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Meet the Press Transcript - April 19, 2015

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

This Sunday, off and running. Republicans in New Hampshire taking on Hillary.

RAND PAUL:

When Hillary Clinton travels, there's going to need to be two planes, one for her entourage and one for her baggage.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

And Clinton trying to prove she still can't stop thinking about tomorrow.

HILLARY CLINTON:

We need to be. We have to be number one again.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

But is yesterday really gone? And could we see a presidential announcement right here on the show? Plus, breaking through the noise. That gyrocopter incident, the flying mailman certainly got people talking, just not about what he wanted to be talking about. And lots of people are having fun with Hillary's new logo. Guess what? So are we.

I'm Chuck Todd. And joining me to provide insight and analysis are former senior advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod, Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, Helene Cooper of the New York Times, and former senior advisor to John McCain's 2008 campaign, Steve Schmidt. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Good morning. Lots of course, 2016 politics on the show today. But first, we have some breaking news overnight. In a major rescue operation that is underway, hundreds feared drowned south of an Italian island of Lampedusa after a boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Italy. Keir Simmons joins me now from London with the latest. And Keir, there's a fear that most of these 700 have already drowned.

KEIR SIMMONS:

There really is, Chuck. Good morning. That search and rescue operation is underway as we speak, involving Italian boats, the Maltese navy, and commercial vessels. The Italian coast guard has said 24 bodies have been recovered. And 28 people have survived, though one international organization is saying 49 were rescued and are being taken to Sicily.

The sinking boat capsized at around midnight local time, which is more than 12 hours ago. So the final numbers may be truly gut wrenching. Hundreds still need rescuing. But the hopes of finding more people alive after hours on the very cold sea appear to be dimming.

And survivors say the vessel was carrying, as you say, Chuck, between 500 and 700 people. That means this could be the deadliest recorded migrant tragedy on the Mediterranean ever. So far this year, 900 people have been rescued trying to make the journey from North Africa to Europe. 900 people have been killed. I'm sorry. 10,000 have been rescued, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

And Keir, let's make this clear. This is all stemming from the civil war in Libya as, basically, Libyans and other North Africans are just trying to flee and get to Europe, correct?

KEIR SIMMONS:

That's right. That's part of it, the disarray in Libya, across the Middle East. These people come from right across that region. What the European authorities face is a really difficult challenge. Because plainly, they want to rescue people. And at the same time, they don't want to encourage people to make the journey. So far, Chuck, they seem to be failing on both counts.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Keir Simmons in London, tracking the story. Keir, thanks very much. Now of course, to the presidential race and our focus this morning. There are 19 months to go until election day. And ready for this? Nineteen Republican candidates or potential candidates spent the weekend in New Hampshire.

And they, apparently, had two goals. One was to impress Republican primary voters. And the other, bash Hillary Clinton. Her announcement last week was, of course, no surprised, and neither was the fact that the Republican hopefuls saw a bigger target in Hillary Clinton than they did in President Obama anymore. In fact, here's a sample.

(BEGIN TAPE)

TED CRUZ:

As I was coming up, I was a little bit startled. Because I could've sworn I saw Hillary's Scooby-Doo van outside.

LINDSAY GRAHAM:

Hillary Clinton couldn't be here today, because we didn't ask her.

BOBBY JINDAL:

It is absolutely critical that we beat Hillary Clinton come 2016.

SCOTT WALKER:

I doubt the presumptive nominee for the other party has ever been to Kohl's before, let alone shopped in the last 18 or 20 years.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

For her part, Hillary Clinton spent her first official week of campaigning meeting ordinary people or, at least, trying to leave the impression that she was meeting ordinary people. But one hurdle she's going to have to clear is to avoid being seen as the candidate of yesterday.

Generationally, it's a huge challenge, as Marco Rubio made clear earlier this week, during his announcement. And ironically, for the Clintons, this is especially difficult, given that they are used to being on the other side of this generational campaign message.

(BEGIN TAPE)

BILL CLINTON:

I believe we need a new kind of leadership, leadership not mired in the politics of the past, leadership not tied to the old ideologies.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

From the moment he introduced himself as a presidential candidate back in 1991, Bill Clinton exploited a generational line of attack.

BILL CLINTON:

We have the courage to change. The choice is as old as America, a choice between more of the same and fundamental change. The American people have voted to make a new beginning.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

The argument? New ideas should trump experience. And a candidate of the past could not win the future.

BILL CLINTON:

Where there is no vision, America will perish. What is the vision of our new covenant?

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Bill Clinton ran that campaign against two members of the GI generation in 1992 and 1996. Showing off his young family and running mate, disarming critics by facing awkward questions on the hip MTV.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:

If you had to do it over again, would you inhale?

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

And famously playing the sax on Late Night. It's a campaign the Bill Clinton of two decades ago would be running against Hillary Clinton now.

BILL CLINTON:

With all respect, we do not need to build a bridge to the past. We need to build a bridge to the future.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Republican opponents are already borrowing the Bill Clinton playbook, exploiting the generation gap.

MARCO RUBIO:

Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday.

SCOTT WALKER:

I think about Hillary Clinton, I could run 20 years from now for president and still be about the same age as the former Secretary of State is right now.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Hillary Clinton's big hope, that her policy positions and, perhaps, her gender, will trump biography, particularly with young people.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Of course, another challenge for secretary Clinton, after more than two decades on the political scene, she has a record, which requires massaging sometimes to get in line with today's Democratic Party. In fact, this week, she made it clear she has, quote, "evolved" on same-sex marriage.

She no longer views it as a state issue and is urging the Supreme Court to rule it as a constitutional right. She also clarified her position on driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. She now supports state policies to issue them.

She hedged on a third issue, though, trade. We'll talk about that and more now. Because I'm joined by the democratic governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. He served, of course, as co-chair of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, an unabashed supporter of Secretary Clinton. Governor McAuliffe, welcome back to Meet the Press, I believe your first time as governor.

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with this issue of the past versus the future. You saw sort of the greatest hits. And this was very successful for Bill Clinton, running against Bob Dole, running against George H. W. Bush. And now Hillary Clinton's on the other side of this. How do you look fresh, when you have a name from the past?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Well, first of all, I think it comes down to the issues. What voters want is someone who's going to lay out an agenda of how you move the country forward. You see a lot of Republican candidates spending all of their time attacking Hillary. That's great. Let them do it.

From my perspective, every second they're not talking about how we move this great nation forward is great for Hillary Clinton. Let her lay out her positive agenda. It's what I did when I ran for governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2013, he had an historic win.

We broke a 38-year trend. We talked about issues. We talked about how you move the economy forward. How do we make Virginia open and welcoming? And today, you look at a Virginia, today, that’s a year in office. Our economy is booming, lowest unemployment rate in many years, $6.5 billion investment, double any governor of Virginia history. We have brought people together in a bipartisan way around ideas. And that's what Hillary can do to this country. And that's what she will do.

CHUCK TODD:

If she’s going to be President of the United States, she's going to have to carry the state of Virginia. And because I'm curious, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, he was on the show last week and talked about the reason he wasn't ready to endorse her is because he wants to see a more progressive vision for her, which some people would say is to the left. Can that play in Virginia?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

If you look at the agenda that I ran on, I think I was the first statewide candidate in the south. I ran on marriage equality when I ran for governor. I told women I would be a brick wall to protect their rights. And I have done that as governor to make Virginia open and welcoming.

What I have tried to do is get Virginia in line with 90% of the Fortune 500 companies. I'm all about creating economic activity. And those candidates that lay out an agenda, and I'm not talking about jobs. I'm talking about careers, building the future.

And when I talk about the education system, don't talk to me about a degree. Talk to me about a skillset. All these issues that Hillary has championed on pre-K, reform in education, reform in our transportation system, we've done that in Virginia. So her message fits perfectly on where we need to go in Virginia.

CHUCK TODD:

You say, her message, but we actually don't know what her message is. Let me just go here with trade here a minute. You wrote in your book, What a Party, that NAFTA was among President Clinton's greatest accomplishments. And she was a champion of NAFTA.

She was a champion of some of these trade agreements, including one that's being debated now. It's called the TPP. It's one having to do with Asian countries. She was a big champion of it as Secretary. And now, she's trying to sort of walk a line here. Because many in the base of the Democratic Party don't trust anybody to negotiate a trade agreement, let alone a Democratic president or a Republican one.

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

And of course, the devil is in the details. And that's what we have to see in the trade agreement.

CHUCK TODD:

But you're a free trader. You probably want to see this TPP thing go.

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

I want to see a trade deal that opens up markets to America, that creates jobs for Americans, makes sure we're protecting their wages and benefits. That's what I want. And I can tell you, in Virginia, I just announced, we’re up 14% on our agriculture exports, $3.35 billion. I travel the globe. I was one of the most-traveled governors last year. I went to China twice, Korea, Japan, Europe. We have brought back so much business from around the globe. So I have all--

Which means you can't carry the state of Virginia, if you're portrayed as a protectionist, can you?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Nobody wants to be a protectionist. I think I speak for everyone. We want a trade deal that makes markets open. Nobody can compete with us, Chuck, nobody in America. But we've got to get fair rules. We've got to be on the same playing field as everybody else.

Let me tell you, you give us the same rules, there is not a country in the globe that can compete with America. And I'll tell you this, Virginia, our economy, is roaring. Nobody can compete in Virginia: low taxes, business-friendly environment, great educational institutions, lot of military assets, largest naval base in the world, deepest port in the east coast. We have it all.

You give me a level playing field, nobody can beat us. That's Hillary's message. How do you build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday? How do you help families? How do you provide pre-K, so that every child has access to early childhood? How do you make sure everybody has access to healthcare? A healthy, educated workforce, that is what our foundation of our nation is built on.

CHUCK TODD:

But as you know, presidential campaigns sometimes are about personal connections, are about honest and trustworthiness and things like that. A poll in Virginia, a poll, by the way, that has a good approval rating for you, a majority of Virginians who approve of you, but another majority of Virginians did not think Hillary Clinton was honest and trustworthy. What does she have to do to close that gap?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Well, talk to the voters. That's why, actually, you know, I'm one of the few to actually talk about the roll out. I thought it was spectacular, having been involved in the '08 campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

You didn't think it was too scripted?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

She got in the van. She drove out. She actually sat with, which is what I did when I ran for governor. I visited every community college, first candidate as governor in Virginia. She went to a community college. She took notes. You learn. I mean, that's what the best part about running for office is, Chuck.

You get to travel and meet folks. I went into firehouses. I spent an hour in a coal mine, talking to coal miners. Your policies evolve, because you're talking to folks whose lives are impacted every single day. And she went out. There's time for the big rallies and all of that. I thought it was great. I want her to continue to do that, meet with the voters, talk to them. Because they've got the answers. They are living financial distress every day.

CHUCK TODD:

It's funny you should bring up financial distress. You had a fascinating quote in your book, that you quote Hillary Clinton. And you talk about this. "They have bankrupted us totally." This is Hillary Clinton. This is you quoting her in your book.

"They have bankrupted us totally. We own nothing. We didn't own a car. We didn't own a house. Here we were, 50 years old, and we owned nothing, nothing. All the money we had, which we had brought into the White House, was gone. I haven't had any money for eight years. So it was really horrible."

And this was why, you know, you helped them out, and you got a bridge loan for the house. And I understand as a personal friend. But a lot of people will see something like that and say, "You know what? They didn't have nothing. They had huge earning power. They had access. They had nothing, compared to a lot of rich friends." Is this something she's got to fix, if she's going to connect with everyday Americans?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

I don't want to spend too much time going back to the late '90s and 2000. But I was with them. I was a personal friend. I've been friends with them since 1980. I cannot tell you the distress in that family at that time with all the issues and all the legal fees, banks refusing to even give them a mortgage.

So listen, people go through tough financial times. You remember, I mean, Hillary's mother, she was abandoned. So that's why Hillary's always been a fighter that a child needs someone to be out there and to be a guardian for them. She came up in a middle-class family.

You look at her background. And you can look at her today, obviously, you know, years later. But her growing up from middle-class roots. As I say, her own mother was abandoned. You never forget that, Chuck. That's why Hillary is out every single day talking to voters about, "How can I make your life better?"

Let the Republicans spend all their time attacking her. That's fine. You need a positive agenda of how you move folks forward. As I say, you mentioned that I have nice approval ratings in Virginia. Why? I do exactly what I said I'd do. People are sick and tired of the dysfunction with politicians not doing what they say they're going to do. We're doing what we said we would do. And you know what? Our economy's moving forward, and people are happy.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I will check back in with you on that as this campaign wears on. Governor McAuliffe, good to see you.

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thanks for coming on. Time now to bring in the panel, David Axelrod, Kathleen Parker, Helene Cooper, and Steve Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt, let me start with you. You assess the Hillary Clinton rollout. What did you think? You know, we know Governor McAuliffe was for it.

It would be weird if he wasn't. I thought it was a good one. But what did you think?

STEVE SCHMIDT:

Look, it’s so contrived, so inauthentic. It's almost difficult to articulate it. She talks about meeting real voters. But in the one instance, when she walks into a store, where there's an opportunity, the Chipotle, to actually talk to voters, remains in silence in disguise behind dark glasses.

Bashes hedge fund managers, at the same time, her campaign is raising the first of its maybe nearly $2 billion in donations from hedge fund managers. The dissonance between what she says and the reality, is startling. And all campaigns, at the end of the day, for president, are a choice between change and more of the same.

And we’ve never as a country, once we've made generational change, moving from the Baby Boomer generation to Barack Obama's election, have ever gone back. And so I think when you look at the intensity of the republican fire on her in this manner, talking about, "This is the future versus the past," I think it's a very cutting very effective line of attack, the early framing.

CHUCK TODD:

Helene, what did you make of sort of the saturation coverage of it all too? I mean, I don't know if we, in the media, looked our best watching the running around and chasing her and all this stuff for what were very scripted events.

HELENE COOPER:

I think that it's probably true but that was always going to be the case. There's no way that Hillary Clinton's rollout wasn't going to get just a deluge of press coverage. I disagree with Steve, though. Because I think that her rollout, was actually I thought it was better than I expected.

Frank Bruni had a really good column in the New York Times today about the whole idea of Hillary shelving, taking the crown off. I think what she showed in getting on that bus and going to Iowa is, "Okay, America." It appears as if she's saying, "I heard you. I heard your criticism about 2007 and 2008 and this aura of inevitability. I'm going to take it off."

That video, I thought, even though it seems like it was very polarizing, and people have been discussing it and seem to either love it or hate it. But this is the first time now, in the last few months that this campaign season has begun, that it's like we're finally hearing the democratic argument. We've been listening to the republicans for the last few months very loud and vociferously. And now you're seeing a gay couple on the screen in this video and all of that. And that seems much more forward, I thought.

CHUCK TODD:

You want to jump in here?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I so want to jump in here.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, I could tell.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

No, I agree more with Steve, let's just start there, than I do with Helene. I thought I was so disappointed in that rollout and in everything that's followed. I mean, Hillary Clinton, if you meet her in person, she's engaging. She's warm. She's charming. She's all those things.

But the American people are not seeing that. And I don't care. But after 25, 30 years living on the public dole, essentially, and I'm sorry for the language. I'm just so wound up. You know, she-- she-- you don't just get in the Scooby-Doo van and go out into the hustings and say, "I'm here. I'm one of you. I'm with you. And now I'm going to listen." And what? You have, like, four people sitting around you. And everything she has to let this inner Ayatollah get out of her head.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s funny you say this, David, I have to say, I thought she created a bunch of opportunities to be unscripted and spontaneous and then didn't take them. Look, I mean, I said here the first day. And you're like, "Oh, the road trip, that's a good idea. That is different." But then there was no unscripted moment on the road trip.

DAVID AXELROD:

Well, one of the things that we do in this town, you know, president elections are marathons. And we tend to judge every quarter mile. This is the beginning--

CHUCK TODD:

Quarter mile?

DAVID AXELROD:

This is the beginning--

CHUCK TODD:

It's sooner than that.

DAVID AXELROD:

This is the beginning of a long process. She's not going to solve all her problems with one rollout. I thought there was a humility to her rollout that was very, very effective. Yes, I agree with you. Like, I would do more unscripted, drop in on diners, drop in on taverns, interact with people. Because you authenticate these interactions by working without a net. And I think she has to do some of that. But I thought it was a good beginning.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

How about without the sunglasses. I mean, we could start there. You know, walking around--

DAVID AXELROD:

She was filmed on a security camera. I think that’s a little unfair.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

No, I'm just saying she just wanted to have lunch. But even so, you're a candidate. Why not make the most of that opportunity?

CHUCK TODD:

I promise you--We will have more Hillary Clinton later in the show. All right, a quick programming note, by the way. Chris Matthews will be sitting down with President Obama. The interview will air this Tuesday on Hardball on MSNBC at 7:00 eastern. President Obama playing hardball with Chris. When we come back, the man who could soon become a pretty big player in the republican race for the presidency, the governor of one of the most important swing states in the country, John Kasich.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. As we said, 19 Republican presidential hopefuls have been making their case in New Hampshire this weekend. We'll give you extra points, if you can name all 19 that addressed the New Hampshire crowd there. There were some household names, like Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

There were some long shots there, like John Bolton and Jim Gilmore. And one name that shouldn't be discounted was also there, Ohio Governor, John Kasich. He says he's seriously considering joining the 2016 race. The 62-year-old married father of two boasts a 65% approval rating after winning reelection by a stunning 40 points last fall in the key swing state.

His resume includes 18 years in Congress, including a stint as chairman of the Budget Committee. After Congress, he went to Fox as an anchor and then became a managing director at Lehman Brothers before it collapsed. He's evolved from a budget-balancing congressman to a bit of a combative governor in the first year or two of his first term to being now seen as a more pragmatic conservative who is now exploring a run for the White House in the way that he did 16 years ago.

(BEGIN TAPE)

TIM RUSSERT:

Do you have an announcement?

JOHN KASICH:

Yeah. Tomorrow, I'm going to formally announce my exploratory committee to run for president of the United States.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Governor Kasich joins me now. That was Congressman Kasich. I hope we've provided you a video, so you can see your old self there. Governor, 16 years ago and two months, that was your response to Tim Russert. What do you have? Are you running for president?

JOHN KASICH:

Well, I still haven't decided. That was great. I wish I could've seen it. But my hair didn't look very good. I haven't decided yet. But listen, yesterday, I was in South Carolina in the morning. And then I was in New Hampshire in the afternoon. It reminded me of Live Aid. Remember when Phil Collins jetted from England over to Philadelphia?

CHUCK TODD:

You're dating yourself with Live Aid, yeah.

JOHN KASICH:

Yeah, I know. I know. I know. But anyway, look, all my options are on the table here. And I'm, you know, more and more serious, or I wouldn't be doing these things. And I have a pretty heavy schedule coming up, Chuck. And look, you know, the reason why I feel I should be in there is I've had foreign policy, national security experience.

I was chairman of the Budget Committee. We actually balanced the budget, got results. And the economy got better. As governor of the state, I inherited a total mess. And at the end of the say, we're running surpluses, the largest tax cuts in the country.

We've reformed government. And of course, as you know, we have not ignored those who live in the shadows, the mentally ill, the drug addicted. And as a result of the growing economy, and as a result of giving people in Ohio, increasingly, a sense that they're included, you know, I had a terrific election victory, 86 out of 88 counties. And I won Cuyahoga County, which Barack Obama won by 40 points, you know? So it's pretty cool.

CHUCK TODD:

16 years ago, your candidacy didn't get off the ground. And much of it had to do with a guy named Bush. And much of it had to do with a fundraising juggernaut that was a guy named Bush. 16 years later, you're thinking about running for president again. And there's a guy named Bush in the field. Is his fundraising--

JOHN KASICH:

It's déjà vu all over again.

CHUCK TODD:

If you thought he was the best candidate to be president of the United States, would you be exploring a run for president?

JOHN KASICH:

Well, Chuck, I have more experience than anybody in the field. I mean, that's really what I have that stands out. I mean, I don't just talk about what I want to do. I can tell people what I've done. I mean, you think about it. I was chairman of the Budget Committee, spent 10 years of my life to balance the budget.

And then in '97, we got an agreement where we paid down the largest amount of the publicly held debt. We cut the capital gains tax. I was involved in military reform, got one of the best records in the country as a governor. So I don't just talk about things. I'm doing things.

And as a result of that, I think that qualifies me to be able to run the country, not just talking about what I've done but the whole concept of leadership Chuck. Because that's what we desperately need in this country is leadership that can bring people together to solve problems.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it's a big question mark about your candidacy. Forget resources a minute, it has to do with ideology. I think there were anonymous fliers handed out at your South Carolina event yesterday that basically said, "Why do you promote Barack Obama's agenda?"

They were talking about you deciding to take the Medicaid money and having to do that was connected with health care. But you said something to this when you were asked about whether you were conservative enough. You said this to CNN. "A republican can't be elected president without winning Ohio. And if they're going to cover Ohio, extremism isn't going to work." What did you mean by extremism? What is extremism in the Republican Party these days?

JOHN KASICH:

Dividers, people who want to divide with, you know, flowery rhetoric and attacks and all that. The people in Ohio want to know is do you get both them and their problems? See, in other words, I love the fact that they put those fliers out. That means somebody's taking me seriously, Chuck. I thought that was really terrific.

But here's the thing. Everybody knows somebody who suffers, in some way or another, from the problem of mental illness, whether it's depression, bipolar. Everybody, unfortunately, increasingly in America, knows about somebody who has an addiction problem.

Everybody in America knows we need to get the working poor on their feet, so they can do better. And everybody knows that we have to have a strong economy. Because it all starts with that. Now, that is a message that no only, in my opinion, appeals to conservative republicans. I think it appeals to Americans.

And remember, Ohio is a microcosm of America. Now, if you cannot convince people that you understand their problems, and you're going to try to fix them. You're not going to win anything. So you know, I'm not so much into the attack mode and all that other business. I'm into solving problems.

And frankly, Chuck, if we don't solve problems, our children suffer. Our families suffer, our communities. And look at our country. Around the world, our friends think we're confused. And our enemies are emboldened. Because we're not fixing anything in this country. And we can, if we stop hanging out in our silos, thinking that we've got all the answers without realizing that you can compromise without losing your principles.

CHUCK TODD:

Now, the job you had before you started running for governor was managing director at Lehman Brothers. Lehman Brothers, of course, famously collapsed, started the financial fall. Can you tell me this? You were at Lehman Brothers. What did you learn from that experience that makes you think that this won't happen again? Have we corrected the problems to make sure this won't happen again? And should we have rescued Lehmann? Should the government have bailed it out?

JOHN KASICH:

You know, look, that's past history. Here's what I will tell you. Wall Street is necessary. Because it helps move the financial operations of America forward. But I'll tell you the problem with Wall Street. It's too much about, "I've got to make money." There's too much greed. And that's just part of what happens there. So I've always argued, when I was--

CHUCK TODD:

Lehman was too greedy?

JOHN KASICH:

Oh, I think, on Wall Street, most of the bankers have to fight off the concept of greed. Because you know what they say all the time up there? They say, "Am I going to get paid?" And that means, "What's my big bonus going to be?" Nothing wrong with that.

But here's the problem. If all you seek is money without values, then you're bankrupt. And so what I think is our financial community has to realize that there's a moral underpinning. You know, Michael Novak, the great theologian, talks about it.

Free enterprise, free markets, exactly what we ought to have in America. But there has to be a conscience that underlays it. Now, let me tell you the greatest thing I got from Lehmann is I spent a lot of time in the Silicon Valley, Chuck. And you know, when I went out there, I could see the future. And that's what we have to be about in America, bringing ourselves together, innovating, you know, in terms of innovation and vision.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, why wouldn't you run? You're exploring now actively. What would convince you not to run?

JOHN KASICH:

Well, my family is a consideration. And number two, the most important thing, what does the lord want me to do with my life? You know, he puts on Earth, all of us on Earth, to achieve certain purposes. And I'm trying to determine if this is what the lord wants.

And I'm not going to figure that out lying in bed and hoping lightning strikes. So I'm out there, one foot in front of another, traveling aggressively. We'll see what happens, Chuck. And you know what? If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I appreciate that. As soon as you're ready to announce your decision, we'll see you right back here, sir.

JOHN KASICH:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thanks for being on. Tomorrow, by the way, Meet the Press and NBC News are introducing a great new afternoon newsletter we're calling The Lid. Monday through Friday, we'll deliver your dose of 2016 news directly to your inbox to go along, of course, with First Read, which is your morning must-read political email. We know that already. Find out how to sign up for both of these great newsletters at MeetThePressNBC.com. All right, up next, what happens when you get the whole world talking, just not about the thing that you wanted them talking about?

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. Protest is ingrained in the DNA of this country. Unrest at the unfair taxes by the British eventually grew into War of Independence and the founding of the United States. And here in Washington, two very different kinds of protest movements have garnered attention this week.

Yesterday, thousands gathered on the Mall for what now is an Earth Day concert to highlight climate change. Though it doesn’t seem as though what was once an actual protest movement to bring attention to the environment, it basically turned into an opportunity to enjoy nice weather and see acts like No Doubt and Usher.

But on Wednesday, we had an old-fashioned protest movement. Doug Hughes, a postman from Florida, managed to pilot a gyrocopter through restricted airspace to the Capitol. He wanted to do a political protest on this with campaign finance laws.

But if he was hoping to generate headlines, he did succeed. But it wasn't on the issue he was focused on. It was, of course, on security. I want to bring in the panel here. Because I find that, like, political protests these days, I guess it's harder and harder to stand out, David.

DAVID AXELROD:

Yeah, yeah. I'll say this. Yeah, I give anybody credit who can land anything on Capitol Hill these days. But no, I think, clearly, most of the country doesn't know that this was about campaign finance reform. And with the security concerns we have, that really was what was underscored by that. I don't think he achieved his objective, although, we're talking about him today.

CHUCK TODD:

No, and I agree. I guess what should have been our responsibility, Kathleen? You know, it's sort of funny. All the stories are about the security, should we have shot down the gyrocopter and things like that. You know, like, some people wondered, "Okay, if we used that in the Boston Tea Party, would the focus have been, 'What have they done to the harbor? You know, they poisoned the harbor.'"

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Yeah, well, I'm very glad they didn't shoot him down. But I mean, he must've been willing. He says he did not expect that he would be harmed. But there's an aspect of danger there for sure that he must've, you know, he was sort of submitting himself as a martyr almost. But I think, ultimately, in the longer run, the next day, he's going to have had some effect. Because we are talking about campaign finance reform. At least it's on the tips of our tongue.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I'm writing about campaign finance reform tomorrow. Therefore, we're talking about.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

What we're talking about is extraordinary bad judgement of an epic scale. When you look at the security issues of Washington, DC, the incidents that have taken place at the White House over the last year, it's just extraordinary. He endangered himself. He endangered other people. The security issues this city faces around the Capitol, around the White House, aren't a joke. Just extraordinary in his lack of judgement.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Now, you look at him. He had a letter. Let me give you a little excerpt from his letter here that he was trying to deliver to these members of Congress. He said this. "As a member of Congress," Helene, "you have three options. You may pretend corruption does not exist. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform, or you may actively participate in real reform."

If he'd simply mailed these letters, nobody would've noticed. So he was looking for an extreme measure. You know, look, the pro-life movement, there are some that take more extreme measures. Around this town, you see pictures of fetuses. And people take a step back. But at the same time, a radical protest idea does draw attention.

HELENE COOPER:

It's just that it's campaign finance reform. I can't get--

DAVID AXELROD:

It was the wrong method. Look, this is a huge issue. We're being flooded with money. And it is corrupting.

HELENE COOPER:

Thank you.

DAVID AXELROD:

But Steve is right. This was not the right method to deliver that message.

HELENE COOPER:

Well, we're also talking about one guy. This is one guy. This is not a movement. This is not exactly the Boston Tea Party.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's go quickly to campaign finance reform.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

This is a guy who's made it to Meet the Press. He's made some impact.

CHUCK TODD:

We bring up campaign finance reform. Actually, it was one of the few issues that Hillary Clinton took a stand on in Iowa, where she called for the constitutional amendment to deal with this issue. And at the same time, her aides are saying she's going to raise $2.5 billion.

HELENE COOPER:

He should've landed his gyrocopter on top of Scooby-Doo, if that's where we are in politics. But no, as this proceeds, as this campaign proceeds, and we see all of this ginormous amount of money being funneled to these candidates, I mean, a lot of Republicans are really still upset about McCain-Feingold. Because that created all these opportunities for the mega-dollars that are not identified, the sources of which are not identified. And that's going to be a continuing problem, as long as we have this sort of system in place.

DAVID AXELROD:

You know, Helene's reaction is the way most Americans do react on campaign finance. And the things is, nothing changes. John McCain has always had this right, Steve. Nothing changes, until there's an actual scandal.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

Well, there's not an actual scandal, because we've legalized what used to be scandalous in the process.

CHUCK TODD:

But we'll see. There could be one that ends up feeling scandalous when we get the feeling that someone purchased a policy position. Anyway, when we come back, those new marijuana laws. Turns out, whether you can smoke may depend on how you vote.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Nerd Screen time. This Sunday, it’s all about the fight over the legalization of marijuana and how the rules regarding those green plants are colored by the nation's red-blue divide. By the way, over the next 24 hours, expect to read a lot more about marijuana than the other 364 days a year, anyway.

Currently 23 states and the District of Columbia have relaxed rules regarding the sale and consumption of marijuana. And of course, polls show that a majority of Americans support some form of legalizing the drug. But even in those states where it is legal, the marijuana rules at the local level are a bit more complicated and somewhat partisan.

The most interesting example, of course, is the state of Colorado, one of the first ones to legalize recreational use. It is perhaps, right now, our best laboratory on the whole idea. In fact, take a look at this on the political side of things.

Only 21 of the state's 64 counties actually allow retail marijuana shops. That's how the rule works. Counties can decide whether they want to do this. Well, others that haven't allowed it only allow medical marijuana dispensaries or completely have banned the sale altogether. Now, when you compare the map in Colorado that allow it to the 2012 presidential election results map, nobody's surprised that a clear pattern emerges. In fact, take a look at this. Of the 21 counties that allow recreational sales, 18 of them are blue counties. They voted for President Obama.

So there's the political lay of the land. How about how the law has been implemented? As to the larger debate about the fear of an addiction plague, we searched. And on that front, the data's still not in yet. There's definitely some study going on.

As to the economic impact, well, here's what we know. Receipts from taxes, licenses, and fees have been lower than the Colorado governor had predicted, at least so far. So then it leads to the discussion, is it a novelty that will wear off? Or is this simply an industry that is still trying to get going?

One thing we do know, marijuana legalization is gaining momentum nationally. And we're likely to see this debate expand to more and more communities in 2016. Why? Some key swing states, including Ohio and Florida, are going to have marijuana, in some form, on the ballot. For more on this, check out our website. We'll be right back.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

When people think of Tea Party republicans in the Senate, they immediate may think of those that are running for president right now, the likes of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. But if you ask those three senators that I just mentioned who they'd regard as sort of the intellectual backbone of the reformed conservative movement here in Washington, they'd name just one senator, Mike Lee of Utah. And he's got a new book out, Our Lost Constitution. And he joins me now. Senator Lee, welcome back to Meet the Press.

MIKE LEE:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Congrats on the book. I want to get to it in a minute. But let me get to a piece of Senate business. Jeb Bush had this to say about the Loretta Lynch delay. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JEB BUSH:

I think presidents have the right to pick their team, in general. If someone is supportive of the president's policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive. This should not always be partisan. The longer it takes to confirm her, the longer Eric Holder stays as attorney general.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

That's been the part of this that I've never understood. What is the endgame in delaying her nomination, considering all of the anger that many conservatives like yourself had toward Eric Holder?

MIKE LEE:

There are a lot of concerns with Loretta Lynch that focus a lot on what President Obama did with our immigration code back in November. He basically rewrote--

CHUCK TODD:

Loretta Lynch didn't do that.

MIKE LEE:

No, she didn't. But when questioned in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, she refused to acknowledge that there are limits to prosecutorial discretion, limits that must be taken into account, for example, when you have a president, effectively, undoing a huge swatch of federal law.

CHUCK TODD:

Give her a vote. Vote against her. By why not just give her a vote?

MIKE LEE:

I'm certain that she's going to get a vote. I'm not sure exactly what the timing of that's going to be. But it's going to happen.

CHUCK TODD:

You think six months is reasonable? I mean, do you think this has been a little ridiculous?

MIKE LEE:

I'm not going to say that it's ridiculous. I do think it's ridiculous that the president rewrote the immigration code, and that he still hasn't provided a full, legal explanation of what empowers him to do this. And when you've got someone who's been nominated to fill the highest legal role in his administration, and that person doesn't come forward with an adequate legal explanation of either why the president was allowed to do this--

CHUCK TODD:

The courts are reviewing this now.

MIKE LEE:

The courts are reviewing it.

CHUCK TODD:

So it's moot with her.

MIKE LEE:

But Congress, the Senate in particular, has a responsibility to review those who will be advising the president on legal matters. And that's what's going on.

CHUCK TODD:

So you think there should be a vote now.

MIKE LEE:

I think there will be a vote soon.

CHUCK TODD:

What does soon mean?

MIKE LEE:

Within the next few weeks.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's go to the presidential race. As you’ve pointed out, three friends running. But there's one that you've got a plan that is going to get debated a lot. And it's this tax plan that you've done with Marco Rubio. What's interesting about it is that it seems to-- You get hit from both sides on this one.

Some conservatives aren't happy. It lowers marginal rates only from 39 to 35. A lot of conservatives want it much lower than that. And you keep a progressive tax rate there, 15 and 35. But it also increases the deficit by a lot, by billions of dollars in the first five years. And it takes, even with dynamic scoring, and I don't want to get into that for our viewers this morning, it could take over a decade before it rights itself. Do you think this tax plan can withstand scrutiny?

STEVE SCHMIDT:

I do. I do. Because this is a pro-growth, pro-family tax reform, one that dramatically simplifies the code at a time when Americans have just experienced their annual tax day, at a time when our tax freedom day keeps getting pushed out further and further.

The American people are tired of a tax code that, 100 years ago, was a few hundred pages long, today, is 75,000 pages long. They're ready for reform. They're ready for tax code simplification. My tax reform plan would get rid of the marriage tax penalty, which is a concern to many people. It gets rid of the parent tax penalty. And it would provide a new child tax credit to help get rid of that parent tax penalty.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you have a favorite among the three?

MIKE LEE:

You know, I really like all three of my Senate colleagues who are running for president. And I intend to be a supporter of all three of them, as I possibly can.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you say to the criticism that says, "You know what? The republicans shouldn't nominate a senator. Senators, they can't run things. Governors can run things." What do you say to that critique?

MIKE LEE:

Well, the other side of that is that someone who has held federal office, you have the opportunity to do examine how they view federal issues, how they view their constitutional authority, given to the federal government, relative to the power that a governor wields in a state.

CHUCK TODD:

You and I are going to have a longer conversation about your book on Press Pass. But I'm curious. You call it Our Lost Constitution. Do you think the Constitution is a living document? Or do you believe it is sort of as written, a strict sort of document that shouldn't be over-interpreted?

MIKE LEE:

It's written in such a way that it can be amended with time. Over time, it can be amended. And it has been amended 27 times. But once it's written, once its provisions are put in place, we need to follow it. And if it's not up to date, then we need to amend it from time to time, just as we have.

CHUCK TODD:

So that's how you would change it, amend it only, not trying to reinterpret it.

MIKE LEE:

Well, we reinterpret it for the times, certainly. I mean, for example, the founding fathers didn't contemplate interstate air travel. But it fits comfortably within the commerce clause, as I explain in the book, to regulate channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce, like interstate airways, even though they didn't contemplate that specific thing.

What I explain in my book, the reason I wrote Our Lost Constitution is because we've drifted so far from the founding generation's understanding that this is supposed to be a limited purpose government. And there are a number of provisions, a half dozen of which I profile in the book, that we've neglected entirely. We need to restore them.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Well, maybe the country needs a constitutional convention. That would give us a nice little education on that. Senator Lee, thanks for coming on Meet the Press. Appreciate it. We’ll be back in less than a minute with End Game.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Before the panel weighs in for End Game, this Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the worst act of homegrown terrorism in American history, the truck bomb attack on Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Go to our website to see archive around Tom Brokaw's reporting from the scene 20 years ago as well as a link to an article on the anniversary, that he wrote for U.S.A. Today, where he says, in part, "It was a time to show the world the human qualities of faith, community, the rule of law, memory, and a commitment to the future. And in this current atmosphere, others would do well to take note."

Those were great words. And I have to say, Oklahoma City has done a tremendous job, essentially, to rebrand itself. Nobody now thinks of Oklahoma City as that. They think of Kevin Durant. They think of a lot of positive things now. It's good for that. I want to go quickly to Loretta Lynch. Six months, Kathleen. I mean, this is sort of, just give her a vote. How has this happened?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, you know, I think the Republicans often pick the wrong battles. But they did want to use-- you know, they wanted certain language in the human trafficking bill. And they are satisfied that they've gotten now what they want. And I spoke to Senator McConnell's office yesterday. And I'm told that she will be brought to a vote Wednesday night at the latest, and that most likely, the most likely prediction is a 51--

CHUCK TODD:

That she'll get through. We know the three or four that'll get through. But Steve, it seems to me they picked a fight that they didn't know how to win.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

It's not a smart political fight. And Jeb Bush is right about the deference that should be afforded the executive with regard to qualified nominees. This process has been broken for some time. There have been great sins by both parties.

But the question that Senator Lee brought up, which is, the chief law enforcement officer of the country being unresponsive to a question about limits on executive authority with regard to this very important question. It's now moving through the appeals process and, ultimately, through the Supreme Court with regard to, in the view of many of us, the President's great overreach regarding immigration laws. And I say this as someone who has been a longtime champion of immigration reform.

CHUCK TODD:

It's in the courts.

DAVID AXELROD:

That's the point. The President has a legal point of view on this issue. It's--

CHUCK TODD:

It's a point of view. We don't know if he's right.

DAVID AXELROD:

Well, but that's for the courts to decide. But you wouldn't expect his nominee for attorney general to have a different point of view on this. It was interesting that he raised immigration. He used it as human trafficking. That was kind of a smokescreen for a lot of these folks who wanted to protest the immigration.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, of course. And the Republicans are feeling pressure not to get through this vote but to vote against Loretta Lynch, which is, I think, such a big mistake on so many different levels. I mean, why would you oppose the President's selection, which, he has the right to pick his own people. And you know, if you're trying to attract the African-American voter, you know, the female voter, I mean, pick a different battle--

STEVE SCHMIDT:

She's highly qualified. So that was the other part is that nobody made a case against her on her own qualifications.

HELENE COOPER:

No, no, not at all. And at the end of the day, what seems so perverse when you're looking at this from the outside is that these guys really hate Eric Holder.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. That was the other part of it.

HELENE COOPER:

The longer that this goes on, he longer he sticks around. If you're standing from the outside looking in, none of this makes any sense.

DAVID AXELROD:

This is probably something they and Holder agree on. He would like to get out of there.

CHUCK TODD:

There was an Alicein Wonderland quality to this.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

Politically, they should've called the vote 20 minutes after Rudy Giuliani endorsed her. Because it was game, set, match.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's right. I mean, he came out and ended that. All right, let's lighten things up a little bit. Hillary Clinton has taken a lot of abuse for her choice of a campaign logo this week. Let me read you just a few of the campaign headlines from these past couple of weeks on logos in general, by the way.

The U.S. map in Marco Rubio's campaign logo doesn't include Hawaii and Alaska. Ted Cruz's campaign logo is an upside down burning American flag, so said Gawker. Why is this Hillary logo so terrible? Well, it's Hillary's logo that has inspired Rick Wolff, he's a freelancer designer, to create a new font that he's calling Hillary Bold, that the internet has hashtagged Hillvetica.

And we just wanted to see what our favorite quotes would look like in Hillvetica. There's, "You can't handle the truth." There's the, "I'll have what she's having." And of course, we just had to play with our own logo here. We asked Mr. Wolff why he did it.

And his answer was, "I like the idea of making people laugh through design. And I like that no one knows whether I did it, because I support Mrs. Clinton, or I want to give ammunition to her detractors. It does both, because that's the great thing about language." Very quickly, David Axelrod, you're a visual guy. The logo, look, you certainly now recognize it. I know some people like it, some people don't.

DAVID AXELROD:

Yeah, but logos should have a message to them. Our sunrise logo for Obama had a message to it. I'm not sure what the message of that logo is.

CHUCK TODD:

You're not a big fan.

DAVID AXELROD:

Not terribly.

CHUCK TODD:

Steve Schmidt, you had to approve logos for McCain. What would that have done? Would you have said, "Send it back?"

STEVE SCHMIDT:

I can't believe there was a group of people who sat around in a room and said, "Yes, this looks great. Let's make this our logo."

CHUCK TODD:

Everybody knows it.

HELENE COOPER:

But you know, as the youngest person on this panel, I just want to say--

CHUCK TODD:

What does that mean?

HELENE COOPER:

That my teenage neighbors, who are into logos and all of that, hate the Hillary logo. And they went crazy over it. And they're all huge Hillary fans.

DAVID AXELROD:

That's kind of a gratuitous ageist--

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, that was.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

That has nothing to do with it.

HELENE COOPER:

Sorry.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Well, that'll be on Quiz Up soon. I promise. All right, we’re not doing that. That's all for today. We'll be back next week to discuss everybody's age. Because if it’s Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

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