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Meet the Press Transcript - April 13, 2014

DAVID GREGORY:

Good Sunday morning, we’re talking about the politics of health care. Is the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius a sign of success or failure for the president’s health care law. We have an exclusive interview with the outgoing health secretary this morning.

And with Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire this weekend making it clear they’ll continue the health care fight, we’ll discuss what promises to be a pivotal issue in November’s midterms.

Plus, Boston Strong, one year later. Ahead of the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, I went to the city for a special discussion on how Boston is recovering from tragedy with a unique roundtable and an audience of first responders.

MIKE BOSSE (ON TAPE):

I take the events of that day very personal. That was an attack on my city. And I'll never forget it.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the world’s longest-running television program. This is Meet the Press with David Gregory.

DAVID GREGORY:

But first, the political roundtable is here to discuss a pretty big week in health care politics. Our friend Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, current and long-time advisor to Jeb Bush; Donna Edwards, Democratic congresswoman from Maryland; Paul Gigot, Editorial Page editor of TheWall Street Journal; and I'm pleased the welcome Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of Re/code, a tech news and analysis website.

NBC Universal is an investor in that site. She's been on at the forefront of coverage of major news and developments in the digital world at a variety of organizations, including The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. That a lot of information about Kara Swisher.

KARA SWISHER:

It is, it's a lot. Thanks, that's enough, I'm going to leave now.

DAVID GREGORY:

But you're our wildcard too. You know, you're the person that can shake things up on the roundtable.

KARA SWISHER:

Well, David Brooks isn't here, I noticed.

DAVID GREGORY:

I know, right. We're relying on you. Let's get to healthcare. We're going to hear from Kathleen Sebelius in just a minute, her first interview since resigning her post. Mike Murphy, I turn to you. But first, from Vox, Ezra Klein writing this this week about the resignation. "ObamaCare has won. And that's why secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius can resign. The evidence piled up in recent weeks that the strategy worked.

"Obamacare's first year, despite a truly horrific start, was a success. More than 7 million people look to have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges. Millions more have signed up through Medicaid. Millions beyond that have signed up for insurance through their employers." So the argument being, hey, good time to step down.

MIKE MURPHY:

Well, it was a time-honored thing in the midst of a disaster, declare victory and try to move on. We will see. It's going to be litigated in in the midterm elections, the country's going to I think cast a judgment on it on election day. We'll see if we still have the Democratic Senate.

The fact is, it's not really at this point a Republican/Democrat thing anymore. It is an idea versus actuarial science. And we'll see at the really constant, how it really works out moving forward. I think Ms. Burwell's highly confident. I think she's going to get confirmed. And I think she knows it's the toughest job in the federal government.

DAVID GREGORY:

The problem, Congresswoman, is that there's a lot we still don't know. That's a reality. You can't anticipate all the consequences of ObamaCare. Even though you have some evidence that people are signing up. People who didn't have insurance now have insurance. Those are positive signs. You don't know the rest.

DONNA EDWARDS:

Well, we have other evidence too. We have 170-some million people who aren't being denied because they have preexisting conditions. We have three million young people who are now on their parent's health care plan. I mean, there are a lot of benefits. We're closing the donut hole that the Republicans actually want to reopen in their budget. And the American people are saying overwhelmingly now, "Don't repeal, let's fix it if there are problems. But we want this system to work."

DAVID GREGORY:

So The Wall Street Journal had its voice heard this week. Paul Gigot and the editorial on Friday was this in part: "It would be nice to think that Sebelius's resignation, leaked late Thursday as a case of the accountability in government, but that isn't the way this government now works, if it ever did. The departure of the secretary of Health and Human Services, who presided over ObamaCare's roll-out debacle, is best understood as one of the more attempt to dodge political responsibility." Why? Why do you say that?

PAUL GIGOT:

Because it's a debt-clearing exercise. She's a lightning rod, would've been a lightning rod going to the elections. Get her out of there. And you waited until you, kind of, you had at least the plausible signups, numbers to be able to quote. But now let's move her out, she wasn't going to help in the election.

They hope to be able to get this confirmation of her successor done early. Before the election, I think the danger for the Democrats is the Republicans are going to use this as an opportunity to reopen the debate and try to find some of those facts that we don't know yet about how many people have paid their premiums, how many people lost insurance. What about the next wave and the premium increases that are coming?

DAVID GREGORY:

Kara, a lot of people, friend and foes alike, wanted her gone for a while.

KARA SWISHER:

Yeah. It was a debacle. It was a success in spite of its debacle. I don't know how else to put. But, I mean, people use, for example, the way it was rolled out from a digital perspective was just, it's a completely disaster. I mean, Tinder is doing 12 million matches a day and they can't get this thing working.

And I think had it gone smoothly from a digital perspective, it might've been a slightly different story. But everyone was anybody to focus on the disaster of it. And it was a disaster. Because everybody uses these digital services all day long, and they work perfectly.

DAVID GREGORY:

And, to that point, what's so important about making this work through younger people signing up.

KARA SWISHER:

Exactly. That's how they're going to do it.

DAVID GREGORY:

That's how they're going to do it. And if it doesn't work, they're not going to say, "Oh, I'll try back later."

KARA SWISHER:

Right. Not just here, but everything is going to be through these phones. All your health services are going to be through your phones, from diagnosis, there's all kinds of things you can put in the phones where you can put blood samples. This is the way it's going to be. It's a digital delivery.

MIKE MURPHY:

There's also, Paul made a good point. There's a huge difference between clicking yes, and paying and really enrolling.

DAVID GREGORY:

Right. And we don't know those numbers yet.

MIKE MURPHY:

And the experts that really follow this stuff think the delta could be as wide as 27%. So we just don't know. This is all kind of washing in paperwork right now.

DONNA EDWARDS:

The main thing that Republicans continue to want to do the bad news story of healthcare, I mean, the fact is whether, I mean, I agree, there was a problem with, you know, with the rollout. But the fact is that millions of people have signed up, millions more people have benefits. This is going to get better over time.

Young people actually support the health care law even, more overwhelmingly than almost any other category of Americans. It can't all be a bad-news story. And it was time. Kathleen Sebelius's resignation, I mean, she was one of the longest-serving secretaries, and this was the appropriate time to go.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, let's do this. Let's hear from Secretary Sebelius. She spoke with our own Andrea Mitchell about the big political story this week, her resignation, the future of healthcare. We'll hear from her and talk a little bit on the other side of it.

(BEGIN TAPE)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

In retrospect, was it too complicated, too much to take on to create this enormous program, roll it out the way you did? Should you have delayed the rollout and tried to get it right the first time?

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

Well, I think there's no question and I've said this many times that the launch of the website was terribly flawed and terribly difficult. The good news was that we said it would be fixed in eight weeks. It was fixed in eight weeks.

And we announced last week that seven and a half million people, most of them coming through the site had enrolled. We're running the sites of 34 states through one situation. The hub, which all states connect to, has worked flawlessly from the beginning.

Could we have used more time and testing? You bet. I've said that from the start. But the site actually works. And the great thing is, there's a market behind the site that works even better. People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

One of the things that has been written is that there was so much attention being paid as to whether the insurance companies would offer enough choices, that not enough was paid to, just, the website, the technical side of it. Do you think that's possibly what went on?

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

Well, I think there are two things, Andrea. There's-- certainly, policy team setting this-- process up, trying to make sure we had competitive markets in every state around the country. And as you remember, you know, we didn't really know-- until about six months out, how many states would actually run their own sites, who would be on their own.

So, this was kind of a moving target. So, yes, it took a lot of time on the policy side on the market side. And there was a team in place with other people, outside experts coming in, kicking the tires, regular reports, regular dashboard on the tech side. But clearly, the-- estimate that it was ready to go October 1st was just flat-out wrong.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Did the White House oversell it?

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

I don't think they did. I think what we said from the outset was, you know, this was fixing a very broken market-- where individuals really were on their own. If you were healthy and wealthy, you could get coverage. If you weren't, you were pretty much on your own if you didn't work for the right company.

So, that was fixed. We have millions of people, not only in the private marketplace, but millions more in expanded Medicaid-- which is going on around the country with Republican and Democratic governors. And then there are a lot of underlying pieces which really, to me, are very exciting, which go to beginning to fix the underlying health system that affects us all whether or not you have insurance coverage with your employer or whether one-- you're one of these newly insured folks.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Along the way, what was your low point?

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

Well, I would say that the eight weeks where the site was not functioning well for the vast majority of people was a pretty dismal time. And I was frankly hoping and watching and measuring the benchmarks. But having failed once -- at the front of October-- the first of December became a critical juncture of other-- It was going to meet the expectations the second time around. I knew we didn't have a third time around. So, it was-- that was a pretty-- a pretty scary date. And-- and watching a lotta people come in and be able to be enrolled in December was very gratifying.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

You know, the White House has been publicly very supportive, but then there's all the sort of back sniping. This is Washington, after all. People are asking, "Were you pushed or did you jump?"

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

Well, actually, I made a decision at the election that I couldn't leave along with a lot of my colleagues who left at the end of the first term. That did not seem to be even a topic to consider since there was still one more chapter in this Affordable Care Act that needed to roll out.

And that has been one of my responsibilities as the secretary of Health and Human Services. So, staying on-- made good sense for me. I also thought that, at the end of open enrollment was a logical time to leave. There is never a good time.

There's gonna be another open enrollment. There are changes down the road. But the president and I began to talk, you know, after the first of the year. And I went back to him in early March and said, "You know, I'm really optimistic we're gonna meet the targets and the enrollment is good. While the site is working well, I think once we finish this first chapter you really should begin to look for the next secretary who can be here through the end of your term." And that really wasn't a commitment I was willing to make. And he knew that.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Did he try to talk you out of it?

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS:

Well, I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on. I mean, it was fair to either commit till January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong competent leader.

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

Alright, so the pure political question, is the resignation a sign of ObamaCare's success or failure? Republicans were quick to pounce on that this week up in New Hampshire. Ted Cruz, Scott Brown talking about it. Ted Cruz speaking to our own Kelly O'Donnell. Watch:

(BEGIN TAPE)

TED CRUZ:

Kathleen Sebelius's resignation is the latest indication of just what a disaster ObamaCare is. ObamaCare is the most disastrous, the most damaging piece of legislation in modern times. And I believe she resigned because Senate Democrats are sad.

SCOTT BROWN:

You know, as you go along, and you learn more and more, more about ObamaCare, it forces us to make a choice. Live free or log on. Okay? Live free or log on. And guess what? Guess what, in New Hampshire, guess what we choose? We choose freedom.

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

This is why people love politics. How long did it take to come up with that line? But Paul Gigot, this is the political question, right? This is not about actuarial science. It's who's going to win the fight over whether ObamaCare is a good thing or a bad thing, government run amuck or government helping people?

PAUL GIGOT:

Well, actuarial science will play into that. It affects what the premiums will be. And you saw WellPoint I think recently say, "We're going to ask for double-digit premium increases in 2015." That is going to be a big--

DAVID GREGORY:

But the government could also try to intervene on that and subsidize that, which I know you love at The Wall Street Journal.

PAUL GIGOT:

Yeah, price controls, we really love price controls. Government directing pricing, and yeah, but look, the political issue isn't the website. The political issue is what they did to the individual marketplace for healthcare. How many people lost their insurance, what are the prices you're going to pay, what limits do you have on your doctor and so on? And that's where the Republicans are really going to try to fight in November. If they're smart, they'll match their critique with an agenda to fix those problems.

DAVID GREGORY:

Will anybody listen to an agenda to fix them? Is there a real agenda?

MIKE MURPHY:

Sure. There's going to be tremendous demand. I mean, right now, this is not a complicated one. The perception of it, which in politics is a reality, is complete failure. More than half the people disapprove. Now you can argue, "Oh, it's going to get better through the experience." That could change the numbers in time. Or I make the actuary science, a sexy area, argument that it's going to drive the cost up and make it even worse. And we're going to litigate it on election day and then we'll see what happens.

DAVID GREGORY:

There's another big issue coming up for the fall. And it's a fight over voting and voting rights, and access to voting. We're marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Johnson. And at the L.B.J. Library, the president, the first lady were there, former presidents speaking as well. And the president, Congressman Edwards, was very strong on this point about efforts to restrict voting. Here's what he said.

PRESIDENT OBAMA (ON TAPE):

Voting's not a Democratic issue, it's not a Republican issue, it's an issue of citizenship. It's what makes our democracy strong. But it's a fact. This recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. It's been led by the Republican Party.

DAVID GREGORY:

Pretty tough charge, backed up Washington Post in the last 15 months, at least nine states have enacted laws, voting changes making it harder to cast ballots, despite very little evidence of voter fraud out there.

DONNA EDWARDS:

Well, very little evidence, almost no evidence of voter fraud. And I think these states have reacted to a political agenda that's about taking away people's right to vote and their access to the polls. I think it's backed up by a Supreme Court that's done great damage to the Voting Rights Act.

Republicans still holding onto a bill that they won't bring to the floor that actually could restore those protections. And I think the president is dead on on this one. And we're not going to go into November with people not understanding the restrictions that are being placed on their right to vote.

DAVID GREGORY:

Kara, as you look out, you look at the politics around the country at the grassroots level. It could be about marriage equality. It could be about just pure access to vote. And this is where past is prologue. This is not, you know, looking at 50 years ago. It's looking about your ability to vote today. How powerful is the issue?

KARA SWISHER:

I think it's, you know, it'll be interesting. Because I think one of the groups in this election that's going to be very important are the young people, young women, especially. And how they get access to information and how they vote, and all kinds of things around politics.

And I think what's interesting is how you reach those voters and how you empower them to do different things. And I think I see more about how voting's going to be in ten years, in 15 years. This is not, you know, the Voting Rights Act, no matter how you slice it, is one of the greatest pieces of legislation in our history. And the question is how are we going to change voting.

Just the way we're talking about Bitcoin or currency. All these things are going to change drastically. And it'll be interesting around voting is how voters, you know, become empowered using, again, the phones, the digital means, and things like that. Because that's how we're going to vote--

DAVID GREGORY:

But is it interesting--

(OVERTALK)

DONNA EDWARDS:

But understand that one thing that can't--

MIKE MURPHY:

Internet voting is a very interesting question. It's now done in some small countries.

DONNA EDWARDS:

We're going to do it--

(OVERTALK)

MIKE MURPHY:

It's going to come in time, and it's going to increase turnout. And from my point of view, it'd be also in primaries. But for the market-based party, the more people who--

DAVID GREGORY:

But you're--

(OVERTALK)

DONNA EDWARDS:

But, it’d be good if this were a conversation about how we expand voting and voting protection.

KARA SWISHER:

Right, exactly.

DONNA EDWARDS:

But what's going on in the country right now is about how to take those rights away.

KARA SWISHER:

When you look at into digital, you do expand it, because you give access to people in a very different way. I mean, think about, I mean, swipe left, swipe right. It could be kind of an interesting thing.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

And Paul let me ask you--

PAUL GIGOT:

If voter I.D. were about voter disenfranchisement, why was African American turnout so much greater in 2012? I mean, it has had--

DAVID GREGORY:

Obama--

PAUL GIGOT:

--zero effect on turnout. Actually turnout was better--

DONNA EDWARDS:

Because people were angry and they decided to exercise their right to vote.

PAUL GIGOT:

That's the point. This is about voter mobilization. This is about playing to the identity politics of Democrats who fear that the turnout won't--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

But Paul, but isn't the opposite true as well? If that's true, isn't the opposite true that if you're in a state where you want to discourage that same demographic from coming out, you try to raise the bar to what it takes to actually be able to vote?

PAUL GIGOT:

It could be, but there is, and maybe the motivation of some Republicans, there is no evidence, that it does that at all. And I think that you want to make sure that the franchise is protected by making sure that it is actually an honest--

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

Can I ask one qu-- a provocative idea is coming out this week, Andy Young, civil rights leader, former ambassador to the United Nations, had an idea about issuing social security cards with your picture on it. And Bill Clinton, Former President Clinton thought that was a good idea. The president's taking it under advisement. Is this a civil liberties concern, or is it a good idea?

KARA SWISHER:

Well, obviously that's going to be the debate. But again cards, going, walking. I mean, you get your groceries delivered, you get your, you know, Amazon is suddenly going to bring drones some day, and I think they probably will actually. But the idea is how do you then create a voting environment that is easier for people to use the way they use other services. And I think that's where it's going to head.

And that'll be really interesting, is how identify yourself you know, in a digital sense, and then get to do all kinds of civic things. And bring them together in an easy way. Because everyone, no matter how, everyone's going to have these smartphones no matter what their economic path.

DAVID GREGORY:

Right.

MIKE MURPHY:

I think it's a plot by LifeLock. Because if you're going to be flashing your social security number everywhere, it's going to be an absolute-- it's Miracle-Gro for identity theft.

DAVID GREGORY:

Well, I've got about a minute left. I want to hit one other presidential politics point. A lot of talk this week about Jeb Bush and his comments this week about illegal immigrants actually committing a crime that is an act of love. A lot of focus on whether he is, does, A) does he really want to do this, and two, is he going to be eaten alive by the primary process? What's your read on this?

MIKE MURPHY:

Well, you know, one, it's way too early to figure out if he's running or not. You know, theirs is a speculation machine in D.C. We're two years out of a campaign. He's taking plenty of time to figure it out.

DAVID GREGORY:

Right, it's called our life blood. It's called--

(OVERTALK)

MIKE MURPHY:

--a machine, it's incredible.

KARA SWISHER:

That's all you do here, right?

MIKE MURPHY:

The wider question is, I was proud of him, regardless of if he runs. Because I believe that leadership has been replaced in American politics by marketing. We micro target, micro pander, let's focus group and figure out how to win, you know, this, win that.

And we've lost sight of politicians who tell you what they think is right, they make an argument for it, and then you figure it out. And that's who Jeb Bush is. He's not a typical weather-vane kind of guy. So if he runs, that's what you're going to get. I think it's what the country's looking for. But we'll see what happens.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right. We'll see if he actually wants to run. The roundtable is going to be back. We'll hear from them a little bit later on. Coming up next though, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the bombing that shook Boston. A powerful discussion from the city with a special roundtable and an audience of first-responders.

KENT SCARNA (on tape):

All of us felt that this is an attack on us personally, an attack on our city, on a very special day. And for someone of that stature representing a team that is as loved in this city as Boston as the Red Sox are, to say, "This is our city and we're taking it back," was very important. I think it was very pivotal in the healing.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

AND WE’RE BACK. BOSTON STRONG: IT'S A PHRASE THAT SUMS UP THE STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE OF A CITY TOUCHED BY TRAGEDY. ONE YEAR AGO ON TUESDAY, TWO BOMBS EXPLODED CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE OF THE BOSTON MARATHON, KILLING 3 AND INJURING HUNDREDS MORE...

TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE CITY HAS HEALED I WENT TO BOSTON FOR A UNIQUE DISCUSSION WITH A SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE AND AUDIENCE OF FIRST RESPONDERS, SOME OF WHOM WERE ON THE SCENE OF THE BOMBING ON THAT DIFFICULT DAY.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

We are here in Boston with Boston Harbor and the skyline of the city behind me to understand the impact of the attack on the city from people directly affected. Joe Andruzzi, the former New England Patriots defensive lineman who was at the finish line, carried some of the injured from the scene, Ed Markey, of course, Democratic senator from the State of Massachusetts, our good friend Doris Kearns Goodwin is a long-time Bostonian, a resident here, and, of course, presidential historian.

And Ed Davis is with us. He was the Boston police commissioner at the time of the bombing. I'm also joined by an audience today that includes some terrific folks, first responders who did heroic work at the scene of the attacks, as well as John Tlumacki, a photographer for the Boston Globe who captured one of the most famous images of that day. Thank you all for being here. Thank you for your work, for your service that day and all the days you provide your service. And we're gonna talk about understanding one year later. Before we do that, though, I want to bring in our Harry Smith, who has this report on how Boston is still trying to come to terms with the events of a year ago.

HARRY SMITH:

YOU CAN TELL A LOT BY THE LOOKS ON PEOPLE’S FACES. THE WOUNDS ARE NOT HEALED. NOT YET. AT THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY THERE IS AN EXHIBIT OF MEMENTOS FROM THE MAKESHIFT MEMORIALS THAT APPEARED AFTER THE MARATHON BOMBING LAST YEAR.

WOMAN #1:

It’s sad. It brings back a lot of memories, a lot fear, anxiety.

HARRY SMITH:

THE MOOD IS RESPECTFUL. EVEN SACRED.

WOMAN #2:

It takes a little while to absorb it, and I think you want to stand here with respect.

HARRY SMITH:

UP BOYLSTON STREET AT FORUM RESTAURANT, SITE OF THE SECOND EXPLOSION, MANAGER CHRIS LOPER SAYS THE MEMORIES ARE STILL FRESH.

CHRIS LOPER:

As you look up this street, that's where all the ambulances were coming from that day. So that's the one thing that sets you off a little bit, when the next time you see an ambulance and loud noise is coming down that street. You certainly have flashbacks.

HARRY SMITH

THE CITY WAS VIOLATED. AND ON A DAY LOCALS REGARD WITH NO SMALL AMOUNT OF PRIDE.

CHRIS LOPER:

It hurt us. It really did. You know, it hurt Patriot's Day.

HARRY SMITH

THE BOSTON MARATHON IS RUN ON PATRIOTS DAY, A CIVIC HOLIDAY HERE THAT PEOPLE SAY IS THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR IN BOSTON. IF YOU’RE NOT AT THE MARATHON, THEN YOU ARE AT THE RED SOX GAME THAT STARTS AT 11 IN THE MORNING. IT'S A PARTY. IT’S SPRING. AND IT’S A HOLIDAY UNIQUE TO BOSTON BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED HERE IN APRIL 19th, 1775.

IT BEGINS AT THE OLD NORTH CHURCH. ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA. PAUL REVERE'S RIDE TO WARN THE MILITIAS IN LEXINGTON AND CONCORD THAT THE BRITISH WERE ON THEIR WAY. A BATTLE IMMORTALIZED IN EMERSON'S POEM.

HARRY SMITH (on camera):

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to April's breeze unfurled, here once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world.

HARRY SMITH:

IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR THAT RE-ENACTORS PERFORM EVERY YEAR WITH DUTY TO HISTORY. HERE, MORE THAN A YEAR BEFORE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS SIGNED MEN WERE WILLING TO SACRIFICE EVERYTHING FOR AN IDEA. AN IDEAL THAT WOULD BECOME THE UNITED STATES. AS EMERSON SAID, “A SPIRIT THAT MADE THOSE HEROES DARE TO DIE AND LEAVE THEIR CHILDREN FREE.”

WE FREE CHILDREN ARE OBLIGED TO BETTER REMEMBER THOSE DAYS.

THE MARATHON ATTACK WASN'T JUST MEANT FOR BOSTON. IT WAS AIMED AT ALL OF US, AT WHO WE ARE, AT HOW WE LIVE. SO WHEN THE RACE IS RUN THIS YEAR AND THE GAME IS PLAYED, LET’S NOT FORGET WHAT HAPPENED LAST SPRING, NOR WHAT HAPPENED HERE IN 1775.

FOR MEET THE PRESS, HARRY SMITH

DAVID GREGORY:

Harry, thank you so much. Doris Kearns Goodwin, we talk about Patriot's Day. And we're about to have it again and experience this event again, one year later. For all the talk of resilience, there are a lot of wounds that don't heal. Especially when you have to go back and relive them.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Yeah, I mean, there's something, I'm sure, that people are going to feel with the flashbacks, as was said. And yet, I think going back to remember what it was like then and what it's like now, it's a really important thing. You have to learn from history. And there was resilience that took place during this period of time.

The hardest thing, I think, about that day was they struck us at what is so special a holiday in Boston. Other holidays, Memorial Day, July 4th, we run around, we get scattered. Everybody goes to that sacred place, whether as Harry said, you're at the Red Sox game. We start out in Concord. I live in Concord. So we go to the minute man thing at the morning, where the red coats fight once again, then come into the Red Sox game.

DAVID GREGORY:

Right, right. Senator?

ED MARKEY:

Doris is right. Patriot's Day celebrates our liberty, our freedom. It is what the terrorists hate about is. It is this sense that everyone is equal. It is a sense that every religion is equal in the treatment, which we give to it. And so this was a special place, a special day, and they knew that. It's the equivalent of, for us, kind of our most sacred day.

And there's a million people who come together on that day to watch the marathon. It is our common day of celebration. And they knew what they were doing. They knew exactly the impact that it would have upon us. And, in fact, they evoked just the opposite response. They had people standing up and responding and sacrificing. And the resilience is ultimately what people are going to remember about that day.

DAVID GREGORY:

And among those responders, the guy sitting to your right, this little fellow here, Joe Andruzzi--

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Little fellow.

DAVID GREGORY:

--formerly with the Patriots. Joe Andruzzi, thank you for being here.

JOE ANDRUZZI:

Thank you.

DAVID GREGORY:

It's great to meet you. I have this photograph which I'll hold up. And we'll show our viewers at home. But I wanted to hold it up and show it to you, you carrying somebody who had been injured from the scene. Tell me about what's happening here.

JOE ANDRUZZI:

We were at Forum Restaurant. My wife and I, we run the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. Our watch party was at Forum. And we were at the finish line, at that moment. And we're making our way back to Forum after helping some people on Boylston Street to turn around. Now making it back and my wife Jen pointing out now I know the daughters in the picture were trying to carry their mom on their back.

DAVID GREGORY:

Did you hear the explosion?

JOE ANDRUZZI:

Yes, I was right there at the finish line, near the first explosion. And I found out about an hour later that the second one was at Forum. On my way back to Forum, my wife pointed out three girls trying to carry a woman on their back. And I ran over. And I just said, "Let me help you." And that's when I picked her up. And walked her down the block to an ambulance and tried to calm them down, waiting for somebody to come over and help them out. And turned around and made my way back to Forum.

DAVID GREGORY:

Joe Tlumacki is here with us too. Boston Globe photographer. And Joe, I think everybody has seen this image that you took in the immediate aftermath. You'd gone there as part of the pool, you know, as you had done in years past to capture people coming across the finish line.

As an good photographer does, you're looking through the lens. Tell me what you saw.

JOHN TLUMACKI:

Well, you know, first of all, it's an honor to be--

DAVID GREGORY:

I called you Joe, excuse me. John, sorry.

JOHN TLUMACKI:

It's an honor to be a photographer at the finish line, you know? And it's probably my fifth year in that location right at the finish line. And I was standing there. And some of the better photos made during the marathon are ordinary people. They're not the elite runners. They're people who are struggling to get across the finish line. Some of them fall, some are dressed in costumes.

And that picture was, you know, taken probably seconds when the first bomb went off, about 45 feet from me at the sidewalk. I instinctively just ran forward. I saw that runner, Bill Iffrig, fall to the ground. And I had the camera to my face. I felt the jolt from the explosion. And I just kept running. And the three police officers, one of them with her gun drawn, were running towards the runner.

And I think it was this confusion that we had from talking to them all. So that we didn't know at first whether it was a cannon salute, a manhole cover exploded. But in that brief second, I think that photo shows the response that Boston had. I mean, these police officers reacted without flinching to that moment.

DAVID GREGORY:

What else did you see? How horrible was it? I mean, the immediate scene had to be surreal to you.

JOHN TLUMACKI:

It was very difficult. It was like the saddest day of my life to have to go to the fence after that photo was taken to see what I saw. It was horrific. People were smoldering. You know, it was just a heap of people who were severely injured. And the thing that amazed me about it when the smoke cleared is that everybody was being helped. Whether it was the E.M.S., Boston Police or firefighters were already there. And I just couldn't believe that response was that instantaneous.

DAVID GREGORY:

Ed Davis, when you look at John's photograph, you see the images, the face of your officers, at the time. What do you think about it a year later, as you look at that photograph?

ED DAVIS:

Well, I think that John has captured the essence of what it is to be a police officer. You can see in their eyes and in their actions that they are jumping into the fray, that they are both to respond to something that nobody expected. And it really is a moving picture that's become iconic for police everywhere.

But, you know, you look in this audience and you see the firefighters and the EMTs. In 18 minutes, that scene was cleared. All the victims were removed from the scene. And no one that was transported died. So whether it was a police or the other first responders who were represented here, it really is a remarkable tribute to the work that they do. It's moving.

DAVID GREGORY:

Mike Bosse, your deputy superintendent for Boston E.M.S. Talk about how it changed Boston, how this experience changed the city.

MIKE BOSSE:

You know, like many others, I was born and raised here. I started going to the marathon as a small kid with my dad. It was a big event for him. And then to go later in life as a college student and party. And then go as a professional in my capacity and to be there that day was an honor to be able to serve the city like that.

DAVID GREGORY:

And at a time of such need?

MIKE BOSSE:

Absolutely. I take the events of that day very personal. That was an attack on my city. And I'll never forget it.

DAVID GREGORY:

Is it hard to think about it one year later, to go through it again?

MIKE BOSSE:

No, I think we're all ready. I think we need to be there this year, to return to some form of normalcy. And I think we'll do okay.

DAVID GREGORY:

It's interesting, Doris, former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky wrote last year in the Boston Globe, "Boston will endure. The marathon will endure. We'll celebrate again as we remember. But to some distinct degree yet to be known, the security of the normal will be for many of us diminished." You can't experience this without some sense that you're more vulnerable than you were before.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Well, this is true. It's happening now too. That vulnerability. I'm sure everybody that goes this year will have a different feeling about being there, looking around themselves. They can't carry bags like they did before. There's going to be double the police. All of which is a symbol of what happened last year. But they're coming. And there are going to be more spectators there. And it's going to happen again.

DAVID GREGORY:

We haven't talked about something crucially important to recovery. Are there any Red Sox fans here in our group?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Hooray!

DAVID GREGORY:

Tell me your name and talk about the importance of the Red Sox and as a team what they did to help this city heal.

KENT SCARNA:

My name is Kent Scarna. And I think that we take a look at Patriot's Day. And from the very beginning, 11:00 in the morning until the end of the race, it's just all about Boston. Crowds, it's a big family thing. And we take our responsibility very seriously. And I think when we have that insult to our city, and someone like David Ortiz gets up there and says for everyone to hear, "This is our--"

DAVID GREGORY:

Blank city.

KENT SCARNA:

"--city," it resonates with all of us. Because, I think, all of us felt that way. All of us felt that this is an attack on us personally, an attack on our city, on a very special day. And for someone of that stature representing a team that is as loved in this city as Boston as the Red Sox are, to say, "This is our city and we're taking it back," was very important. I think it was very pivotal in the healing.

JOE ANDRUZZI:

I do believe sports is part of the healing process. And I have three brothers that are New York City firemen. And they were down there during 9/11. One was running out of Tower One, when it was falling behind him. And it does become part of that healing process. Because when they came up, they came up, and they were honored.

Mr. Kraft invited them up for what they represented. It wasn't about the name on their back. Or they weren't there for me. They were representing everyone that perished that day and all the first responders that were still out there and truly bringing a community together. Because we all are part of a community. And to be out there and for those three, four hours, whether it's baseball, basketball, football, whatever it is, kind of get your mind off it a little bit. And it's a healing process. Because time does heal wounds.

DAVID GREGORY:

As you look back a year later, what lessons did you take away from the immediate response, the manhunt, ultimately the apprehension of these two figures.

ED DAVIS:

Well, the importance of preparation. They could not have picked a worse city to do this in for their goals. We had prepared for it. We had planned. And we were able to improvise in that plan, as well. So there were a lot of heroes out there that day from the police, the fire, but also from the community.

DAVID GREGORY:

The decision to effectively shut the city down, as you were zeroing in on these suspects, had to be stressful, not just because of the issue at hand, but how long could you have kept that going?

ED DAVIS:

We briefed the governor and the mayor, gave them our best opinion, told them exactly what was happening, at the time. And a lot of things that were happening have not played out publicly. But there was a real possibility that a cell had gone active, that it was a much wider conspiracy. That's what we believed, at that time. And so the governor's focus was on saving lives. And I think he made the right decision.

DAVID GREGORY:

Senator, your look back at that. Were mistakes made? Were there lessons to be learned from the days that followed?

ED MARKEY:

I think there are. And, you know, we were prepared. We were Boston Strong, because we were Boston Ready. The city was ready. And the commissioner has a lot to do with that. The people who were here. There was a lot of cooperation at the local level. And then we needed the bravery of people then to respond on that day. And they did. And the resilience of people afterwards.

But right now, we're looking back out at the City of Boston. But we're here at Logan Airport. And this is where Mohamed Atta and the other nine hijacked the two planes on 9/11. This is where it began. And there were 150 people on those planes from Boston. And the lessons of 9/11 were remembered here. And they were implemented. And the equipment was put in place. And the training was put in place. And the coordination was put in place. And we saw that from the police, the fire, from the emergency medical technicians, the medical community, and from individual citizens like Joe.

DAVID GREGORY:

But do we have some follow-up, to stick with you? We've heard from Mike McCaul, House Homeland Security chairman, who said this past week, "We've found that several flags and warnings were missed." This is particularly about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is here, becomes radicalized, at some point, and then travels overseas back to Russia, and then comes back.

ED MARKEY:

This is the report, which was issued yesterday, the unclassified report from the four inspectors general of the intelligence agencies. And it is clear that there were red flags that should have been raised. That Tsarnaev was, in fact, oriented towards jihadism. That there were other clues that were out there that should have been followed up. That the information was not shared as widely and as readily as it should have been amongst the intelligence agencies, right down to the local level, where perhaps the local police, the local officials could have acted upon it.

So we have to make sure that there's never another report like this that is issued.

DAVID GREGORY:

As we think about the Tsarnaev brothers and the one brother who now faces trial, I want to get a few thoughts here. Sue Schiller, you're studying homeland. You're getting the Homeland Security now.

SUE SCHILLER:

Well, I think that the points that our panelists have made is excellent. The fluid interagency sharing of information is critical for all agencies to have what they need to do their specific jobs expertly. What I personally find very encouraging is something that J.C. Ramos said when he wrote The Age of the Unthinkable. Which is that we are a free and open society. And that is something that we want and something we want to keep. And with that comes the understanding that people are going to try and do us harm. We can't stop that. What we need to do is immunize ourselves so that when our system sees it, we can react appropriately and engage effectively.

KENT SCARNA:

I think for me I think much as Deputy Schiller mentioned, I think we are used to the fact that in the post-9/11 era that terrorism, homegrown or otherwise, is a fact of our life. But I think what I find most objectionable, what outrages me the most is the apologists for folks who perpetrate this.

We have a free society. It comes with its baggage, with its price. And I'm willing to accept that and defend our rights, our liberties. What I take exception to is people who reap the benefit of our liberties and then will make excuses for individuals who are trying to take those liberties away from us, okay? I'm sorry if there was something in his childhood that made him turn to jihadism and he took his brother along for the ride. I'm sorry for that.

However, let's keep in mind, people lost their lives. We damaged our city. There are people whose lives have been irreparably damaged, countless levels. And we need to stop apologizing for his behavior and make him take responsibility for his actions. And we have to take responsibility for making ourselves stronger against that.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

I mean, I guess what I'd like to understand it as, to use another writer, is Hemingway said "Everyone is broken by life. But afterward, many are stronger in the broken places." This city was broken for awhile. New York was broken. Oklahoma City was broken. Our country has been broken by wars. And yet, we have emerged stronger from each one of these.

DAVID GREGORY:

John Tlumacki, I first want to ask you, again, reflecting on your image that you took, that's the kind of image that stands the test of time at marking a moment in history. What's it going to represent to you and, do you think, to people who see it in years to come?

JOHN TLUMACKI:

I think it's going to be the reminder of what happened in that terrible marathon. Hopefully, this year I'll be able to replace that image with something more joyful. Survivors crossing the finish line with their family. I'm going to be there. I'm going to be standing on the finish line doing my job. And I want to replace that image. I don't want people to keep coming back and thinking that's the way it was. I want people to come and go online, look at the Boston Globe and say, "What a beautiful picture."

DAVID GREGORY:

Well said. We're going to leave it there. Thank you very much.

JOHN TLUMACKI:

Thank you.

DAVID GREGORY:

Thank all of you for being here. And thank you all on the panel as well.

VARIOUS:

Thank you, David.

DAVID GREGORY:

Thanks. Boston Strong, for sure.

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

And we’re coming back here. I’ll be joined by our special guest, documentary maker Ken Burns is coming around to discuss how one of the most powerful speeches in American history, President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, still inspires after more than 150 years. He’ll join the roundtable coming up right after this.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

Now, some of this week’s images to remember.

(“IMAGES TO REMEMBER” SEGMENT)

DAVID GREGORY:

This week's “Images to Remember” and a look at the amazing cherry blossoms here in Washington. Kara, wasn't that a beautiful picture of the cherry blossoms?

KARA SWISHER:

That was a beautiful picture.

DAVID GREGORY:

Do you know who took that?

KARA SWISHER:

Did I?

DAVID GREGORY:

I did.

KARA SWISHER:

Oh.

DAVID GREGORY:

I did on my iPhone walking around.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

You know what I'm saying?

KARA SWISHER:

I'm glad you figured that out finally.

DAVID GREGORY:

Just to impress you. So Tuesday marks the 149th anniversary of President Lincoln's assassination at the Ford's Theatre here in Washington. Ken Burns has come, he's made a new documentary about the impact of President Lincoln's most iconic speech, the Gettysburg Address. Ken, always great to have you here.

KEN BURNS:

Thanks.

DAVID GREGORY:

And this was, you live up near a school where the Gettysburg Address was playing a big role. Talk about it.

KEN BURNS:

Yes, it's called the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont. And I was asked ten years ago to be a judge. The boys there, only boys, 50 of them, have dyslexia, A.D.H.D., executive function, dysgraphia, a whole alphabet soup of learning differences.

But each year when they come back from Thanksgiving, they're asked to memorize and then two and a half months later, around Lincoln's birthday, publicly recite in front of a few hundred people Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. And we imbedded ourselves for three months a year or so ago and watched them learn it. All the trials and tribulations, the fights, the disagreements, the tears, the triumphs, the helping each other.

And it begins to remind you that in this republic of ours, words matter and they endure. They're medicine. This is in my opinion, the greatest speech ever made in the American English language by a president who was doubling down on the declaration. He was creating a declaration 2.0. The first one said, "All men are created equal."

But the guy who wrote that owned a hundred human beings. Four score and seven years later, he's coming back to the site of the greatest battle in American soil and saying, "Look, we really do believe it. We can have a new birth of freedom." And on the first anniversary of 9/11, what do we listen to? Not new speeches from politicians.

We listen to something that has nothing to do with 9/11. We listen to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. And these kids themselves experience a new birth of freedom by taking on something which we don't do in our schools anymore, which is memorization. And putting it on their hard drive permanently. And you can see them escape the specific gravity of their disabilities, their differences and get to this new place.

DAVID GREGORY:

Well, and it's so striking too. We were talking about this that for someone with some learning difficulties, this is how an old speech can live anew, because the brilliance was its brevity to be able to use it to overcome some difficulty.

DONNA EDWARDS:

Well, you know, I had the really great privilege of reading and reciting the Gettysburg Address three sets of high school students in my district. And I was inspired when I heard Ken Burns say, "Take this challenge on." We uploaded it onto the website, the young people really enjoyed it, the teachers taught to it. And it's been a great lesson.

MIKE MURPHY:

A guy I feel sorry for? Edward Everett, who was supposed to be the star, the greatest contemporary orator.

KEN BURNS:

And he wasn't.

MIKE MURPHY:

He went for two hours--

(OVERTALK)

KEN BURNS:

A little bit short of two hours. But he wrote the president very graciously afterwards and he said-- "I wish that I could flatter myself to think that I came as close to the central meat of the thing in two hours as you did in two minutes." But it's a very difficult two minutes. He places the word "here" throughout it all the time, that "we dedicated here," that "we're here dedicated," that "those who died here."

I mean, it's really tough for any of us to internalize. But as we watch these boys do it, we said, "If they can do it, then all of us ought to be able to do it." And if you go to LearnTheAddress.org, you'll see all the living presidents reciting it. David Gregory, and many people in our media culture, Bill O'Reilly, but also Rachel Maddow. It's got Nancy Pelosi, but Marco Rubio. A real, history -- still a table around which we can have a civil discourse. And Lincoln's a great place to start to have that civil discourse.

(OVERTALK)

MIKE MURPHY:

You have to remember the context too. This was four months after a battle that was the most blood-soaked military experience the country had had.

KEN BURNS:

Right, ever.

MIKE MURPHY:

Yeah, ever.

(OVERTALK)

KEN BURNS:

And it's still the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. 10,000 dead, 56,000 casualties, 185,000 soldiers involved. And he comes to the now quiet battlefield to add a few appropriate remarks--

(OVERTALK)

KEN BURNS:

--after Edward Everett's speech. And then just nails it home. And this is the operating system that still is our operating system.

MIKE MURPHY:

Sure.

KARA SWISHER:

But what's interesting is how short it was, but think about it in today's age of sound bites. Like, people would've taken off "heres" if it didn't fit on Twitter. A here, a here now.

(OVERTALK)

KARA SWISHER:

Oh no, for--

KEN BURNS:

A new anxiety that I have is what if somebody gave a Gettysburg Address today, maybe C-SPAN might have it. Certainly we wouldn't be able to pick it up from the speed and the rapidity, as you're saying, of our news cycles. But we now--

DAVID GREGORY:

Or maybe we understood before any of it--

(OVERTALK)

MIKE MURPHY:

But no focus groups, too wordy.

(OVERTALK)

KEN BURNS:

I have a feeling that he, Lincoln would be able to cut through.

(OVERTALK)

KEN BURNS:

And I think he had the brevity to be able to--

KEN BURNS:

Wait, but you don't think somebody would say--

PAUL GIGOT:

--even on Twitter.

MIKE MURPHY:

But you don't, but somebody other than the speaker would say, "The president came to Gettysburg to distract attention from this disastrous military campaign out West."

DAVID GREGORY:

Alright, I'm going to leave it there. Ken Burns's documentary is called The Address and it airs Tuesday at 9:00 P.M. on PBS. Thanks Ken, for coming around. Always good to see you. That is all for our discussion today. Thanks for the roundtable. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *