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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript


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Governor McDonnell, let me start with you. The framing of this is that things are moving in Romney's direction. If you look at the polling in the battleground states, there has been a movement toward him after that first debate. What makes you think at this point that is sustainable?

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R-VA, Chair, Republican Governors Association): Because it was based on, I think, a sharp contrast between the vision of Mitt Romney and the record of Barack Obama. It's the first time that 60 million Americans live got to see the two and another 60 million or so through social media got to see him. So, I think that it is a sustainable trend and in Virginia, I think that it's-- it's all about jobs and energy and the economy and debt. That's what the independent voters, that last seven or eight percent of swing voters are going to vote on, and I think Mitt Romney did a great job to show why his ideas for the next four years are going to beat the record of Barack Obama over the last four years.

GREGORY: Governor Granholm, here's the-- the cover of The Week magazine, which seems to sum up a lot of the anxiety among Democrats--Game Change, has Obama lost his mojo and the election. I imagine you don't see this movement toward Romney as being sustainable.


GOV. MCDONNELL: Well, let me first say, Joe Biden is authentic. And last week he said two things that are really important on every independent voter and undecided voter should remember, one, that the middle class has been buried during the last four years, of course, he's been in charge the last four years. Number two, that absolutely Obama and-- and Biden are going to raise your taxes about two trillion dollars over the next couple of months-- over the next four years. So what I would say is what we learned about Paul Ryan is he is thoughtful, he understands the budget better than anybody else, and that the top issue facing the country is-- isn't Bain Capital, it isn't Mitt Romney's tax returns, it isn't Big Bird, it's how do we get the greatest country on earth out of work-- out of debt and back to work. And when you look at 23 million Americans unemployed, 16 trillion in debt, doubling gas prices, no coherent energy strategy, it's clear to me that the Romney-Ryan ticket had the only blueprint to get us-- get us out of this mess. We're not going to-- a four more years of the same policies, it's going to get us four more years of the same results.

FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: I think what we learned about Paul Ryan was that he is as good as his boss at obfuscating what their plan is. He could not answer how he was going to pay for this five trillion dollar lowering of the tax rates. He couldn't list a single deduction, a single loophole that they would close except he said we would go to Congress. Now, what they're saying is that we're not going to tell you, we're going to go to Congress and, surprise, we'll see it after the election.

GOV. MCDONNELL: But Jennifer…

FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: It's the same-- it's the same stuff that there--

GOV. MCDONNELL: …where's-- where's the Obama plan? He said four years. He can't even get a budget passed.

FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: Because why…

GOV. MCDONNELL: Three and half years and the Virginia and the Senate.

FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: …why, because you have a-- you have a Congress that has signed pledges not to cooperate.

GOV. MCDONNELL: The Obama budget was killed five hundred and thirty-five to nothing because it raises the debt by about seven trillion.


GOV. MCDONNELL: And I agree with Jennifer, you know, as I think Americans typically when we're attacked, we rally together. We don't use it for political reasons and as a veteran I feel very strongly about that. However, it does raise a couple of larger questions, you know, specifically is this really about some obscure video on YouTube that caused it or is it about the same people that killed our Americans on 9/11, in other words, al Qaeda. Were we properly prepared? Should we even have to worry about a request when-- on 9/11 in the Mid-East in Libya? Shouldn't we be prepared anyway? The broader question really is has this administration's foreign policy in the Mid-East helped somehow to contribute to an appearance of weakness of the United States of America, less secure, less strong foreign policy, weaker military, so that we're more susceptible to being attacked and I would say that these sequestration cuts that the president put in place a year ago and his absolute failure of leadership to reverse those-- it's going to cost Virginia 200,000 jobs and weaken the United States military according to Leon Panetta, that's the broader question.

GREGORY: But you backed the deal that-- that was part of.

GOV. MCDONNELL: But that's not-- hold on-- hold on.

FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: Talk to Paul Ryan about it.

GOV. MCDONNELL: That's not the issue. Every-- people backed the deal because the alternative was default of the United States of America. Everybody believed that the super committee was going to get the deal fixed, I think. They didn't. So now for a year plus since last August, the president has been a bystander. He could go in there like the House of Representatives that passed a bill last May to be able to reverse some of the defense cuts, put it more on the domestic's side and he has just failed to lead and now here we are…


GOV. MCDONNELL: That's nonsense. You know, Bill Clinton said at the convention nobody could have possibly fixed these problems in four years. I think Bill Clinton said some things he doesn't believe-- he did it working with Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress. So I think what you have is the same Mitt Romney, you've had for-- for this campaign by saying listen, the president's tried. His policies just haven't-- haven't worked. This is a-- this is a serious election about how do we get 23 million people back to work, eliminate 16 trillion in debt, do something about energy prices which have doubled. Four-thousand-dollar decline in the average American take-home pay, more people on food stamps, one in six in poverty. That-- that's not a good record and we can't have four more years like that. So here are my practical solutions. And, David, he has laid out repeatedly now for about six months, a-- a five-point plan, dealing with debt reduction and energy and workforce development in trade and small business development that I think are practical solutions and I think that's what people want.


GOV. MCDONNELL: Practically, it comes down to about seven states and maybe it's seven percent of the voters in those states. That's the way the math works out, including in Virginia. But I think back to the great comments that were just made, people are hurting, and that's what Stephen Colb-- Colbert was trying to say in a-- in a humorous way, want to make them laugh a little bit. So people are going to say, who has got the uplifting vision that at the end of the day it's not just going to be a rhetoric but how do I make life better for me, my family, whether it's my gas prices, my job, my daily living. Who really understands my middle class problems and is going to-- going to make it better? How do we make the great generation that Tom Brokaw wrote about, how do we get that spirit of American exceptionalism back into the-- the consciousness of the American people?


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