tv Meet the Press MSNBC November 3, 2013 2:00pm-3:00pm EST
with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. it's made with the natural, vine-ripened sweetness of fruit, so you can serve up deliciously sweet treats without all the sugar. raw natural sweetness, raw natural success. this sunday, a special look at the state of the obama presidency as he struggles now to fix the rollout of his signature health care law. >> we are just going to keep on working at it. we're going to grind it out. >> one year ago this week, president obama beat former massachusetts governor mitt romney in the 2012 election. now the president invokes the name of his defeated gop rival to defend health care reform. in just a moment, governor romney joins me for an exclusive interview. and president obama's approval rating is at an all-time low. obamacare is at a rough start.
more u.s. spy revelations have rocked even our closest allies. and did the president consider replacing vice president joe biden with then-secretary of state hillary clinton? that's according to a bombshell in a new book "double down, game changing 2012." bob woodward, katty kay, david axelrod, bill kristol. i'm david gregory in washington. and good sunday morning. the killing of a tsa agent at los angeles international airport is raising questions about the motives of the 23-year-old suspect, and also airport security. do tsa agents need to be armed? our justice correspondent pete williams will be here in a
little while to give us an update and fresh report on all of that. but first, the obama care debate. the healthcare.gov was actually offline for repairs over the weekend. they said saturday the glitches are, quote, just the tip of the iceberg. this week, as you might have remembered, the president traveled to boston to compare the rough start of obama care to what he called the slow start of the massachusetts health care plan. but he also praised his 2012 opponent mitt romney, who in 2006, as governor of massachusetts, signed that state's health care reform legislation into law. >> i've always believed that when he was governor here in massachusetts, he did the right thing on health care. if it was hard doing it just in one state, it's harder doing it in all 50 states. >> that is proving to be the case. and the 2012 republican presidential nominee, former governor mitt romney joins me exclusively this morning.
governor, it's good to see you. thank you for being here. >> thanks, david. good to see you. >> why do you reject the compliment from president obama this week when he says obama care based on romney care and that's the right way to go? >> well, i think the president failed to learn the lessons that came from the experience in massachusetts. first of all, the massachusetts experience was a state-run plan. the right way to deal with health care reform is not to have a one size fits all plan that's imposed on all the states but recognizing the differences between different states and their populations. states should be able to craft their own plans to get all their citizens insured and to make sure preexisting conditions are covered. and there's some other differences. in massachusetts, we phased in the requirements so that there was a slow rollout, that way you could test the systems as you went along to make sure there wouldn't be glitches.
and perhaps the most important lesson the president, i think, failed to learn was, you have to tell the american people the truth. and when he told the american people that you could keep your health insurance if you wanted to keep that plan, period, he said that time and again, he wasn't telling the truth. and i think that fundamental dishonesty has really put in peril the whole foundation of his second term. >> on that point, we are talking about a small piece of the individual market, about 5%. in your law in massachusetts, there were also minimum requirements for health plans in order to qualify for health insurance in massachusetts. and the reason for that is so that you had basic plans that didn't allow presumably young and healthier people not to be adequately covered, because if they ended up getting a condition, the rest of the people have to pay for it, that hurts your risk pool. >> well, we could talk about the technical differences between the massachusetts plan and the federal plan, but the key, i
think, that has really undermined the president's credibility in the hearts of the american people is that he went out as a centerpiece of his campaign and as a centerpiece of obama care over the last several years saying time and time again that fundamental to his plan was the right people would have to keep their insurance plan, and he knew that was not the case. he could know it by looking at massachusetts and seeing people there lost insurance. he could have learned those lessons and told the people the truth, but he didn't. he told people they could keep their plan. and, you know, it was nbc news that said, look, some 6 million people are going to lose their insurance. that's not some little number, that's 6 million american people. >> the comparison to massachusetts, though, really comes down to two major points. a lot of people don't have health insurance because they can't afford it so you have to have subsidies. that's what you did in massachusetts. and in order to make sure your risk pool is right, you have to have young and healthy people in
it so that the people would be taken care of who are older and sicker. that's what you did. but here's what you said to meet the press back in 2007 about the mandate. i want to play it and get your reaction. >> i think you're going to find that when it's all said and done after all these states, laboratories of democracy, get the chance to try their own plans, that those who follow the path we pursued will find it's the best path and we'll have a nation that takes the mandate approach. >> you don't believe all states should adopt this, but you do believe all states should take a mandate approach. if it's so good for massachusetts, what's wrong with taking it national? >> what i said there was precisely right, which was each state should be able to put in place the plan that works best for them, and if they adopt the massachusetts plan, terrific. if they adopt a different plan, that's also fine.
but recognize massachusetts teaches some important lessons some states are not going to want to follow. one lesson is health insurance is more expensive in massachusetts than anywhere else in the country. now, that's something that texas and minnesota and montana are not necessarily going to want to adopt. and you're going to see, as a result of obama care, premiums going up dramatically across the country, and again, going back to -- i think the key thing the president is trying to get away from, and that is that he told people they could keep their insurance and that was not the truth. and whether you like the model of obama care or not, the fact that the president sold it on a basis that was not true has undermined the foundation of his second term. i think it's rotting it away. and i think the only way he can rebuild credibility is to work with republicans and democrats and try to rebuild a foundation. we've got to have a president. we've got to have a president that can lead, and right now he's not able to do so. >> that's very strong language. you're saying the way he pitched your ability to keep a plan will undermine his entire second term. but how do you know --
>> there's no question. >> assuming they get the site up and working, that's a big assumption at this point, but if that happens, how is it that in the end the same approach that you took in massachusetts with regard to subsidies, with regard to a mandate, why don't you think that could ultimately be successful? >> well, what's going to happen is the people are going to lose insurance. you're going to have millions of individuals lose their health care plans. >> some people will end up saving money in the plans and some people will pay more. again, that was also the case in massachusetts. >> well, that may well be the case, but the reality is that was not what was sold with obama care. obama care barely made it through washington, as you know. and there is no question in my mind but had the president been truthful and told the american people that millions would lose their insurance and millions more would see their premiums skyrocket, had he told them that at the time it was going through
washington, there would have been such a hue and cry against it, it would not have passed. you begin with honesty. we can talk about what's the right plan, and there are aspects of the massachusetts plan i think other states would be wise to adopt. there are probably aspects that states will say, i don't want that, i've got a better idea. let them try those things. but imposing something that in some ways resembles what we did in massachusetts on the entire nation is not something -- and particularly doing it, by the way, in a dishonest way without telling people what was entailed is something the american people are rejecting overwhelmingly. >> final point on this. what would you have done had you become president -- in my interview of you during the course of the campaign, you said there were parts of obama care you would want to keep, et cetera. what would you have done? you just saw the republican party try to fund it or delay it. how would you have dealt with obama care had you become president? >> well, i'm not president so i can't be so clear-minded as to tell you what i would have done,
but my own plan was to say to each state you've got a requirement to move to a point where all your people are insured and you cover preexisting conditions. we're going to give you flexibility from the federal government level to help you be able to do so. and with regards to what's going on in washington lately with the shutdown, if you will, to try and replace or defund obama care, there's no question that every republican i know of wants to see obama care replaced, repealed and repaired. at the same time, the tactic of shutting down government is one which i thought was not a good tactic in the first place, i thought it would not be effective and it was not effective. you heard this morning, for instance, the campaign manager of ken cuccinelli, when they were talking about the shutdown, they were having a hard time, and now they're talking about obama care and his campaign is doing better and better. the shutdown was not the right way, in my view, but with obama care, i would have taken the
senate and the white house and replace it with something that's going to do a better job for the american people and let them keep the insurance they were promised they could keep in the first place. >> you mentioned ken cuccinelli running for governor in virginia. the new book is called "double down game change 2012." a lot of political intrigue. one aspect, governor, when you had a family owned plan, you actually voted against it. you questioned whether you should stay in the race and whether you could ultimately win. there is an argument that comes through in the book with some republicans that with the stakes so high in the 2012 election, did you not show enough fight? did you not want to win it enough? how do you rebut that charge? >> there is no question but that i wanted to win it. no one could have worked harder
than myself and my family worked for the campaign. we were all in, 110%. and we wanted to win very desperately. we recognized what was at stake. frankly, i was concerned that if the president were reelected, the economy would continue to dwindle along, we would continue to lose credibility around the world, the american people would find it harder and harder to get jobs, and we're seeing those things happen before our very eyes. i ran because i believed i was the most effective guy to be able to beat president obama. it's not easy being an incumbent, but i thought i was the most likely to be able to do so, and i gave everything i could possibly give to make that a reality. >> as you know, there is a lot of talk about 2016. that happens immediately after 2012. you considered chris christie to be your running mate and ultimately you rejected him, and some reporting in the book indicates that there was some concerns about his background and your own investigations and your own vetting process. here's what they report in the
book. the dossier on the garden state governor's background was littered with potential landmines. there was no point in thinking about christie further. with the clock running out, romney pulled the plug on it for good. questions about his lawsuits, his health, indeed his weight. did you look at those issues as disqualifying, and if so, why? >> i know the vetting people who went through that analysis and put together the report laid everything out. frankly, there wasn't anything they found that wasn't already part of the public record and hadn't been dealt with effectively by chris christie. there was nothing new there. the reason i chose paul ryan was, as i indicated before, which paul had a complement of skills and experience that i thought would be helpful if he actually became vice president. i had been a governor. i hadn't worked in washington. he had been in washington. he was a budget pro. and i figured his relationships in washington, his knowledge of
the budget would be a good complement to me. and chris, by the way, chris could easily become our nominee and save our party and help get this nation on the right track again. they don't come better than chris christie. >> but you obviously had concerns about his health, his weight and other issues. if he does seek the nomination, do you think these are going to become issues? you yourself are reported as saying in the book a governor's race is not an important vetting process, these issues will come to the fore again. is there something he should be concerned about? >> i know in a campaign people dredge up all the old stuff again. with regards to his health, his health is very solid, very good. there's not an issue there. i know the democrats will try to go after him if he's our nominee in any way they can, but you can't argue with the kind of success he's had. he's been the governor.
he's about to win on tuesday, i think, pretty solidly, and his record as governor really stands out. new jersey, after all, is a very blue state. he's a very popular governor in a very blue state. that's the kind of popularity and the kind of track record the republican parties needs if we're going to take back the white house. >> it's interesting. you have told republicans since losing in 2012 that electability is still the key, that you were the guy best positioned to beat president obama. do you think that governor christie is the favorite in 2016 because he's the most electable? >> i think it's early to say who is the most electable and who would be the favorite candidate. but you look at chris christie and you say that's a great guy with a great track record, with ability to work across the aisle, with laborer and blue collar voters in new jersey. it's a very compelling story. there's other compelling stories. paul ryan, jeb bush, marco
rubio. there is a long list of very capable people, but chris christie stands out in the light of the republican party. >> does ted cruz stand out as a light in the republican party? >> i don't know. i've named some and we'll see where it goes. >> we'll take a break and have more with you. i want to ask you more about some of the issues in washington, the president's secretary term and the future of the republican party. you've had a close enough look at some of the divisions of the party, so we'll talk about that with you in just a moment. plus, the man who was at obama's side as the president defended his health care plan, massachusetts governor deval patrick. our new poll shows the president's ratings at an all-time low. analysis from our panel, bob woodward, katty kay, bill kristol and david axelrod.
we're back with governor mitt romney, republican 2012 nominee. governor, i want to ask you about the future of the republican party. my analysis of where republicans are seem to reflect the split, the retention of the party. on the one hand you have republican governors. there's 30 of them actually governing out in the states. at a national level, however, you have a republican party that seems more fixed on opposition, opposition to the obama agenda as they would, of course, defend to be the right place to stand against bad policy. but that tension has real consequences in terms of whether the party can become a national party again at the national level. can they get the white house back. how do you view that tension. you already said you think the strategy on the government shutdown was wrong. how does that tension resolve itself? what's your prescription? >> i think what you're going to see is without a president to,
if you will, discipline our own party, you're going to have a lot of different voices taking the party or wanting to take the party in different directions. we're going to listen to that as a group of voters, and ultimately the people are going to be able to make their decision. i think you'll find that we will be very anxious to choose someone as our nominee in 2016 who we think has the best prospects of actually winning and getting the country back on track to create jobs again and to give the american people the prosperity and the hope they've been looking for. >> but isn't this the issue? look, the reason there is a tea party right now goes back to president bush. i actually think it goes back to the beginning of a more robust security state. after 9/11, the government expands to deal with security, there's also medicare part d, there's government spending and the bailouts, which conservatives start to rebel against and president obama continues that. and the answer has been john mccain in 2008 and mitt romney in 2012, and there is a lot of the conservatives who say, hey, guys, that's the wrong approach.
we've got to have more conservative nominees if we're really going to get healed in this party, they are not the answers. yet you seem to be doubling down on the idea that electability is the key, but the ranks in the party says, no, we've got to get back to our conservative roots. >> electability and conservatism, i think, goes together. you have a party which is conservative. in my campaign, i think i made it very clear how i was going to get america working again, how i would get a balanced budget and start reducing our debt. i had a very conservative platform, and that kind of conservative platform, i think, is the foundation of any kind of successful campaign in 2016. i just happen to think you want to combine conservatism with the ability to get elected. you want someone who can garner the support of people across the country to say this is a person i trust who will implement the kind of conservative approach that i think america is looking for.
>> how formidable is hillary clinton if she is the nominee? can a republican nominee beat her? >> anybody can be beaten. she's a very well-known figure. obviously if she becomes a nominee, we'll be taking a very close look at her record to see what she's accomplished and where america has gone. i would think people would have to think the last four years or five years have not been a great time for american interests around the world. she'll have a record to be examined. hopefully we'll have a nominee who can do that effectively and demonstrate his or her own record and have a strong track record to say, you know what? i would rather have that person because that person can get america working again. >> governor romney, i appreciate your views. thank you. >> thank you for having me. joining me now, the current governor of massachusetts, governor deval patrick.
thanks for being here. >> hi, david. >> how much damage has been done by the affordable care act by you heard governor romney say deception, not telling the truth about how people could lose their plans and the failure to administer a program this large because of this failed website rollout. >> well, the affordable care act is not a website, david. i think governor romney knows that, the american people know that. it's a value statement. it does a lot of good for a lot of people that has already begun and will continue. the website will get fixed. i'm confident of that. the website in massachusetts that we started implementing in 2007 was also imperfect. it got fixed. and governor romney was right when he said it would be a model for the country, and it has been. >> but i'll take you back to some of the comments he made
back in 2009 and 2013. a fundamental promise he made to the american people. watch. >> if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. [ applause ] no one will take it away no matter what. so the first thing you need to know is this. if you already have health care, you don't have to do anything. >> so no matter what, if you like your health care plan, you don't have to do anything. was that a broken promise, or was that deception or both? >> neither. for 95% of the people in america, that is the truth. for the small number of people who have a health care plan which, in fact, will not insure them when they get sick, it is not true. and that's the whole point. if you have a preexisting condition, if you have the kind of health care that disappears when you need it most, the affordable care act says that has to end. it's also true that medical costs are number one cause of
bankruptcy in america. that ends with the affordable care act. >> 2 million people have been told that they don't have health insurance that they can keep, and then you say, well, you can get another plan, except you can't because you can't get on the website. so was this not sold -- >> well, that -- excuse me, david, go ahead and finish. >> go ahead. >> i'm sorry to cut you off. the website is a convenience and right now it's not working very well. it's not the only way to get information. you can sign up on the phone, you can do it in person, and in very short order you'll be able to do it online. the obvious benefit of the website is to be able to compare plans, to shop, because as you shop, you save. and that's why it's urgent that the president get it fixed as soon as possible. >> here's what the "washington post" reports this morning. the anatomy of this debacle, and it quotes president obama as saying the most important part is the exchange set up, it's the website that's set up. he said the following, all of
that is well and good, in other words, other things they're doing to get people enrolled, but if the website doesn't work, nothing else matters. and yet you're saying this morning that the website is not health care, it's just a website. >> if the website is permanently flawed, we've got a serious problem. but we've got a rollout problem for what, three or four weeks? it took us two years to get our website right in massachusetts. and now we have virtually universal coverage, 90% of our residents have a primary care physician, we are healthier, it has not broken the budget, more businesses offer insurance to their employees than ever before, one of the highest levels in the country, and it is approved by 84% of our population. i think that what this whole situation has produced is actually a favor for the white house and the president. i, among others, have always been saying the president needs to be out talking about the fundamental good the affordable care act does for people, and this is provoking him to do so,
and that's a great thing. >> well, i'm not sure he appreciates the lesson. here's the final point. this is critical to me. how do you know, how can you ensure that young people who don't feel they need health insurance are ultimately going to sign up to get the health insurance? and if that doesn't happen, this model doesn't work nationally. >> that's a key issue, and it was for us in massachusetts, the so-called invincibles, those young, healthy, mostly men who are, in fact, free riders, and there are some 30 million free riders in the united states, people who get their health insurance -- excuse me, get health care but don't contribute to the system, and the rest of us pay for it in our premiums and in taxes. and the mandate requires a basic principal of insurance, basically, which is everybody gets insurance, so you spread the risk and begin to bring the cost down. that's what happened in massachusetts, and in time
that's what will happen with the nation. >> that's a big if, right? on a national level, that's a big if. >> actually, it's not a big if. we have experience in massachusetts, and it's shown to be not only wildly successful but wildly popular. if we're going to have states be laboratories of democracy, let's not have good ideas be stuck if the lab. let's scale them, and that's exactly what the massachusetts plan does. >> thank you, governor. >> thanks, david. >> coming up here, we'll talk more about this. some of the bombshell revelations from the 2012 campaign about hillary clinton and governor chris christie. could the news be a game changer for 2016? and later, fall from grace. he was once new york city's top cop, and now how a stay in prison has changed his heart about how he used to prosecute. back after this. that won't trap me in a rate. that's correct. cause i'm really nervous about getting trapped.
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this month marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of president kennedy. to commemorate our 35th president we've gone into our "meet the press" archives to give you the story of jfk's rise to presidency. people will be airing this special, "jfk the president remembered." topics cover everything from the cold war to civil rights. we've also posted more in our "meet the press" flipboard magazine with now more than 75,000 readers and how he said there was no doubt he could beat president nixon. by the way, you can twitter me throughout the week. i'm @davidgregory. we're back here in 60 seconds with our political roundtable.
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♪ ♪ [ female announcer ] with five perfectly sweetened whole grains... you can't help but see the good. with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. it's made with the natural, vine-ripened sweetness of fruit, so you can serve up deliciously sweet treats without all the sugar. raw natural sweetness, raw natural success. here this morning, bob woodward, david axelrod, katty kay and bill kristol. now, david gregory. the latest on the l.a. g shooting that left one agent dead. pete williams has new details including how the 23-year-old suspect could now be facing the death penalty.
>> investigators are trying to determine what got paul ciancia interested in the radical views. he said if tsa is going to treat every american as a potential terrorist, then it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. the note also said he had no intention of killing, quote, innocents, and that he made a conscious decision of trying to kill several tsa employees. he said he wanted to instill fear in what he called their traitorous minds. they haven't been able to question him because he's in critical condition in the hospital, but he could get the death penalty if he's convicted. he shot several rounds at hernandez, but when he moved away and hernandez started to move, he returned and shot him again, and as we know, hernandez
was fatally wounded, david. >> how much discussion will there be about additional security for tsa at airports? >> they said the shooting will not lead to a decision to arm tsa officers, and they have a couple reasons. first they say airport security has never been tsa's mission. that's in the hands of airport police or other city officials who do carry firearms. the job of tsa is to protect airline passengers by keeping dangerous things off planes. and second, tsa officers are not sworn law enforcement officials. they do not have arrest authority, they are not trained to use firearms. they could be, but that would represent a major change in their mission. all of that said, the union that represents tsa employees says airports need to provide more armed security at the screening checkpoints, david.
>> all right, pete williams here in our newsroom. thanks very much. i want to get back to talking about mitt romney and obama care. he had very tough criticism for president obama just a few moments ago. listen. >> and whether you like the model of obama care or not, the fact that the president sold it on a basis that was not true has undermined the foundation of his second term. i think it's rotting it away. and i think the only way he can rebuild credibility is to work with republicans and democrats and try to rebuild a foundation. >> rebuild a foundation is what he says is the job now for president obama. here is his approval rating. our poll last week with the wall street journal has the president's approval rating at 42%, disapproval at 51%. it's a big deal. all-time low for him. the roundtable is here to discuss. david axelrod, would you like to respond? >> i'm having flashbacks when i hear that number, david, because
i remember when i was in the white house in the spring of 2010 and we had the oil leak in the gulf and washington was in atwitter about that. and our numbers were damaged by that, and it was why can't they get it done? why didn't he know what was going on in the minerals and mine service? this is obama's katrina. then we plugged the leak, got repairs for people in the gulf, and it wasn't mentioned in the 2012 campaign. so i think it's hard to make a judgment. >> obama care is not the oil. >> no, it's not, but if i were concerned about these numbers as well as the number of people that can get on this website and get obama care. i think when they fix that, this problem will take care of itself. >> is this a brand problem or progressive view of the government unable to solve problems? >> that's a good question.
obviously, we don't know, and you're right, health care is not the bp oil spill. it's something that's going to go on for years and decades. you talk to people about it and say, we're really not in the first inning of the nine-inning game. so it's going to take a while to sort this out. i go back to the old notion of follow the money. where is the money going in health care? and individuals are going to pay, employers are going to pay, the government is paying subsidies, but the real interesting x factor are the insurance companies, and we've got to look at what the insurance companies are doing because they're going to have to pay these claims. are they really going to cover people? are they going to shy away from it? and the real answer is we don't even come close to knowing answers. >> how much damage, bill kristol, is being done to the obama presidency right now? >> a lot. a lot. they had two and a half years to implement it, they spent $6
billion on the website alone, tens of millions of dollars advertising trying to convince people it was the answer. obama care is failing and will fail and i'm very much looking forward to being on the show in january of 2017 when finally all of obama care is repealed. parts of it can be delayed and even parts of it can be repealed. think a month ago. how crazy is it for ted cruz to say we should delay the mandate? how crazy is it to say premiums might go up? and now they're saying, gee, we have a big problem. >> spoken by a man who has good health insurance. >> it's a little early to say obama care is totally sunk. we don't know how many people are going to sign up. we need 7 million healthy young americans to sign up to this program, and we will probably know fairly late in the six-month process because young
people are not the people who sign up in the very beginning. they're young, after all. they think they're invincible, they'll take their time and shop around. this website is a disaster, but to say obama care the policy has failed, we can't say that. if enough young people don't sign up to make this financially viable, then you have a serious problem. but we can't make that call right now. >> can't we say that, in fact, it's not true if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, the premiums won't go up. these are things that already are not the case. >> no, no, we can say in a small cohort who got bad substandard health care policies after the law went into effect that they will have to transition to other policies. i know something about this. when i was 26 years old, i got a health care policy. i thought it was adequate. i was healthy and as long as i was healthy, i was good. then i had a child who was born with a chronic illness. it cost us $1,000 for prescription coverage, which we didn't have prescriptions for
her, to keep her alive. none of the treatments that was outside the policy was paid for. i would make $35,000 as a newspaper reporter. i almost went broke. there are a lot of americans who think they can get by with substandard, and i wish somebody had set standards then, david. >> but this is about political practice and leadership. if you believe all those things and, therefore, you want to get the very best health care, you were in the white house. you were advising the president on the kinds of things he should say. why did not you or somebody else say to him, mr. president, don't say no matter what you're going to keep your health care plan. was that bad practice? >> hindsight is 20/20. >> but that's why you're there. >> the vast majority of americans, that statement will hold true. for this small group of americans, it hasn't. but the calamitous thing here is that the people who had to transition will get better insurance for less money.
they can't tell that right now because they can't get on the website. >> this can be rectified. i remember early in the obama presidency, and there was some dispute about the cabinet nomination and the president came out and said, i screwed up. why not just be straightforward? he said, this is absolutely everyone's going to keep their insurance. why not correct it? >> he could say we didn't anticipate this one glitch, we grandfatheredd those policies, but many of those people will get better care for less money when this website is up and running and they can select it. >> why wasn't there a better education effort to get out in front of this and go to americans whose policies were going to change and explain why. there is a fairly good case to be made about minimum standards, the kinds of things that can hit you if you have a substandard policy. never was that education process carried through from the white house, and i think that was a failing.
>> the obama allies and fans i have talked to, their opinion is twofold. one, if you believe government is the only one able to solve these big problems that you undermine it for years, if not more, with this troubled rollout. and the obama people who championed him to win reelection, look at the cover of "new yorker." it looks so retro when it comes to technology. >> david, i tell you again, i think bob said the key thing. we're in the early innings of the game. to declare this, to define this whole program by the web start -- by the website debacle at the beginning and the rollout, i think, would be a huge mistake. they will fix the website, i'm confident of that. if they don't, as deval patrick said, that's another story. but when they do, people are going to find there are good deals to be had that they never had before.
>> i want to switch a little bit and talk about politics here in the book "double down game change 2012." i asked governor romney about it and maybe we'll talk chris christie after the break. they write in the book about the prospect of switching out biden, putting hillary clinton in place. david, you say didn't happen like that? >> i was there. i'll tell you exactly what happened. that was the buzz in the political community in the fall of 2011. it was raised that we should take a look and see if that even makes a difference. there were no focus groups, there was no big project. we put a question in a poll where we split the poll and we tested the obama/biden ticket and the obama/clinton ticket against the presumed republican ticket, and what we found was what people always find when they test these things, which is the effect was minimal. people don't vote for vice presidents, they vote for presidents. it would have been a disastrous decision to replace the vice president.
>> you took it seriously enough to poll it. >> we tested everything. and that was our job. >> everything but obama care. >> we tested it over and over which is why the president kept misleadingly saying you could keep your doctor, keep your plan. they tested that. >> early reading on hillary clinton here, the fact they tested it and it wasn't an overwhelming change? >> all my democratic friends say she's the frontrunner and i say, you're welcome to it. the republicans for years have voted for the frontrunner, someone who ran and lost. she's someone who is there because she's sucked up all the money from the party. let the republicans have the vigorous fight the governors have had in the past among young governors and senators who have fresh ideas.
i look forward to 2016. >> governor romney sounded like he was leaning pretty forward in chris christie's direction. more with our roundtable and if there are more issues about christie to consider. we're back after this. sounded he was leaning pretty forward in he was leaning pretty forward in ready to run your lines? okay, who helps you focus on your recovery? yo, yo, yo. aflac. wow. [ under his breath ] that was horrible. pays you cash when you're sick or hurt? [ japanese accent ] aflac. love it. [ under his breath ] hate it. helps you focus on getting back to normal? [ as a southern belle ] aflac. [ as a cowboy ] aflac. [ sassily ] aflac. uh huh. [ under his breath ] i am so fired. you're on in 5, duck. [ male announcer ] when you're sick or hurt, aflac pays you cash. find out more at aflac.com.
new jersey election on tuesday, chris christie looks poised to win. he spoke to my colleague kelly o'donnell last night. >> in talking about your thoughts of what happens tuesday and what it means down the road, it sounds like you're planning for a message beyond new jersey. is that a fair assessment, listening to you today? >> i'm not planning for it, i just think it's inevitable. people look at elections and they try to discern things from them about what they mean at that moment and what they mean for the future. and i think that what people are going to see is so unusual for what our party has created in the last couple of years that invariably people will draw lessons from it and i hope they do. >> when romney team talk about the romney lessons the last time around, does that plant seeds of concern? >> no, because anything in the book was from the 2009 campaign and it will be litigated in the future, i understand that. the fact is these are just two guys trying to sell a book. let's not forget that. they sensationalize things, they have a low-level staff because
they want to make money. but it doesn't make it valid and nothing i'm concerned about, i can guarantee you that. >> these pesky authors who sell books. katty, is he the future of the party? >> he certainly doesn't lack confidence, does he, suggesting he is inevitable and somehow unusual. i think chris christie, despite governor romney's endorsement of him this morning, i think he has a problem with women voters. i think he's bullying, perhaps overbearing, a bit thin skinned and he goes on the attack a lot. i know it hasn't affected him in new jersey, but i have a feeling when he gets out in the general audience, there is a character issue there that may put some women voters off. >> bill, what do you think? >> i like him. i think he's going to win a huge victory in new jersey. i'm surprised the democrats didn't try to do more to nick him up. i could probably not beat christie, but let's get some of that stuff out there so we can build on a campaign.
he is one of possibly 12 nominees. >> way too early. who in 2005 thought the democratic nominee would be barack obama? only david axelrod. so talk about the first pitch of the first inning. the question on christie is can he really come out and say i'm the center, the moderate of a new republican party? because obviously we need one. >> i think this is the big question. mitt romney says here is a blue state governor who is a republican. christie has to resist that inability to disagree if he's going to be competitive nationally. >> we'll have more on the roundtable in just a moment, but first, coming up, he sent criminals to prison for life but then went to jail himself.
matt lauer talked to bernard kerry, once a crime fighter and now pushing for changes in the law. [ male announcer ] this is claira. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for her, she's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. [ claira ] after the deliveries, i was okay. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. [ groans ]
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i've saved $75 in checked bag fees. [ delavane ] priority boarding is really important to us. you can just get on the plane and relax. [ julian ] having a card that doesn't charge you foreign transaction fees saves me a ton of money. [ delavane ] we can go to any country and spend money the way we would in the u.s. when i spend money on this card, i can see brazil in my future. [ anthony ] i use the explorer card to earn miles in order to go visit my family, which means a lot to me. ♪ . we are back.k. the u.s. has 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prisoners. according to a recent poll, a majority of americans believe too many people are in prison in the u.s., spending too much money to lock them up. this week there was something introduced to the house of representatives, cutting down on non-drug crimes. matt lauer conducted an
exclusive interview with bob kerry, nominated by president bush to run the department of homeland security. in 2009 he pled guilty to lying to white house officials and to tax fraud. carrick served two years in jail. he explains now why he is an evangelist of sorts on minimum sentencing. >> talk to us about how your perspective of federal prison changed. >> matt, i've been in law enforcement my entire career. i stood in a courtroom with no compassion and sent people to prison for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years and life. i think what stunned me the most about walking into cumberland was that i was then housed with men that were doing those same sentences that were there for
first-time, non-violent drug offenses. >> at the core of your argument here is that these minimum mandatory federal sentences are not doing what they intended to do. >> no. you know what? when i came into the system, i didn't realize -- it's a nickel. hold it. feel the weight of it? feel it? >> yeah. >> i had no idea that for 5 grams of cocaine, which is what that nickel weighs, 5 grams, you could be sentenced to 10 years in prison. i was with men sentenced to 10 years in prison for 5 grams of cocaine. that's insane. that's insane. >> so what do we do? do you want to throw out the minimum mandatories? >> i think the minimum mandatories have to be addressed. i think we have to have real life improvement programs. you have to mandate discipline, education, life improvement skills, mandate it. and you know what, matt?
if they do what you want them to do, get rid of the felony conviction. >> take it off their record. >> get it off their record. because they're doomed to failure if you don't. >> put yourself in the position of a member of congress who is facing reelection, though. how does that person go out and not get painted as soft on crime by wanting to do away with some of these things? >> you know what, i say they have to grow. they have to get the courage -- >> you can say what you want to say. >> they just have to get the courage to do their job. that's what they have to do. don't be afraid of looking soft on crime. their answer to looking soft on crime is to do nothing. that is not the answer. that's stupid on crime. >> but do you think, as people start to have this debate about what to go forward, people can put the fact that you are now a convicted felon aside and look at that unique experience you bring? >> you know what, you don't want to listen to me, don't listen to
me. go look at it yourself. if the american people and members of congress saw what i saw, there would be anger, there would be outrage, and there would be change. because nobody would stand for it. >> he may be a flawed messenger, david axelrod. is there political will to take on something this fundamental? >> i think there is growing consensus. you see rand paul, the republican party, the president and others talking about this issue. our prisons are overcrowded, they're busted at the seams and we're sending people, as he said, to prison when we should send them to programs where they can heal themselves instead of them becoming hardened criminals. >> it makes no sense for america economically and for those people coming out of prison. what stunned me about that interview is that he didn't know this. here's someone in charge of enforcement, new york city's top cop, and he didn't know that until he got back.
wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com. we're back. thanks to all of you for discussion this morning. that is all for today. we'll be back next week. now celebrating our 66th anniversary. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." anniversary. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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