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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript - Women in the Workplace

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

DAVID GREGORY:
--endlessly. Coming up here, the debate started by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, about women and success at work, why is she a target instead of a role model? Joining me, former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn, Senior Strategist for the McCain/Palin campaign back in 2008 Steve Schmidt, and columnist for The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus. And in a few minutes, my conversation with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as well. We're coming back after this break.

(COMMERCIAL)

DAVID GREGORY:

From politics to a new pope, around here when we talk about covering an election, we're using referring to primaries and caucuses. But next week, it's all about the conclave. Late last week, the Vatican announced that the process to elect the next pope will start Tuesday. It won't be the electoral college, per se, but the college of cardinals.

After celebrating mass at Saint Peter's Basilica, the 117 cardinals that are eligible to vote will process to the Sistine Chapel where they will sit and pray before casting their ballot. The magic number here is 77, which is a two-thirds plus one majority. The voting can stretch over several days, including a pause for prayer after every third day. For Pope Benedict, it took four ballots over two days.

The first sign that new pope has been selected, white smoke from the chimney. Coming here up, my interview with Jeb Bush and the debate with Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg sparked about women and the workplace that have so many people talking.

(COMMERCIAL)

DAVID GREGORY:
Yeah, that's the book right there, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, that's gotten a lot of people talking, you're talking about it, we're talking about it. And I'm going to do it with former White House House Press Secretary for President Clinton, Democratic strategist, and author of Why Women Should Rule the World, Dee Dee Myers, former advisor to the 2008 McCain presidential campaign Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, columnist for The Washington Post Ruth Marcus, and Congresswoman from Tennessee and author of the book Life Equity: Realize Your True Value and Pursue Your Passions at Any Stage in Life, Marsha Blackburn, welcome to all of you.

I've gotten great advice on leading this discussion this morning from my wife Beth, who says, "Just keep quiet and let others speak." So I-- I-- I-- I-- I want to raise this, and I think the thing that struck me as I really followed this this weekend, look at Time Magazine where Sheryl Sandberg is on the cover. And what's the headline, "Don't hate her because she's successful. Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and her mission to reboot feminism." And Ruth Marcus, isn't it amazing that her blueprint for how women getting successful at work is greeted with the word "hate."

RUTH MARCUS:
Don't--

DAVID GREGORY:
"Don't hate her."

RUTH MARCUS:
Right. And as we were saying, "Don't hate--" nobody would ever say about a man, "Don't hate him because he's successful." Look, if nature abhors a vacuum, it loves a good cat fight. And she is attractive, she is smart, she is young, she's impossibly rich and impossibly successful.

What's not to get the claws out? And-- and I blame actually for a change, us women, because she said something provocative. She said something worth debating, that why is it that we need to debate it by sort of acting as if we've passed around a note in junior high school saying, "Hey, everybody, let's be mean to Sheryl today."

DAVID GREGORY:
Why is the instinct, Congresswoman-- for women to be resentful of this sort of advice? Is it a sense that it's incomplete? She doesn't get it? She comes from, you know, different circumstances? What? How do you describe that?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
I-- I think that women are constantly pushing to get the recognition that they so rightly deserve. And so we have talked, you've always got to be twice as prepared as any man, as you go into a room and participate in a debate. And-- I'm a huge cheerleader, I'm so thrilled Sheryl wrote her book.

And I am pleased that Dee Dee has-- done her documentary and done her book. And I like that Ruth is out there talking about it and stay supporting us. And, you know, I-- I-- I think that what women have to do is realize it takes all of us pushing and being that trailblazer, pushing through that ceiling, in order for others to come along on that path. Somebody's got to go first.

DAVID GREGORY:
Let me define it as simply as I can what I think the major thrust of this advice is from Sheryl Sandberg. What does "leaning in" mean? She talks about it with Norah O'Donnell on 60 Minutes over at CBS this evening. Here's a piece of that.

(Videotape)

SHERYL SANDBERG:
they start leaning back, they say, "Oh I'm busy. I want to have a child one day. I couldn't possibly, you know, take on anymore. Well, I'm still learning on my current job." I've never had a man say that stuff to me.
NORAH O'DONNELL:
\You're suggesting women aren't ambitious.
SHERYL SANDBERG:
I'm not suggesting women aren't ambitious. Plenty of women are as ambitious as men. But I am saying, and I want to say it unequivocally and unapologetically, that the data is clear that when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you're doing, men, boys, outnumber girls and women.

(End videotape)

DAVID GREGORY:
So the-- the-- the point is that women, she argues, lean back too often too early, they don't lean in. They don't demand that seat at the table. So my understanding of it is to say, look, she's saying ignore male colleagues, or those messages they're sending you, ignore a lot of the societal messages about leaning back as a woman, and really lean in here at work, in your career, whatever you want to do.

DEE DEE MYERS:
Yeah, I think one of the things that she does-- we're all very familiar with the external obstacles to women's success. We-- Marsha was just talking about one of them, which is that you're expected to be twice as good. But what she really focuses on, because she-- and she acknowledges every single one of those and says she's bumped up against every single one of them.

But what she's really focusing on is what are the internal obstacles that hold women back? What do we do to ourself? And we all know those are true too. Women don't raise their hands for promotion, they don't raise their hand to run for office. I don't know why you ran, but so many women think, "Well, I'll just wait a couple more years, if I just become a little bit more of an expert on this policy issue, I'll be ready to run."
When they're really ready, and the men who are less prepared are already out there in the campaign. Women who are executives see all the time in women who they think are talented and qualified are not promoting themselves, they're not doing what the men are doing in order to try to get that next big job. So--

(OVERTALK)

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Well, and women-- yeah, women kind of wait to be invited.

DEE DEE MYERS:
Correct.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
And-- men just push their way through. And I think that that's kind of the difference.

RUTH MARCUS:
And-- and I think this is her big contribution to the debate, which is helping make us more aware of how we do this to ourselves, granted the external obstacles that we're worried about looking rude at a roundtable if we interrupt somebody. And-- and-- and in the sort of longer term, we-- may be thinking about, "Well, what if I'm-- a associate at a law firm and I might get married some day and I might have children. So do I then--" and she talks about leading before you lead.

I think it's really important. But I also think it answers the question, David, of why it's so controversial, which is this is something that hits all of us close to home. If we're deciding to stay home with our children, we could feel criticized by this. So that is not her intention. If we don't have the flexibility-- or the-- the luxury of choosing to stay home, which most women don't, they're working because they need the paycheck, we could feel criticized and resentful of her. And so because she's talking about something that really hits at the core of our being, I think is why the hate word comes out--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
You know, in the realm of positive, I can just bring Steve in on this, I mean, here, you-- you're--

RUTH MARCUS:
Poor Steve.

DAVID GREGORY:
--you were instrumental.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
--a voice in this, maybe some pers-- perspective on it, and look, in a political realm, you worked closely with Sarah Palin. One of the things that strikes me about Sarah Palin, here was a conservative women who was a, you know, relatively new governor, and she-- she jumps into this huge new level of presidential politics. And she was living a life that really Sheryl Sandberg is advocating.

Her husband Todd was in-- by her side, a true partner in what they were doing, and totally supportive in a way that Sheryl Sandberg says you have got to have in a partner if you're going to be able to lean in and be successful in the way that she was.

STEVE SCHMIDT:
Absolutely. And-- and Todd Palin was a full partner and he's a great partner. He was in-- in a lot of ways in my view, a person who made her career possible as a gubernatorial candidate, a governor, ultimately as a vice presidential candidate. But I think that's true in any successful marriage, whether it is the fully-supportive female partner or the fully-supportive male partner.

The reality is, is no one knows what goes on in anyone else's marriage. But for there to be success, for there to be happiness on this one lap around the track we all get, you want to have full partnership. And I think in any organization-- where women are not at the table-- where it is skewed male, in today's day and age, that's an organization that's deficient. That's an organization that's going to have problems.

It's one of the problems we have structurally in the Republican party. We don't have enough women at the table. But any company, any organization in today's day and age that doesn't give equal opportunity to women, that doesn't advance-- women to the table, is going to be an organization that has differently competing.

DAVID GREGORY:
And isn't that interesting, Congresswoman? You talk about-- I mean, there-- there is the-- the culture in the Republican party about the next in line. Well, women aren't always the next in line.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Well, that's exactly right. And what women have to do is jump the queue. And sometimes that causes resentment from men and other women also because if you are too aggressive or if you are outspoken in a manner that a man would be, then you are looked at as being too much so for a woman. But you do have to jump that queue because we have not had enough women stepping up to move to that national forefront and being on a national ticket.

And you have to kind of make your way. You can't wait to be invited. You have to go back and build on the skill set that you have. And the-- as Ruth is talking about, and then you have to have not only a supportive husband, but a supportive family.

RUTH MARCUS:
Yes--

(OVERTALK)

DEE DEE MYERS:
One of the points that-- that-- that Sheryl Sandberg makes is that success correlates negatively with likeability. The more--

DAVID GREGORY:
Yeah.

DEE DEE MYERS:
Successful you are--

FEMALE VOICE:
Right, yeah.

DEE DEE MYERS:
--the less likeable you are.

RUTH MARCUS:
For a woman.

DEE DEE MYERS:
For a woman. Not for a man. There's-- there's no problem being successful man. And that women just have to bite the bullet on that cultural-- reality.

DAVID GREGORY:
But does that mean--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
--more like a man?

RUTH MARCUS:
But also--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
--that was the article points out that you-- she's saying that you sh-- that women should act more like a man in the workplace?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Well, no--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:
I don't think that's what she says. I--

DEE DEE MYERS:
I don't think she's saying that either.

RUTH MARCUS:
--suspect she's saying is--

DEE DEE MYERS:
I don't either.

RUTH MARCUS:
--you need to be aware of that negative correlation--

DEE DEE MYERS:
Correct.

RUTH MARCUS:
--between success and likeability and--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:
--or own way to navigate it. You don't need to--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:
And you're interrupting me and and that is really unattractive in a woman Go for it, lean in.

(OVERTALK)

DEE DEE MYERS:
Once you point out that q-- fact, that people correlate likeability, success, and say, "Hey, you're penalizing this successful person because she's a woman." But it changes that dynamic. And so by talking about it, by elevating the issue, by pointing it out to people, you can begin to address it.

(OVERTALK)

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Well, and part of it is that some men are not comfortable, even in this day and age, they're not comfortable with having a woman as a decision maker. And so-- you-- that-- that kind of clouds the issue.

DAVID GREGORY:
How do men respond to this? I mean, I think there's an aspect in-- in any workplace where, you know, men if they're in-- in-- in truly equal partnerships with their wives are-- are, you know, thinking about their own schedules or sort of putting this on the agenda in some way. And then the other question I talk about with my wife is, you know, what is it that we want for our daughters?

Do we want Sheryl Sandberg to be part-- of the spectrum of choices? I mean, this is-- absolutely hope that this is somebody that you can become? You may choose to do something else, you may choose to stay at home and raise kids. And that's great too. But this is certainly someone that you should emulate.

STEVE SCHMIDT:
I have two daughters. I don't want there to be any limits on their horizons. I want them to achieve at the highest level of their abilities, to do whatever they want to do. My wife made the decision to give up her career to stay home with our children. I think that's admirable work. I think it's to be admired.

And in our marriage and our partnership, that's what works for us. But-- but we don't want women to have any low horizons, that-- that they are forced to make decisions because there are limits out there that have been imposed. And I think certainly for people of my generation, I'm 42 years old, we've been accustomed-- over my entire work life to working with women.

And in-- in the firm that I work for-- women represent what we have for the senior leadership of the company. They're vital to the success of-- of the firm. And so I do think that when you look at-- you look at women in politics, you look at women in business, you look forward to the day when we will have a woman president and the glass ceiling is-- is finally shattered, that-- that there will just be more and more opportunities as-- as the years unfold--

DAVID GREGORY:
Can you-- we were talking about-- do you feel like this has started something? And what is the it that it has started?

RUTH MARCUS:
Well, it-- it has continued what I think of as the endless national discussion about women and gender and the workplace and family. It started 50 years ago, Betty Friedan, and I suspect that, not us, but somebody's going to be sitting here 50 years from now having the same conversation.

Interestingly, I asked my daughter who's a senior in high school, I told her I was writing about this book. I said, "Do you think about balancing work and family when you think about life?" And she said, "Absolutely, yes I do." And I said, "And do the boys in your grade?" And before I could get the words out of my mouth, she said, "No way."

DAVID GREGORY:
No.

RUTH MARCUS:
They don't think about it at all.

DAVID GREGORY: UNINTEL

RUTH MARCUS:
This is really interesting. I want to say one thing about Sarah Palin. I-- I thought-- you talked about jumping the queue. You need-- we-- yes, queue jumping is important, it's really important that when women jump the queue, they're ready to jump the queue and they come with the background and expertise.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Right, well--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:
Otherwise, it sets everybody back.

DAVID GREGORY:
Yeah, final point here, Marsha, then I've got to take a quick--

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Yeah, women bring a diversity of experience. They travel a very circuitous route in their career. And they bring all of this wealth of information working the-- with their children, working in schools, all these to the table. And that is why I think they are more effective public policy makers many times than their male colleagues--

DAVID GREGORY:
And you write about that in your book, and a good point to end on. We're going to continue our roundtable discussion in just a minute. We'll talk some politics, we'll talk about it with Jeb Bush when I talk to him in a moment and get reaction from our group right after this.

(COMMERCIAL)

DAVID GREGORY:
We are back and we're still talking about Sheryl Sandberg's book, but we're going to move on. We're going to have to get this conversation going again because there's a lot more to do. Earlier this week I spoke with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who's out with a new book, aimed at tackling the controversial issue of immigration and of course we talked about his political future as well. Here's part of that conversation.

(Begin videotape)

DAVID GREGORY:
You write in your book and it's a fairly hard line, "A grant of citizenship--" and that's the important word, "A grant of citizenship is an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage." You got some tough press treatment in all of this this week as you talked about your book. The Miami Herald: "Jeb Bush reverses stance on immigration: No citizenship path for undocumented." The National Journal: "Jeb Bush's poorly timed flip-flop on immigration." Politico: "Bush takes a U-turn on pathway to citizenship." I reviewed some of the things you said before. Why did you change your view on this?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
First of all, my view has been that, in order to get comprehensive reform, we could take either path; either a path to citizenship or a path to legalization. The important point is that illegal immigrants should not get better benefits at a lower cost than people that have been waiting patiently. So assume we pass the law this year -- and I hope that's the case -- five years from now we should look back, and there should be fewer people coming illegally because we have an open legal system. Both of those paths could create that, as long as you change the rest of the system as well. So what's going on in the Senate and in the House right now is very positive. I support what Senators Graham and Rubio and McCain and Flake are doing with their Democratic counterparts. And if they can find a way to get to a path to citizenship over the long haul, then I would support that. But this book was written to try to get people that were against reform to be for it. And it is a place where I think a lot of conservatives should feel comfortable, that there's a way to do this and not violate their principles.

DAVID GREGORY:
You know, it's interesting: There's obviously a political component to this, about who wants what kind of deal and what does it mean as we move forward. After Romney lost, a lot of focus on the Hispanic vote in this country and the Republican Party's problem with Hispanics. It's interesting; one of the things that Romney says, right, to his donors after he loses is "What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.' That was with a campaign call with donors. Do you think there's a view -- and do you share it -- among Republicans that to allow illegal immigrants who are now in this country to become citizens would, in effect, be able to create all new Democratic voters that would deeply hurt the Republican Party's chances of winning national elections?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
No, I don't believe that. I mean, if you look at Asian Americans, for example, In general, they have higher income than the median of our country, more intact families, more entrepreneurship, higher levels of education. And they supported President Obama 75-24; higher margins than with Hispanics. I think there's a problem that's a little bit bigger, and it goes back to my belief that we need to be offering a compelling alternative, an alternative that says that the lack of social mobility needs to be addressed, not by higher taxes and more government, but giving people the tools to rise up and to be successful; that an opportunity society is the path that we should be on. And that aspirational message could convince a lot of people that right now are supporting a more stasis kind of approach. But we have to have the alternative. We have to actually advance the cause of freedom and of entrepreneurship and of building capacity so people can freely pursue their dreams as they see fit ---

DAVID GREGORY:
Should it be disqualifying for a candidate in the future if they've hired an illegal immigrant? Should that disqualify their run for office?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
I don't know. That's -- that's above my pay grade. I would hope that people try hard to make sure that they hire legal workers. It's the law.

DAVID GREGORY:
In 1998 your father wrote a letter where he talked about your winning as governor of Florida made it quite clear that you were, without any doubt, gonna become a major political figure in the country. I, of course, know the family by covering your brother in the White House for eight years. And the joke -- I don't know if it's true -- was always that your mom always thought it was gonna be you before it would be him who'd be president. Do you think about not disappointing mom as you think about a run for higher office?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
I don't know what my mom's view on this. I'm not gonna ask her either because I don't wanna begin the process to think about it until it's the proper time to do so. I'm proud of my family. My son is running for statewide office in Texas; now I know what my dad feels like when he wrote those letters about George and I.

DAVID GREGORY:
How about the legacy of the Bush presidency? You'll be part of his library that's opening. It's hard to imagine that he's already at the point of having a presidential library -- but here he is. How do you think views are emerging about the Bush presidency, the second Bush presidency?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
Well, I mean, it's hard to -- hard to see. I can only attest to how people view my dad now. A lot of his accomplishments were overshadowed by the '92 election. And over time, people began to view my dad in a different light than they did shortly after his tenure as president. Now, I think, everywhere I go at least, he's a beloved guy. And for good reason, because he's a spectacular human being. In his four years as president a lot of amazing accomplishments took place. So my guess is that history will be kind to my brother, the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what's going on now. I think -- I think history will be kind to George W. Bush.

DAVID GREGORY:
Governor, before I let you go, who's the hottest Florida politician right now; is it you or Marco Rubio? Who are we more likely to see in the White House?

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
Man, you guys are crack addicts. You really are obsessed with all this politics. Marco Rubio's a great guy --

DAVID GREGORY:
You know, I've been called a lotta things --

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
Okay, heroin addict. Is that better? I mean, put aside the politics for a moment. We've got big challenges, and Marco Rubio, to his credit, is working on those. And he deserves a lot of credit for it, and I'm very proud of him.

DAVID GREGORY:
All right, well, more questions for a different day. Governor Bush, thank you.

GOVERNOR JEB BUSH:
Take care.

(End videotape)

DAVID GREGORY:
We can't put aside the politics. It's just not possible. We're back with our roundtable. Steve Schmidt-- an interesting week for 2016 potential candidates. We put them on our corkboard here, everyone from Rand Paul and then Jeb Bush-- a lot of activity. How did Jeb Bush come out of the gate, if this was-- if that's what this was?

STEVE SCHMIDT:
Well, he had a rough week politically because he reversed his position on immigration. But it won't matter in the long run. It's not the first politician to do a flip flop-- you know, get him ready for a presidential run. But it's important to remember, he's always been a voice of reason on this immigration issue. He's always been a voice of reform. He's one of the deep policy thinkers in the Republican party. He was an extraordinarily effective governor of the state of Florida. And if he decides to run for president, he will be a very, very formidable candidate.

DAVID GREGORY:
What about Rand Paul? I mean-- so much praise really-- bipartisan praise for Rand Paul as really beginning something, of a more youthful, grass-roots conservative movement that could run-- end up being a run 2016.

RUTH MARCUS:
Well, it was fun to watch the filibuster. I thought he was filibustering about the wrong question. That he was filibustering about the notion that we could be sitting here and drones could rain down us-- on us from the sky. That's not the real question about drones. The real question about drones is what's happening overseas, what are-- how much, where, what authorization, what legal basis.

But it is nice to see a real filibuster and it is nice to-- and-- and it-- it just illustrates some of the divisions in the Republican party, social conservatives, liberal conservatives, isolationist, neocons. And-- strong executive branch conservatives like George W. Bush versus, "Get the government out of my business" conservatives like Rand Paul.

STEVE SCHMIDT:
We're talk-- I really disagree. He-- he did ask an important question, and that is, are there limits to executive power under our current war footing situation domestically? He got the wrong answer, an equivocal answer from the White House, as a matter of principle--

RUTH MARCUS:
He got a no. And he wouldn't take the no--

(OVERTALK)

STEVE SCHMIDT:
--he went off of-- he got-- he got a firm answer after he did this. But for sure, I think Rand Paul arrived as a national figure.

DAVID GREGORY:
Let me get-- co--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:
--Congresswoman, I just-- I-- I want to change it slightly before I let you-- all of us go here, which is Ashley Judd is--

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
Yes.

DAVID GREGORY:
This morning that she wants to run in Kentucky to challenge Mitch McConnell. She's of course, actually has residency in Tennessee. How do you--

(OVERTALK)

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
One of--

DAVID GREGORY:
--as a prospect?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
She is one of my constituents. She is--

(OVERTALK)

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
--is a friend of mine and on election day on November, Ashley and I stood at the polls and snapped a picture and tweeted it out.

DAVID GREGORY:
Could she win?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN:
It shows that-- people who have differences of opinion, if she runs, she will run hard. And knowing that family, they are very tenacious and spirited.

DAVID GREGORY:
Wow. How 'bout-- that's a fabulous non-answer. We're going to leave it there, a bit of a break, we'll be back in a moment.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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