Transcript And Audio: First Obama-Romney Presidential Debate : NPR
From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. . And if President Obama got along with Putin, that would be a fabulous thing. .. That's why I wrote the book about Mitt Romney in , I'm an Article. Pattern of Misleading Statements About Russia Meeting; Pro- Trump Media's Efforts to Discredit Obama and Romney Debate; Moderator in the Hot Seat. And this is how we rung in the first press briefing of the New Year, with conservative judges and the rollback of some Obama era regulations.
Why she was targeted individually, for the kind of attacks that she was subjected to, Is there anything about Chuck Hagel's record or statements that's disqualifying to you, should you nominate him to run the Defense Department? I've served with Chuck Hagel. He is a patriot. He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate.
Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who's currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job.
With respect to the particular comment that you quoted, he apologized for it. And I think it's a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people's attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country. And that's something that I'm very proud to have led. OBAMA, on a cliff deal: Winston Churchill used to say that we Americans, we try every other option before we finally do the right thing. And I think that that's true for Congress as well. And I think it's also important for Americans to remember that politics has always been messy.
Look, A, I never compare myself to Lincoln and, B, obviously the magnitude of the issues are quite different from the Civil War and slavery. The point, though, is democracy's always been messy. And we're a big, diverse country that is constantly sort of arguing about all kinds of stuff. But eventually we do the right thing. So one way or another, we'll get through this.
He told them he can do whatever he wants with the Justice Department. He spouted a few conspiracy theories on Russia, and he claimed that he killed ObamaCare. And this is how we rung in the first press briefing of the New Year, with the White House being pressed to explain some of those recent presidential statements. Does this administration believe that the deep state is a real thing, that there is this shadow government out there actively plotting to sabotage him?
Trump and this White House are seemingly emboldened after their big legislative win on taxes. And the President is seemingly living in a conservative echo chamber cheering the tax win and his appointments of conservative judges and the rollback of some Obama era regulations.
So with his right flank behind him, how far will the President go to get what he wants? On immigration, he says he wants this. I got elected partially because of a border wall. Oh, we are going to have the wall. That was a Democrat hoax. It was an excuse for losing the election, and it should have never been this way where they spent all these millions of dollars.
On trade, he wants China to pay. But what he says on the campaign trail and what he does in the Oval Office on China is sometimes two different things. Bottom line, January is shaping up to be a legislative and executive logjam that includes those and other issues, whether it is government funding, DACA, health care, or trade with China, as the Russia investigation hangs over everything. Top White House officials are meeting with the big four congressional leaders tomorrow to begin talks in the new year at a moment when neither party seems very interested in working together under this President.
And you definitely have influence in these building blocks to get these deals, these compromises, done. And Donald Trump is not going to get it. Is this going to be a narrow deal, or you — or, first of all, are you supportive of some form of protection for these folks?
But the President has been very specific on what he wants to see. You had it there in the lead-up. The wall is everything to him. There were chants — TODD: There were chants of border wall. I mean — yes. The question is, Chuck, why? I mean, why would they not want border security? Are they willing to protect these individuals, someorindividuals, from deportation in exchange for a secure border — TODD: I mean — so why is it this without the other?
I think it is very much — TODD: It has not been taken off the table, chain migration. Making sure that we end chain migration. Is there a chance that you just see, since you might not be able to come into agreement on all of the other things — there seems to be consensus over protecting thefolks.
Is there somehow — is that the last-minute scenario here? You want this bill to be big? Deal with the entire immigration law, like Gang of Eight style? Not saying the Gang of Eight bill but that comprehensive? Well, I think I would like to see it bigger in terms of border security and dealing with this deportation issue. That being said, I want to be real truthful.
I mean there have been a number of discussions. She said she thought she was tough. She thought she was tough and she was a good politician. And so, you know, but who knows where this is going to go. You know, it's early in the process and the voters are going to make judgments about Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, and--but the truth is they're mostly going to make judgments about Barack Obama and John McCain. Vice presidents are useful, but we're not, we're not determinative.
Already people are saying no one has a tougher job in the base than Joe Biden. He has to go up against this woman and she has been teed up, in many ways, by the Republican Party as someone that you just can't go after And--but you know, I, I've debated an awful lot of tough, smart women. A woman who's a judge here in our superior court was one of my toughest opponents ever for the Senate. And there's a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day.
So in that sense it's not new. But what is new is I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know. She did get off to a very fast start the day after they left St. They were out in Wisconsin, at Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Here were just some of the signs. Huge lineup of women, some of them with their daughters. What brought you out here today? She's already so familiar to women that they're using her first name, Sarah. Does that give your ticket a problem, because there was a dust-up obviously between the Hillary Clinton supporters and the Obama campaign?
Well look, I, I live with a lot of smart women. My wife is a professor and hard-working person. You know, I think it's kind of demeaning to suggest that all women are going to vote for a woman just because she's a woman even when she's diametrically opposed to everything Hillary stands for. I mean, I hear this talk about, you know, is she going to pick up Hillary voters? Well, I--so far I haven't heard one single policy position, one single position that she has in common with Hillary.
So I, I just think, you know, all folks are a little more discriminating than just merely whether or not it's the same sex or the same ethnicity or whatever. But we'll see, we'll see.
The truth is, I don't know. I want to move on in a moment, but there's another headline that appeared in the New York Post. Oprah Winfrey decided not to have Sarah Palin on the show before the election. Oprah did come out for Barack Obama, did have him on the show.
Do you think that some people will see that as an elitist position, that in some ways Democrats may be afraid of her, Sarah Palin?
Oh, no, I don't think so. I mean, I think it's--well, I don't--look, that's for voters to decide. You're not going to see anything elitist--look, what you hear immediately from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, families off-limits and we mean it, that the personal stuff relating to some of the stuff that was popping out on, on the talk shows is just inappropriate. She's going to be judged, I assume, the same way I'm going to be judged. What does she know, what does she think, what's her record, what's she going to do?
And as I look down the road, that's how I've always debated whoever I've debated, including the really tough women I work with, smart women, in the Senate. So I, I, I really don't view this any differently. I may be surprised here down the road.
Obama Meet the Press Interview: Full Transcript, Quotes, Video
But, but, you know, I'm just looking forward to debating her. I mean, why--look, she had a great speech. But what was--her silence on the issues was deafening. She didn't mention a word about healthcare, a word about the environment, a word about the middle class. They never parted her lips. I mean, so I don't know where she is on those things.
Let's talk about the polls, if we can for a moment. I think we're at the end of stage three of a long campaign for president. You have candidates who announced, then you had the primaries, then you have the convention, then you have the debates and then you have the runoff which leads to the election. Here's what happened last week according to the Gallup Poll. We're going to show you the tracking that went on.
On Monday, you had about a six-point lead over John McCain. It went to an eight-point lead by Tuesday. But then it began to tighten up and by the time you got to Saturday, it was just two points separating the two of them. So it's fair to say, I think, that the Republicans got the bounce out of this convention that they wanted to get.
Oh, I, I think we got the bounce and they got the bounce and then it ended up right where it was before. Look, Barack and I have never thought this was going to be anything other than a close election down to the wire. This is going to get down to, you know, I think we're going to be--you're going to be sitting up very late at night deciding I've done it before. I know you have.
I hope--hopefully, you're not going to be in a position where we're going to be recounting anything. But look, I--we've assumed from the beginning this is going to be a close, tough race. This is a historic race.
Sept. 7: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Tom Friedman - Meet the Press | NBC News
You have not only in terms of the candidates, but the time. You said before the--if you don't mind me saying, we were sitting here, you said, "Look, John McCain had this gigantic number of people watching. Barack had 38 and he had 39 million or whatever it was," but more than ever watched a convention. People are focused, man.
Their lives, as they view it, their standing in the middle class, their standing in the world, depends on it. So I think this is going to be a very focused election. Will you send Hillary Clinton into those working class states that she won and where there are a lot of independents or the so-called Reagan Democrats who have not made up their minds, states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, will she be a big player for this campaign for your candidacy in those states?
Well, I think she is a big player, and you know, as a matter of fact, I hope I'll be campaigning with her in some of those states, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. She's indicated she's prepared to do it. Bill Clinton's indicated to me he's prepared to go anywhere and campaign with us.
That's a process being worked out now, how to mechanically do that. But no, no, I think, I think Hillary's going to play a major role here.
She's a major force in not only a Democratic Party, she's a major force in American politics. Side by side with Barack Obama and you, or will they go independently? My guess is all three. My guess is we'll occasionally be side by side with me, with Barack, and I imagine independently as well. As you know, earlier in the campaign, Barack Obama said that he would be willing to appear in town halls, a proposition put forth by John McCain, go around the country, appear two, three times a week in different venues, and then he decided not to.
He wanted to confine it to just three debates.
Those numbers that we just referred to, 38 million people watching Senator Obama, 39 million watching McCain, 38 million watching Governor Palin the other night, that is an indication this country is really tuned in in a way that I can't remember maybe since Why not have town halls?
Well, that's a little above my pay grade, to use the phrase. I mean, it's a decision the campaign made before I got on the campaign, before I was picked, but Do you think it's a good idea?
But--no, I think, I think you're going to learn more from having--look, you just got finished pointing out how many people watched this. I think those debates that are going to take place, the three critical debates between the two nominees, are going to be the most watched debates in the history of American politics, and I think people are going to get everything they need out of those debates, plus they're going to have an opportunity to--look, another reason why, in my view--I can't speak for the campaign, because I haven't gotten into--I mean, I just got on the ticket--is that, you know, we have a different focus.
For example, I'm headed to--we think we can win Montana. Now, you know, they'd like very much to not, not spend a lot of time in Montana and Virginia and another 12 states or so that were Republican states we think we can compete in and win. And so when you decide on doing, you know, a campaign, a town hall, you know, every week, what you do, you significantly constrain your ability to get to places where Democratic candidates haven't spent much time before.
Let's talk about some issues. Let's begin with Iraq if we can. There was an enlightening exchange this past week between Senator Obama at the top of the ticket and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, talking about the surge, which has been a point of contention in this debate. Bill O'Reilly said, "Why can't you acknowledge that the surge was a success. Bill, what I've said is, I've already said, it succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, which is Right, so why can't you just say, "I was right in the beginning and I was wrong about the surge"?
Because there is an underlying problem with what we've done. We have reduced the violence He is talking about political reconciliation, but he also said that it has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. This was your take on the surge at that time, so let's listen to that, Senator. He may be the only one who believes that. Virtually no one else believes it's a good idea. It's not a victory, as Senator Lindsey Graham said the other night Or as John McCain said.
Transcript And Audio: First Obama-Romney Debate
Or John McCain said, but the conditions are in place, and Anbar province, where you have been, where there had been so much difficulty, the Iraqis now have taken over that province. We have brigades that have Sunnis and Shia serving side by side But it's a process, and it's beginning, and the surge made that possible, did it not? The surge helped make that--what made is possible in Anbar province is they did what I'd suggested two and a half years ago: They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, "We promise you, don't worry, you're not going to have any Shia in here.
There's going to be no national forces in here. We're going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight. Cooperating with the Shia. Cooperating with--no, they weren't cooperating with Shiite. They didn't cooperate with the Shiites. Once the awakening got under way. No, they didn't cooperate with the Shiites.
It's still--it's a big problem, Tom. You got--we're paying bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the, and the promise was made by Maliki that they would be integrated into the overall military. That's a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it's far from over.
Far from--look, the bottom line here is that it's--let's--the surge is over. Here's the real point.Chuck Todd Runs to Fight Stress
Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We're in a new deal.