i would hope that we get a list of all 70 witnesses and all the transcripts and present that to our committee. >> let me ask you this.
if governor christie said tomorrow he would come before your committee, go under oath and this is the evidence and there's no other evidence to prove that he knew anything, would that satisfy you? >> yes. >> would you say this investigation is over? >> if governor christie comes before our committee under oath and brings all these documents with him, i'd be more than satisfied. >> and then you would feel as if okay, i've gotten everything i can get out of him. this investigation is over or their investigation as far as chris christie is concerned is over? >> it would depend upon what we hear from the governor and if that leads us any place else. but personally, speaking for myself as the co-chair of the committee as one member, if the governor came before us under oath with all of the documents and all of these transcripts, i think everybody on the committee would be happy. >> all right. loretta weinberg, state senator there, part of the joint committee looking into this entire bridge mess. thanks for being on "meet the press." we want to know what you think. this week's facebook question is
this, can chris =d%í÷christie's presidential prospects recover from the bridge scandal? so go crazy and let us know. coming up, the future of the nsa with senator ron wyden. he's been one of the agency's toughest critics and making his first sunday show appearance in several years. all the weeks politics with our roundtable. how much are the democrats in danger of losing the senate come november? plus a debate over the future of the single biggest issue
and we are back. it's a big deadline week. the president's health care law led to last year's government shutdown. the house has voted to repeal all or part of the president's plan more than 50 times. yet, another new poll from the associated press shows support for the law at its lowest level since passage four years ago. health care is the most device ibish in politics today. what does success look like for the obama administration? here's what they said in september. >> i think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of march, 2014. >> that was september of last year. days before the infamous health care website crash. this week the administration decided to hail the fact that 6 million signed up, lower expectations there thanks to the congressional budget office. i'm joined by two experts to discuss its future.
jonathan cone senior editor at the flu republic and supporter and avik roy opinion editor at forbes. he's been an ardent critic. you guys do it on the policy front. let's ask this basic thing. 6 million. jonathan, you've been a supporter of this but criticized certain things. should they be spiking the football the way the administration was this week that they got 6 million? >> i don't know but i take it as a promising sign. there were stories this week about people lining up around the block to sign up in time for the end of the month. we still have a few days to go. i don't know where the final number will end up. we're hearing more stories of people very grateful to get health insurance and people saving money, there's a lot we don't know. you have to weigh the good and bad. but i think particularly looking at where they started, how bad this was, i think this is some good news. >> they're succeeding with a lower bar of expectations. avik, does this mean the law is unrepealable? there's, too. many people that have health care, throw 6 million in, 4
million more in medicaid, 3 million that have gotten insurance based on being 26 or under, 15 million people this law gave health care to, the law itself is now unrepealable? >> i don't think that's the word i'd use. i do think those measures or those numbers you just brought up do indicate it will be difficult to repeal. it's called the affordable care act. and is it actually making health care an less expensive? for the people who benefit from the subsidies and those programs, they're going to benefit. but there are going to be a lot of other people who pay higher premiums under obamacare. in michigan, 66% of the study we did that shows how much costs are going up. in iowa, 72%. a lot of people who aren't benefiting from the subsidies are seeing increased premiums. >> healthier people are paying more than they did before. they seem to be paying -- that's been fair. there's always going to be a winner and loser. jonathan, the question now is, do you look at this and if the makeup is not what they need it
to be where there's not enough young healthy people in here, does that mean in september, in september of this year and going into 2015, we'll see premiums get raised? >> i mean, it is early still. we don't know the insurance companies don't know, this last minute rush historically young healthy people are the final ones to sign up. >> that's what they thought in massachusetts. >> and everything anecdotally we're seeing now suggests that's happening now. it's hard to know. we'll wait and see. the system is designed to have some shock absorbers. if the mix isn't quite right, it should put restraint where the prices go next year. it's going to be 51 different stories. every state and the district of columbia is different. >> avik, what should be the republican -- you said the republicans dropped the ball a little bit, this he don't have a realistic alternative. what should be their next move now? >> i've told this to members that i've spoken to. you have to hold the authors of the bill responsible for how it drives up the cost of health care. it's call the affordable care act. a lot of people are seeing
increased premiums. next year it's going to be interesting. what we're hearing from insurers thus far, they're expecting double digit increases for the cost of health plans on the exchange in 2015. we haven't heard how much it the plans are going to cost for employer sponsored for insurance. those things will affect the election for sure. >> jonathan is any single person in 2014 going to pay the penalty? >> i think there are people who will pay the penalty. >> do you? there's so many caveats out of this. >> i do think people -- we'll wait and see where the premiums come in. they're getting a lot of people in now. there's been this pattern where they always predict the worst. the website wasn't working. no one will sign up. things were okay, but things worked out well. i'm optimistic. >> there were 50 million when this was signed. when still have 35 million people without health care. >> the reason why so many people are uninsured in america is because health care is so
expensive. if you don't bring the cost down, you won't address the broader patron in this country. that's where they may have struggles later on. >> i agree with half. there's more to go. i do think the affordable care act, we're seeing health care costs slow down. anecdotally, there's evidence of progress. >> you guys are two of the most thoughtful guys debating on this on opposite sides. thank you very much. before we get to our roundtable. take a look at this. we wanted to put together a montage of what has been an incredible white house health care sales pitch. take a look. >> moms out there, e-mail your kids if they don't have health insurance and tell them to check it out. >> be a winner and get covered today. >> the truth is that they can get coverage all for what it costs you to pay your cell phone bill. >> we nag you because we love you. so go to healthcare.gov and enroll today. >> nobody actually wants to spend money on health insurance until they get sick. >> you never know when you might
take a hit. spread the word and get covered today. >> find out how you can get lower monthly payments as part of the health care law. >> the website itself actually at this point is working quite well. and people have until the end of march 31st to sign up. >> looking here. do we have two ferns? i'm joined by our roundtable, "new york times" peter baker is back, amy walter, hello there, national editor for cook political report, top place for all of us to go looking for analysis of campaigns and elections, rick santorum 2012 presidential candidate. i'm pleased to welcome a new face to the show. svante myrick, mayor of ith cag, new york. they like snow up there. to give folks a taste of who you are, you were profiled by my colleague kate snow a few years ago. here's a little clip. >> at just 24 years old, myrick is the youngest mayor ever elected in the city of ithaca, new york. a democrat in a liberal college
town. this is his first day on the job. >> this is weird. this is my office now. >> there you go. that was two years ago. you're now halfway through your term. before i get into health care, biggest problem you're facing right now as mayor? >> right now? potholes. >> there you go. spoken like a true mayor. >> you know what, i got a problem with potholes coming here to d.c. >> that's the thing. it's a national epidemic. and the problem is broader than that. there's a reason why we can't cannot afford to fix those potholes and that's something that every mayor across the country is struggling with. >> i love it, the first thing you bring up is potholes. >> amy, i want to pick up quickly on the health care discussion. that was sort of the policy debates. we're not going to know for i think both of them are conceding, for a year whether this was a success or failure. there's an election before we find out. >> that's right. >> it is the defining issue. is there any way democrats can stop it from being the defining
issue? >> they can hope the economy improves greatly. that's about the only thing that will take the focus off of that. democrats intending a whole lot of time trying to change the terms of the debate talking about the koch brothers and their policies, talking about minimum wage trying to get back onto the territory that the 2012 campaign was fought on which is economic inequality. i don't know if that's going to be so easy to do. these are regional elections in regions that are very tough for democrats. >> they are. senator santorum, i remember your case against mitt the mitt romney. you believed health care was the way to defeat president obama. you said you can't nominate mitt romney because he can't do it. do you feel vindicated it. >> it was the issue in 2010. this election is going to be all around the issue of health care. they're two great elections for republicans. >> missed opportunity getting back politically? >> that's the area that was my strength. i was the first person that introduced health savings
accounts and the congress worked on medicare and medicaid reform when i was there. that's an area when i ran my '94 election was on health care. i felt like we had the opportunity to focus on that, and you look at what obamacare has really doing. it is going to drive up, it's driving up costs right now. you're talking about 15 million people. a lot of those folks already had insurance and a lot of them are changing from one insurance policy to another, a more expensive one. you look at 6 million people. i talking to insurance companies. you're looking at 20 to 50% of those who haven't made a premium payment yet, many are uninsured and probably won't make a premium payment. these numbers won't be as encouraging as the administration pointed out. >> peter, speaking of the administration, not a single person in the administration is out today prominent day on sunday to talk about health care. >> yeah. >> what does that tell you? >> because they wanted to kind of pivot away from having spent the time 0 overseas.
the president talking about ukraine, the health care thing. this week he'll be talking about the minimum wage going to and ann arbor, chicago to reposition his message again. i'm not sure they know where it's going to go and they're worried about getting, too. far in front. >> mr. mayor, you've been very vocal about how you were helped by a lot of government programs. your mop was helped by a lot of government programs. in ithaca, are people talking about health care and signing up or is there, too. much confusion? >> they're signing up. particularly young people which is good for us. one of the things we have is a huge pool of talent at cornell university, young people with great ideas who want to start their own companies and create their own jobs but not able to do it because they need health insurance. they take jobs in fields they don't want to work and we lose out on a lot of innovation because they're not able to take those chances. so people are talking about it but excite today get covered. honestly, frankly and this is what i think will play out in the future elections is that
people are talking more about potholes and people are talking more about. >> democrats i think hope they're talking about other issues other than health care. i'm going to go to the board here in a minute and do senate 2014. senator santorum, as a catholic, i'm curious what you made of the president's meeting with the pope and in particular, there seems to be a disconnect. it seems that people want to read what they want to read into what the pope says versus what u.s. bishops say. are you concerned that the pope is coming across as too lenient on some social issues that matter to you as a catholicing >> i don't think so at all. he's actually given speeches very much staying with the line. what he's doing is the right thing. he's looking at a world, he's looking at his faithful that are really struggling right now, struggling with their faith. and he wants to focus on the central thing which is the good news. he's not out there saying you can't do this and that and we're against this and against that. it's a hopeful positive good news god loves you. >> are you as excited about him as many catholics in america
are? >> i am. he's a humble man. he talks -- he's here to be a shepherd. he isn't here to be a scold. i think that's a good thing for the church and for the world, frankly. >> i'm doing something that they normally advise you not to do which i'm moving as we go, i got a little map. i want to do 2014. let's set the stage for you. here's the current makeup of the senate. been a lot of talk about how suddenly republicans seem to have a better than 50-50 chance. so the question is, why do we think that. 55-45. republicans need six because joe biden would be the tiebreaker out of 50-50. these states in yellow, there are 36 senate seats up in 35 states. south carolina this year has two. but really it comes down to why everybody think republicans have such a good cannes. if they win democratic health senate seats in the states romney carried, they've got the majority. six of seven, they have the
majority. now throw in the in the fact in the last three months, they've added another six states into the competitive category from new hampshire to virginia, iowa, colorado, minnesota, michigan. there's even some people talking about oregon. so you throw that landscape, that's 13 seats. meanwhile the democrats look at this. they've put two realistically in play, kentucky and georgia and one be they're relying on a little tea party help in mitts miss. look at this. they could lose all three and still find the path. so amy walter, are you with everybody else? it is now republicans to lose when it comes to control of the senate? i feel like we've had this conversation for the last three cycles. it was theirs to lose in 2010, 2012 and it's republicans to lose this time. the best opportunity they have to lose it is the same as it was back in those three cycles which is they do the harm to themselves. either by nominating really, really weak candidates or by doing things that put them in difficult positions shutting down the government, running up
their negatives by running campaigns that are not focused on the issues that people really care about. but you look at those states, you look at the president's numbers. nationally, if he's at 42%. >> imagine where he is in arkansas or even -- it's interesting the republicans have an insurance policy. mitch mcconnell could lose, rick santorum. he didn't have a great week. by the way, he didn't have a great weekend in the ncaa tournament because of his bad week. i want to show you, he got in trouble for an ad he put up. we want to show you a clip of this ad. play it really quickly here. >> this is the moment. let's go out there and do it. >> look at those two guys. those aren't kentucky wildcats. those aren't louisville cardinals. rick santorum, those are duke blue devils. you know you can't mess that stuff up. >> it's blue and white, come on. >> it fooled me. >> it did fool you. >> i thought it was kentucky. >> it was a whole mess there. peter baker, it was a mess that day. first he had the wrong thing. then the ncaa said you can't use our players. then pretty much insult to
injury, mitch mcconnell who is a louisville cardinal grad sees them to lose kentucky. uk. he's no fan of who he's made clear he's no fan of is playing today for a right to the final four. >> a bad day. sports are a metaphor for politics. it's because in fact there are similarities. competitiveness, it's about energy, it's about momentum. and the question is, do the republicans use the momentum they have right now the heading into their final four and they've managed to find ways of not using it in the past. this is a different year. >> svante. what gets democrats motivated to vote in november? that seems to be an elusive issue. >> to me it's the future, it's elections are always about the future. obamacare and the debate is increasingly going to become the path. six months from now when folks are insured and we've got folks getting insured all over the country, they'll think about the potholes but who is going to create jobs and help my kid go to college and help us build a
better country. if the republicans continue to talk about the past, i don't think they're going to be successful. >> we shall see. midterm elections have a way about being more about the past. i'm going to pause here. coming up next, the future of the nsa. another big story that happened this week. senator ron widing is going to be here it, the man who fought the government surveillance program before we ever heard of edward snowden. take a look. >> does the nsa collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of americans? >> no, sir. >> it does not? >> not wittingly. >> not witnessingly. plus we'll have a new feej meeting america. we'll visit the site of a remarkable piece of cold war history where a soviet leader went to learn about our way of life from a small town in iowa. "meet the press" is brought to you by the morgan stanley. if you can clear a table without lifting a finger... you may be muddling through allergies.
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welcome back. it was almost an oh, by the way part of the president's trip oversea, the future of the government spying program is at stake. president obama announced his plan to end is the nsa's bulk collection of u.s. phone records in a move welcomed by many democrats an even some republicans. i'm joined by democratic senator ron wyden of oregon, one of the nsa's toughest critics. welcome to "meet the press." quickly go through the president's basic refors. no more bulk phone records will remain at the phone companies. nsa will no longer collect and hold these records. unless an emergency, officials must obtain a court order. is this enough to win the credibility back of the american
people? >> this starts towards what ben franklin had in mind which is making sure that we can have have security without without sacrificing our liberties. now, there's certainly more to do. for example, i believe the president ought to make the transition right away to ending bulk phone records -- >> on thursday he signed another court order approve package bulk collection for another 90 days while you guys decide. patrick leahy said stop doing this. you would say stop signing these orders right now. >> right now. second we've got to the fix this back door search loophole in the foreign interrogation surveillance act. what this is this allow the government to look at the e-mails of law abiding americans. that needs to be fixed. and then i believe strongly we ought to ban all dragnet surveillance on law abiding americans, not just phone records but also medical records, purchases and others. >> why should i feel comfortable of corporations like verizon and at&t holding these records? why should i feel more
comfortable that they're doing it over the government? >> what the government has been doing is running a federal human relations database. when the government has the information how called, when you called they know a lot about your private life. >> so does verizon and google. >> there ought to be tough privacy standards there, as well. now, the phone companies, of course, have a long history of dealing with court orders, and as you mentioned, that's a key part of the president's program. we're certainly going to be watchdogging the way the phone companies handle this. >> edward snowden has praised this, as well saying it's a good first step. where are you on snowden? is he a whistleblower, a criminal? if he's brought back to the united states should charges be brought against him? >> chuck i decided a long time ago, if somebody was charged criminally, i wasn't going to be doing running commentary. but the bottom line is, this is a debate that shouldn't have started that way. it should have been started. >> did he commit a crime. >> i think that's something for lawyers. you're in the senate. you cannot tell me whether he
committed a crime? >> i'm not a prosecutor. i'm not a prosecutor. i can tell you years ago when i was in the house, i asked a tobacco coexecutiving whether nicotine was addictive. they were under oath and they said no and the prosecutor said they couldn't prove intent. here's the bottom line. the american people deserve straight information from the intelligence leadership. if the american people don't get it, you can bet there will be other situations like this. >> you were the first one, you sort of made public what you did there with james clapper. some people thought clapper should have been brought up on charges that he technically lied under oath to congress. he used weasel words. it took him awhile to apologize for those comments. you had to bring this up. is there anything else we don't know that you know that would somehow make the american public feel insecure about their privacy? >> first of all, i believe that we can make sure that liberty and security are not mutually exclusive. we can have both. that's what ben franklin talked about. >> is there anything else out
there we don't know the about that would be violating our privacy? >> we need to make those reforms i just outlined. what was troubling about what james clapper did is he wouldn't even correct it after the fact. in other words, this issue has been put in the public square not by the congress but by ineffective intelligence leader. they stated something in a public hearing that was flag grantley inaccurate. do you still have confidence in clapper? >> i think we need an upgrade in the intelligence leadership. the new man nominated for the nsa admiral rogers is understands he has a big rebuilding job to do. >> senator ron wyden, thanks for being here. coming up, kevin tibbles visits the iowa town where cold war history was made and now there are
♪ or take a 7-day lunch hour. romance! action! other shouty words. there's watching. then there's watchathoning. boom. starts march 31st. ♪ my colleague kelly o'donnell hosted the latest edition of "meet the press" express. our new series that's part of "meet the press" 24/7 that continues our conversation all week long. this week, they covered everything from that new gop hipster ad to the washington redskins name controversy. you can watch the clips on our website @meethepressnbc.com. we'll be back in a moment with our new feature meeting america. it's a look at an unusual moment in russian-american relations. >> "meet the press" is brought to you by ge, we imagine a
and we are back. now to "meeting america," it's a new "meet the press" feature that takes you around the country to get opinions on important issues. scholars of international relations don't often cite a september 1959 trip to kuhn rapids, iowa as a key turning point in the u.s. soviet relationship. but the visit by crew chev to learn more about the american way of life turned out to be a unique moment in cold war history. kevin tibbles went back and found half a century later, fears of a new cold war have returned. >> they say more than 22,000
square miles of corn are planted each year in the wide open windy plains of iowa. so it was here 55 years ago at the height of the cold war as the threat of nuclear attack menaced east and west that a strange if not feared visitor blew into the tiny town of coo n rapids seeking to feed his people. >> it was a beautiful fall day during our harvest. >> viz garst lis by was just years old. the visitor was nikita khrushchev and his family. her grand dad, the agricultural innovator roswell gashesst was going to help the soviets develop modern farms of their own at one of the largest farms in iowa, his. a gesture that may have helped to melt tensions. >> i'm sure mr. stevenson is constantly thinking as i am of how our nations can be best live in peace without war.
>> mrs. khrushchev practiced some detente of her own. >> i got into a scuffle with another young kid who was here that day and mrs. khrushchev strolled by, caught us fighting. ripped us apart by our collars and got her fingers right in our face. see little brothers and sisters, must not fight. >> all these years later both nikita and roswell are gone but that cold wind of suspicion between the united states and what is now simply russia is back. here in coo n rapids they wonder if we're rewinding to that scarier time. >> 60 years later we certainly ought to have learned something. 1959, we were all fearful that you know, a nuclear war would end the world as we knew it. 60 years later, we haven't really improved that much. >> at the coo n rapids enterprise, more than 130 years of history is bound and stored
and today dusted off. that day on the farm is documented. it's how people communicated back then. >> there's nobody that's really engaged with mr. putin on a personal basis, and that's what garsk and khrushchev were able to forge and that's what seems to be missing at this point. >> at the afternoon coffee ritual, talk and laugher is all about local sports and march madness. but putin's push into crimea has raised some eyebrows. >> it's an international law no, no. >> but for pharmacist done pomeroy it's not enough to divert attention away from local issues like school closings and poverty. >> i'm not just huge on us constantly worrying about whether our neighbors have raked the leaves in their yard. you know? i'd rather solve our own problems at home. >> just a few miles down the road and across the tracks, parched farmers wind down their day. >> khrushchev came here to iowa and he kind of was a very
positive visit. >> i think what we wanted to happen with russia went out the window about six or seven years ago with putin. >> at the rush in or the russian, diplomacy is conducted the midwestern way over a beer and a marriage. in owner's troy and tanya mount, east meets west. >> it's all about money. it's all about politics. they don't care about people. are you serious? i have family there. they have to deal with this situation, you know? and i wish i can help them, but i can't. >> and what would those twos men all those years ago in black and white have said about that? >> our relationship is in tatters. we are really rapidly anti-russian right now, and i think they're really rabidly anti-u.s. right now. >> reporter: for "meet the press," kevin tibbles. >> a great trip down memory lane there. a little history lesson from mr. tibs. quickly, senator santorum, what would you be doing if you were sitting in the oval office right
now in russia. >> i think the last comment that the relationship is in tatters because we tried to reset it through weakness. right now we have to show that we're going to. >> would there be a different policy? >> there would have been a different policy at the beginning. i would have deployed missile defense in poland and the the czech republic and stood by our allies in ukraine. you can't show the continual weakness and not expect russia to take advantage of it. >> mr. mayor, our tweet of the show is this. from 26-year-old of mayor of ithaca makes me think i may have underachieved a bit. you're, too. much of a role model, buddy. >> that's not true. i had a misspent youth. i was lucky enough -- >> you're still in your youth. when you're young and irresponsible is the way politics works. >> senator brought up bruce braely who had a worse gaffe, mitch mcconnell or bruce? >> you're bruce and mocking people who are farmers that's probably a worse gaffe. even though kentucky loves basketball. >> that's it for today.
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