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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  April 23, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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agents have lost their job and government bureaucrats living large on the taxpayers dime. these are not low-level employees. what were they thinking? and who's going to be accountable? and congressional watchdogs trying to get to the bottom of it. darrell issa of committee, has oversight over the secret service in that capacity, he's a republican from the long island area. he's been briefed all along by
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in a president and how these candidates stack up. with us, nbc's political director and white house correspondent chuck todd, "new york times" white house correspondent helene cooper, "washington post" columnist ej dionne and "new york times" columnist david brooks. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good morning. new details in this morning in the prostitution scandal involving the secret service and the u.s. military. here's the very late ef. now 12 secret service agents and 11 members of the u.s. military have been implicated in this scandal. six agents have already been forced out of the secret service, including two supervisors. we're told investigators from the secret service and the pentagon have sought to interview some of the 21 colombian women involved. they've obtained security video
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from the hotel el caribe and the member you see there, mark sullivan briefed the president in the oval office on friday, jay carney saying the president has faith in the secret service within the agency. joining me now, republican congressman from california, chairman of the house oversight and govern reform committee, darrell issa and republican congressman from new york, chairman of the homeland security committee, peter king. welcome to both of you. 7"t. >> thank you, david. >> congressman king, let me start with you. where is this, ultimately will everyone involved lose their job? >> i would say anyone who's found to be guilty will. as you know, there was 1 of the 11 has been partially exonerated and he will probably not be terminated. he will face administration action. i would expect within the near future to have several other secret service agents leaving the agency, of those 11. and as you no he -- you know,
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one other person has been added on. this the investigation is going full speed ahead. there are many, many agents in colombia interviewing the women involved, the hotel employees. i believe there's hundreds of colombian police are assisting the secret service in this. it's going all out. from every indication i've seen from the moment this scandal broke until now, there's no attempt to cover anything over. everything is being -- every possible lead is being examined, my staff, i began an investigation last week. i've sent a detailed letter to director sullivan with a list of questions we need to be answer. we're in contact with the secret service and other sources of law enforcement. from all i've seen so far, this investigation is going at a very proper rate and is going to be carried all the way and it has to be. >> congressman king, what else needs to be known? what else do you want to know? >> first of all we have to know exactly what happened, when it begun, who was involved, who in the chain of command found out about it and what they did.
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secondly we have to make sure there were no security violations, that nothing was made available to anyone other than the secret service, that the president was never compromised, no information was made available to anyone else. then we have to find out what's going to be done to minimize the possibility of this happening again. i have great regard for the secret service. i think director sullivan has done a fine jo be. you can't allow 11 men like this to tarnish the great reputation of the agency and make sure that others are not doing it and that precautions are put in place and procedures in place to ensure it never happens again. >> congressman issa, let me pick up on that point. are others doing it? have others done it in the past? where does this investigation need to go in terms of whether other members of government involved in security or otherwise, who make these kinds of trips down there would be involved in this kind of activity? >> well, i think echoing what
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chairman king said, we're looking over the shoulder of mark sullivan, asking the director to do and exhaustive search, first of all, on this incident but also to make sure from a human resource management standpoint, that whatever in the culture allows people toç thin this was okay, this could happen, would be gone and gone forever. and i have great confidence he's doing it. obviously, nobody believes that something with 11 or 12 people involved couldn't have happened before. the real point is, will we have confidence that it will never happen again, particularly foreign nationals having access to our men and women in the secret service. that's the important part that the director is working on. yes, these were prostitutes, which is awful and salacious but they were also foreign nationals. every one of these secret service people who had a contact with any foreign national of any sort would have had an obligation to report this potential problem. so obviously, it's bigger than
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that. but it's something that we believe that the secret service can fix. our committees are going to look over shoulder, make sure it's fixed and then announce, as i think chairman king is announcing, that we have confidence it will be fixed. >> does everybody have to be fired involved in your judgment, congressman issa? >> i think the individual decisions as peter has said, you do have one individual who clearly made a decision that he wasn't going to participate once he knew the woman was a prostitute. and that person will be discipline for his poor judgment going down a road of drinking and taking a woman back to his hotel room. but possibly that one and others like him could be handleded edd administratively. the most important thing is that this never happen again or anything like it because it could lead to a compromise if it isn't fixed. >> congressman king, i think people look at this and say first of all, the agents you see around president obama, vice president biden, part of the protective detail, these were
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not the individuals who were involved and, of course, anybody like me, i've covered the white house for eight years under president bush, you see first hand how first rate the secret service is. nevertheless, these were not low-level agents involved. you do have supervisored involved. just what were they thinking? >> that has to be the question. chairman issa said the key thing is not that they were prostitutes. that makes it good for the tabloids. the fact that foreign nationals were brought back into a security area on the eve of the trip of the president of the united states goes against everything the secret service stands for and the fact that there was supervisored involved, 2 of the 11 were supervisors, it is wrong. there's no way it can be explained, condoned, excused in any way. it's wrong. it has to be a zero tolerance policy for this in the future. i'm confident director sullivan wants that as well. we have to look into the entire matter. i can't emphasize that the key issue was the foreign nationals and what these supervisorsç we thinking, especially the
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supervisors, what they were thinking is beyond me. that is everyone's responsibility but especially the supervisor's responsibility. >> the president a week ago reacted to this. really the only thing he said about it directly, this is what he said in colombia last sunday. >> if it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course i'll be angry. >> chairman issa, depending on what you find here, what do you want the president to do at the end of this? >> i think i want the president to do what chairman king and i are doing. leave it to the professionals, look over their shoulder, make sure it's dealt with properly and then let's move on. and remember, the secret service doesn't just protect the president, the vice president and the first family, they protect a host of other dignitaries and our cabinet. and that's one of the reasons that we can't say, well, the elite weren't compromised. every member of the secret service can potentially be an extremely important individual for protecting an equally
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important individual. so i think the president's anger and i'm sure there is some, will be moderated by a recognition that this agency has to fix itself and that plenty of eyes are on it. he an focus on being president and let's move forward and put this incident behind all of us. >> do you both agree that director sullivan should keep his job? >> i certainly do right now. >> i have confidence in him. >> i have full confidence in him, yes. david, i do expect, though, in the next day or so i think we'll see more secret service agents leaving. i think this investigation is moving as far as those 11 very quickly. i think darrell and i would both agree, it goes beyond the 1 as far as finding out what procedures are going to be implemented. >> back in 2002 u.s. news and world report did a front-page story investigating some of the cultural questions within the secret service and this is what they found. here was the cover story, in part they reported a u.s. news investigation shows that the
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agency is rife with problems, the troubles range from alcohol abuse and misuse of government property to criminal offenses and allegations of extramarital relationships with secret service personnel with white house employees. the team which responds to any attack on the president, sometimes watch pornography on white house satellite channels in the band room in the basement of the executive mansion. that's back in 2002. do you think congress has done its job in providing oversight, especially getting to some of the questions you're raising about a problem with the culture within the secret service? >> i'll take that. i think overallç the secret service does an outstanding job. you can always find incidents and things to be looked at. this agency does a phenomenal job. there's always people within an agency that candice close this or that. they do a good job. i agree, especially based on what we saw in colombia, there will have to be more oversight.
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the secret service realizes that. despite the story back in 2002 when you look over the last ten years, this has been an outstanding organization. i think under director sullivan's leadership it's been very powerful, again, this thing in colombia is something that stands out. >> it's interesting in both the case of this scandal but also the general services administration scandal, the use of facebook and e-mail in talking about these excesses, here was an example back to the secret service story back in 2009, you had one of the secret service agents involved, agent haney posting on his site as he's protecting former candidate palin, i was really checking her out, you know what i mean. governor palin responded to that. >> this agent who was ridiculous in posting pictures and comments of checking someone out, check this out, body guard, you're fired. >> to go along with that, you also have in the base of the gsa, this regional director at
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the center of this lavish spending in las vegas. jeff neely. this is "the new york post" cover. this is i apicture he also posted as well. you know, when he's out here at this conference on taxpayers dime. this use of facebook as if there's some corner of privacy they have. is that part of what you want look at? >> it certainly is a window into activity that we wouldn't otherwise have. but remember, that the gsa scandal was uncovered about i a hard-working inspector general who did a very, very good job. that's one of the points that i think the american people have to understand. we have about 12,000 i.t. personnel, 70 some official igs they work for, a $2 billion budget. it has to work on overtime to find these failures that exist throughout government. the other thing we have, this is the area that becomes more political, political appointees, thousands them are embedded throughout government. in this case, you had ploil
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appointees handing out awards for this essentially bad conduct and over the top activity. you had a political appointee who was on her second term, martha johnson had been the chief of staff under clinton. she comes back and she's got an entitlement attitude. these people are entitled to bonuses even after this behavior. that's where i'm very concerned that the igs have to be able to report to congress in a timely fashion, not ç11 months later, and make us aware there were problems and failures by the political appointees that are supposed to be the fresh eyes looking for, as the president said, scrubbing the spending in government. gsa didn't scrub anything. just the the last three years of the bush administration they had a budget of $700 million. in the first three years of the obama administration, 3 billion. >> congressman king, i want to ask another secret service question. this is also taxpayer expense when it comes to presidential candidates. newt gingrich is still getting secret service protection.
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do you think given the state of the campaign, it's a wise use of taxpayer funds to be having newt gingrich protected by the secret service? >> newt gingrich is still a candidate. he was never my candidate but the fact is, the director has to make that decision. i remember back in, i guess 2007 it was, when he decided that senator obama at that time was entitled to secret service protection. yes, that's up to the secret service. once you're not a candidate, you essentially will not be getting the protection. director sullivan would not be making that decision, certainly no political pressure on him to do it, he would not be making the decision unless there was reason to do it. as long as speaker gingrich is still a candidate and director sullivan believes there are threats, he has to make those decisions. >> i'll leave it there. chairman issa and chairman king, thank you to both of you. senior adviser to president obama's re-election campaign, david axelrod.
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welcome back. >> good to be here. >> just how mad is the president about all of this? >> on the gsa issue, he was -- i think it's fair to say -- apr april -- appaplectic. this was very enraging to him and, of course, he acted quickly and the administration acted quickly and changed management there. the secret service issue is ongoing. he expressed himself on it. i associate myself with what the chairman just said. i think on the whole, the secret service does heroic work. my experience has been they're quite professional. i've always felt that way. this is disturbing. we have to get to the bottom of it and i'm sure we will. >> some republicans have raised the question of ultimately where does the buck stop? does the president have responsibility beyond expecting anger and disappointment to do something? senator sessions has spoke during a press conference on thursday.
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let me show you i had remarks and get you to respond. >> the president needs to assert discipline, management direction throughout the management branch and presidents are to beç held responsible. i don't sense that this president is showing that kind of managerial leadership, at this point in history, my view is one of the most important qualities in a president. >> senator sessions is generally so supportive of the president. to hear him say that, i find shocking. look, the point is, you don't want a president who shoots first and asks questions later. when he got the facts of the gsa scandal, the director -- the administrator resigned. the top management was remade and we went after the problem. this is an early stage of the investigation on the secret service. i think that the changes that are necessary will be made. the real question, there's going to be misbehavior in any large organization, even comcast and nbc probably faces that from time to time. the question is when people do,
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how do you deal with it, what do you learn from it? what systems do you put in place from keeping it happen again. >> the president has 100% confidence in director sullivan. >> he has confidence in director sullivan and the agency. it was nice to hear that note from the chairman, because -- the president thinks he's the right man to get to the bottom of this and make the changes necessary. >> he should keep his job? >> yes. >> okay. let's talk about the campaign and how we get into general election mode how things stack up. we did polling this week, nbc news/"wall street journal." here's the head-to-head matchup and the advantage to the president at this juncture, 49%, 43%. a lot of positives for the president in terms of how voters evaluate him. >> let's talk about -- >> there are a couple areas that seem to matter, if you go inside the numbers with be who has the advantage when it comes to ideas of improving the economy? those numbers on the screen, the advantage is to governor romney
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at 40% to 34%. who would be better when it comes to changing business as usual in washington? again, romney. many positive attributes that voters see in the president, those have to be warning signs. >> you pulled 13 attributes, some of those important, fighting for the middle class. governor romney gets the advantage at the beginning, people think he'll bring a magic elixir to the economy. when they get under the hood and see what he's proposing, massive tax cuts for the wealthy, fewer rules on wall street, research and development, education, energy. people will say we've seen this movie before. it didn't work. this is the same case he made in t of massachusetts. i'm going to get the economy moving again, i'm a businessman. i know how to create jobs. they went from 37th in the
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nation in job creation to 47th in the nation in job creation. we've tested the romney accumin when it comes to creating jobs and he's been found wanting. >> you want to tear down romney and run away from the president's own record on the economy? >> not at all. in fact, we got to office at a time when we were in a deep hole. we knew these problems were years in the making. they would take a long time to solve. the question is are we moving in the right direction. >> or are we flat lining? is there concern the economy is flat lining. >> we have to be vigilant about it which is why we want cong to work on our small business package, why we want to put number of other things.nd a we have to keep going at it. because, look, the last quarter was the best quarter we've had in six years in job creation. the last quarter was the best quarter we've had on manufacturing in two decades. we have something to build on here but we have to to accelerate that momentum. what we shouldn't do is go back
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to the policies that got us into the hole in the first place. that's what governor romney is proposing. >> a lot of people wondering what kind of campaign we're really in for. how negative is it going to be? governor romney was interviewed on abc this past week. this is one of the questions he was asked. >> what would each of you say to president and mrs. obama? >> start packing. >> you went on ho tweet in 1307bs to that and other things on thursday, even mitt's friends are warning him grinding negativism has its limits. certainly this campaign, the obama campaign has not shied away from grounding negativism, saying that governor romney has no core, making fun of his use of the word marvelous and trying to cast him as out of touch. even a right wing extremist. is this what we're in for? >> i think he is out of touch. on the substantive issues that will affect the lives of the american people, he's out of touch. his policies are out of touch. when you want to give people who
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have done well massive taxes and raise taxes on people under $40,000 a year and so on, that is out of touch. when you think we can grow the economy by cutting education and aid, this week we had an example. the republican congress passed a $46 billion small business tax cut. half of those tax cuts will go to people like hedge fund firms, law firms, donald trouble characterized -- it would be a small business under their definition. and yet they said we didn't have $6 billion to expend a policy of keeping low the interestç rate on student loans. if we don't act, student loan interest rates will double on june. that isn't a prescription for growing the economy. it certainly is out of touch with the experience of everyday americans. there's a distinct choice there. it's not about gratuitous remarks. it's about fundamental policy. >> back in 2004 when i covered the re-election of president
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bush, karl rove would say if the question is the war on terrorism, the answer is president bush. that effectively enku lly encap big part of their campaign. what is the question in 2012 that president obama is the only answer for. >> the question is are we going to build an economy in the future in which the middle class is growing, not shrinking, responsibility is rewarded, hard work is rewarded, everybody plays by the same rules, from main street to wall street. that's what the president is fighting for. it's completely different than the approach that was spoken in the last decade and the approach that governor romney wants to reinstitute if he's elected president. >> you do have difficulties because you have an economic record, a sense of pessimism, you have a high unemployment rate. a referendum on the president guarantees what in your judgment? >> this president guarantees an economy that will grow and provide new opportunities for the middle class. it's not going to provide more of what we saw in the last decade with a narrowing group of
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people doing well and everybody else pedaling faster and faster. that's not a healthy economy. you build the economy from the middle out, not from the top down. the president strongly believes that. that's why he said -- you mentioned the silver spoon remark. his point is when we invest in excellence in young people, and reward responsibility, we all benefit as a country. when we walk away from that, we jeopardize our future. >> there's a lot of questions about the president's ability to break through. if he has another four years, you know, he had a democratic congress when he began this administration. where are the new ideas from the president going to come from to break the impasse on spending, to break the impasse on taxes? to deal with real problems like medicare and social security. those have not been dealt with, which it seems to me, is one of the reasons people look to governor romney. >> i don't think he has a better shot to change business as usual. when all you do is take a negative approach as he has
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done, the only ideas he's offered are recycled ideas from the last decade. there was a spokesperson at the republican national committee who said this week that this is just the bush policies updated. she may not be elected employee of the month over there but she should get credit for candor. that's exactly what they're ç proposing. i think we can move forward. we have to move forward on education reform, we have to implement health reform, move forward on immigration reform. we have to reform our education system, give kids access to education. manufacturing. we have to move forward with initiatives to spur manufacturing, get control of the energy future. here's what i believe, david. when this president wins in november, there are a lot of good republicans who know better and have been in this rein 6 terror on capitol hill. they'll say we did it your way and it didn't work for us. now we'll work with this president, we won't always agree with him but where we do, we
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want to find common ground. >> a funny moment this week. we read the onion around here. obama launches more realistic i have big ideas but we'll see how it goes campaign slogan. i'll see what i can do, no promises, though. >> it gets a laugh. >> is there any grain of truth to that? >> no. we'll have to tackle the fiscal problems. there's a ticking time bomb in terms of expiring tax cuts, the trigger on spending that will require that. i think that will force decisions. we're prepared to do it. we'll move forward in a balanced way that brings down our deficits in a responsible way and protections the investments we need to grow the economy and asks everybody to do their fair share. that's what the american people want. we're prepared to do it. i think big things can happen.
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we have to get past this period we've been in where we've had obstructionism as a political theory on the other side. >> david axelrod, as always, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> you may want to have an extra doughnut in the green room. we have a surprise appearance at the end of the program that you'll only see on "meet the press." up next, we'll talk more politics, the fallout from the scandal involving prostitutes in colombia. who will mitt romney select as a running mate. we go inside our nbc news/"wall street journal" polling. what are people looking for in their next president? our political roundtable is up next here. "the washington post's" ej dionne, david brooks and helene cooper of "the new york times" and our own chuck todd. also later previewing press box, my conversation with jay leno, including the rules of engagement when it comes to politics and comedy. doing this kind of stuff is like dealing with the mafia. don't go after the wives. as long as it's the candidate, anything's fair. "meet the press" is brought
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coming up next, a lot to chew on with our political round tail. joining our round table conversation,
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we're back with our political roundtable. with me nbc's chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd, white house correspondent for "the new york times," helene cooper, also with "the new york times," david brooks and "washington post" columnist ej dionne.
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welcome to all of you. there haven't been a lot of great cartoons but we did find this one which we thought was good with all of the fallout with the secret service. the caption says when he grows up, he says he wants to be a secret service agent. that's from what does this add up to, david brooks? is this people upset with government? they see something like this and they say, what an outrage. >> my sister-in-law is a secret service agent. i'm biased. most of the people are committed to what they do than they'd be willing to die for the president. you have two sorts of people, people who is ego centric and some people who are job centric, this job has certain duties, it's my job to carry them out the best i can. most people in washington are generally job centric. they're just trying to do the job. but there are ego centric people.
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>> helene, what's going on in the white house in terms of how they're separating this, finding the people involved with this? >> not necessarily at all. for the white house, this is really -- it's a really tricky thing for them. particularly for president obama. because keep in mind that these are guys who have pledged to die for him. so he has -- he has his core group of secret service agents, they're on theç plane with him they're in front of him. he sees them all the time. he's the one telling him you can't go to this place because it hasn't been swept. then you have the larger group, the people on the periphery, the people he's not seeing all the time. he's in a really -- you see how he has been about criticizing, he said i'll be very angry. there have been three instances in his pressey, starting with
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the salahisp you have the shooting incident at the white house a few months ago and now you have this. each time president obama has not called for heads to roll, you know? i think there's an ambivalence at play there because you have on the one hand you feel gratitude, you feel, you know, the idea that people put themselves and their lives on the line for you. on the other hand, you see where there seems to be a complete disarray and the culture of the secret service isn't one that can tolerate the sort of scanned we just saw. >> first of all, they also view this as a distraction. they're trying to talk about other things other than that. gsa was one distraction. this is a larger dispection. for what peter king said, it involves prostitutes. it involves a level of, quote, sex appeal. >> can i aid the human point,
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too, this actually started because you have an agent who uses a prostitute but refuses to pay h >> right. that's how it becomes a security issue. >> he should be fired for stupidity. here's this larger sense, david and i were talking about it, both obsessed with this national journal cover story. >> in nothing we trust. this is all feeding more into government, the idea of what part of government is working well? who part is trustworthy? the white house is upset at this idea that some of us are stringing all this together, gsa and -- but it does get to this underlying current that is out there, that there is just a lack of trust in the american public with a lot of institutions. >> ej? >> on the one hand we should never forget, yes, these are people willing to die for the president. on the other hand, i thought it was interesting as you pointed out earlier, there was a story ten years ago in "u.s. news" and
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that story sounds awful similar except without the sexy details we now know now about dysfunction in the secret service. why wrn we on it then? why wasn't there a handle and discussion then? i think it's bad for progressives, liberals when any of these scandals come back. progressives and liberals are people said government can accomplish great things. the progressive side of politics more beca feed stuff that the public has. i think in the past, people on that side of politics, they know we can fix government and make it work and do good things. this undercuts the progressive argument. >> what voters are looking for and how they're evaluating the candidates, chuck. let's talk about how where we actually are when this race begins. i thought it was interesting hearing david axelrod this morning is what an emerging strategy really is for this
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president against governor romney. actually it's a story that helene wrote on saturday which we can put the lead from up on the screen which has to do what his strategy is, is he going to be cast as a flip-flopper or something else? so long, flip-flopper, hello right-wing extremist. team obama is shifting gears. >> the poll showed it's likability versus economy. if you make it a referendum on romney, the republican, you don't really like him oh, by the way you really don like the republican party. that's the strategy. they're trying to make romney own all parts of the republican party. t just look at the economy part. you brought it up with david axelrod. that's the campaign here. >> right. which if obama wants to make it a referendum on the republican party and make romney own the most conservative element, romney just simply wants to say,
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no, no, no, you may like the president but you don't like this economy. >> that's exactly where we're headed. it's sort of in some ways a natural evolution. i mean, during the republican party -- during the republican primaries you saw romney fighting this belief among a lot of conservative republicans, that he wasn't conservative enough. so the general -- what usually happens after that he moves to the general election, more to the center. now he has to go after moderates and independents and the obama administration wants him to stay right there on the right side with these conservative positions because they think that at the end of the day the country is not that extreme. but it's sort of weird because we've been seeing for so long, you know, the fundamental critique we've seen about mitt romney from the democrats has always been, he doesn't know which way, you know, he'll go on the basis of which way the wind goes. he'll flip-flop this, he was for this before he wasç against th. now actually putting him in the right and painting him there is definitely a strategic shift. >> you no he, to me you have the
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crucial number earlier in the show. which party can bring change? both those numbers were pathetically low, romney and obama. so if i'm running for president this year in a period of high alienation, i'm thinking my opponent isn't necessarily romney. i have to show i can bring change. and so what i want to do is first i want to ignore all the peons in my staff that says let's win the battle of the day. you get written off. second wblg i'll try to be nonpolitical. there are three big problems, here are my solutions. talk about my solutions, my narrative. i don't see a narrative for the next four years from either of these two guys, therefore, they both look like they're jockeying. >> who could break through? americans don't like how washington works. they don't think washington knows how to solve big problems. when i talked to people i get the same question. what's wrong with these guys? yet both of them have the duty now to sort of pitch, hey, i have this ability and here's why. that i can break through all of this. >> that's why i think the obama
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folks are moving toward this right wing message. the ideal message is that romney is a flip-flopping extremist. the way they will eventually get is to say he's the flip-flopper, has no core, therefore, he will go where the right wing of the republican party wants him to go. they want to argue, i think it's a plausible argument, that the dysfunction is caused by the shift to the right. i think there's three big things in the election, one is does growth continue or not? if you look at your poll and others, the one narrative that might work for romney is obama didn't fix the economy past enou -- fast enough. two key groups, one a collection of groups and can mobile mobilize turnout among african-americans and young people. we're going to have to watch the polling carefully.
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a lot has been with the make-up of those samples. the other is the white working class. they lost them badly in 2008 but he lost by a small margin that he won the election. that's where romney has to win. he has real disadvantages. >> let me take a quick break here. we'll come back, more about this, including the vp stakes idea, who will romney choose? we'll come back. "meet the press" is sponsored by ge, imagination at work. ♪ [ female announcer ] the vertical chair-climb. it's not an olympic sport, but it takes real effort and it takes a diaper that fits their every move. pampers cruisers with 3-way fit adapt at the waist, legs, and bottom for up to 12 hours of protection and all the freedom to play like a real champion. pampers. proud supporter of babies' play.
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back with our round table. that's how it looked in 2008, john mccain in red, barack obama, president obama in blue. chuck todd now take us through if that's 2008, where's the battle going to be fought in 2012. >> i think this battle is about two geographic areas, one is the west and the issue of hispanic. you have the three states in blue in the rocky mountain west, new mexico, colorado and nevada. if the president holds all three, there's a good chance he will -- >> the gray shading are swing states? >> if he holds nevada and colorado, it eliminates the needs of the president to win florida. the president could lose new hampshire, the president could lose florida and ohio. all he has to do is pick up virginia, plus colorado, nevada,
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that's what's scary if you're mitt romney. this map when you're down by 40 points among hispanics, this map is a really big problem for him. you have to figure out how to put benes in place, something that hasn't happened in two decades. >> david brooks, one of the choices that mitt romney faces is, who does he put on the ticket? here's marco rubio the senator from florida speaking this week. he had an interesting slip. >> if i do a good job as vice president -- i'm sorry -- >> you guys all got that. >> as a senator. >> you all got that. >> if i do a good job as a senator instead of a vice president, i'll have a chance to do all sorts of things. >> he's saying this morning, rubio is, i want to be taken out of the consideration. i'm not going to focus on that, that's the last thing romney needs. what does mitt romney need and what's he likely to do. >> marco rubio isn't ready to be vice president emotionally.
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i think rob portman, the senator from ohio. basically, the goal for a challenger in an incumbent election is, are those guys decent enough in the romney/portman race would be a bunch of boring guys. but they're decent enough. >> we have some of the potential contenders, paul ryan, bob mcdonald, marco rubio and senator portman. pick something else, and a pro and a con on romney picking them? >> paul ryan, not so much. i think he's -- the view is he's not quite ready for prime time yet andç his budget is too polarizing. i don't think -- who are the others? >> bob mcdonald. >> rubio not so much either. the biggest thing he can bring to the ticket is he can help mitt romney with hispanics. but wasn't there a poll that said he hurts in florida? and i say either portman or mcdonald. mcdonald brings to the table the same sort of things that portman
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does, he would be seen as a little bit boring but virginia -- virginia is another swing state. you'd have two white guys that look, ah, not so bad. >> the point is about paul ryan, if you want to send a message that you're serious about the economy, you can do that with paul ryan. >> if you're serious about his agenda, you pick him. the real choice is the one that faced mccain. mccain wanted to go with somebody like tom ridge or joe lieberman. that would have, i think, been a much better choice for mccain. it would have reassured middle of the road voters that he could reach down. there will be a lot of pressure on romney to move right. if he gives into it, he makes the same mistake mccain did. portman, he's not tintlating but he'll reassure middle ground voters. >> he's the safe choice. the one piece of baggage he brings is the bush years you do have the obama campaign.
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a wild card that i think will be serious in a couple of months is the senator from new hampshire. i think he has to have a woman who will get vetted. i think her background, appointed attorney general by a democratic governor. there's a lot to her. she's a rising star. she's been very good for him. >> i want to preview this week's press pass conversation which was a lot of fun. i got to sit down with the host of the tonig"the tonight show" on what he thinks are the biggest differences between the two political parties when it comes to comedy. part of that conversation now. >> democrats and republicans are interesting. because republicans really laugh at themselves more. like when bush came on, it was, we want to do a skit, we're kind of making fun of you, yeah, go ahead. we walked up, yeah, fine. we went up to al gore, there was a focus group, media people came in, where will al be sitting? will al have the punch -- you
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don't have to do it. it's not a big deal. in the dressing room, al gore was engaging, very funny and very loose. but once the camera came on, oh, no. >> this is the key test, will you go on "the tonight show" and let it rip. >> john kerry came on on a motorcycle and had a beer.ç it seemed like they were pushing too hard. i like john kerry. really? he rode up the bike on a ramp, had the leather jacket. he's a regular guy, by golly. >> you've had fun with the candidates this year. what about mitt romney, what was your take? he was here recently. >> the real trick, we don't -- i took a great quote from joe biden once. i don't question anybody's motives. i question their judgment. doing this kind of stuff is like dealing with the mafia. don't go after the wives or the children, but as long as you hit the candidate, i think anything is fair and open game. i like the fact i can do weeks of mitt romney jokes and mitt
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romney then comes here because i haven't insulted his religion. i've made fun of him but i haven't questioned his patriotism or his loyalty or his family. you know? and you keep it within a normal realm, i guess. >> and the full interview with jay leno is on our website. we'll take another break but we'll be back with something very special, a surprise appearance only here on sometimes, i feel like it's me against my hair. [ female announcer ] end the struggle with weak, damaged hair with new aveeno nourish+ strengthen. it nurtures hair back to strong, healthy life. our exclusive active naturals wheat protein formula works with your hair, targeting damage, restoring strength and resilience for up to 90% less breakage in just three washes. find peace with your hair. [ female announcer ] and discover strong, healthy hair with life. new nourish+ strengthen, from the nourish+ hair care collection. only from aveeno.
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[ lauer ] this is our team. and unlike other countries, it's built by your donations, not government funding. and now, to support our athletes, you can donate a stitch in america's flag for the 2012 olympic games in london. help raise our flag, add your stitch at it is a big day for hockey on nbc. here in washington and in many parts of the northeast in pittsburgh as well. the great part about this job is who i get to meet and talk to and what i get to interact with. look what is here this morning. lord stanley's cup, right next to me on our little set here at "meet the press." this is the actual cup. this is the stanley cup, this is what the capitals and everybody else are fighting for and mike bolt is here with us from the
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nhl. it's great to see you. we never see you apart from the cup. you are the official keeper of the cup. >> i'm one of four guys that do it. i've walked for the hockey hall of fame in toronto. i get to travel all over the world. i spend about 250 days a year traveling the globe with the stanley cup. >> i want to get another shot of this and you can look. all these rings which are so specialist the teams and the members of the team and they get replaced as time goes on, is that correct? >> we have 52 names per year. the current winner will go down on the bottom next to the 2011 boston bruins and they'll be on there 57 years before their names are removed and put in the hockey hall of fame in toronto. >> this is never apart from you. >> when we fly. once i hand it over to the tsa and they inspect it and make sure it's safe, that's when lord stanley and i split ways until we get to the next city. the airlines are great. we've had a very small hiccup here and there over the last 13 years. >> interesting facts. when you brought this in the
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studio, i said can i hoist this over my head? you said, no, i'll have to tackle you if you do that. you have to earn that right. >> yes. the playoffs are unbelievable. it's so important that i keep the respect to it. because, again, there's guys out there trying to hoist it right now. >> this is pretty cool, right, that we have the cup here. >> unbelievable. >> it can hold 14 cans of beer in this part right here. nobody's ever done it. >> white glove. white glove. we know what's been in that. >> i give it the white glove treatment because, again, when we present it, you want the fingerprints to be the first to the winners. this is the time of the year where it's getting prestigious. when they do win it, it's a bowl, a cup. it's meant to have champagne or beer. sometimes the playersç kids wi eat ice cream sundaes out of it. >> we'll have a special discussion in our "meet the press" take two web extra with
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the keeper of the cup, mike bolt who has held that post for over a decade. wherever he goes the cup goes with him. he's traveled the world and has seen it all. also a reminder that you can see my full press pass conversation at that's all for today. we' . super soaker. a slow-moving nor'easter dumps rain and even heavy wet snow on parts of the east. free on bond. the man accused of mur