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Meet the Press Transcript - May 10, 2015

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

This Sunday, terror in the age of social media.

FEMALE VOICE:

When Twitter takes down accounts, it'll be harder to open new ones.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Is the U.S. losing the online battle with ISIS? Plus, Carly Fiorina. She says it is time for a woman president. Just not Hillary Clinton. She joins us live. Also, President Obama takes on a liberal hero on trade, none other than Elizabeth Warren.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

She was actually wrong.

CHUCK TODD:

And this Mother's Day, being a mom in America.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Women often in places like Southeast Washington have a lot more in common with women in Nairobi or Kenya.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Finally, the inevitable Brady and Belichick, "Deflate Gate," and the comparison to the Clintons.

I'm Chuck Todd. And joining me to provide insight and analysis this Sunday morning are Matt Bai of Yahoo News, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post, also from The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus. And the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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

CHUCK TODD:

Well, good morning. Happy Mother's Day. Security has been raised at military bases across the country this weekend in response to growing concerns about the threat posed by homegrown extremists. And earlier this week, ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, which of course saw two gunmen killed.

Now, there's no evidence that ISIS was directly involved in the attack. But the gunman apparently may have been inspired by ISIS and their increasingly sophisticated presence on the internet and social media. Here's our own Pete Williams on how the battle against ISIS is not just being fought in Iraq and Syria, but now in cyberspace.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PETE WILLIAMS:

This is what has the F.B.I. so worried, an explosion in slick ISIS propaganda, with messages tailored to a young audience, resembling popular video games or showing children in ISIS-run schools. And many overtly call for violence. Now of even greater concern, an avalanche of messages on social media, urging followers to attack here at home. Example, at the height of the unrest in Baltimore, this tweet called it, "A great chance for lone wolves. Almost everything is in chaos." How many in the U.S. are following these messages?

JM BERGER:

I would lean more towards hundreds in terms of people who are really committed ISIS supporters. And there are probably thousands who have some degree of interest.

PETE WILLIAMS:

The F.B.I. says a Phoenix man, Elton Simpson, was one of them, inspired by ISIS followers to join with his roommate and attacking last week's Draw Muhammad gathering Garland, Texas.

JOHN CARLIN:

If you put the frame back to Al Qaeda, they would spend a long time planning and plotting to do a large-scale, spectacular attack. What you're seeing now instead is an encouragement to commit whatever type of a small-scale attack you can, wherever you happen to be located.

PETE WILLIAMS:

An estimated 60,000 messages a day, some in public, where police and the F.B.I. can see them, but often ending up in encrypted direct messaging, impossible to crack. And their direct approach can be seductive.

JM BERGER:

It's very difficult to motivate a lone wolf to get off their couch and do something. Because your primary motivator is social contact. And social media, you can have a sense of knowing somebody very well, you know, intimately, even if they're on the other side of the globe. This remote intimacy is a really powerful motivator compared to, you know, Al Qaeda's previous model, of putting out videos and putting out magazines.

PETE WILLIAMS:

A clearly worried F.B.I. director James Comey says, quote, "I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there." The F.B.I. is now following hundreds of potential homegrown extremists with cases open in every state and agents facing a huge challenge, deciding which ones to keep under close watch to stop the next Elton Simpson. For Meet the Press, Pete Williams, NBC News, Washington.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm joined now by the Democratic vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of course, from California and Michael Leiter, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Welcome back to both of you to Meet the Press. Mike, let me start with you on Pete's report.

You heard it there and obviously, the F.B.I. director very concerned. You've talked before about the social media issue. Walk me through at the Counterterrorism Center, when you were there, how closely did you follow social media, and how closely do you think they're doing it now?

MICHAEL LEITER:

Well, we followed it more as there were more and more people around the world using it. And I think today, it is probably the single thing they are watching more than anything else. When I was there, it was largely thinking about Al Qaeda in Pakistan and it was grainy videos from Bin Laden.

And it got a bit worse with Anwar Awlaki in Yemen. But today, the entire way of messaging, recruiting, motivating and fundamentally mobilizing people to violence is now through social media. And that makes their challenge hugely difficult on a number of fronts.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, the F.B.I. director was quoted in The Washington Post as saying this, Senator Feinstein. "It's almost as if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, 'Kill, kill, kill, kill' all day long." And in fact, the F.B.I. director said, in a way, the old paradigm between inspired or directed when it comes to what ISIS is doing, he thinks there's no distinction. That it's irrelevant. Do you see it the same way?

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

Well, I see it the way the director said it. And I think it is, "Kill, kill, kill." And it is putting the lone wolf in a position that that's never happened before, that has never been in before, and that is, you know, "You do it and we take credit for it." And the evil, the beheadings, the individual doesn't see.

And so, you make the contact and you pursue that contact. And then the individual goes out and puts forth an attack. You know, ISIS now has a presence in 11 states. It's unlike AQAP, it's unlike the old Al Qaeda. It's both a fighting force, it's an occupying force, it's a governing force. And it is reaching out to put together that caliphate. And in the process, behead or shoot anyone whose religion differs or differs with what they're doing.

It's a force that we really haven't seen before. And we have to begin to cope more seriously with it. And that includes social media.

CHUCK TODD:

But clearly, we don't really have a social media policy that's working. I want to play a sound bite here from Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, at a hearing earlier this week. And, of course, he's Mr. Twitter, if you follow him on Twitter. And he was just lambasting the administration's efforts on social media against ISIS. Here it is.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER (ON TAPE):

I was shocked at what we're doing in counter messaging. I want to pass this iPad around to my colleagues. If you know anything about social media, the one thing you should look at is the engagement of people on our social media feeds. And it's laughable. Three retweets, two retweets.

CHUCK TODD:

Mike, I can't tell you how many times I have heard from the Obama administration, from the State Department, from the C.I.A. different ways. "We're going to engage on social media like never before. We're going to do this." And every one of them doesn't, every program doesn't work.

MICHAEL LEITER:

Yeah. I think this has probably been the weakest leg in the counterterrorism stool that we've ever had. Frankly, we haven't funded it the way we have to. Any messaging U.S. government often loses its legitimacy because it's coming from the U.S. government. So I think what we should really be doing is investing in enabling moderate Muslims throughout the world to counter this message. The U.S. can do some things. But we're not good at it. And we've proved ourselves--

CHUCK TODD:

And if it's government supported, it won't be believed, right.

MICHAEL LEITER:

That's right. So we've got to give the technology and the tools to community groups who do want to counter this message. And simultaneously, we have to have a law enforcement, intelligence presence to monitor. Understand that we can't monitor everyone. And we have to really continue to work with technology companies to make sure that information can be monitored pursuant to the law.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I'll tell you, Senator Feinstein, it's this issue of monitoring with social media companies. Obviously, you know, that starts infringing on First Amendment rights and what's the line and what's not the line. Let me start with the F.B.I. Do you think they can handle all of the cases that they have? You heard the F.B.I. director say all 50 states now, they have some potential follower they're following. Do they have the resources to deal with this? And is it the type of threat that we should throw even more money at?

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

Well, I will tell you this. If they don't have the resources, they just have to come to the president and Congress and they're going to get the resources. I mean, this is a matter of prime defense of the homeland. And it would come first. Director Comey has said that in their 56 field offices they have investigations in every one. It takes 30 agents to surveil one person. So it's an amazingly intensive personnel issue. Having said that, I really think that we need to take a look at this.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator, while I have you, the Patriot Act, obviously the big, bulk data collection was struck down, in Court. Not quite saying it was unconstitutional, basically saying that the law doesn't cover what the administration has said it covers, which is this idea of bulk data collection. And says, "If Congress wants to be able to do this, then they need to explicitly pass a law that forces telephone companies to do this or not." Where are you on this? Are you willing to pass a specific law that allows for bulk data collection, whether held by the phone companies or the government?

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

I think here's the thing. The president, the House and a number of members of the Senate believe that we need to change that program. And the way to change it is simply to go to the FISA Court for a query, permission to go to a telecom and get that data. The question is whether the telecoms will hold the data. And the answer to that question is somewhat mixed. I know the president believes that the telecoms will hold the data. I think we should try that.

CHUCK TODD:

An act of Congress could force them to do that, correct?

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

An act of Congress could force them to do that.

CHUCK TODD:

And can that pass this Congress?

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

Well, that's the problem. The House does not have it in their bill. Senator Leahy does not have that in his bill.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I'm going to have to leave it there. June 1st, Patriot Act expires. We'll see what happens. Senator Feinstein, Happy Mother's Day, by the way.

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN:

Thank you. Thank you--

CHUCK TODD:

All right. All right. And Mike Leiter, always a pleasure. Thanks for coming.

MICHAEL LEITER:

Great to be here.

CHUCK TODD:

Later on the broadcast on this Mother's Day, what makes the U.S. just about the worst place in the industrialized world to be a working mom? Wait till you see these statistics. But first, she's raised kids. She's a woman running for president. And she's not Hillary Clinton. Coming up next, Carly Fiorina for a Meet the Candidates interview on Meet the Press.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

As you saw a moment ago, the Republican race for the White House is certainly getting crowded. But it's a field dominated by men, with one exception. Carly Fiorina, who launched her campaign earlier this week. Fiorina had a long career in business, eventually serving as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, between 1999 and 2005, where she oversaw a merger with rival Compaq at the time.

They ended up after combining cutting about 30,000 jobs. In 2008, she was an advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign. And she made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010, eventually losing to the Democratic incumbent out there, Barbara Boxer. I'm pleased to say she joins me now for our "Meet the Candidate" interview from South Carolina, as she was there yesterday. Welcome back to Meet the Press Carly Fiorina, and happy Mother's Day.

CARLY FIORINA:

Thanks. Thank you so much, Chuck, nice to be with you.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with the issue of various qualifications that voters look for in future presidents. We asked a number of them in our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, and the idea of somebody without any political experience at all, any elective office experience, actually made nearly 70% of those we surveyed uncomfortable or have significant reservations about. You obviously do not have a background in elected office, you believe that that is something of an asset. Voters don't see it that way. What do you say to them?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, I've spent a lot of time with voters in a lot of places. And I think many, many voters actually now are looking for someone from outside the political class. They believe that we need to challenge the status quo of Washington. I think I'm certainly not a political neophyte as you point out.

I've run my own campaign, I have donors, I've had lots of others win, in addition, I have done a lot of policy work, advised secretaries of Defense, heads of C.I.A. and N.S.A., secretaries of State and the Homeland Security. So I'm not a neophyte, but I do come to this run with some qualifications that others don't have.

I understand how the economy works. I understand how the world works. I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton. I understand how bureaucracies work. And that's important because our government has become a vast, huge, bloated, corrupt bureaucracy.

I understand technology, which is an important tool. And lastly, and equally importantly, I understand the executive decision making, which is making a tough call in a tough time, for which you are prepared to be held accountable. Something that at least Hillary Clinton doesn't have a track record of.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you bring up your business background, with HP. And let's just say that it's certainly been litigated quite a bit there. Let me pull up, you've seen this website, CarlyFiorina.org, and a person there sits there and he says, "You've failed to register this domain, so I'm using it to tell how many people lost their jobs while you were CEO."

And it's got an emoticon of sad faces there, 30,000 people. Then it has a quote from you, which I know was taken out of context, but had to do with people you fired as executive. And it says here, "I would have done them all faster." Do you have regrets about those layoffs?

CARLY FIORINA:

You know what's interesting to me is that website, as well as your line of questioning, just leaves out a whole bunch of other facts. That's the thing about business. Facts and numbers and results actually count. It's not just about words as it is in politics.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, then let me ask you, why did they fire you?

CARLY FIORINA:

I've been at Hewlett-Packard through the worst technology recession in 25 years. And yes, indeed, some tough calls were necessary. There's nothing worse than laying someone off. On the other hand, many companies against which we competed are gone all together. And what people fail to comment on is the fact that we doubled the size of the company, we took the growth rate from 2% to 9%, we tripled the rate of innovations to 11 patents a day.

We went from lagging behind in every product category to leading in every product category. And yes, in fact, we grew jobs here in the U.S. and all over the world. You can't just leave those facts out. Because they are as vital to the record to the fact that yes, indeed, I had to make some tough calls during some tough times. Tough times that many technology companies didn't survive at all.

CHUCK TODD:

Two facts here, why did HP's board fire you? And why, on the day that they did, the stock went up nearly 7%?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, they did fire me. I've been very open about that. I was fired in a boardroom brawl. We had board members who were leaking information out of the boardroom. You know, the truth is this: it is a leader's job to challenge the status quo. And when you do, you make enemies.

I understand that well. But the track record of the people of Hewlett-Packard and I, over an almost six-year period, is crystal clear. The stock has gone down during my tenure, as did every other single technology company. And I think what you'll find, if you follow the stock market at all, is every time there is a change with a company, the stock tends to go up, whether it's splitting the company, which the current CEO just announced.

The stock market is not a good arbiter of success over the long term. The average holding of stock today is less than 90 days. It is more a reflection of current emotion and conventional wisdom and anything else. And a CEO cannot run a company that's based on conventional wisdom or current emotion. A CEO's job is to build sustainable value over the long term for as many employees, as many customers, and as many communities as possible.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask you about the issue of trade. We're going to be talking about it later. President Obama's been pushing for this authority to allow the administration to negotiate with these Asian countries for what's called the Trade Pacific Partnership here.

Here's what you've said about free trade in 2004 as CEO. You said, "Every job is important because each one represents an American's livelihood and ability to raise a family. Yet spending our time building walls around America will do nothing to help us compete for the millions of new jobs being created."

But surprisingly, and I have to say surprisingly, I was shocked that a Silicon Valley CEO is against Congress and most of the Republican Party giving President Obama this authority to negotiate this trade agreement. Why are you against this considering you were arguably a free trader in '04?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, I stand by that statement in '04. I believe every word of it. I also believe that the devil is usually in the details. And that's particularly true with this president. The truth is, we don't know what's in this deal. The truth is we know that we have trading partners who have violated agreements in trade deals, China being one of them.

And so I think it's important to understand some of the fine print of this deal. For example, is China allowed to join this Pacific trading agreement later on in a couple years? Yes or no? This is being sold as an opportunity for America to strengthen its lead and its partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region. I certainly agree with that goal.

On the other hand, if the truth is in these details, that China gets to join later, then what exactly are we doing here? I think the point is not that free trade is bad. Free trade is good for this nation. I think the point is, what exactly is in this agreement? Because this administration unfortunately has a track record of burying things in fine print, whether it's the Iran nuclear deal, or ObamaCare, or maybe this agreement, that turn out to be very different from their selling point.

CHUCK TODD:

So you wouldn't want this same--you wouldn't want Congress to give you this authority as president?

CARLY FIORINA:

I wouldn't be afraid to tell Congress what's in the deal. I wouldn't be afraid to let people know, "Here's what we've agreed to, here's what we haven't agreed to, here are the upsides, here are the potential risks." I don't hear that from this president. What I hear is a bunch of sound bites and a bunch of selling points. And he does not have a track record of the details matching his selling points.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, we're going to talk about trade and the president later on in the program. Carly Fiorina for now, I'm going to have to leave it there. I look forward to having you back on the program. Thanks very much.

CARLY FIORINA:

Thanks Chuck. Thanks for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

We're going now to turn to the panel, a quick look at some news of the week. We'll focus a little bit on Hillary Clinton here. We had a bunch of stuff in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that needs to find its way onto the show here. We found that Clinton's reputation has taken a bit of a hit, with all the focus on the financial dealings of the foundation.

42% now, the negative opinion of Mrs. Clinton, which is even with her positive rating. And that negative rating, by the way, is up six points from the last time we tested in March. But guess what? She still leads all the Republicans in our polls, topping Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, topping Scott Walker, by the way, by ten points there. Kathleen Parker, has Hillary Clinton weathered this storm? Or is this just the beginning of more storms to come?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Oh, I think we have a stormy season ahead for Hillary Clinton. Look, I don't think those statistics tell us much at this point. The trust question, we just learned from what happened in Britain, is the most important factor when a voter goes to cast his ballot or her ballot. And Hillary Clinton's trust value is, as you say, it's in decline.

But I don't think it's going to improve as the campaign proceeds. She still has other hurdles to cross, including the Benghazi questions that will come up. She can handle those if she does it properly. She can handle possibly the emails. But I'm doubtful on that score.

So trust is really going to hurt her in the long run. And I think that the fact that she's still leading the Republican candidates has to do with the fact that some of these candidates are not as well known. Remember, people don't really start paying attention as soon as we do.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Okay?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, but Matt, Bill Clinton had a lower trust rating than Bob Dole, had a lower trust rating than George H. W. Bush, and he won both of those elections. Are the Clintons more immune to this than others?

MATT BAI:

Sure. And I agree that people don't know the opponents. But, you know, as far as it goes to me, we all make fast on historic comparisons for a living. It's what we do.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

We want to get paid.

MATT BAI:

But there are echoes to me here in, say, Richard Nixon in 1968, right? That people know all the good, the bad, and the ugly, they didn't especially love Nixon, they don't especially love Hillary Clinton, but she is, for a lot of the electorate, I think, a reassuring, solid presence who has a handle on government and has experience. It's the so-called devil you know versus so-called devil you don't. And it's going to all depend on that choice? What is the alternative? We are absent a campaign. And absent a campaign, polls don't tell you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I completely agree. If this is a referendum on the Clintons back and forth, she always loses to herself. But the choice--

RUTH MARCUS:

Helps herself lose.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right. But the choice aspect, Matt's right. I mean, you know, look, and I look at the Scott Walker numbers and that tells you something, she has a huge gender gap with him. And that's something I don't think even as he becomes more well known that that goes away.

RUTH MARCUS:

And I think that when you look at the poll numbers, you always have to say, "Compared to what?" It's not just compared to the Republican candidates who clearly are not as well known right now. But I think when voters look at Hillary Clinton, they're also looking at the incumbent.

And you don't have to necessarily trust the president or trust the president you're thinking about electing, you also want somebody in there who you know is experienced and capable and tough-minded. So she doesn't have to win the, "Want to have a beer with them, with the voters" polls, she has to win the, "I am capable and experienced and know how to knock heads with foreign leaders, know how to deal with recalcitrant Republican Congress." And I think that's going to end up helping her in the end, though Kathleen's totally right. It's going to be a stormy, political season.

CHUCK TODD:

And then let's talk about Carly Fiorina here a minute. Michael Steele, you were chairman of the party, she was trying to become active, trying to become a player in politics and hasn't gotten there. This run for the presidency, should she be taken as a serious, top-tier candidate, or does this look more, some have accused her of being a sort of a vanity project..

MICHAEL STEELE:

Well, I was watching your interview with her, I think you've got to start to take her seriously. She has come off more and more as a credible candidate, as someone that people at least want to listen to within the party. She's getting a lot of traction, a lot of buzz, if you will, from some of the grassroots folks.

I think that the real test for her is not anything between now and August, it's what happens when she's on the stage with the fellas. And the context of that conversation, she really has an opportunity to distinguish herself. And I think, you know, and the way she pushed back on your questions about her tenure, and getting fired, I thought that that sounded reasonable. And as a voter looking at that, I go, "Oh, okay. That makes sense." I mean, at least she didn't run from it, she didn't fight it.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, all right, go, go, go. You both want to jump out here.

RUTH MARCUS:

I'm sorry. I entirely completely disagree. I don't think we will be taking her seriously at all if she weren't a woman. And that is, I would love to see a woman president.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

And can you say the same thing about Hillary.

RUTH MARCUS:

I would not--

MICHAEL STEELE:

Thank you, I mean, that is--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I like Hillary.

RUTH MARCUS:

No, no, no, let me just finish. And I think that she's a failed business leader and a failed political candidate, and I think--

MICHAEL STEELE:

Oh my goodness.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

She's not a failed business leader.

RUTH MARCUS:

She was fired, as Chuck pointed out, she was fired from her job, she didn't get the political job that she ran for. I just don't get why she needs to be taken so seriously.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

A lot of people get fired from their jobs. I've been fired in the past. And it's, you know, it's good experience to have. But anyway, I think she acquitted herself very well just now with you. And she does that repeatedly. And every time I've seen her speak, it's been with great conviction, she's not afraid of the facts.

Her campaign will tell you she answered 200 questions just last week, and Hillary Clinton has answered seven in the entire scope of her campaign thus far. So trust, are you trusting someone? I'm not saying that she's going to be the president, I'm just saying she's a viable candidate.

MATT BAI:

She's a viable candidate.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

She's going to get better and better as people know her.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to pause this conversation here. Thank you both, thank you everybody. In a moment, on this Mother's Day, we'll discuss why the U.S. ranks so far from the top of the best countries to be a mother in. But first, we want to note the passing of a former House Speaker this week, Jim Wright. The Fort Worth, Texas, Democrat served in the House for more than 30 years.

He was elected speaker in 1987, replacing the legendary Tip O'Neill. But his time in the post was short lived. He had to resign two years later. He was the subject of an ethics investigation that was pushed and prompted by a rival on the Republican side of the aisle, a Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich, in fact, said at the time, "If Wright survives this ethical thing, he may become the greatest speaker since Henry Clay." An interesting compliment, sort of, from Gingrich at the time. That episode along with the infamous Robert Bork nomination fight, which was happening at the same time, is often seen as the beginning of what is today's hyper-partisanship in Washington.

Despite that though, Wright was seen as a tough, but effective speaker in his short two years. Among his biggest achievements, orchestrating an eventual peace deal between rival factions in Nicaragua, the Sandinistas and the Contras. Jim Wright was 92.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Of course it's Mother's Day today and in a moment we are going to talk to a group of working mothers about American moms are doing. But let's start with how things have changed from the days of 'Leave It To Beaver' to 'Modern Family.' One thing, Mom's older than she used to be. In 1960, 74 percent of women who gave birth were under the age of thirty. In 2013, that number dropped to 59 percent.

Mom's also better educated. Back in 1960, only 18 percent of mothers had attended some college. Now it's a majority of mothers, 60 percent. But married women who work full-time still make less than married men. In fact, married men with kids make an average of 985 per week. Married women with children, 756 dollars a week.

And there are more single-mom households. In 1960, 8 percent of children lived only with their mother. That number is now over twenty percent, something that gets lost a lot of times in this.

So where does the U.S. rank on the list of best places to be a mother? According to the Save the Children Mothers' Index, which was released this week, which assesses the well-being of mothers around the world. We're #33, behind almost every other industrialized nation. Number one on the list?

Norway.

So I asked the Prime Minister of Norway why her country is the best place to be a mother.

(BEGIN TAPE)

ERNA SOLBERG:

If you really want women to go to their full potential, use their talent, you have to be able to combine motherhood and labor market participation. And I think we have invested quite a lot to make that happen. And I feel see around me, I see my generation of women, but also the younger ones, they are believing in a society where you can both have children and you can work.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now are Cathy Engelbert, the CEO of the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, Kishanna Brown, a teacher in Maryland, and our own Maria Shriver from Los Angeles. Cathy's a mother of two teenagers. Kishanna, you have a seven and nine-year-old and Maria, you've got four, and I believe one at home. So Maria, let me start with you. We just heard about Norway. But here, the United States ranked thirty-third overall on the Save the Children's Index. Why?

MARIA SHRIVER:

Well, there are a lot of reasons. And I think this points to this being a critical time in our culture for mothers. You know, two thirds of American families rely on the mother's income to stay above the poverty level. Women in a majority of American families are primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners and caregivers.

And the fact is that our policies and our institutions have not kept up with the changing dynamic in the home.

CHUCK TODD:

Cathy, Deloitte stands out as a company that has done more for working mothers. You're a working mother, you're CEO of the company. What is Deloitte doing that other companies should be following suit on?

CATHY ENGELBERT:

I think what we're doing is continuing a conversation that is important so that women feel empowered to drive their career. I talk with a lot of our women and men's groups at Deloitte and we talk about how building your capabilities with the evolution of business around us today is so important to giving women the confidence to ultimately be successful in their careers and taking control of it.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you offer paid leave for women?

CATHY ENGELBERT:

Absolutely. We do.

CHUCK TODD:

And how many companies do?

CATHY ENGELBERT:

I think that there's a conversation that continues to need to be had around the workforce and what, especially as you look at a multi-generational workforce that we have today, from the boomers to the millennials and you look at what they're demanding. And they're demanding things like predictability and flexibility.

CHUCK TODD:

Kishanna, let me bring you in here. Your husband is a professor at a university in Maryland. You're a full-time teacher. Childcare costs almost consumed you.

KISHANNA BROWN:

So when my son was born-- which gave us our two, our childcare monthly payment was over $1,400, far more than what our rent cost at the time in an apartment. So, when I say, "Affordable childcare," I'm looking for a facility that's safe, a facility that has a rigorous early childhood education program as well, because what that does is it not only services women in the middle class, women who might not have the skillset to look for a rigorous program for their children.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Maria, you have done this with The Shriver Report, you have talked about this issue of the income gap. And part of the income issue has to do with childcare costs.

MARIA SHRIVER:

That's true. As what she was just saying was more than her rent. I think affordable childcare is obviously really important. So is paid family leave, so are flexible hours. And I think what Cathy also said is she's talking to women and men. This is not just a woman's issue. Men are demanding flexibility. Men have to step up as fathers. And we are seeing that it takes two paychecks to live above the brink of poverty. We have 44 million women and something like 28 million children who depend on them, on the brink of poverty.

And these are women who are working. And I think it's inconceivable really that we don't have paid leave. It's inconceivable that we don't have maternity leave.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you brought up the paid leave. Let me just point this out. Just three states mandate paid maternity leave, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Among 193 member states of the United Nations, the United States and seven other countries have no paid maternity leave. Five of those seven countries are Pacific Island nations. I guess, Maria, why do you think we've not done this as a government?

MARIA SHRIVER:

I think that's a good question that'll come in this presidential election. And I think that, you know, when they started with paid leave out here in California, people said, "Oh my God, all the businesses will die." Well, that hasn't turned out to be the case. Paid leave has turned out to be good for business. Things are changing. And I think, as Cathy said, millennials are demanding this.

Out here in California, if you look at Silicon Valley, there's a very different culture developing to retain workers. And also, all the science I think is really important to talk about, Chuck. What children need is what mothers provide, which is attachment, which is love, which is nurturing. And women need to spend time. So there's really the question of how these policies can support the development for children and the time that women need to spend with them.

I've seen Maria's book where she talks about having it all, but maybe you can't have it all at the same time in the same moment. And I have a little spin on that which is, you know, can you do it all, because can you do it all is defined by you and what you want to do and how you want to balance it, so.

CHUCK TODD:

Kishanna, use this platform. What would you ask of leaders in Congress? Say, "This is what I need to be a successful working mother."

KISHANNA BROWN:

I need affordable childcare, affordable educational opportunities. What happens is, especially in education, is that higher wages are often aligned to your education experience. So the more education experience I have or even vocational training, you know, technical training, the better qualified I would be.

CHUCK TODD:

So if you get childcare, then you get more time to go get a extra education. You get extra education, you get a higher income?

KISHANNA BROWN:

Exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

Then guess what, then your kids get a better lifestyle?

KISHANNA BROWN:

Correct.

CHUCK TODD:

And they get a better education.

KISHANNA BROWN:

And I'm building the whole child to be a successful citizen in the United States. Not a child who has to depend on anything or anybody, but a child who is fully functional.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I'm going to leave it there. Happy Mother's Day, Cathy, Kishanna, Maria, appreciate it. It's an important discussion to have the state of the American mother. And when we come back, the first installment of our new series on the billionaire donors. This morning, you're going to Sheldon Adelson. We'll be right back.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back. The road to the White House is paved, of course, with lots of money. And candidates from both parties are going to spend an eye-popping amount on their campaigns this cycle. So this week, we begin a new series that's called Meet the Money: The Billionaire Donors. It will focus on this small group of the super wealthy who would like to have huge influence on the 2016 race.

First up in our series is the casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson. He's worth an estimated $30 billion. And in fact in 2012, he already spent $100 million in his attempt to defeat Barack Obama. Here's Kelly O'Donnell now with a report that was produced in collaboration with the investigative reporting program at UC Berkeley.

(BEGIN TAPE)

KELLY O'DONNELL:

A season in politics now known as the Adelson primary. Republican presidential hopefuls eager to attract support and maybe millions from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. And making the pilgrimage to Adelson's Las Vegas Venetian hotel, vying for the blessing of his Republican-Jewish coalition. This year's roster included former Texas governor Rick Perry.

RICK PERRY:

How in the hell are we supposed to trust Iran on an--

KELLY O'DONNELL:

And the candid Senator Ted Cruz.

TED CRUZ:

It is not complicated for Republican politicians to come to the RJC and say, "We should stand with Israel."

KELLY O'DONNELL:

All hoping their views will somehow align with a hawkish, self-described pro-choice, socially liberal Republican, whose wealth could catapult their campaigns. His donations in the last year include more than $63,000 to the Republican National Committee, $5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, and $10 million to Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS. Adelson and his money are so influential that in his home state of Nevada, even Democrats, like Harry Reid, are reluctant to take him on.

HARRY REID:

I know Sheldon Adelson. He's not in this for money. He's not in this to make money. He's in it because he has certain ideological views.

KELLY O'DONNELL:

And while Adelson is now accustomed to holding political court, he's recently been spending time in a court of law, making a rare appearance in a case brought by a former top executive at his casino empire. A case that raises questions about the sources of Adelson's much sought after fortune.

Steven Jacobs ran Adelson's ambitious Macau casino venture off the coast of China. When that business exploded and made Adelson one of the wealthiest men in the world. Jacobs said in a deposition that he was fired from his job after he objected to what he called the casino's illicit business practices.

STEVEN JACOBS:

Did I report the activities of some of the specific allegations that Sheldon Adelson was personally involved in wrongdoing, illegal and immoral activities, you bet.

KELLY O'DONNELL:

Jacobs claims that those activities included rampant prostitution and loan sharking, potential money laundering, an involvement with Chinese gangs known as "triad," who allegedly brought in high-stakes gamblers on so-called junkets. A combative Adelson disputed the allegations.

SHELDON ADELSON:

We have no intention and will not do things that violate any law.

KELLY O'DONNELL:

He said he saw no proof that triads operated junkets to his Macau casino. And that Jacobs' plan to stop junkets to his casino would have financially decimated the enterprise.

SHELDON ADELSON:

This was insanity. You purposely tried to kill the company.

KELLY O'DONNELL:

Adelson's had ongoing federal investigations brought on by Jacobs' allegations--

SHELDON ADELSON:

He's squealed like a pig squeals.

KELLY O'DONNELL:

--will soon vindicate him. I'm Kelly O'Donnell for Meet the Press.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

So for more Sheldon Adelson, I'm joined by Jon Ralston. He's probably Nevada's preeminent political reporter. Jon, welcome back to Meet the Press. Simple question, what does Sheldon want?

JON RALSTON:

Well, he wants a candidate who's going to win for a change, Chuck. I think he was very upset with what happened with Mitt Romney. As people know, he supported Newt Gingrich mostly on a personal loyalty from a relationship that goes back 20 years. He wants a candidate who can win. So he wants a candidate who is not going to concentrate so much on social issues.

You mentioned earlier that he's socially liberal, Kelly did. He is. He is pro-choice. He also wants the Republican candidate to talk reasonably about immigration. He's very worried about the Republican candidate losing on that issue. He wants a winner this time, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's amazing, Jon. On social issues, and on immigration. If any candidate had those views, they'd be laughed out right now as a primary prospect. Does that make it harder for these guys to take his money? It doesn't look it.

JON RALSTON:

Well, I don't think anyone will turn down his money, Chuck. As you talked about with the Adelson primary, I've been to both of those in the last couple of years, it is a pure pander fest. And so Sheldon Adelson is going to wait for a couple two or three of the debates, see which candidate looks better to him.

I think he likes Marco Rubio, I think he likes Scott Walker, but he is not going to make a decision right now. I know there have been some reports that he is already going to load up on Rubio. That's just not going to happen until he sees all these candidates perform.

CHUCK TODD:

And is he as loathing of the Clintons as he was of President Obama?

JON RALSTON:

I don't think that that is true, but again, I mean, his feelings about Barack Obama are very clear. I've not heard him talk in the same terms, nor has anybody close to him talked in the same terms about Hillary Clinton. But he does not want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. And so that's going to animate what he does. And you talked about the $100 million, that's couch cushion money to him, Chuck. And so I don't think he's going to have any limit on what he spends to beat Hillary Clinton.

CHUCK TODD:

That's for sure. Jon Ralston, I'm going to be talking to you a lot more, because as you love to say, hashtag You Matter. Thank you Jon.

JON RALSTON:

Don't forget it.

CHUCK TODD:

Stay tuned. We'll be back in a moment with end game. Belichick and Brady and the Clintons? Wait until you see what some folks have been writing about what they may or may not have in common. And also, why would President Obama say this about a Elizabeth Warren?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

She's absolutely wrong.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

End Game time. Panelists here, Matt Bai, you're here, 48 hours removed from going to the Nike campus.

MATT BAI:

Took me about that long to get home.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Exactly, yeah. To interview President Obama, and who's doing a very, very public push for this trade agreement we talked about earlier with Carly Fiorina. Let me play a clip here, because his chief opponent on this right now appears to be Elizabeth Warren.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else. And, you know, she's got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one though, her arguments don't stand the test of fact and scrutiny.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Is there a worse attack you can make on a politician these days than calling them a politician?

MATT BAI:

Well, especially when their entire brand is about not being a politician.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes.

MATT BAI:

I was surprised. He's irritated. And, you know, I think he's irritated because Barack Obama is a politician. He's the anti-Bill Clinton. He does not like to fight with his friends, even when there's a substantive disagreement, if it appears that he's just trying to score political points. I think he's frustrated because he feels that Elizabeth Warren is doing exactly that to him.

CHUCK TODD:

That he's being triangulated?

MATT BAI:

Yes, exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

That she's out pandering to progressives here.

MATT BAI:

He clearly, I mean, his comments is pretty clear. He doesn't think it's out of conviction. He thinks that she's playing fast and loose with facts in order to keep her supporters riled up at the expense of him and a policy he cares about. By the way, a lot more about the policy and the trade on Yahoo. That whole interview will be posted today.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's good to know. You know, Ruth, this is an interesting little fight that's happening inside the Democratic party. And Hillary Clinton clearly is nervous about it. Bernie Sanders, who by the way, you've seen, is suddenly, with Elizabeth Warren out, he's topping the sort of second-place vote. You know, he is suddenly getting into the 'teens. And in many ways, he's more articulate on this issue than Elizabeth Warren is.

RUTH MARCUS:

And going to push it. She's going to push it, he's going to push it, and many of the Democrats in Congress are going to push it. And the critical question here is where is Hillary Clinton between President Obama on the one hand, and Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders on the other hand. She is going to need to show her hand and start to answer some questions about this.

CHUCK TODD:

To me, the hypocrisy issue here for Democrats running for president, he's asking for presidential authority to negotiate these trade agreements. I assume every one of these people, if they were elected president, would want the same authority.

MICHAEL STEELE:

They want the exact same authority.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, so that's why I couldn't believe--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL STEELE:

Right, they want this authority because they want to be able to negotiate the deal that they want to negotiate. And that's where the president is right now. It's what's ticking off the Democrats because they claim they don't know what's in the bill. But they can access that. The president clearly has the upper hand here. It's going to pass. That's the part that I think a lot of people at the end of the day--

RUTH MARCUS:

That's not--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:

Watch the House of Representatives, it's not so clear.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm with you. And you're starting to see some Republican--sort of the old Buchanan wing of the populist anti-trade crowd on the right.

RUTH MARCUS:

Those who don't like Barack Obama in the House, the Republicans do not want to give him personally the authority to do this.

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

MATT BAI:

Threading the needle.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. The other important story of the week, of course, "DeflateGate." I kid, I kid, for all of you that are going to go on Twitter and say, "Oh, you know, Meet the Press and the tough issues." I've got to read you this Wall Street Journal column. Allysia Finley wrote this, as if she wrote a letter to Tom Brady on how to handle all the scrutiny in "DeflateGate."

"Most important: Deflect, deflect, deflect like one of those monster Packers defensive linemen batting down one of your passes. Don't actually answer any of their questions, just keep calling audibles and try to confuse them. Hope this helps. And if you need any more advice, just holler. Oh, and maybe you could contribute to the Clinton Foundation? Bill and Hill." Ouch. Ouch. Yeah?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, you know, it isn't hard to sort of see the analogy here. We're talking about, I hate the word, it's coarse and cheap, but cheat. Cheating. And then lying about it. So, you know, we're familiar with that from the--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think the Clintons are lying? What are they lying about?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, I think I'm going back to the former President's tenure.

CHUCK TODD:

To the other issue.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

But we don't know about lying yet, you know, about other things. But the idea is that narrative is sort of in place and it's hard to undo it once it's there.

CHUCK TODD:

Matt, another person wrote something like, "Boy, Brady and Belichick, they're just like the Clintons." You know, people believe they're not playing by the rules. They would argue, "Oh, they're playing technically by the rules, but maybe they shading them a little bit." And they create their own set of rules, "Well, guess what? What do they both have in common? They always seem to win."

MATT BAI:

Well, this is the thing to me that jumps out as the commonality, if you're going to find them, which is it's on us. We, as in the public, the fans, the voters, we want somebody who will do anything it takes to win, who will make the system work, who will bring home the championship banner, and then go out and be a perfectly scrupulous, nice, decent person, who never bends the rules. And that doesn't exist. You want someone who will do anything to win, who will get the job done? More often than not, that person will do whatever it takes.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, well, I'm going to--

RUTH MARCUS:

There are fans who are also children. And that's my big complaint here.

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

MICHAEL STEELE:

Cheating is cheating.

RUTH MARCUS:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough. Before I go, Ruth and Kathleen, it is Mother's Day. So from us here at Meet the Press--

MICHAEL STEELE:

Oh, look at this.

RUTH MARCUS:

Ah.

CHUCK TODD:

Not just flowers, but you know, something that might actually last a while.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

An orchid that will last.

CHUCK TODD:

An orchid potted, you know, some of us say we're just potted plants here.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Beautiful.

CHUCK TODD:

You guys--

(OVERTALK)

RUTH MARCUS:

Kathleen and I are not potted plants.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right.

RUTH MARCUS:

We appreciate them.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

All right. That's all for today. Fathers out there, I hope you figured this out. It's Mother's Day. We'll be back next week, because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *