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updated 9/5/2010 12:35:40 PM ET 2010-09-05T16:35:40
EXCERPT

Part of Beltway conventional wisdom is that you start running for reelection somewhere around noon of the day after you get elected. But this president, already different from those who came before him in so many ways, will follow his own path here as well. Obama intends to serve his first term as president focused not just on the next election, but on doing the smart and hard things to strengthen us in the generations to come. He approaches every day with a long-term view of what he intends to accomplish at the close of four, or eight, years. It sounds simple, but trust me, it is about the hardest thing to do in Washington, D.C., where every tiny deed is scrutinized for its political content and impact.

And it gets even harder in a season like this, when news outlets and pundits can’t seem to stop talking about how tough these elections will be for Democrats. But when it comes to campaigning, we have quite a few things going for us, and if the Democratic Party can show progress and leadership that is attractive to Independents and the middle of the electorate, then I believe we are positioned to have significant electoral victories, and legislative ones too.

To start, there is the demographic trend toward younger and more diverse political activism. Look at the growth areas of the electorate: Latino voters make up a larger and larger share of the electorate and are of special importance in key battle ground states in the West like Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona, which will be a new key battleground in 2012.

Still, Democrats will not win elections on demographics and tactics alone, nor should we. To put it simply, we have to lead. I think the recent passage of health care reform is a strong argument Democrats can make for reelection, but we can’t stop there. We have to continue to lead in key areas to improve the lives of every citizen, just as we did with health care.

  1. Books featured on MTP
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    4. David Plouffe's 'The Audacity to Win'

We also have to run good campaigns as Democrats. Good campaigns focus on how to get 50 percent of the vote, and how to make sure they have enough resources—financial, technical, and human—to see them through to Election Day.

Technology in the digital space is playing a bigger part in our businesses and in people’s live, and that means it’ll play a bigger part in our politics. Campaigns need to link up with how people are living their lives, that way people who want to help out can volunteer and get information in stride, just as they do in all the other parts of their life.

It is also critical that our campaigns believe in the grass roots. We need to make sure people feel empowered and that they’re armed with the right information so they can become a message army for us. This is not a luxury, this is an essential ingredient, and it has to be at the core of every successful campaign: a sense of urgency and weight of every single vote.

And one big thing that Democrats need to do heading in the fall election is show the real face of today’s Republican Party. The number of eligible voters who identify themselves as Republicans is as low as it was during Watergate; in some polls it’s as low as 25 percent. Their party is down to an irreducible core of very conservative Republicans, whose actual leaders are not elected officials, not members of Congress, not governors. The real energy in the party is coming from Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other rock stars of the hard-right punditocracy. It is very important that our party and our candidates make sure voters understand that this is the Republican Party that’s on the ballot. A party with leaders of supreme intolerance. A party that believes that the Bush economic policies that brought on the Great Recession and resulted 10 million people losing their jobs were the right way to go. A party that took a huge surplus and turned it into staggering record deficits, driven by unpaid wars and huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. A party led by people who foment anger and controversy to make a name for themselves, and to make a buck. They have no answers and take no responsibility; they just complain. The only thing they have to sell is fear, blame, and hate, and they’ve priced it to move.

Yet we need to do more than deflect their arrows—we need to launch a few of our own. We have to lay out the picture for people in very concrete terms what the 2010 election is about. We need to make sure that this is not just a referendum on the Democrats but that it’s a choice.

A lot of Democrats are crouching in fear of 2010. We can’t crouch. We need to stand up and pugnaciously make our case. If we fight, if we lead, and if we understand the world we’re living in, and run campaigns that honor that and are consistent with that, then we can have a better election outcome than many prognosticators believe.

If we seize this moment, if we have the ability to tell the American people in the years to come, the decades to come, that we laid a strong foundation that led to growth, that has led to more equity in terms of financial progress, that has made the world safer and made America stronger, then both Democrats and our nation will dominate the next decades. And we will deserve to do so.

Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from "The Audacity to Win: How Obama Won and How We Can Beat the Party of Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin" by David Plouffe. Copyright © 2011 by David Plouffe.

Video: Democrats can maintain control, says Plouffe

  1. Transcript of: Democrats can maintain control, says Plouffe

    MR. GREGORY: OK, a final salvo there. Joining us now with a view from the other side we turn to the man who is in charge of getting Barack Obama elected president, his 2008 campaign manager and author of the newly-updated

    paperback version of his book, "The Audacity to Win: How Obama Won and How We Can Beat the Party of Limbaugh , Beck , and Palin ." David Plouffe , welcome back to MEET THE PRESS .

    MR. DAVID PLOUFFE: Good to be with you , David .

    MR. GREGORY: A lot to get to. I want to start on the economy and domestic affairs, and we'll touch on the wars, as I did with Senator Graham , just a minute. I want to start with the reality, and that is that this president and his party are running on an economic record. And here is that

    record in a nutshell, and it's not a good one: 9.6 percent unemployment rate, 14.9 million unemployed, 6.2 million of which are long-term unemployed beyond 27 weeks, an estimated three million property foreclosures this year. We cannot forget the depth of the housing crisis. After 19 months in office, President Obama is accountable for this record, is he not?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Sure he is. We're less than 60 days out from election and elections are about choices. So let's remember where we were. The Republican Party that wants to gain back control , their policies contributed to the worst economic crisis this country 's seen since the Great Depression . If they had their way, we might have headed to a depression, opposing the Recovery Act . So no one's satisfied with where we are. The question is, are we making progress? We had 22 straight months in this country of private sector job loss. We've had eight straight months of private sector job gain. Not as high as anyone would like, but we're on the right path here. And so the question for the American people is, the Republican experiment's a very recent one -- fiscal irresponsibility, really, an unprecedented assault on the middle-class and small businesses . The same exact policies -- and by the way, the guy who's in charge of the Republican campaign committee was on your show about six weeks ago and said if they won back the majority what they were going to pursue were the same policies they had done previously, which led to this economic calamity.

    MR. GREGORY: But isn't it striking after 19 months, rather than being able to run on a record, when this president's had some big swings legislatively at the economy, that you are left basically saying, "Well, you know, we, we may not have done the job, but the other guys are really worse."

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, no one's saying we're not doing the job. We're very proud of what we've done, which is, this hole was so deep, it's going to -- as the president said at his inaugural address, it's going to take some time to dig out. But we're on the right path here: economic policies aimed squarely at the middle class and small businesses ; creating a new energy sector; the healthcare law which, over time , I think is going to play a big impact on economic growth . So, no, we're proud to talk about what we've done.

    MR. GREGORY: But 82 percent, but 82 percent of Americans polled believe that the country 's still in recession.

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, people are struggling. No one's suggesting otherwise. But the question is...

    MR. GREGORY: Yeah. So they don't believe what you say, which is that we're on the right path.

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, you're -- when people are struggling, they don't have a job, their family member doesn't have a job, they haven't got a raise, they're right to be frustrated. The question we have to put in front of people in these next two months is, this is a choice. And the Republican ideas were soundly rejected at the ballot box the last two years, more importantly were soundly rejected by the American people . They're offering nothing new, the same old policies that led this country this close -- Senator Graham was talking about, you know, the right ditch, the left ditch, they drove us into the ditch. And if we give the keys back to the people who did this, it would be like giving Herbert Hoover the keys in the mid- 1930s .

    MR. GREGORY: The, the summation -- Time magazine has a summation of sort of the depth of the political peril for the president and the Democrats . I'll put it up on the screen. "With midterm elections just nine weeks off, instead of generational transformation some Democrats predicted after 2008 , the president's party teeters on the brink of a broad setback in November, including the possible loss of both houses of Congress . By a 10-point margin, people say they will vote for Republicans over Democrats in Congress , the largest such gap ever recorded by Gallup ." How did it get so bad?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, first of all, when you have a tough economy and you're in power, you're going to have a tough political environment . Secondly, we won so many elections in 2006 and 2008 . Even in a neutral electoral environment , it was clear we were going to give some of that back. So, over the next two months, what we really have to do is two things. One, Republicans are very enthusiastic about voting. We have to get more Democrats enthused about voting. I think laying out the stakes of this election , the real choice, that they're not just going to bring bad ideas, they're going to roll back all that the president and his party 's accomplished. And secondly, for those undecided voters out there, make them understand this is not the new Republican Party . It's the same old ideas, the same old adherence to the special interests . You know, Speak Boehner was talking about all the reforms he's going to bring. I mean, give me a break. These are the -- this is the party that tried to change the rules to allow the majority leader to still serve if he was indicted. John Boehner , who would be the speaker of the House , years ago was handing out checks from tobacco companies on the House floor and is now up on Wall Street saying, "Give us money because we're protecting you by opposing things like financial reform ." So, so the movie was a nightmare for America , it's a recent experiment, and we have to make sure everybody out there who's undecided and, just as importantly, those Democrats who aren't any threat to vote for a Republican but who are saying, "I'm sure if I'm going to vote," we have to go talk to them and make sure they understand the stakes here.

    MR. GREGORY: One of the things you said back in January of 2009 is that bipartisanship was so important. And this is what you told The Washington Post at the time. "One thing I'm sure of, there's not going to be a Democratic solution to the economy or a Democratic healthcare plan or a Democratic energy plan. It's got to be an American plan and effort, and if that happens, I think we can make progress." The reality is they have all been Democratic plans. You have not had bipartisanship, you have lost tremendous ground with 60 percent disapproval among independent voters. Isn't that problem you, you warned of?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, first one, bipartisanship, actually, you know, we did get some Republican support for things like the Recovery Act , for financial reform , on healthcare, is right. But the votes might have all been Democratic, but the truth is there were so many Republican ideas in there. And what the -- and this is another argument for the election . The Republicans ' opposition with the president and a lot of our party has tried to do is less grounded in principle than it is in politics. This country 's in -- got deep challenges, but opportunities, too. And rather than participate in trying to move this country forward, the Republicans , in a very crave and crass way, are playing short-term politics. And listen, we're going to have a tough election this November. I think it can be better than people think, but I think the long-term damage the Republican Party is doing to themself is profound.

    MR. GREGORY: Well, and I want to get to the Republicans in just a minute, but let me pin you down on that point. Is Democratic control of the House and the Senate in jeopardy?

    MR. PLOUFFE: What I would say is, I think right now, because this is going to be elections between two people in a state , in some cases it'll be three people where there's tea party third party candidates, but in states in districts. And I think if you look at that, the Senate , they'd have to run the table. I don't see any evidence of that, and we've got people running strong campaigns. We've won a lot of special elections in the House because our House candidates are running great localized campaigns, really focusing on turnout and making that a choice between two individuals. So, now this is turbulent political environment . We have big majorities. So of course we're going to give some of that back. But I think we can maintain control in both chambers if we make this a choice between two people in districts and states , and we have to make sure Democratic turnout jumps up because, right now, the Republicans are coming out at a very high level. We shouldn't expect that to abate.

    MR. GREGORY: But isn't part of what you're getting out here is that you have to basically shift the, the mindset of voters to the shortcomings of their opponents because, if it is a referendum on the president and his leadership, you come up short?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, I -- listen, elections are choices. So we're happy to talk about, you know, the Recovery Act and what it meant, the jobs and businesses that have sprouted up all over America , the new energy economy , combat -- our operations in Iraq coming to a close, all the healthcare assist that seniors are going to get. And so...

    MR. GREGORY: But I'm asking about the president's leadership...

    MR. PLOUFFE: Yeah.

    MR. GREGORY: ...whether that's being graded here, whether it's being tested here.

    MR. PLOUFFE: I think the way voters look at this election is I've got two people running for the Senate or for the House , and they're going to evaluate positions and views and vote for those people. But listen, I think we as Democrats , we do have to make this a choice, and so the Republicans need to be on trial here, too. But we ought to be proud of what we've done because this is leadership. We -- these were not normal times. We were facing unprecedented economic crisis and issues like health care , energy , education, that leadership in this town had refused to deal with for decades.

    MR. GREGORY: But, look, the Democrats are in, in power. You, you -- one of the things that got you to the White House was the strength of independent support. Independent voters, as I said, are now disapproving of the president's performance at a 60 percent margin. You have made the point that everybody out there in America 's making adjustments in their lives. Washington doesn't seem to be making any adjustments in the way they're spending money or running the government. That has to lay at the door post -- or the doormat of the president and the Democrats .

    MR. PLOUFFE: Well, first of all, I do think most voters out there think, when asked who's really trying to reach out to the other side, who's trying to bring more of spirit of, of debate and bipartisanship to Washington , believe the president's trying to. Secondly, on spending, you know, the president's done some tough things on spending. First of all, being honest about the spending, you know, for the first time in a long time. The Republicans , obviously, are lecturing us about fiscal discipline. It was their policies and their fiscal positions that led us to this position. So we -- first of all, we should not take any lectures from them. And on tax cuts , which Senator Graham just talked about, they want to extend them for another 10 years, which is $700 billion, without paying for them. So we have to remind people, when President Clinton left office, we had a surplus. We had a record deficit over $1.3 trillion when President Obama took office. Why? Because the Republicans had unpaid for wars, tax cuts , entitlement expansion. Do you really believe three years later you can trust them on fiscal matters?

    MR. GREGORY: Well, but, but let's talk about tax cuts for a second, because Mark Zandi , who is an economist who has advised Republicans and Democrats , wrote this in The New York Times about the tax cuts we can afford. "The prudent middle ground ," he wrote, "would be to forestall any tax increases in 2011 and to phase in higher rates on upper-income households in 2012 when the economy will be on firmer ground." In other words, don't raise any taxes right now, extend all the Bush -era tax cuts . Why isn't that a good idea? There are a lot of Democrats , by the way, lining up behind that very position.

    MR. PLOUFFE: First thing I'd say, what the congressional Republicans are proposing is a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest, which means 80 percent of the people that get those tax cuts are millionaires, OK? Permanent. Now, in a recession, I understand those who say maybe for a year we should consider this. My view would be, and I'm not an economist, and I'm certainly not involved in these decisions. The White House ...

    MR. GREGORY: But what's the president's view?

    MR. PLOUFFE: But here's that, that if we're going to borrow money from the Chinese to give further tax cuts it not -- ought not go to millionaires. We ought to do more for small businesses in tax cuts . So what the president is proposing is permanent extension of tax cuts for the middle class . We have a small business plan right now in front of the United States Senate that would provide huge tax relief, incentive for lending, incentive for expansion. That's what we ought to be doing.

    MR. GREGORY: Would the president entertain the idea of extending all the tax cuts for a period of two years?

    MR. PLOUFFE: You know, I don't know what his final position's going to be. I -- what -- he's been pretty clear on this, which is the middle class and small businesses ought to be the target of our tax relief, that those at the very top -- and again, we're not talking about the mom and pop small business person, we're talking about 80 percent of the people the Republicans want to give permanent tax credits to are millionaires, without paying for it. So this is a very important issue, I think. We won the tax debate with John McCain in 2008 because the American people believed that we wanted to tuck -- cut taxes for them, not the big corporate interests and not millionaires in this country .

    MR. GREGORY: I'm curious, when we talk about economic recovery and the political scene, former President Clinton has been campaigning, The New York Times covered one of his statements when he was on the trail, and I'll put it up on the screen. He said, "A year and a half just wasn't enough time to get us out of the hole we are in, so I want you to stick with us. Give us two more years, two more years until another election . If we fail, you can throw us all out." Does President Obama see it that way? In other words, he's got one term to turn this thing around ?

    MR. PLOUFFE: He doesn't view it through the prism of politics. He views it through the prism of the country was in an enormous hole so we had to do everything we can to dig out of that. Plus, we had ignored the long-term challenges of health care , energy , economy, education reform . And that's how he views it. And if you make decisions based on politics, you're going to do the country a big disservice.

    MR. GREGORY: But, but what, what, what maybe President Clinton was referring to, do you envision a primary challenge from another Democrat in 2012 against this president?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Oh, I can't imagine that. And, you know, we've got -- listen, we've got one election in front of us. It seemed like the last one just ended.

    MR. GREGORY: Right.

    MR. PLOUFFE: So there's be time to talk about 2012 .

    MR. GREGORY: But given who made that statement, do you -- can you rule out, based on actual information, that Secretary of State Clinton would not pursue the presidency again, would not challenge President Obama ?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Listen, you saw this week they're working so well together, working on Middle East peace, and it's a wonderful partnership. And, you know, I think that was a really inspired choice by the president, and Secretary of State Clinton is just doing a remarkable job.

    MR. GREGORY: So is that a yes, no, or maybe?

    MR. PLOUFFE: Listen, they're, they're, they're a team and a great team for America .

Photos: 64 years of ‘Meet the Press’

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  1. First ‘Meet the Press’ photo

    December 4, 1947: The earliest photograph in existence of the longest running television program in history. Sen. Robert Taft was the guest on "Meet the Press" that day, less than a month after the program debuted on NBC television at 8 p.m., November 6, 1947. James A. Farley, the former postmaster general and former Democratic National Committee chairman, was the guest on the first broadcast. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. All women

    December 10, 1949: With Washington's leading male reporters otherwise occupied at the men-only Gridiron Dinner, "Meet the Press" presented its first all-female program. Moderator (and program co-founder) Martha Rountree, panelists Doris Fleeson, May Craig, Judy Spivak and Ruth Montgomery question the guest, Democratic politician India Edwards. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Billy Graham

    March 6, 1955: Rev. Billy Graham’s first "Meet the Press" appearance. He tells panelist (and program co-founder) Lawrence Spivak "anything that makes any race feel inferior ... is not only un-American but un-Christian." (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jackie Robinson

    April 14, 1957: Jackie Robinson, the first man to break the racial barrier in Major League Baseball, also becomes the first athlete to appear on "Meet the Press." Robinson joins moderator Lawrence Spivak in a discussion about civil rights and Robinson’s work with the NAACP. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt

    October 20, 1957: Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in one of her six "Meet the Press" appearances. Here she talks about her trip to the Soviet Union. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Robert Frost

    December 28, 1958: Poet Robert Frost was introduced by moderator Ned Brooks as "the poet of all America. Indeed, it can be said that he is the poet of all mankind." Two years later, Congress awarded Robert Frost a gold medal in recognition of his poetry, saying it enriched the culture of the United States and the philosophy of the world. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Fidel Castro

    April 19, 1959: Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro appears on "Meet the Press" during his first visit to the United States since the revolution. Castro was annoyed that permanent panelist and producer Lawrence Spivak would not allow him to smoke cigars in the studio. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Martin Luthur King Jr.

    April 17, 1960: Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., pictured here in one of his five "Meet the Press" appearances. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. John F. Kennedy

    October 16, 1960: After this interview, then-Senator John F. Kennedy calls Meet the Press the nation's "fifty-first state." (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Jimmy Hoffa

    July 9, 1961:This first "Meet the Press" appearance by Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa had to be rescheduled several times due to Hoffa’s string of indictments. After the interview, Hoffa was furious about being asked whether his insistence on dealing only in cash and keeping few records gave the appearance of impropriety. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Edward Kennedy

    March 11, 1962: Edward Kennedy’s first appearance on the program. The potential Senate candidate was coached by his older brother, President John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy and his aide Theodore Sorensen prepared "Teddy" for his “Meet the Press” debut by staging a run through of questions and answers in the Oval Office. On the day of the program, President Kennedy delayed his departure from Palm Beach in order to watch the show, but later told his brother that he was almost too nervous to watch. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Bob Dole

    July 16, 1972: Bob Dole and "Meet the Press" moderator Lawrence Spivak prepare to discuss the break-in and bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate. Former Senator Dole holds the record for the most appearances on “Meet the Press” in a career that included service as a Congressman, Senator, RNC Chairman, vice presidential candidate, Senate Majority Leader and finally, Republican presidential nominee. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Prime Minister Wilson

    September 19, 1965: "Meet the Press" conducts television’s very first live satellite interview. The guest is British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Ronald Reagan

    September 11, 1966: Ronald Reagan, making his first bid for public office, appears on "Meet the Press" with his Democratic opponent for the governorship of California, the incumbent Gov. Edmund G. Brown. Reagan appeared on "Meet the Press" seven times -- all before he was elected president. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Robert Kennedy

    March 17, 1968: Senator Robert F. Kennedy makes his ninth -- and final -- appearance on "Meet the Press" with Lawrence E. Spivak. Kennedy was assassinated in California less than 3 months later -- shortly after claiming victory in that state's Democratic presidential primary. He was 42 years old. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. John Kerry

    April 18, 1971: John Kerry, then a former Navy Lieutenant, makes his first "Meet the Press" appearance as a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He has since appeared on the program as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts 21 times. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Golda Meir

    December 5, 1971: Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel, appears on “Meet the Press” with moderator Bill Monroe to discuss the continuing instability in the Middle East and the prospect of meeting and negotiating with Egypt’s leaders. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Prime Minister Gandhi

    August 24, 1975: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in one of her seven appearances on "Meet the Press" before her assassination in October 1984. After she was elected Prime Minister in 1966, Gandhi grew more concerned about her television image and contacted "Meet the Press" to request makeup samples used during her appearance on the program. The program’s makeup artist consulted her notes and sent Mrs. Gandhi a complete makeup set -- including sponges and instructions for application. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Gerald Ford

    November 9, 1975: President Gerald Ford becomes the first sitting American president to appear on the program. President Ford accepted the invitation as a tribute to "Meet the Press" co-founder Lawrence Spivak, who was making his farewell appearance as moderator of the program. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Jimmy Carter

    January 20, 1980: In one of the most dramatic newsbreaks in the history of "Meet the Press" President Jimmy Carter announces that the U.S. would boycott the Moscow Summer Olympics because of the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Despite initial outrage over Carter’s proposal, 60 nations eventually joined the boycott. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Richard Nixon

    April 10, 1988: In his first Sunday interview in 20 years, Former President Richard Nixon reacts to a comment on "Meet the Press. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Tim Russert's first show

    December 8, 1991: Tim Russert makes his debut as moderator of "Meet the Press." He has since become the longest-serving moderator in "Meet the Press" history. In the center of this photo is then-intern Betsy Fischer, who is now Executive Producer of the program. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Dan Quayle

    September 20, 1992: "Meet the Press" permanently expands from a half-hour to a one hour program. Vice President Dan Quayle is the guest. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Shaheen and Whitman

    February 2, 1997: The broadcast breaks television history as "Meet the Press" becomes the first network television program ever to broadcast live in digital high definition. Governors Jeanne Shaheen and Christie Todd Whitman share a light moment on the set that day. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Bill Clinton

    November 9, 1997: President Bill Clinton appears in studio on "Meet the Press" to mark the program’s 50th anniversary. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Al Gore

    December 19, 1999: In a live Democratic presidential debate, Vice President Al Gore challenges former Sen. Bill Bradley to a "Meet the Press agreement" to have weekly debates in place of running political advertisements. (Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Dick Cheney

    September 16, 2001: Five days after the September 11th attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney joins moderator Tim Russert in the first live television interview ever broadcast from Camp David. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Senate Debate Series

    September 22, 2002: "Meet the Press" kicks off its "Senate Debate Series" with the Colorado Senate race: Republican Incumbent Sen. Wayne Allard vs. Democratic Challenger Tom Strickland. At the end of the election cycle, the series of three senate debates was awarded the prestigious "USC Walter Cronkite Journalism Award" for "Excellence in Broadcast TV Political Journalism." The debate series continued in 2004 and 2006. (Alex Wong / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. George W. Bush

    February 8, 2004: President George W. Bush kicks off his re-election campaign in an Oval Office interview with Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." Robert Novak went on to write about the interview, "no president ever before had been subjected to such tough questioning in the Oval Office." (Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. James Carville

    November 14, 2004: In another "Meet the Press" first, Democratic strategist James Carville cracks an egg on his forehead to demonstrate he's got "egg on his face" after his projected outcome of the U.S. presidential election was wrong. Carville predicted 52 percent of the vote for U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), 47 percent for President George W. Bush and 1 percent for Ralph Nader. (Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Jim Webb

    November 19, 2006: The first edition of "Meet the Press" to be available via video netcast on the show’s Web site. U.S. Senator-elect Jim Webb (D-Va.) joins moderator Tim Russert on that program. (Alex Wong / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Barack Obama

    November 11, 2007: "Meet the Press"celebrates its 60th anniversary live from Des Moines, Iowa with Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) for the full hour. (Eric Thayer / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. June 15, 2008: The chair of late moderator Tim Russert sits empty on the set during the first MTP taping following Russert's death. He died June 13, 2008 of a heart attack while at the NBC News bureau in Washington. He was 58 years old. (Alex Wong / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Colin Powell

    October 19, 2008: A record-breaking 9 million viewers tune in to see Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican, announce his endorsement of Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. President-elect Obama

    December 7, 2008: President-elect Barack Obama makes his first Sunday morning television appearance since winning the election to discuss the challenges facing this country and the upcoming transition of power. (Scott Olson / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. David Gregory

    December 7, 2008: Interim moderator Tom Brokaw announces that David Gregory has been chosen as the new moderator of the show. (Alex Wong / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Rendell, Schwarzenegger & Bloomberg

    March 22, 2009: Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Penn.), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared exclusively on Meet the Press one day after meeting with President Obama to discuss the economy. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images for Meet the Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Hillary Clinton

    July 26, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears for a full-hour on Meet the Press. It's her first appearance on the program since joining the Obama administration. (William B. Plowman / NBC Universal) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. President Obama

    September 20, 2009: President Barack Obama sits down with David Gregory at the White House for Obama's first MTP appearance since taking office. (Pete Souza / The White House) Back to slideshow navigation
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