tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 6, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
in ohio saturday he officially kicked off his re-election bid. >> we are still fired up. we are still ready to go. and we are going to remind the world once more just why it is that the united states of america is the greatest nation on earth. thank you. >> the big question this morning. how does obama win? >> president obama is out of ideas. he's out of excuses. and in 2012 it's time to make sure we put him out of office. >> our political roundtable is here this morning to weigh in. republican senator from new hamp shire kelly ayotte, author of "the time of our lives," tom brokaw, and chuck todd, plus economist diane swan.
>> good morning. queen's plate line keep your eye on battleground states ohio and virginia where president obama was yesterday officially kicking off his re-election bid. as we went through the features, we learn a lot about how the president is going to try to win. that is the big question. how does he do it? one, he makes the case for hanging on even in this tough economy. two, and you'll hear a lot of that, it is the contrast with mitt romney. he will try to disqualify romney as an acceptable alternative on the economy, and the economy is tough. look at the job numbers on friday. sluggish job creation is still a problem for this administration as they talk about that. with all that background, i sat down with vice president joe biden here on friday. mr. vice president, welcome back. >> great to be back. >> always good to have you. >> good to be here. >> topic a is the economy. we have new job numbers out. we'll put them up on the screen. the unemployment rate is at 8.1%. last month 115,000 jobs created.
sluggish by most estimations. the previous month 120,000 jobs. is this a jobless recovery? >> no, no. we created 4,250,000 jobs. last month's job numbers have been re-evaluated and it's up to 150,000 and the month before 250. this goes up and down, but there's a steady path. 26 months straight employment gain, private employment, but there's a lot more to do. >> the net jobs are down in terms of jobs created. you've lost a ton of jobs over the course of this administration because of the financial crisis. there is this idea of stagnation out there. what was economic recovery seems to have flat lined. is that not a concern? >> no, it's not a concern. it's not stagnation. look, as you pointed out, there were 4 million jobs lost in the six months or so before we came to office. before i lowered my right hand on january 20th, we lost 700,000 jobs that month.
before we got our first major economic initiative passed we lost another 3.5 million jobs. since that point it's been steady growth. not enough. there's still a lot of people in trouble, but there's no stagnation. >> are people discouraged is the question? this presidential campaign, which is kicking off in a big way this way this weekend with the president making his official kickoff, mitt romney is saying, look, we need a different path. we need a different president to turn this around. this is how he reacted on friday to the jobs report. >> the reason the rate came down was because about 340,000 people dropped out of the work force. so many become discouraged they stopped looking for work. >> the discouragement is real. recent polling showing three-fourths, 76% of americans still believe the country is in recession. >> for the people unemployed, they are still in recession. for the people whose wages are stagnant, it feels like there's a recession. i come from a household, when
there's a recession, someone around that table loses their job. here's the deal. what is romney proposing? he's proposing, to quote bill clinton, going back to the last policy of the last administration on steroids. what is he talking about? how is he going to create jobs? he talks about another $2 trillion in tax cuts for the very wealthy. you're going to create jobs? is that how he's going to do it? will he create jobs by continuing to undercut people getting to college and get there by undercutting education? will he eliminate investments in research and development? what's the plan? we've seen this movie before. >> what is your warning about what a president romney would do to the american economy? >> look, the good news, david, and we've been around for a lot of presidents. these guys are not hiding the ball this time. they are saying exactly what
they believe, as my mother would say, god love them. they say they wanted the ryan budget. they voted for it, and romney says he's for it which emasculates the very things that allow us to grow this economy. education, infrastructure, innovation. it decimates people on medicare and medicaid. he goes out there and he says, well, here's what we have to do. we need another $2 trillion in tax cuts the next ten years? he proposes a tax cut in decision to continuing the bush tax cut for people making over a million bucks. they get another $250,000 a year in tax cuts. these are good, patriotic, people, man. but they need it like they need another hole in their head. what's he investing in? what's he going to do? >> two different visions of the country. you and president obama have a record, and this recovery out of a steep recession has been much slower than in past recoveries after recessions. this administration has done a
lot between stimulus and health care and financial regulation. you stepped up to the plate and taken some big swings, and yet, recovery is still very, very slow. the argument is why not give somebody who as a real background in business to turn it around? >> take a look at his background in business. when he was in business, how did he save companies by piling debt on them? when he was governor he ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation. look, look at what he's proposing, but let's go back to what we're proposing. in terms of recovery out of a financial recession this steep, unfortunately this is not way off. this is not slower than a significant financial recession, which this is the greatest recession in the history of america short of the depression. if these guys would get out of the way. for example, had they passed our jobs bill it would have created 2 million more jobs. 2 million more jobs. these guys wouldn't even let us
put back to work 400,000 teachers, firefighters and cops by a 0.5% tax on the first dollar after the first million you made. come on, man. >> you can't guarantee jobs. >> no, no. >> this administration said you keep 8% unemployment if you pass the stimulus act. you can't go by those predictions. >> here's what you can go by. you can go by what the consensus economists says are likely to happen if certain actions were taken. the reason that was off, that projection, at the time that was stated by some of the economists, it was estimated that the economy the previous quarter had fallen 5%. it actually fell almost 9%. nobody, including all the business models at the time, thought the devastation was as great as it turned out to be. >> let's talk about other matters. china is a big story. as we talk there is still negotiations about the fate of the blind dissident chen guangcheng.
what is his future and is it in america? >> i think his future is in america. his future is he has an opportunity to go to nyu. the chinese told us that if he files the paper to go abroad, that will be granted. we're prepared to give a visa right away. he's going to be able to take his family. we expect the chinese to stick to that commitment. >> there was a spectacle involved this week with him making claims about what u.s. diplomats told him, what the chinese were representing, diplomats saying this isn't going to happen and all is a distraction as secretary clinton is in china for trade talks. how did it go wrong? >> i can only put myself in mr. chen's position. he came into the embassy, and he was physically hurting and needed medical help. he said he hadn't seen his family for a year. he wanted to be reunited. he said i don't want to leave china. i just don't want to go back to my village. by the time he gets to the
hospital, they said, you want to get out of here. you want to leave. then he came to us and said, i want to leave, and i want to leave with my family. we got to work. kurt campbell is one of the best diplomats we have. we got to work. and guess what. it looks like he'll be able to leave and attend nyu university and with his family. >> what's more important to this administration. standing up for freedom in china or maintaining a very delicate relationship with this power. >> standing up for freedom. i spent more time with the soon-to-be president of china, vice president xi. i spent roughly ten days with him -- five in china, five here. i've been alone with him over 30 hours of meeting, he and i. publicly and privately. i have never failed including when he was hosted at the state departments to say human rights, human rights is critical to us. i explained to him why it's so critical, why americans as part
of our dna. i pointed out that almost everybody that came here came avoiding oppression. it's part of our dna. if he didn't understand that, there would be little ability for us to cooperate. we have not in any way backed off of our commitment to human rights. >> let's talk about the campaign for the presidency. should i assume you're here today that you're a lock for the ticket here? no question about it? >> no question about it. there is no question about it. there's no way out. i mean, they've already printed obama/biden. you are looking at the vice presidential candidate of the united states of america. >> has it annoyed you that there's been all this buzz about, well, if the president put in secretary clinton he'd be a shoo-in for re-election? if he would just plmake the switch. >> the thing that annoys me that somehow president clinton is weak -- president obama is
weak. that's not directed at me. it's unfair. i think -- look we have the strongest candidate. in every presidential race, david, it's the only race in which the public demands one threshold test be met. is the individual strong, and is their character consistent with what they say they'll do? is their character strong enough to say they'll do it? we have the best candidate, man. he has a backbone like a ramrod. i think we have clearly the best candidate. >> is it going to be a close election? >> it may be close electorally. i think all elections are close, my grandfather finnigan used to say -- he was a good athlete. joe, remember any team can beat any other team in any given day, but they're going to need a better game plan than the one they have now about how they restore the economy by going back to the policies of the previous eight years. they need a better social policy than taking the social policy
back to the '50s, and they need a better foreign policy than one that says the cold war is still going on. i mean, it's just in my view anyway. >> you rate social policy. the president has said that his views on gay marriage, on same-sex marriage have evolved, but he's opposed to it. you're opposed to it. have your views evolved? >> i just think that the good news is that as more and more americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition. who do you love? who do you love? and will you be loyal to the person you love? that's what people are finding out. is what all marriages at their root are about. whether they're marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals. >> is that what you believe now? >> that's what i believe. >> you're comfortable with same-sex marriage now? >> look, i'm vice president of the united states of america. the president sets the policy.
i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights and liberties. quite frankly, i don't see much of a distinction beyond that. >> in a second term, will this administration come out behind same-sex marriage, the institution of marriage? >> i can't speak to that. i don't know the answer to that. >> it sounds like you'd like to see it happen. >> the president continues to fight, whether it's don't ask don't tell or whether it's making sure across the board that you cannot discriminate. look at the executive orders he's put in place. any hospital that gets federal funding, which is almost all of them. they can't deny a partner from being able to have access to their partner or making a call on whether or not they, you know -- it's just -- this is evolving.
by the way, my measure, david, and i take a look at when things really began to change is when the social culture changes. i think "will & grace" did more to educate the american public than almost anything anybody has ever done so far. i think people fear that which is different. now they're beginning to understand. they're beginning to understand that this as a base. i was speaking to a group of gay leaders in los angeles two weeks ago. one gentleman looked at me in the question period, let me ask you, how do you feel about us? i had just walked into the back door of this gay couple, and they're there with their two adopted children. i turned to the man, i said, what did i do when i walked? you walked right to my children. they were 7 and 5 giving you flowers. i said, i wish every american could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys, and they wouldn't have any doubt about what this is about. >> let me ask you another topic about the politics of national
security. it was a bizarre moment this week with the release of letters from osama bin laden was hiding, and at one point he talks about his desire to kill president obama leaving you in power because he concluded you'd be totally unprepared to lead. how did that sit with you? you had to come across -- >> i was delighted that president obama acted as swiftly and decisively as he did so we wouldn't have to worry about whether or not i'm prepared to lead. the one thing particularly in foreign policy i've never been accuse of is not being able to lead in the national security area, but, look, it's -- you know, osama bin laden has been wrong about a lot of things. i hope he was wrong about that. >> the president went to afghanistan on the anniversary of the operation to kill osama bin laden with a message to america that this war is coming to an end. headlines around the world,
including this in "the new york post" which was more colorful. ka-bull, now obama spikes bin laden football in afghanistan. an allusion to the fact that he would not do that. there would not be the politicalzation of killing bin laden. was all of this together in effect his mission accomplished moment? >> no. first of all, the president did not go to kabul to sign a document with karzai to end this war. this is a war-ending document. he would not have done that had the document not been ready. for 20 months we've been negotiating that document. i promise you, had he not done that unrelated to bin laden's anniversary, he would not have gone to kabul. number one. number two, look, this is a signature moment in this
president's administration where he did what he said he would do. he said from the beginning that he would turn heaven and earth upside-down paraphrasing to get bin laden. because it was a cathartic moment to the nation and to send a message around the world. as i said during the campaign we will follow you to the gates of hell if you harm americans. it was an important message to state, and it's totally appropriate he talks about that. it's a measure of being a commander in chief. lastly, i notice -- i'm not making a judgment. i don't know what governor romney would have done with the same information, but i know he wouldn't have gotten the same information. he said he would not turn heaven and earth to go get him. when we came into office, i promise you sitting in the oval office with the president and na security team, he turned and said i want you to know and he turned to leon panetta, i have one priority, the priority, find and get bin laden. >> you questioned romney on foreign policy in a realm, in a wide area.
in this particular area you said that osama bin laden is dead, gm is alive. could you say that slogan in reverse for governor romney? given at the hour of the day for this operation, you told this president, don't do it. don't do it now is what you said. yet, you're saying governor romney should be questioned when that was your judgment at the time? >> that's a valid point. i didn't say he wouldn't. >> the implication is he would not pull the trigger. he was on the program a week ago saying i don't know he would. >> i don't know that he would. you don't know until you're in that position. all i can tell you and the reason i have such admiration for that president. in that room when that decision was being made, the last call -- six of us were meeting for five months before in secret nailing down whether there's a possibility bin laden was there. the president had a roll call. everybody had some maybe yes, maybe no. i think on balance go. the only guy who had a full
throated, "go, mr. president," was leon panetta. i walked out of that meeting, as i usually do. i get to be the last guy with the president. we walked up towards the residence, toward his office. i knew he was going to go. he look at me, and i said, follow your instincts, mr. president. follow your instincts. your instincts have been close to un-erring. i wanted him to take one more day to do one more test to see if he was there, but he did it for one reason. he had 100% confidence in the seals that even if bin laden wasn't there, there would be no collateral damage and they could get back. >> bottom line, do you think america will be weaker in the world, national security weakened if president romney takes over? >> here's what i'll say. i am absolutely guaranteed america's position in the world in national security is stronger with president obama having taken over. our alliances have been repaired. we're out of one war and a path
to get out of another war. we have moved on. relationships have not been able to be attended to. russia, china, south africa, et cetera. >> will the country be any less safe under a president romney? >> based on what president romney has said as it relates to his view -- for example, i'm saying our arch enemy -- i'm paraphrasing, is russia. he called it the soviets. is russia. if that's his prism through which he views our national security interests, i would say it would not be as strong. >> let me ask you about the ways of washington in a concluding area here. we talked before. the fact that washington doesn't work very well right now and the fact that it hasn't for a number of years that coincides with obama/biden being in the white house. you've been very critical of republican. do you think there is a modern, right wing conspiracy that has aligned against this president? >> no, i think the republican party has been taken over by the tea party. those things happen. my party was taken over by the far left when i was elected in 1972.
we go through phases like this. this isn't fundamentally new. we need a republican party. we need a strong republican party. a party that has two or three or four people in office that can speak for the party, can make agreements, that's what we need. >> you're going to fight about taxes all campaign. >> yep. >> if you win re-election, does that mean you go into this lame duck period where all the decisions have to be made including the bush tax cuts which end by the end of the year. if you win re-election is it that's it? rates go up for middle class americans, period? >> yes. there is no way to do anything other than hurt the middle class if we don't do that. this election in our view, the big idea in this election is the middle class. will they begin to grow again?
look, we have this whole thesis it seems to me from the other that if you concentrate more and more and more well with success in the very top, somehow something positive will happen. we've always moved forward as a nation when the middle class grows. when they grow, the poor have access and the wealthier get wealthier. it's a fundamental disagreement of philosophy. >> you believe it has to happen after the election. is it your view that speaker boehner and leader mcconnell don't speak for the republican party? >> let me put it this way. i have had the great honor of spending hours and hours and hours and you have covered my negotiating of the debt limit and other things with the leaders of the republican party. on several occasions they have been prepared to make some real compromise and have ended up calling back and saying, i can't do it. i can't get it done. would it have solved every problem? no. i think that republican -- look,
i'll give you the best example. republican leadership said extend the payroll tax. they couldn't get it done until the "wall street journal" came in and started beating up, i mean drum beats beating on the tea party types. that's the only way it could get done. in the past it would be the republican leadership would say, okay, here's the deal, guys. this is what we're doing. john boehner wasn't opposed to extending those taxes. how did it happen? i'm not criticizing john. john's in a situation where he has a group of people that old expression, this is the tail wagging the dog. this is not your father's republican party. >> what have you seen in this president over these four years in terms of how he operates in washington that makes you confident if he wins re-election he somehow can break through what's gone wrong in washington and do something meaningful to get our fiscal house in order
and restore prosperity? >> i tell you what changes these gridlocks, is success. let me give you one example. the overwhelming opposition to rescuing the automobile companies. it was viewed by the public at large. it was viewed by the vast majority of the republicans and even democrats as a big mistake. he bet on iconic industry if they reorganized. it worked. now people are saying, you know, maybe we should take another look at some of these other proposals. if, in fact, he's re-elected, what will happen as a process of that is many of the things he's already put in place will be coming to fruition. they'll be beginning to take root, and the american public will demand people compromise, like the "wall street journal" had to demand that the tea party guys extended the payroll tax. you'll have the public, and ultimately everybody, left wing,
democrats in the '70s to tea party guys and women in 2012, they all respond to the constituency. >> final question. this fall who would you most like to face on a debate stage? >> you know that old expression be careful what you wish for. you may get it. i'm confident whoever i face on that stage will be a good debater and competent. the good news is i think the distinctions and the choices about the policies are going to be so stark, it's a debate i'm looking forward to. >> who is more likely to run for president in 2016, you or secretary clinton? >> i think we may run as a team. i'm only joking, obviously. i don't know whether i'll run or hillary will run. >> there's a lot of truth in humor, mr. vice president. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> when we come back a lot to dissect there from politics of this election. we'll get reaction to the vice president's interview, including from the romney campaign.
the roundtable is here. republican senator from new hampshire kelly ayotte joins us and tom brokaw and chuck todd and economist diane swonk. later previewing my press pass conversation with robert deniro including his thoughts on president obama. >> it's very easy to criticize people. i think he's done a good job. he's done other things that maybe he should have been a little stronger about, people will complain, but it's not easy to be president of the united states. >> "meet the press" is brought to you by the boeing company. surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards. let's do what's best for our students-by investing in our teachers. let's solve this.
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brokaw. republican of new hampshire senator kelly ayotte and chief economist diane s with wonk. or political trend tracker is on point here. if you look at the stories people are looking at this weekend. obama kicks off his campaign and romney sharpens his message. we're right on it in terms of what people are talking about. senator, let me start with you, between the president's big speech in ohio and virginia what you heard from the vice president this morning, how would you describe from the romney campaign this pitch for re-election you're hearing? >> i think overall with all due respect to the vice president, it's very, very sad that the candidate who ran on hope and change and uniting us in 2008 seems unrecognizable now. we've had a decisive president. we've had a president who is
failing to lead on the fundamental issues starting first with the economy. we saw that jobs report on friday was very, very disappointing. the most disappointing aspect of it is that people are leaving the job market, and obviously, they feel hopeless in terms of where the economy is right now. its two signature issues, you think about it health care and the stimulus, when they had a supermajority in both congresses, the democrats didn't work and they were failures. i hear from employers all across our state about health care costs going in the wrong direction under the president's health care bill. when you look at foreign policy, i give him credit for good tactical decisions. obviously, getting osama bin laden and the drone strikes, but there's major strategic errors, i would start with the one that sticks with me and is a major strategic error, and that is when the people in tehran stood in the streets in 2009 and this president -- you want to talk about standing up for human rights. they were standing for free elections, and this president was silent.
eventually said something, but really talked about how that was going to impact negotiations with the iranian regime instead of focusing on standing up for those people in the streets. think how different it would have been if it resulted in a regime change in iran. >> there's a lot to get to. i want to start bore down on the economy a little bit. here's the headline from "the washington post" today. obama launches campaign against romney but his real opponent is the economy. let me go around on the table on this. first of all, diane, you heard the vice president say there's no stagnation here. this recovery is in line with past recoveries from steep recessions. give us a reality check. >> first of all, no one piece of data is descriptive. the economy is collective human behavior and the data is our flashlight into a dense forest of economic information globally and nationally. the second issue is the reality is yes, we had a financial crisis and recovering from a financial crisis. when you take the foundation of capitalism and cut part of it
away, it's very difficult to do. this is a reality we have to deal with. now, were there mistakes made along the road? absolutely. could we have a stronger recovery today if we had less uncertainty in washington? on both sides of the aisle. i'm an equal opportunity offender. both sides have supported me on economic policy. i think that's one of the key issues, is you are stuck within a certain range of growth. could you have gotten a little bit more if there had been less uncertainty and less gridlock on both sides of the aisle, yes, you could have. coming up, we have a fiscal cliff coming up that's been kicked down the road and europe in crisis with elections that move us away from a solution we need in europe. europe is something that could take us along with the fiscal cliff into another recession. these are not things we have a lot of control over. as americans it feels like we don't, but we elected these people and it's time they work. >> tom brokaw, where government plays a role and i thought the
president's speech on that particular area was important because he talks about stark choices. let me play a piece of speech yesterday and have you talk about it. >> look, we don't expect government to solve all our problems, and it shouldn't try. not every regulation is smart, not every dollar is spent wisely, not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves. but that's not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hard-working americans, you're on your own. >> there's a strong place for government, he argues. >> i've been aall over the country in the last three weeks, and with all due respect to the president, there's a real wariness out there. they've gone from having pneumonia now to having a strong virus when they look at the economy. you can use that old phrase, fool me once, that's your fault. fool me twice, it's my fault. i think the country has felt
they've been through false upticks two or three times in the last couple of years, and they're waiting. there's a general feeling that things are beginning to get better, but not fast enough. mixing all my metaphors here. you know, the fact is that they want real, hard, tangible evidence in their communities, in their states that it's going to get a lot better, and i think that they have lowered their expectations. we're not going to get back to where we were before all this began very swiftly. my own guess is from a generational point of view. young people coming out of college now, they have aa different perception about what the economy will mean for them. that's the reality for both parties. we're at this stage of the -- for all the excitement and heavy breathing that we have about the romney speech and the president's speech, we're still in the out of town tryouts. this big show won't open until the end of august when they go on the stage at the conventions and hit the campaign trails in september. that's when people will really
begin to pay attention, david. >> your take-away from the vep? >> i was in the president yesterday in both places. what i found fascinating is how the campaign realizes they have to answer this -- they have to come up with a new question, because they don't want the question to be are you better off now than you are four years ago. they came up with with a new question. will you be better off four years from now? it's an acknowledgment if the election is simply are you better off now, they lose that. they're trying to change the conversation. that makes the battleground map interesting. we talk about this uneven nature of the economy. well, the battleground states are in uneven nature. mitt romney can go in certain states and talk about the bad economy and it will resonate. florida, north carolina, nevada. all unemployment rates above the national average. >> the subprime crisis. >> the housing. >> yeah. >> you go to virginia and ohio, two states where the unemployment rate is below the national average and two republican governors who will campaign with mitt romney but don't want to talk down the
economy. you have that tactical struggle. the romney campaign has to come to grips with. you have some upbeat news particularly in the state of virginia that has weathered the recession differently mostly to -- thanks to defense contractors and the government. in ohio there's this fight who gets credit for that. the auto industry or the new republican governor? >> is the vision that less government automatically more certainty and therefore the floodgates open and economic growth is ushered in. you heard the vice president say this is bush era republican ideas on steroids. that's the argument. >> david, i have to say taking off what chuck said, if you do look at "are you better off, " the answer is clearly no under any measure. there's also the question of is there any hope with the failure of leadership of this president on the economic issues it will be any better. i think people come to the conclusion no. why? it's not about no government or
less government, it's about smart government. you've seen it from the regulations coming forth on this administration, whether it's teenagers -- proposals that teenagers can't work on family farms and what happened with the nlrb in terms of the south carolina plan trying to expand there. it's smart regulation and smart government and getting the fiscal house in order. this president has failed to lead on that issue. $5 trillion added to our debt. his budget failed the house of representatives 0-414. this is an issue where governor romney brings real strength having been a governor, balanced budgets and in a position where he's worked with across the aisle to do that in a state where it's not easy to do that. >> the reality the politico website, it's still a split decision, 39 to 40%. will the effect of president obama's economic policy. the question is of who is a bridge to a more durable economic recovery seems to be the centerpiece of this election.
>> i think that's true. what we're seeing at this time and chuck and i have looked at these numbers for a while, at this stage of the year going into fall they're not a lot of enthusiasm for either candidates. among the supporters it's about 50% range about enthusiasm for president obama and for mitt romney. so i think at in the point the country is back there waiting and taking the measure of what's going on and concentrating much more on their local economics and their local interests. the other point of it is, david, wherever i went, people feel excluded from the process. they think it's concentrated on two extremes of the two parties and the big part of the middle field is left out. they don't have a voice in it anymore, so they turn their backs on washington and worry about where they were. adding to that on the economic perspective, people feel that exact issue is we do know that problems and gridlock in
washington have contributed to our economic woes. we can blame it on whoever we want to, but the reality is it's here. i'm an equal opportunity offender, because i'm offended equally. on the other side of it. we have an opportunity here. the world is not inevitably going to be bad, if you look at most americans they're okay with looking at the ten-year period of time reducing the deficit. i think most republicans and democrats and don't let them talk to a press in an election year and they will come to an agreement. most americans understand it's spending and taxes. we have a complicated tax code that needs to be reformed. all the things can be resolved. the fact we're not doing it. my kids know how to solve some of these problems. >> this is something to keep an eye on. there is a kind of nascent movement at the moment to dust off simpson-boles and get it on
the table again. nancy pelosi said she could probably live with it. this was a big miss on the part of the president among his admirers what that bipartisan commission worked very hard. came up with a a lot of tough medicine there. but this past week jamie dimon, who is the head of chase manhattan bank, who is a big supporter of the president last time around, he came outside and said simpson-boles, nancy pelosi. a number of people find it as a nexus so you can break the gridlock. >> what's unfortunate is that the president did not at least champion it. he didn't like all of it. really champion that issue, and that's where we need presidential leadership on this issue of the debt and where we are. >> it got politicized when the house republicans weren't allowed to vote for it. the senate conservatives voted for, and paul ryan who wants to be a champion of being mr. deficit reduction, didn't support it. he said kind things about it but
didn't support it. then it looked like it got politicized. >> i got to get a break in here. >> this is where presidential leadership can make a difference. >> let me get a break in here. i want to come back and talk about other hot political stories as we go around the table quickly on some of those. then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. all at 150 calories or less, there's definitely a temptations for you. unless you're one of those people who doesn't like delicious stuff. temptations. it's the first jell-o that's just for adults.
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senator rubio of florida appearing with him this week. some questions raised about the relationships rubio had with political allies down in florida have been an issue. senator ayotte campaigning this week and there are the others as well, talk about paul ryan and about virginia governor mcdonald and chris christie from new jersey. senator ayotte, is that a tryout? would you like to be on the ticket? >> it's an honor to be mentioned in that vein, but my focus is on serving new hampshire. there's so many good candidates out there. senator portman in ohio. we have a lot of great messages. >> she has to send, first of all, is he comfortable with that individual. is that person ready to serve for president of the united states. what does that person have in the ticket not only in terms of geography and qualifications and
knowledge of the issues. >> are you ready to be vice president? >> i have great experience as a attorney general. i'm proud of that experience. i would say i have some would say better experience than barack obama when he was a senator having been the chief law enforcement officer of my state to serve on the senate armed services committee. again, what it comes down to me for me, it's serving new hampshire. >> another hot topic this week, is endorsements for romney appearing somewhat weak. newt gingrich and tom brokaw saying if it's a choice between a idea log and mitt romney, i'll go with mitt romney. >> having watched newt gingrich dribble this out for a long period, one in his home state and one next door, i'm not sure he moved a needle. romney has to get the
independent vote and get back somewhat toward the middle in the fall to be successful. he can't play the extremely conservative wing of the party. newt gingrich has been around the track so many times i'm not sure if people take him razz seriously as a lot of folks this this town too. a lot of people in the country say what's happened with the press and political coverage in america? i don't feel connected to it. i was out on the road when the white house correspondent dinner popped up again. if there's ever an event that separates the press from the people that they're supposed to serve symbolically, it's that one. it's time to rethink it. you know, it's -- i think george clooney is a great guy. i'd like to meet charlize theron, but i don't think the big president in washington should be that glittering event where the all talk is about champagne, the italian embassy and who met the most people. that's another separation between what we're supposed to be doing and what the people expect us to be doing.
i think the washington press corps has to look at that. by the way, i'm a charter member of the white house correspondents association. i was there early on and often enjoyed it, but it's gone beyond what it needs to be. >> point taken. final one on the hot topics this week. the vice president on this program talking about same-sex marriage. he made news on this, chuck. >> he basically came out and supported gay marriage, and that was clear in your interview. what's interesting there is the vice president's office reached out to me to say yes, we know that the vice president was speaking about himself. he's not speaking for the administration, and they pointed out like the president he's evolving on this issue. >> we will leave it there. we'll come back and have final thoughts from the roundtable and also preview my discussion with robert deniro on a big event in lower manhattan, the site of ground zero after this. ovider it
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well, if we don't find an audience, all we'll ever do is rehearse. maybe you should try every door direct mail. just select the zip codes where you want your message to be seen. print it yourself or find a local partner. and you find the customers that matter most. brilliant! clifton, show us overjoyed. no! too much! jennessa? ahh! a round of applause! [ applause ] [ male announcer ] go online to reach every home, every address, every time with every door direct mail. >> a final thought with our roundtable here. first i want to preview a special press pass conversation. changes in the air in new york this week. i was up there. one world trade center formerly -- known as the freedom tower became the tallest building in manhattan. i had a chance to go to the world center hotel which overlooking the site and 9/11 memorial which is fantastic to sit down for a conversation with actor/director robert deniro. he's an ambassador of sorts and instrumental player in helping
lower manhattan bounce back after the 9/11 attack. this is part of our conversation. this is an active construction site that you hear behind us. >> i was struck this week by the milestone of this tower, that it became the tallest building in manhattan. as they are building it into the fog today, it's now taller than the empire state building. what does that mean to you as such an ambassador of downtown that milestone was reached? >> it's funny. when it happened, 9/11, i thought, well, we just have to rebuild the buildings exactly the way they were. and then, of course, things went through so many changes, so many moving parts, obviously, so when it's finally this, i say well, it actually looks great. it looks great. >> so much is in a political context right now because of campaign, whether it's osama bin
laden or the war in afghanistan. you're somebody who cares a lot about politics but hasn't been involved until 2008 when you talked about your inspiration and support for president obama. are you as inspired and hopeful and satisfied with what he's done as president as he stands for re-election? >> it's very easy to criticize people. i think he's done a good job. he's done other things that maybe he should have been stronger about, people will complain. it's not easy to be president of the united states, and he -- that was pointed out in the "new york times" in the last sunday week in review by peter bergen about all the things he did as far as bin laden and other things that he stepped up being a liberal president, supposedly, that were effective. not always -- you know, there's all the negative side of that, but he took the chance to do it,
and he did it ultimately with bin laden. i give him credit, and i hope he does -- i know he'll do better in the next four years when he doesn't have to worry about being elected or not. >> you can watch the full interview online at meetthepressnbc.com. diane, the economy of lower manhattan has changed and a lot is rebounding. where is it today? >> actually it came back quite strong. part of it was a commitment to be there. it's interesting how well it did in the wake of how many financial sector jobs were lost in na area. -- in that area. in one week's time between september 14th and september 21st, 2008, wall street as we knew it disappeared. there was a major change. yet, downtown manhattan is still doing okay. some of that we can debate why, but they're coming back. we talk about all the politics here and we've had conversations in between the breaks about how many solutions are being done locally and how the economy is being helped at the local level
by community colleges and by state colleges to train people to get the kind of jobs that they actually have job offers out there for. that's where you have to have hope. i never give up in the economy, and i'm a survivor of the world trade center. it's emotional for me to see that. you never give up. i still have hope. >> we'll leave it there. thank you all very much. terrific conversation. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com this man -- >> hope you're not married. >> wants the prostitutes in his neighborhood gone. >> if i catch you, you get a life sentence. >> he -- >> you ought to be ashamed of yourself! >> -- wants government officials to play by the same rules as