tv Meet the Press NBC August 31, 2015 2:58am-4:01am EDT
vanished on a warm september night while the rest of the world was looking the other way. that's all for now. i'm lester holt. this sunday, the trump effect. when donald trump talks -- >> make america great again. >> -- the rest of the republican field listens. >> with your help, we can make this country great again. >> how donald trump is setting the agenda for the gop campaign. also, hillary fights back. >> i'm not running for my husband's third term and i'm not running for president obama's third term. i'm running for my first term. >> hillary clinton letting joe biden know just how tough it will be for the vice president to jump in. >> the latest polls out of iowa. where things stand this morning will surprise you. where have you gone, scott walker? expected to be a front-runner at this point. he's been lagging in the polls. can he make a comeback? scott walker joins me.
finally, ten years after katrina, are we learning that some parts of new orleans needed to be destroyed in order to be saved? joining me for insight and analysis this sunday are matt bai of yahoo! news, msnbc michelle harris perry, steven schmidt. >> announcer: this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning. have i a couple of shock poll results out of iowa from "the des moines register" and bloomberg. on the democratic side bernie sanders has pulled within seven points of hillary clinton. throw in joe biden, he sits at 14%. back in may, the same poll had clinton leading sanders by 41 points.
on the republican side, another shock. donald trump leads at 23%. almost out of nowhere, here comes ben carson with 18%. ready for this? nobody else is in double digits. scott walker, ted crews, jeb bush, marco rubio, carly fiorina. anybody else i haven't named, less than 5%. if you add up the first and second choices on the republican side, ben carson and donald trump are actually tied. ben carson, the highest favorable rating among republicans. of course, it is donald trump that is dictating things. him being on top is not the surprise this morning. he's been dominating all the polls in every state, the media. it turns out he's getting into the heads of his opponents as well. we put together some examples of just how just in the past few weeks when trump talks the other republicans feel forced to respond. >> make america great again. make america great again. >> it's not too late for
america. with your help, we can make+(o)s country great again. >> the issue is not that america isn't great. the issue is that america can be even greater. >> we'll call it the great wall of trump. >> build the wall, have the technology, the personnel. >> it's not feasible to build a wall as the sole solution. >> i'll use the word anchor baby. >> do you regret using anchor babies? >> no, i don't. >> y don't regret it. >> they're human beings. they're not just statistics. >> rand paul, you have to understand, is a disaster in the polls. he's a disaster on military and defense. he's getting decimated by everybody. >> i think people are going to have to decide whether they want someone who can say, she's fat, yeah i'm so good looking. she's stupid and i'm rich or i'm smart because i'm rich. >> has anyone ever heard of lindsey graham. >> if he becomes the nominee,
we'll get killed. come to south carolina and i'll beat his brains out. >> jeb is nice person. he's very low energy. i'm not used to that kind of a person. >> we need leadership is washington, d.c. high-energy leadership. >> there you have it. it seems as if they all want to respond and feel like they have to respond to trump. matt bai, for yahoo! news, melissa harris-perry and steve schmidt, former senior add adviser to john mccain. steve, your party, i'm going to start with you. i think the most important poll number in this "des moines register" poll is not carson, sanders, clinton, it's this number. satisfaction with the republicans in congress. among republican caucus-goers in iowa, 75% say they're not
satisfied. should we be surprised carson and trump on top? >> it's the complete and utter con temp of republican voters toward the establishment of the republican party in the political leadership of the country. increasingly what you see also is now a severability between conservativism, which is defined as huge selections of the republican electorate as rhetoric emotion. the more incendiary the rhetoric, the more conservative you are. the test of true conservativism is fidelity to the person that has the most incendiary rhetoric. so, at a time of great cultural transition, change in the country, economic dislocation with globalization, with a blue color, noncollege educated, working class base that hasn't
seen real wage growth in 30 years, here's the backlash. here's the trump candidacy. and every day this message of america nationalism, we were once great. we no longer are, but we can be again is gaining strength. >> melissa, i'm watching you nodding and nodding and nodding. don't think you disagree with a point. >> i absolutely agree. it's the culmination of this question that i think many of us have been asking as we watched the republican party over recent years. on the one hand having these important successes in state and local races, particularly in the mid-term elections and then asking whether or not the republican party is where the democratic party was when it finally had to split. when the democratic party that had been this coalition of southern democrats who were really there because they hated the emancipation proclamation in this you be easy alliance with northern liberals is split and southern democrats became
republicans. that's part of the question here. do we finally see a culmination of a tea party saying, you know what, we're actually not conservatives in the way the republican party has long defined conservativism. we are actually thinking about a different kind of nativism, nationalism, strong rhetoric and more than anything, that government is itself the problem. >> right. now, obviously this is having an affect on candidates itself. matt, you wrote about jeb bush this week. i want to put up "the des moines register" poll. favorability rating in iowa. 61%. donald trump has better numbers among republicans in iowa. he just reeked establishment to these people, i think. >> because he's an establishment candidate. i said many times, it's not so much trump is actually winning this race. everybody else is losing. he's actually have about a quarter of republican vote. i agree it's real and signifies
real. he's where herman cain was four years ago. it's a natural constituency. what's going on, unlike four years ago where mitt romney was a couple points behind, have you this vast field of candidates, divided. the rest of the electorate can't find a candidate they feel at this early stage they could rally around. they thought it was jeb bush. it's not. he's falling. who emerges to fill that void? that's the most significant question of the primary process. >> the other part of this poll, we all just talked trump, trump, trump, the news is really ben carson. he's sitting at 18%. more importantly here, highest favorable rating. it's eclipsing everybody. right now he leads among christian conservatives, if i were looking at this poll in january, i would tell you, carson would win the caucuses. if this were january, this would mean carson would win the caucuses. >> but this is not january. this is august. we have been really focused on, this but i don't think the rest of the country has to the point
that we -- >> i think iowans are. >> iowans. but you're still looking although both -- both in the case of trump and with ben carson, i think you're looking at candidates with a ceiling. particularly in the case of trump, i don't know how much higher that ceiling is going to be. >> the one candidate we didn't mention is my next guest here. we're going to turn to scott walker of wisconsin. he was supposed to be the conservative alternative favorite in this race. the conservative from -- a republican from a blue state, got things done. like many republican candidates, walker has been swept away by the trump storm. i sat down with the governor yesterday for a meet the can days interview. >> your good friend, milwaukee county sheriff said, your campaign's stuck in neutral and you need to find a spark to counter the, quote, donald trump juggernaut. what do you say to him and do you agree with him? >> it's hard work.
i was in iowa, south carolina, new hampshire, doing town hall meetings, doing the sorts of things that -- remember, eight years ago about in time, there was i think a poll out in october of 2007, last time we had an open seat for president, and hillary clinton was way ahead of a guy by the name of barack obama and rudy giuliani were ahead of mitt romney and john mccain. the biggest spark for us is getting the message out that now is not the time to put in place someone who hasn't been tested. >> now poll in your home state. you're a 30% job approval rating and barack obama has 48%. >> back then we were pushing big, bold reforms, like the big, bold reforms we pushed in the latest budget. year later i won the recall because the reforms worked. for all the hype and hysteria of the 100,000 protesters, our schools are better. a.c.t. scores are second best in the country, graduation rates
are up, third grade reading scores are up. same thing holds true for students who are my son at the university of wisconsin, reforms work there as well, property taxes continue to go down. when people see the benefits of our reforms, just like they did four years ago, i think our numbers will go up again. >> let me go to a facebook question here. this is probably the topic brought up by more posters than anybody, which was the milwaukee bucks deal. how can you -- from sam barren. how can you talk about a fiscally responsible conservative then approve a deal for billionaires, so billionaires can get a shiny new are arena. >> not one new penny of taxpayers' dollars -- talk about being a fiscally responsible person. i am. that's whydy this. $6.5 million every year. right now $6.5 million per year comes into the state of wisconsin in income taxes. not all these other things people talk about, in income taxes from nba players that play in the state of wisconsin. i would lose that money if we
did nothing. >> the birth right citizenship issue. i can get a final -- there was some confusion last week on the issue -- >> it's clear. >> you're for getting rid of it, you weren't, where are you? >> what i point out repeatedly since the beginning of this year. people have heard me, people have heard me say this a thousand times. secure the border, enforce the laws, no amnesty, go forward in a way that provides for a legal immigration system, that puts a priority in american working families and their wages in a way that will improve the american economy. whether it's talking about the 14th amendment or anything else, until we secure the borders and enforce the law, we shouldn't talk about any other issue. politicians should distract from the fact that for years in this town, in washington, d.c., politicians have made promises about securing the border sxen forcing the laws they haven't been able to fulfill. i'm not talking about changing. i'm not talking -- >> you want to keep in place. birth right citizenship stays. >> i'm not talking change the
constitution. >> you're going to try to tear up this agreement with iran on day one. why not give it a chance? see if it works? >> i have no problem doing a deal if it's on our terms. this is a horrible deal. it's a horrible deal. it's not just republicans. chuck schumer isn't exactly mr. conservative out there. he knows this is a bad deal. other democrats know this is a bad deal. the american people know this is a bad deal. if you know it's a bad deal and you know it today, why do you need a week or a month to put a cabinet in or panel in there. you need to tear it up and say, you want to do a deal with us? here's the deal. you need to completely go out and get rid of your nuclear facility. secondly, you need full disclosure. none of these side deals we heard about where somehow the iranians are part of their own inspection. full disclosure, timely disclosure. on top of, that you need to start dealing with the destructive behaviors that iran is directly involved in when it comes to state-sponsored terrorism. >> on day one f you reneglecte
the deal, they can say iranians reneged, we will renege. >> we're sending a clear message that in the future we'll pull back f you want to do business, you have to decide, do it with iran or america. we're going to pull back and terminate this deal on day one. >> we tried toppling leaders in iraq and libya. we created drone strikes. we've pulled back. we've gone in. nothing seems to stop this issue of islamic terrorism. what is it -- what are you going to do differently that is somehow going to solve this problem? >> different from this president and the policy that hillary clinton was involved with is lifting the political restrictions and the -- i'll give you a good example. we have people in iraq right now in the military, over 3,000 troops. it's not a question of sending more in. it's about empowering them to unleash the power of the united states military. we have people right there as air controllers who can literally draw in air strikes with absolute precision. they can't do that. that's particularly difficult because i talked to a general earlier this year who said, air
strikes can be effective, but right now, they're like a drizzle. he said, we need to have a thunderstorm there. >> the comment you made at the end of the 2014 on same-sex marriage, you said for us, wisconsin, the debate is over. now you said -- >> that's not right. >> for us you said it's over. a judge turned over -- >> it was over in terms of our legal option. we had no other option than waiting for what the supreme court would do. there was no other option for the state of wisconsin. the most immediate thing the next president, i'll be involved in, is protecting people's religious liberties. it's inherent in the constitution, part of the bill of rights, was to be free of religious persecution. >> does that mean a business could fire somebody that's gay? just because they're gay? >> that means -- well, have you to have bounds up. that means we have to uphold the constitution which says you have the freedom of religion. not freedom from religion. the freedom of religion.
our justice department, our irs and others out there will uphold that. >> all right. caucuses are february 1st. first sunday in february. the super bowl. who has a better shot, you in iowa or ann rodgers in the nfl? >> i'm hoping i can do both. after i was first elected november 2nd of 2010, the packers went on to win the super bowl on my wedding anniversary -- >> you're saying you're good luck? >> i like the good luck. if i win, packers win the super bowl. i like it both ways. >> a lot more of my interview with governor walker, including his reaction to the idea of that minnesota and their liberal policies have been more successful than wisconsin and their conservative policies. all of it on our website. meetthepressnbc.com. when we come back, hillary clinton's e-mail troubles are growing. joe biden made a surprise appearance on the campaign trail yesterday. sort of. it was in delaware. we'll show you [ male announcer ] we know they're out there. you can't always see them.
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r rumblings for biden movement. in the history of modern democratic primaries there's always been a establishment favorite and progressive alternative. in 2008 barack obama succeeded where previous challenges where hart and brown lee failed because he combined progressive liberal whites and african-americans. so, how does joe biden avoid being bill bradley or gary hart in 2016? if he runs, biden's hope would be these groups would become the base of his support. that's not going to be easy. right now, the barack obama 2008 coalition is already splintered. let me take a look. african-americans right now are for hillary clinton in a big way. the progressive liberal democrats, which have been a way to slow down establishment candidates in the past, well, they're starting to break for bernie sanders. so, biden right now can't comment on progressive whites because they're split between bernie sanders and hillary clinton and they can't count on
african-americans right now because they're for hillary clinton. so, the question, and melissa harris-perry, i want to start with you, joe biden gets in. is there a way for him to excite the african-american vote, that somehow they would abandon hillary clinton? >> oh, absolutely. >> you believe that? >> sure. i think biden is great for the democratic party if he runs even if he has no shot of winning because democrats need to win in the general election is a broad group of people across the country who have become not only excited but also registered. that's what we saw in 2008. so, you need a long and hard-fought campaign in order to get them registered to show up to vote. the important thing about african-american voters, they were also in hillary clinton's camp prior to the iowa caucuses in 2008. if joe biden can present your way that is more clearly responsive to black lives matter and if he can present in a way that he is truly the white
house's guy, he's really the person who is kind of -- >> obama's guy. >> the third obama term, i do think -- and he has really almost -- not president clinton but good enough to do the fluidity discourse with with black communities. >> matt bai, we've been covering joe biden a long time. he's author of the infamous crime bill from the mid-'90s that increased incarceration rates among african-americans. i'm told -- he's not totally ready to renounce that deal. that's going to be a deal-breaker with the black lives matter movement. >> i don't know how -- look, i think on the crime issue, o'malley has this problem, too, i think there's a defensible record. don't think he should disown it. i think the reforms -- have you to put yourself in the context of that time. i was covering urban affairs at that time. the reforms they made in crime control at that time were the
predominant beneficiaries were african-americans, were poor, urban residents. you couldn't go out on the street, you couldn't send your kid out to play. i think with a more contextual explanation, i think it's a perfectly defensible record. >> i think that record sits on the door step of hillary clinton. we saw it when the black lives matter activists -- >> she has to own it, too. >> right. they went to hillary clinton and said, what about your role in this as both first lady in the clinton white house as well as your later role? if there's a problem with this, it exists for both of them. i do think biden, because he would be getting in so late, he has a moment about what is the strategy, what is the discourse. >> he actually got to watch and see how sanders and clinton sort of flubbed it at the beginning. let me transition to e-mails. steve schmidt, we got a different hillary clinton on e-mails than the one last week. last week, very defensive. this week, a little contrition. let me play a clip for you. >> clearly wasn't the best choice. i should have used two e-mails, one personal, one for work.
and i take responsibility for that decision. >> you can make different decisions because things have changed, circumstances have changed, but it doesn't change the fact that i did not send or receive material marked classified. >> a different tone? better? enough to put this issue to bed? >> a a political matter, the effect of all of this has been that a substantial percentage of the country when they hear the naem hillary clinton, they respond with liar, dishonest, not trustworthy at a level enough to make her unee leblgtable. it's driving such a demand in the democratic electorate for another choice. you have a socialist from vermont beating her in new hampshire, competitive with her in iowa and driving demand for
the incumbent vice president, who's a great politician, to get in the race. then you have the secondary issue, which is the handling of classified material, so a very serious issue. most americans don't have clearances. if you've had a security clearance, the rules are not very nuanced and not very subtle. they're very, very clear. this is a very serious matter that's being investigated. as the investigation goes on, there is great peril for hillary clinton. this is now being investigated at a level that is apart and aside from the ability -- >> it's not in congress. do you think joe biden has the fire in the belly to take this issue and use it? barack obama had no problem raising trust issues with hillary clinton eight years ago and it's part of the reason why he won. do you think joe biden has it? >> absolutely. he's a politician. >> he has -- >> if he gets in the race, i think he's going to want to win. but i think melissa brought up a
really good point earlier, that is the barack obama factor when you were talking about biden and getting people who voted for obama on board. obama as of now still -- you know, he's still playing -- he hasn't konl out and said -- and he's not going to. this is his former secretary of state and his vice president. how hard do you think barack obama is going to be campaigning for joe biden? no. that's like -- >> but there's no history of joe biden attacking barack obama in the way that there is of hillary clinton -- >> no, but joe biden calling -- >> clean and articulate. >> and that's not going to go over very well. >> all right. i will pause there, but i think this is why there's so much skepticism about biden being able to pull this off. he can win the african-american vote? coming up, ten years after katrina, there are some people that make an argument it might have been necessary to destroy parts of new orleans in order to save it. that debate is next. >> announcer: "meet the press" is brought to you by morgan stanley. i hate cleaning the gutters. have you touched the stuff?
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can a a subconscious. mind? a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive? it's hard to believe now, but when hurricane katrina hit new orleans, everyone thought the city dodged a bullet. no direct hit and wind damage was minimal.
and then the levees broke. exactly ten years ago today, the day after landfall, we became aware water was pouring into the city and an epic disaster was unfolding in slow motion. >> there are entire neighborhoods packed with thousands of people who would kill to get to the convention center. they're stuck in their homes. the water's 10 feet high. what we're seeing at the convention center, all of the pictures could just be the tip of the iceberg. >> we're suffering. we're suffering here. >> everybody lives here from paycheck to paycheck. we don't have the money to get out of town like they want us to do. >> it's just a devastating sight to see. >> it's about people. nobody wants to hurt anybody in this city. >> here's comes the rescue. >> help! help! help! >> those images are hard to watch. we'll go back to the lower ninth ward,s area hit hardest by katrina. we'll have a
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kid: why not? vo: are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab help! help! we need help! help! help! we need help! >> ten years after katrina and those pictures very hard to watch, but the question people are asking, as has the city of new orleans recovered? that answer is very hard to pin down. according to the data center in new orleans, new industries are
investing in the city and the surrounding areas and incarceration have dropped, but the poverty rate is back up to pre-katrina levels, 27%. the population in 2005, 455,000 people lived in new orleans. last year it was 384,000. one person who did come back after fleeing the city's lower ninth ward was a woman named lacresha phillips. tremaine spoke to her as part and went back. >> reporter: in 2005 as water poured into the city, i was a reporter for the "times-picayune." one of my first stories about katrina's devastation was published about lucrece phillips. she has sleepless nights filled
with the images of dead babies and women. you can see her here when the water was up to the balcony of her home. this house isn't here anymore, but she is. >> this is it. >> reporter: it's hard to imagine. this was your house. >> it's hard to imagine this was a house on here. but if you can imagine it floating off its foundation, you know, and us bracing each other and the house, stop, don't move, because the house is teetering. >> reporter: after she was rescued, she tried to go inside the superdome. but back then -- >> it looks pristine now as opposed to the way it looked back then. back then it just looked like a tomb. i was like, i don't to want go in here. i don't want to go in here. >> reporter: she didn't. i met her at the hyatt where it looked like a bomb had gone off. i wrote then, in a darkened lobby of the downtown hyatt hotel turned refuge, she hugged an emergency worker closely. a handful of his sweaty blue
t-shirt rippling from each of her fists. she had barely gotten out of a filth. now the hyatt gleans but lucrece who spent eight years in texas is skeptical of the shine. >> there's not many that came back. i can't say that, you know -- this city is not as full and vibrant as it used to be. those people -- >> reporter: can you feel the difference? >> yes, i can feel the difference. you know,i it's more of an eerie -- a touristy feeling. >> reporter: some parts of the different, more entrepreneurship are hard to see in the lower ninth ward. that being said, i can see that the spirit of resilience that was always here was never swept pa way. trymaine lee, nbc, new orleans. the massive destruction of a city has raised a provocative question. did new orleans need to be destroyed in order to be saved? the best-selling author of
"outliars and the tipping point," malcolm gladwell wrote an article for "the new yorker" looking into the city's neighborhoods, school system and if some people were better off never coming back to new orleans. i met with gladwell and i asked him about a study he writes about regarding recidivism rates for those who return to their old neighborhoods. >> this is a guy by mcguchlt rk and he got all the prison records post-katrina and he looked at those released from katrina, whose neighborhoods had been steroid, who couldn't go back to new orleans h to go somewhere else, usually houston. he compared their reincarceration rate to the reincarceration rates of prisoners who could return to their old neighborhood. what he found was there was a striking difference. 25% difference in the
reincarceration rates of those two groups. if you couldn't go back to your old neighborhood, you were far less likely to return to jail in one, two years and now doing an eight-year follow-up and doing the same pattern. someone in this category, a former crack user from new orleans who had moved -- gotten out of prison and moved to houston calls up and -- calls him up and says, you know, i hate to say it, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. i got a fresh start. i got separated from all of the influences that were such a negative voice in my life. >> the next part of your article was dealing with the school system. this had also been -- had you a perfect phrase. instead of a school system p became a system of schools. essentially we're getting the first new high school graduates in this system, beginning to end. success or failure? >> i would say -- i mean, my suspicion is that in the long term, we will look at this as a success.
at the same time, when you look right now, ten years out at tests and all the kind of statistical indicators of how much better the school system -- the reinstituted school system in new orleans is than the previous one, the gains seem very modest. but i think that's because we're -- it's too soon. >> i read your piece, you came to this, when do you move and when do you rebuild? i think that's ultimately the story of the ninth ward. what's been the -- there's been some rebuilding. are people better off? >> yeah. >> can we say that? >> it's always a complex issue. this is the issue, of course, at the heart of immigration. so, my family, half of my family, are jamaicans. virtually all in the last 30 years have left jamaica for canada or the united states. is jamaica worse off for them having left?
probably. jamaica has suffered because the middle class moved en masse. are my cousins and mother better from losing jamaica? absolutely. my mother would tell you she's better in canada, far more prospects, got an education, career, things unimaginable growing up in jamaica. it's almost an impossible question to say it's better or worse. it really depends on what are you asking about? are you asking about the community or are you asking about the individuals. >> so, is this a case -- let's go back to new orleans today. did we destroy the village in order to save it? is that what katrina did? have we saved new orleans? >> we have changed new orleans. and i am still optimistic that in the long run, we will have changed it for the better. but i still think that ten years is hopelessly premature to pass any kind of judgment. i am also aware that the process of changing a city in the wake
of a disaster, as opposed to simply going back to the way things were before, is unbelievably painful, right? and you cannot gloss over just how much disruption was piled upon disruption in the years after katrina. and i would not wish that on anyone. >> i want to bring in melissa harris-perry here, long-time new orleans resident. wh you digested that "new yorker" article. new orleans today s it better city than it was pre-katrina? what do you say to that? >> maybe the only thing i agree on with malcolm gladwell, that's a tough question to answer and it depends on where you are standing. if you're a ninth ward resident, whose home was destroyed, whose home was destroyed, not by katrina, but, rather, by the federal levees that failed in the context of katrina, then, no, it simply is not better off. i would also suggest for many who are african-american it's not a better city in part
because this so-called success story in the schools also included charterizing the entire system, which meant deunionizing all teachers. whatever people feel about teachers union, one thing to remember is it is the heart of the black middle class, particularly in new orleans. so, that loss of income and of economic stability for the black middle class there has been meaningful, so it's not just the schools but also the people who work in schools. and i think -- the final thing i would say is, yes, there are some ways in in which the city has had a huge amount of federal investment it deserved before the storm, but also remember that that -- that stands on whether or not you are living in a community and a neighborhood that can take advantage of it. >> what do you say to african-americans that fled, went to houston and their lives are better? is this a message to any poor community that says, you know what -- >> absolutely. >> -- leave, get out, you will make your life better. >> is this is the problem in part with the gladwell piece. he seems unaware -- he's a smart enough guy to know this.
correlation is not causation. he uses the language of natural experiment to talk about what happens in the context of katrina. there's nothing less like an experiment or social scientific evidence than what we see post-katrina. people who leave and people who say are different draws from the box. the reason people can go and stay. people may move and make great lives from themselves. that actually tells us nothing as a matter of a social scientific piece of evidence we could then extend pep also makes a really false equivalency between immigration and what happens after the storm. immigrants are people who make choice and they make a choice to leave. >> this wasn't a choice. >> this was not a choice. this matters critically for the things we are as americans, saying we want to maximize human freedom. >> thanks very much on that. i'm going to bring the rest of the panel in in a few minutes. one year ago this week, president obama famously said the u.s. didn't have a real strategy to deal with isis. he did present one about a week later. do we have a strategy that is working now?
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welcome back. while the debate over the iran nuclear deal is the one dominating foreign policy discussion this summer, we'll be reminded in about a week of the one-year anniversary of trying to take on isis. we're reminded all the time of the brutality of isis. in fact, this week the group released footage purports to show the ancient city of palmyra in syria. the humanitarian crisis is
reaching syria. as hundreds of thousands release, while those that suffocated in austria in those drowning off the coast of libya. here's a chief foreign correspondent richard engel with more. >> reporter: the only part of the u.s. strategy against isis that's on target so far in the u.s. air strikes. last september the u.s. administration announced a war on isis. >> to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as isil. >> reporter: two weeks ago washington got what sounded like long-awaited good news. the u.s. has been bombing isis for nearly a year, and finally got access to bases here in southern turkey, bringing jets and drones far closer to their targets. a huge tactical gain. but isis doesn't seem to be shrinking. in fact, to quote one u.s. official, isis's international
branchs are growing like crazy. isis has spread rapidly across north and west africa, arabiya, afghanistan, even into the far east. isis has expanded far more quickly and extensively than al qaeda ever did. >> what's happening mostly is the brand of isis is as powerful as the brand of osama bin laden. the isis battle is not going to be a quick battle. it takes years. >> reporter: and even at home in isis strongholds in iraq and syria, the group continues to operate openly, ruling by fear. this was a mid-level isis commander who ran a village near raqqa in syria like a mayor. i was responsible for everything, he says, the security of the town, its food, water, electricity, the fighters. i was the chairman of the police station. but he eventually became disillusioned. isis, he says, is corrupt and kills too many muslims. i started doubting the islamic
state when they began to fight with other islamic groups, he says. so, why isn't the u.s. strategy working? it's based on three pillars, and they're all shaky. retraining the iraqi army. it's been slow and iran often calls the shots. training syrian rebels, but so far only a handful are ready to fight and many of them have already been kidnapped. and finally, the air strikes, which are killing isis fighters and leaders, but who are then replaced. the problem with air strikes is it gives you a sense you've done more than you've done. it's very hard to have desired political effects from the air as we saw in u.s. operations in libya. >> reporter: and so nbc news has learned the u.s. military led by special operations is now in the midst muof a major policy revie to come up with a new global strategy to deal with what is now a global isis. for "meet the press," richard
engel, nbc news, southern turkey. >> to discuss the administration's isis strategy i'm joined by ambassador brett mcgurk, a personal adviser to president obama and, of course, a former adviser to president bush. welcome back to "meet the press." >> honored to be here. >> based on richard's reporting right now, this new policy review, what more can you tell us about it and how soon will we see a new strategy? >> well, we're implementing the policy we put together about a year ago. it's very important to step back. it was about a year ago at this point. we didn't even have an iraqi government in place, we didn't have a coalition in place. when president obama spoke to the american people on september 10th, he said it's going to be a multi-year campaign. that was based on our assessment of isil. it's better than al qaeda and iraq, which we fought, best military in the world, took years to defeat and degrade that enemy. we said there will be a multi-year campaign. we're in the first year. we said to degrade its capabilities, remove its
leaders, and maneuver around the battlefield. that's what we're doing now. >> a year later, can you say isis is weaker today than it was a year ago? doesn't sound like it is. >> degrading its overall capabilities. that's the objective. if you take this from the leader of isil's perspective, a year ago he was out in the open, speaking to his cohorts in the openly, expanding the caliphate. right now his caliphate in iraq and syria is shrinking. he just lost last week, his number one deputy, a terrorist by the name of muttas, the number one leader of isil in iraq. he was killed last week. we also killed just in the heart of raqqa of isil's capital a computer technician who was trying to inspire attacks here in the u.s. don't get me wrong, chuck, this is going to be a very long-term, multi-year campaign. i was here about two months ago. at that time isil was contr controlling almost the entire border with syria. since that time the entire bored
from her euphrates east, we have taken away from isil, now working with turkey and other groups to take away the last 60 miles of the border. >> he shaller this week that there was a report that intelligence strathd strategies of isil may have been exaggerated. i know there's an investigation. do you believe you're getting proper information? >> well w he get all of us involved in this. every morning we get a book of intelligence reports from the 17 departments and agencies across the intelligence community and they're doing a tremendous job. the president's secretary of defense -- secretary of defense demands rigor as to the assess many of isil. a year ago -- >> do you think you're getting good intelligence because the reports are maybe you you're not? >> we have a debate internally how things are going every day, as we should. we've had debates intentionally from time to time. an example is when isis was surrounding kobani. you had 200 fighters surrounded by thousands of isil fighters. we made a decision to give those
fighters a chance. those fighters with syrian kurds and those from the free syrian army expanded and took it away from isil. bottom line, i want to be clear about this, this is something we've never seen before, the extent of isil. 25,000 foreign fighters coming from all around the world, it will take years. we have to be honest and sober about how difficult this is going to be. >> brett mcgurk, ambassador, thanks for coming in. i'm sure we'll check in again soon. >> thanks for having me. a quick reminder f you can't be in front of your tv on sundays, no problem. watch us on demand, hit the dvr, hit the season pass. even if it's not sunday, it's still "meet the press." we'll be back in 45 swekdz our "end game" seven segment. >> announcer: stay tuned for "end
time now for "meet the press" "end game" brought to you by boeing, where the drive to build something better inspires us every day. >> i'd be remiss, helenef i didn't make you tell me what's going on on all things isis. and this strategy review was interesting to hear ambassador mcgurk deny they're reviewing everything. >> i think they've been -- the pentagon will say that they're always doing a strategy review. they have been for some time well aware of the fact they have to attack the psychology of isis. it's not just about killing people on the ground. it's about this message, this theology. two weeks ago i was on the aircraft carrier to theater in persian gulf and i was there reporting on the air strikes. these guys were taking over from
that carrier 20 to 25 strikes a day. and a lot of them were coming back at night, after these 6 1/2 to 7-hour flights with their weapons still intact because they don't have enough iraqi security forces -- >> they don't get the coordinates. >> -- on the ground to get the coordinates. you see this incredible array of american super power weaponry. i had never been on an aircraft carrier before, so my mind was completely blown. but at the same time, they can only go as far as -- as fast as the iraqi forces on the ground. and that training has been going slowly and painstakingly. again, you look at the flip side of that and, do we want american ground troops there? we don't. it's sort of like -- a year ago when the administration first announced the air strike campaign, they said then that this is going to take four to five years. so, i think the fact -- what's surprising is how quickly this ideology has spread globally. and that, i think, is what was interesting about your report. >> that's what's scaring people. >> let me turn to the tragedy in
roanoke, the two journalists, alison parker, adam ward, gunned down on live television. this cultural change and using social media. what i found depressing, steve, the political reaction was predictable. those that want gun control said it, we have to have gun control. then the rhetoric, those on the right, it's not about guns, it's about mental health. but i didn't see any action. i didn't see anybody saying, okay, enough is enough. we know we have this political stalemate. let's get down to brass tacks. where are we? is this -- are we intractable because of the nra aspect? >> it's completely intractable. one of the seminole events of this generation was the massacre in newtown. most horrific events in the history the country. you had a moment in time where 90% of the country, including nra members, said, we ought to have common sense gun restriction measures. we ought to have a more rigorous
background check system. and nothing happened. and nothing happened because of the intensity of the empower of the gun control lobby on the members of congress, both democrats and republicans. so, nothing will happen as a result of this. and i think that's demonstrated out of the aftermath of the newtown tragedy. >> matt, we hear all the talks, let's -- on the mental health. we don't see any political will on that either. >> no. and that was supposed to get fixed back when they created -- back with the brady bill and they created the waiting list. the history on this issue -- steve is exactly right. the reason it plays out this way, if you poll 80% of the country tells you they believe in higher restrictions. it's not an intensity issue for them. there's ten things they care about more. it doesn't affect their lives on a daily basis. for nra members, for the conservative base, it's going to take a republican to get that done, a conservative to break that stronghold. democrats can't do that. >> do you buy that, melissa,
progressive activists care about the gun issue? do they care enough that it becomes -- they force democrats to own it even more? >> part of the problem is, what is the gun issue? this goes back to steve's point, post-newtown, we think, this is the moment when it will all happen. n newtown and even this horrible tragedy in virginia, gun violence is quite different than that. the majority of gunshot wound deaths, self-inflicted, suicides. then the next you have the kind of ordinary violence we think of as occurring in communities that are racked with it. none of what we talk about, when we talk about mental health, tends to get to that. >> i will pause it there. that's all the we have for today. lots of stuff in this show, that's for sure. we'll be back next week because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." . air etta.
.. coming up on "early today," havoc in the caribbean and flood watches in effect for the southeast u.s. as it prepares for a soaking. bernie sanders and donald trump surge in iowa polls as hillary clinton's support drops. hundreds turn out into a march for a gunned down texas lawman. eye popping scenes at the mtv music awards introducing a run for president in 2015. the passing of the legends of horror and much more as we kick off "early today." good morning. tropical storm erika may b