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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript


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MR. GREGORY: Joining me this Super Bowl Sunday, Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, and live from Indianapolis, and site of Super Bowl XLVI, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels. Welcome to all of you. Nice to have you here.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D-MA): Good morning.

MR. GREGORY: I want to talk the economy first with everyone, and I want to start with you, Governor Daniels. You gave the response to the president's State of the Union address and you were very pointed about his economic record. Let me play a portion of it.

(Videotape, January 24, 2012)

GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R-IN): The president did not cause the economic and fiscal crisis that continue in America tonight but he was elected on a promise to fix them and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: And yet, as I pointed out with Speaker Gingrich, Governor Daniels, 8.3 percent unemployment, close to where it was in February of 2009, that is a dramatic improvement. Just last month more than 240,000 jobs created. Do you stand by what you said?

GOV. DANIELS: Every word of it, David. You know, in today's parlance the economy is down 30 points, and we just kicked a field goal. I think I'd keep the champagne on ice. I only heard, heard a little bit of the previous interview but just look at the number of Americans, the percentage of Americans working, two-thirds of the jobs lost have not been regained yet. The participation rate is extraordinary low, the under unemployment rate is very high, and, you know, I'm, I'm as glad as anyone to see one good month, but it's way too early for a celebration, and as you know, most of predictions for this year about further growth are, are pretty gloomy.

MR. GREGORY: Well, of course, it's not just one month, Mayor Bloomberg. It is job creation throughout this year under President Obama. And here was a striking statistic that we saw in The New York Times/CBS poll. In terms of the optimism of Americans about the economy, it's up dramatically. Last year, 28 percent thinking that the economy is getting better. You're close to the economy in New York and beyond. How do you see both these numbers and the trajectory in the economy?

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I-NY): Well, the economy is clearly better both in New York and across the country. As Mitch said, it's certainly not running away on the upside and there are lots of storm clouds that we have to worry about. What disturbs me is when you listen to all of the rhetoric in the campaign, nobody's really talking about how they are going to close an $8 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Where is the revenue going to come from? How do you make it fair when you have to increase revenue, when you have to increase revenue, you cannot cut your ways out of this? And when you cut, what things are you going to cut? And every time I listen to the cut programs, it's, "I'll protect your program if you protect mine." What the president should do is just veto, I think, any extension of the Bush era tax cuts for everybody. We're all in this together. We should all pony up and help close the deficit and then adopt the Simpson-Bowles plan, which was done thoughtfully and it wasn't horse trading. It was trying to strike a balance between the things we need and the things we'd like.

MR. GREGORY: You don't think that the rich should pay the lion's share of this in order to lead on deficit reduction?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, if you only raise taxes or--on the rich, you don't get that much money. The only ways you get $4 trillion, which is half of the deficit that we need to close, is if you make sure that the Bush tax cuts go away for everybody. The rich do pay a disproportionate percentage of their share already, but the bottom line is there aren't that many of them. We're all in this together. If you think about it, almost everybody in this country gets some benefit from the federal government, whether it's Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, interest deductions, lower tax rates to encourage economic growth and capital gains and those kinds of things. And since everybody benefits, I've always thought you don't want to create class warfare, everybody should feel the pain a little bit, proportionately, up to their ability to pay, but everybody's in this together. That's what America is all about.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Patrick, how do you respond to Governor Daniels, to Speaker Gingrich, who says, in fact, the president does not deserve credit, that under him the economy has continued to be incredibly weak, and the evidence, of course, the fact that those jobless numbers don't even capture the fact that people, so many Americans have simply stopped looking and are no longer represented in those jobless numbers?

GOV. PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think sometimes it seems that facts are unwelcome things to, to the speaker and to many Republicans today. I want to align myself with the--with the comments that Mayor Bloomberg made. There is a way if we all act as if we are in this together to reduce the deficit and grow the, the economy and continue the 23 consecutive months of job growth that we have had under the, under the, under the president. And the president aligns himself with those same ideas. There has to be a combination, a balanced approach of increased revenue and also, and also cuts in government spending. But we have to invest in those things that we know grow the economy and make for a better future, in education, in the innovation sectors and life sciences and biotech and IT and financial services and so forth, and in out infrastructure. That's a, that's the strategy we pursued here at home and that's why our unemployment rate is well below the national average and I think below New York and Indiana's, as well.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Daniels, one of the things you hear from the campaign trail, Mitt Romney said it just the other day, is that the recovery should have been so much stronger. You know, it's very difficult to prove something like that, just like it's difficult for the president to prove the economy would've been weaker if not for his particular policies. How could it have been stronger had a Republican been in president, in your judgment? Been in the White House, I should say.

GOV. DANIELS: Well, for one thing, for one thing, national policy wouldn't have been so relentlessly anti-enterprise as it's been. If you'd assembled a team of Nobel economists and said design us a policy to stifle and strangle investments and small business growth and innovation in this economy, you couldn't have done better than what's happened the last three years. The mindless piling on of new regulations, every one of them very expensive, and in the aggregate extraordinarily so, that's all drained away dollars that could've been used to hire someone. New taxes and the threat of more, all the uncertainty that's come with that. What we know is this, David, I don't have--no one can prove what might have happened, but this is the weakest recovery, by far, from a deep recession that we have in--since the records have been kept and I don't think that's an accident.

MR. GREGORY: Mayor Bloomberg, as an independent voice in all of this, is that your judgment as well, that that's a fair criticism?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I think I agree with most of what Mitch said. I think if you want to have growth, number one, you have to have the financial industry be strong and willing to take risks. And this relentless criticism and investigation of them, whether--regardless of the facts in the past, if we want to have a future, we have to have people have confidence. And what I see again and again is everybody out there dissing any progress we've made and what they're saying is they keep criticizing the president. Just let's put it in football terms. Can you imagine a coach who would put a back-up quarterback if all he did on the sidelines was criticize the starting quarterback? I don't think so. We need the president to succeed whether he's going to be in office for 11 months or four years and 11 months. We have to work together. And this partisan bickering, and there are no heroes here, both sides of the aisle, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, they aren't coming together to focus on a real solution. All they're doing is trying to get ready for the next campaign or sadly, four years from the next election.

MR. GREGORY: Well, and of course, we're in the middle of this campaign and here is New York Magazine, Governor Daniels, that pictures all the candidates, the president, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, in the bloodiest campaign. Here you have a Republican nominee in Mitt Romney who talks about not being concerned about the poor, that there's a safety net there, having some difficulty connecting with voters. And then the, the negativity in the campaign between Gingrich and Romney. Do you feel like your party has a nominee that's worthy of the challenges that this country faces?

GOV. DANIELS: I believe we will, but I, I agree with those and I side with those who yearn for a more positive campaign. I think the dynamic, the constant debating and so forth, this process that somehow we've developed here, militates a little bit against that. But every chance I get, I call for what the, what the mayor just did. In order to earn our way back to leadership, it's not enough to point out failures that are visible to anyone, we have to offer a constructive program that promises to restore upward mobility in this country. And I, I believe and I certainly hope that our eventual nominee, once freed from this rather dismal primary process, will present that kind of affirmative message to the country.

MR. GREGORY: As you look at Nevada last night, do you believe that Governor Romney is the inevitable nominee of your party?

GOV. DANIELS: You're asking the wrong person. My, my prognostications about politics are even weaker than they are about football. And, and I've been surprised on, on a weekly basis by what's happened already and I've finally learned to keep my mouth shut.

MR. GREGORY: Governor, Governor Patrick, as you look at the negativity in this campaign, the president getting into it by making not so subtle jabs at Governor Romney, do you think that, that the nature of the primary fight between Gingrich and Romney will weaken the eventual nominee for President Obama?

GOV. PATRICK: Well, I, I agree with Mitch, it's been a pretty dismal primary season, and at a time when Americans need to turn to each other, rather than on each other. We do need to see ourselves as in this together and it worries me that so much of the national Republican rhetoric has been about elevating division itself to the top of the--of their political agenda. We've got a lot of work here to do. A lot of progress that has to be acknowledged, that's a fact, 3.7 million private sector jobs in the last few years is a fact and a positive fact. But when we see the people for whom the recovery has not yet proven itself, has not yet reached them, we have to see that not as a political opening, but as unfinished business and we have to come together to get that business done and I think we've got the right president to do just that.

MR. GREGORY: There's a lot of football tie-ins going on this week, including on some pretty serious issues. Mayor Bloomberg, you and Mayor Menino of Boston have come together for this ad. Let me show it.






MAYOR BLOOMBERG: We don't agree on much.

MAYOR MENINO: For example, the Red Sox.




MAYOR MENINO: But we both support the Second Amendment.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: And believe America must do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. You know, over 600 mayors across the country agree on common sense reforms that would save lives.

MAYOR MENINO: Add your voice.


MAYOR MENINO: It's a patriotic thing to do.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: You can make a giant difference in our country.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: Mayor, it seems like the national discussion about guns in this country has been overtaken by the politics of indifference, frankly, on this, and neither party really wants to wade in to decide with the country sort of split on this. What's going to change that?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, you'd think that if a congresswoman got shot in the head, that would've changed Congress' views. I can tell you how to change it, just get Congress to come with me to the hospital when I've got to tell somebody that their son or daughter, their spouse, their parent is not going to come home ever again. This, this week, sadly, even though the murder rate in New York is now so much lower than almost every big city, we still had a cop shot last week with a gun that somebody had, even though the federal laws prohibited that person from having a gun. You know, the federal laws say you can't get a gun if you have a drug problem, psychiatric problem, criminal record or a minor and yet Congress doesn't give monies to make sure that we can have a background check. They have too many loopholes, the background database isn't up to date, private sector sales of guns is something like 40 percent and they don't do background checks. I don't know who has to get killed for people to stop saying, "Wait a second"--start saying, "Wait a second, this is enough." We've had 400,000 Americans killed since RFK and Martin Luther King Jr. were both assassinated back in '68. That is more Americans that have died on the streets from illegal guns since then in America than Americans that were killed in World War II. Enough is enough.

MR. GREGORY: Mayor Bloomberg, there's also been a move afoot in terms of ads that have tied into the Super Bowl by veterans groups representing Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans, U.S. veterans, of course, who would like to see a parade in New York City to welcome home veterans from the Iraq War, particularly when there would be if the Giants win a parade for them. Do you oppose that?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: No. I think it would be great, but the Pentagon has asked us to postpone any parade as long as we still have our soldiers in Iraq getting shot at and sadly killed. I think I'll leave it up to the military experts and the Pentagon to decide when they think it's appropriate and then New York will give them a parade like we've never done before...


MAYOR BLOOMBERG: say thank you for everything they've done.

MR. GREGORY: But does it make sense, we can, we can deploy to two different wars at the same time and fund two different wars, but we can't have a parade for two different sets of veterans?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, you know, I think the military's very sensitive. They're the ones that are out there. They're the ones that have been in combat themselves. I'll defer to the leadership.

MR. GREGORY: Finally, Governor Daniels, let's talk football. Here are the stats. When you talk about politics and football and they are quite revealing, 2008, Giants beat the Patriots, President Obama wins. But if you go back to 2004, it's the Patriots who beat the Panthers and that meant that Governor Bush, Republican--President Bush at that point, wins re-election. Is the outcome today the indicator for the fall?

GOV. DANIELS: Undoubtedly. I think the evidence is overwhelming here. And so I plan to get a big bet down on the election as soon as the, as soon as the gun goes off.

MR. GREGORY: So if the Giants win, the president wins re-election? Do you buy that, Governor Patrick?

GOV. PATRICK: The president wins and the Patriots win. That's what I say.

MR. GREGORY: Oh. All right. And one more, hey, Governor Daniels, Peyton Manning, is he gone from Indy?

GOV. DANIELS: We sure hope not. I just can't imagine this town or this team without him and I just believe he's going to heal and we'll have 18 to--not only to cheer for, but what America should know is he--this guy is as great a citizen as he is a quarterback and I cannot tell you--in fact, most people will never know all the things he's done for this state. I, I, for one, fervently hope that we'll have him around for a good while.

MR. GREGORY: All right. We'll leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you all very much. Enjoy the game today.

GOV. PATRICK: Thank you. Thank you.


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