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Meet the Press Transcript - October 11, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, you say you want a revolution? Well, you've got one in the Republican Party.

(BEGIN TAPE)

KEVIN MCCARTHY:

I think I shocked some of you, huh?

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The GOP red hots have proven they can decapitate their leadership. Now can they prove they can lead? Plus, the Democrats. Biden is still deciding. Clinton is still waffling. And Sanders is still speaking out.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

People will have to contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street corporations, big corporations with the Secretary.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

My interview with the Democratic insurgent. And after supporting the President's Asian trade deal dozens of times, Hillary Clinton now opposes it, sort of. May have been short-term politics, but is it blatant opportunism? And joining me this morning for insight and analysis are radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post, and Nathan Gonzalez of the Rothenberg & GonzalesPoliticalReport. 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 Sunday morning. If you're one of those who does want a revolution, well, guess what? I think the two parties have two of them for you. The Democratic left and the Republican right are pulling their parties away from the center. On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders' strong polling is frustrating the Hillary Clinton campaign and forcing her to switch positions and move to the left.

We'll have my interview with Bernie Sanders coming up in a few minutes. On the Republican side, the revolt by conservative House members has thrown the party, at least in Congress, into disarray. Having already defeated majority leader Eric Cantor and forced out Speaker Boehner, they claimed their third victim this week when Kevin McCarthy was forced out of the race for speaker.

(BEGIN TAPE)

REP.KEVIN MCCARTHY:

I think I shocked some of you, huh?

CHUCK TODD:

A Republican fight between conservatives and the establishment that's been brewing for a generation exploded again and this week it took another casualty.

REP. TIM HUELSKAMP:

Clearly, the establish loss today.

CHUCK TODD:

Quite the fall from grace for this establishment. It was just five years ago that these three men led the Republicans back into power. And now, one by one, they've been pushed out. It started in June of last year.

ERIC CANTOR:

But obviously, we came up short.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER:

My oh my what a wonderful day.

KEVIN MCCARTHY:

And this'll be best step foot--

CHUCK TODD:

Two of the fallen were self-described "young guns." The third, Congressman Paul Ryan, is being aggressively drafted to do the job of speaker, even by his competition.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ:

If Paul Ryan got into the race, of course I'd support him.

REP. PAUL RYAN:

Right now I'm just going to catch my flight so I can make it home for dinner.

CHUCK TODD:

As Ryan rises, so too is ire rising among some skeptical conservatives, with one calling Ryan a quote, "dangerous pick." Another, radio host Laura Ingraham tweeted Friday, "Are they talking about the same Paul Ryan who once lost a VP debate to Joe Biden?"

REP. THOMAS MASSIE:

If some of my conservative colleagues remember Paul Ryan impassioned pleas for the TARP, the Wall Street bailout, I would want to talk to Paul Ryan about why he kicked conservatives off the budget committee.

CHUCK TODD:

For decades, Republicans picked the guy who was, quote, next in line to be the party standard bearer. Now the conservative anger that propelled the party to victory in 2010 is reshaping it. With their largest majority in the House since the 1920s, Republicans are still struggling to govern themselves. 72% of Republican voters say they're dissatisfied with their own leaders in Congress.

MALE VOTER:

Liberal light. They get elected saying one thing, and then they get there and don't follow through on promises.

MALE VOTER:

Too many people that go down there drink the water. They become addicted to whatever.

MALE VOTER:

When you get to that point of the establishment, Republican or Democrat, there's very little difference.

CHUCK TODD:

And on the 2016 campaign trail, the grassroots has so far rejected Republicans with deep political resumes, preferring self-declared outsiders. After McCarthy's fall, those outsiders rushed to declare victory.

SEN. TED CRUZ:

The city of Washington is in utter panic.

DONALD TRUMP:

They're giving me a lot of credit for that because I said, "You really need somebody very, very tough and very smart."

CHUCK TODD:

Hoping to become the leader of a Republican party, still searching for one.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, to discuss what Ted Cruz calls utter panic inside the Republican party, I'm joined by two strong voices representing two different wings of the party inside the House: Dave Brat of Virginia, he's the man who arguably fired the first shot of the conservative revolution, or the most recent one within Congress, with his primary defeat of then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor back in June of 2014.

Also with us is Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. He's a strong moderate voice within the party. And he actually represents one of the few swing districts left in Congress. President Obama carried his district in 2008, and Mitt Romney narrowly carried it in 2012. Gentlemen welcome to both of you.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Thanks Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Congressman Brat, let me start with you. You're a member of the Freedom Caucus. What is it that you want, and what is it that Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor haven't delivered?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right. Well, they all ran on a pledge to America. And just like your 72% of the folks out there in the real world, say, "We make these promises when we run, but then when we get up here, we're called 'unrealistic' by the Washington establishment and the bubble up here." What we want is what the American people want.

We have $19 trillion in debt, $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. All federal revenues will be spent in 11 years on just entitlement programs and interest on the debt. There will be not one dollar left for the military, education, transportation, and all of running government. So the American people want us to make progress on that.

Plus, President Obama, when I came in last year in November, we had the unconstitutional amnesty. Our leadership said we were going to fight tooth and nail on that thing. It's unconstitutional. President Obama said it 20 times on TV. Then you have overreach on all sorts of Dodd-Frank on the financial side, EPA regulation, a bad Iran deal. The people say, "Hey, step up and make the case for us." And so that's what we want to do.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and Charlie Dent, Congressman Dent, I've heard and I think you're one of those who have said this, your response to him, particularly in spending issues would be, "You've done what you can with a Democratic president." Is that right?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, that's correct. But in order to address all the policy issues David just discussed, we have to get back to functionality. We have to prove to the American people we can govern. And that means we have to make sure the government is funded. We must make sure that we're not going to default on our obligations. We have to take care of transportation issues, tactics, extenders, et cetera.

To the extent that we are dysfunctional, we can't address these major policy issues. So really the issue is this: is we need to expand the governance within the Republican party. Those who have the capacity to say yes. What we've seen in Washington are a lot of people who hope no, and then they vote yes. We saw that on the continuing resolution a few weeks ago, and we're going to see it on a number of other issues going forward.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's interesting. You were nodding, nodding, nodding, and then you went, "No, no, no." Okay. Define the nod, and define the nos.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

The governing up in this place seems to always mean increased spending. That's what it means up here in D.C. That's not what governing means to the American people. Governing means getting the ship going in the right direction. So we have this budget chaos. Every year, right before Christmas, right? So we've got a CR coming up, we're going to fund it. Then we have an omni coming up second week of December.

CHUCK TODD:

Using a lot of Washington speak here. I just want to say, a short-term budget deal, or a long-term compromise.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right. And so the point is, guess what? It's going to be utter chaos. The left is going to throw in all their toys they want into this thing, the right's going to throw it in. This was orchestrated on purpose, in my view. The budget committee finished its work back in April, May. Yeah, we voted the next step in the budget process, it goes to appropriations, 12 bills.

We passed five, the Senate only one. The Senate is a major problem. But we shouldn't be waving a white flag ahead of time. Charlie's kind of saying we should just give in and cave because we don't have the votes in the Senate.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's not what I'm saying at all.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

The compromise comes later when we get to the White House.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me push back though on two different things here from each side of your argument. With you, Congressman Brat, at the end of the day, the conservative movement's not a majority. And you don't necessarily even have a governing majority inside the House. So if you don't have that, how --when do you say, "Okay, I'm getting 50% of what I want, and it's the best I can do now, as I go to the campaign so I can go elect a Republican president."

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Totally disagree with the premise. We do have a majority. Last week on the CR, we had 153 Republicans vote against leadership's budget. That's the 153. The press is the only people that talks about these 40 guys and all the press today in The Washington Post said there's chaos.

The only chaos up here is on K Street and then Democrats are freaking out because if we actually have to balance a budget, right, even Keynes, a liberal economist, knew you had to run surpluses in the good years so you could pay for the deficits in the bad years. We've had seven years in a row of $500 billion deficits. It's terrible.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me-- and Congressman Dent, one of, I think, Congressman Brat's and other people's complaints, and over half of the Republican Congress has been elected in the last six years. And their complaint is this: you know what, we get here, and we don't have an opportunity to actually vote on the change, vote on some of the issues that we would like. Leadership tells us what we can or can't do. We don't get that opportunity to lose, essentially. Maybe we will lose. Maybe leadership's right, but you don't give us the opportunity to do it. What do you say to him on that?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, I think the leadership has been frankly very accommodating to those members who don't vote for the bills at the end of the process. This happens routinely. And I think a number of us have had enough of it. David just mentioned 150 Republicans voted against the continuing resolution. I can tell you that over half the Republican caucus strongly supported the continuing resolution. Only 91 voted for it.

CHUCK TODD:

Why?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Why? Because again we're back to hope yes, vote no. And they'd rather let the 91 of us take the flack, they can go home and tell folks that they stayed strong. This is a bill, by the way, that just level-funded the government for two and a half months. That's all it did.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, I want to do something. Go back to the future here meeting the rest of the press. I'm going to bring in my panel in here to join in the question. Eugene Robinson from The Washington Post, Hugh Hewitt, of course, who probably both of you have been on his radio show, Nathan Gonzales, who you both had an interview with before you actually won your office, and Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post. Hugh, fire away.

HUGH HEWITT:

A pox on both your wings. I am very and desperately hoping that Paul Ryan is praying about it and accepts this and here's my question. Yesterday a Russian jet was set down in Turkey. Yesterday almost 100 people were killed in Ankara, Turkey. The world is on fire. How dare you, with the American people waiting for leadership, paralyze the House? Charlie, you have to stop going on CNN and blasting David. And David, there are like 15 of you people. The Freedom Caucus is, like, 15 people. Paul Ryan's is like by 225 Republicans. Get with the program, guys.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

How do you know we're not on the program? I mean, you're doing fine.

HUGH HEWITT:

We support Paul Ryan. If he wins the conference, no, we support his agenda.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, we have a constitution as a country, I've got five policy principles, and--

HUGH HEWITT:

And it's not a hard question. Will you support Paul Ryan--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Well, if you let me answer it, it'd be easier. I've got give policies on my webpage and five process. If he goes with that, we're gonna give him a strong look.

HUGH HEWITT:

You're holding caucus hostage.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

The answer is, yes, I will support Paul Ryan. But Paul Ryan is also a very smart man. The underlying governing and political dynamic of the House has not changed. Paul Ryan, if he becomes speaker, and I hope he does, what will happen is he will have to make accommodations and collaborate with the Democrats to pass a debt ceiling, to pass a budget agreement, and an omnibus appropriations bill.

If he does those things, he will have his legs taken up by some of his own members. We all know that. Now, if he chooses to go through the status quo, with the status quo, then the House will continue to be mired in this paralysis and the institution will be weaker, the speaker would be weaker. He's going to have the same problems that John Boehner had and Kevin McCarthy is about to experience.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Gene Robinson fire.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Congressman Brat, your litany of complaints about the Obama years, ObamaCare, immigration, all the things that you complained about illustrate that you cannot set the national agenda from the House of Representatives. You simply cannot, that cannot be done. You have to win the White House. Are you not, with the Freedom Caucus, essentially making it less likely that there will be a Republican president elected next year? And then less likely that you'll be able to set the national agenda?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

No, absolutely not. I mean, we've got pox on both of us coming from D.C. talking heads. And then--

(OVERTALK)

REP. DAVE BRAT:

What everybody up here is missing are the objective economic numbers. We have a guaranteed financial crisis in law coming up in 11 years. And we're missing the American people. Go poll the American people. You want to know my response? I follow the American people. i don't-- Charlie here wants us to follow, like, a caucus or whatever. He wants to kick us out of our conference for voting our conscious.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I don't want to do that.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Well, you're on record last week saying it.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Populist support for Congress is--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I never said any such thing. That's an outrageous thing to say.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

-- It's Sunday morning--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's an outrageous thing to say.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--No, it's absolutely true.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

That's not true. No, that's--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

You said we "need to be punished," end quotes.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

No. I said we should marginalize people that don't know how to governor, who don't want to govern. I believe that members of Congress have a responsibility to govern. And that means, you know, Hugh raised the issue of the world being on fire.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, right.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Shutting down the government in the middle of this would be a terrible thing. Our men and women in uniform need us to provide--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Right, right.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--Some certainty and stability. He's right. The world is on fire. So we have to get our act together. But the point is, for those who don't want to govern, we have to establish bipartisan coalitions to pass any meaningful legislation--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

There you go again.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

But that's what we've had to do all year.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

So you want Nancy Pelosi to help determine our speaker for the Republican conference.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

No, I want Republicans to, but you won't support Paul Ryan.

REP. DAVE BRAT

Our own leadership, if I could just finish my sentence--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

He just asked the question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

How do you know that? I never said that.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

He just asked the question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

You're missing it, Charlie. I just said I will support if he's for the process and for the policy that the American people want. Everything I said, you want Nancy Pelosi to be in on speaking in our-- and you want to kick out conservatives out of our own conference. It's unbelievable--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

You empowered Nancy Pelosi when you sided with her on the DHS appropriations bill. You sided with Nancy Pelosi on the Iran disapproval resolution.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Charlie, you're doing a discharge position and you sided with her on trade, a Republican--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--the Republican principle

CHUCK TODD:

Let him finish this sentence.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Not me, that was you who sided.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

That's a sentence, good. Charlie, this week is doing a discharge petition with 40 Republicans to go with Nancy Pelosi to get the export/import bank back into play this week, going around the whole--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I'll tell you why.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--going against the whole committee structure of the Republican Congress--

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

--that we're trying to bring--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to jump in here, the final question.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

We need good process.

CHUCK TODD:

Final question here. When do you need to hear from Paul Ryan about whether he's in or not? Does it need to happen in the next 24, 48 hours?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

I don't think it has to happen in the next 24, 48 hours. This is a tough decision. Paul's a smart guy. He's got to make a hard choice. May I address the discharge petition?

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Very quick.

CHUCK TODD:

Very fast.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Some of us, the governing wing, want to use the process to advance good legislation. Others want to use the process to obstruct--

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

--legislation.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Crony capitalism.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

We're going the save a lot of jobs in Pennsylvania. We sent locomotives to developing countries that don't have foreign capital market--

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Free markets.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me pause right here. Congressman Brat?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah?

CHUCK TODD:

Are you okay with Kevin McCarthy staying as majority leader?

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yeah, absolutely. We have good talks with him. He came and talked with us. The whole conference is making great progress toward these reforms we're talking about, getting back to regular order. Kevin was, "Yes, yes, yes" on that. So the talking points that we're in this war, it's overblown. Get to the facts.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I am over time already. I promise.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I didn't get a turn.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you're going to get a turn later in the show. These guys have to get going. Thank you both.

Congressman Dent, I really think viewers got an understanding of the differences inside your conference. I appreciate it.

REP. DAVE BRAT:

Yes, thank you, thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thank you both. And thank you for ending on a smile. When we come back, the battle on the Democratic side. My interview with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back to Meet the Press. Vice President Joe Biden is spending the weekend with his family at home in Delaware. With time running short, on making a decision on whether or not to get into the race for president, our nerd screen issue this morning is this: what would a Biden run do to the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders matchup? Let's start in Iowa. As you see here, this is our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

We have Hillary Clinton in two-way race up 11 points. Well, what happens when it's a three-way race? Well, we did that. And you see here Joe Biden, he starts in third place sitting at 22. Look what happens to Hillary Clinton's double-digit lead? It goes to single digits. Thirty-three, 28. So clearly, Joe Biden pulls a lot more from Clinton than he does Sanders. Guess what? Same story in New Hampshire.

Of course, in our New Hampshire poll, we actually had Sanders ahead even in the two-way race, 48-39. Almost a double-digit lead. Watch what happens when you toss in Biden. He takes more from Hillary Clinton. Biden's in third, 18. But look at this. Hillary Clinton loses double-digit support. And Bernie Sanders loses five or six points. But guess what? His overall lead gets to double digits. So what does this all mean?

We know a couple of things. Number one, Joe Biden clearly hurts Hillary Clinton both in votes, not just the mere talk of his candidacy. But number two, if Biden gets in, could we now say that the actual frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is in Bernie Sanders? It's clear the Sanders supporters are willing to stick with Sanders more so than Clinton supporters. Up next, my interview with that man just now that could be the biggest beneficiary of Joe Biden getting in, Bernie Sanders.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. We all know that Las Vegas is home of some big-time boxing. Actually, I think Meet the Press now is going to be known for that after what we just saw earlier in the show. But on Tuesday, Vegas is going to be hosting a very different kind of matchup, the first Democratic presidential debate. It's a moment for Hillary Clinton, a big one for her, needs to prove she is still a heavyweight contender in this race. She'll have to face down independent Senator Bernie Sanders who is punching above his weight class, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire.

And on Friday, I sat down with the man, planning to start what he has been describing as a political revolution. And I began by asking what is different about his revolution, where can he succeed where President Obama and his 'hope and change' revolution could not.

(BEGIN TAPE)

BERNIE SANDERS:

That's a very fair question. And let me tell you. I have enormous respect for Barack Obama. He's a friend of mine. I campaigned for him. He helped me get elected and I work with him on many, many issues. And also, let's be clear that this country today, unless you are very, very partisan and refuse to acknowledge reality, our economy today is a heck of a lot better than it was when George W. Bush left office, when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month.

But here is the difference in political outlook between the president and myself. What I understand is that the power of corporate America, Wall Street, the corporate media is so great that real change to transform our country does not take place unless millions of people begin to stand up and say very loudly and clearly that the United States government has got to represent all of us, and not just the top 1%.

No president, not Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, anybody else is going to be able to accomplish that unless millions of people stand up and say, "You know what? You guys are not going to get it all." 58% of all new income is not going to go to the top 1%. We're not going to have incredible, grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality.

CHUCK TODD:

So I get that, but how do you do this? You just said you can't do this as president.

BERNIE SANDERS:

That's true, you can't do it alone. A president can lead that effort.

CHUCK TODD:

And I'm going to jump quickly to a Facebook question we got for you and it's from Joanne Figurski Wozniacki. And she says, "Bernie, I like you and your ideas. But how will you get Congress to support your agenda? They blocked President Obama on a lot. Your agenda is even further left than President Obama."

BERNIE SANDERS:

Exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you say to that?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Very fair question. And what I say is that it will not be that my personality is better than Barack's Obama--Barack Obama, in negotiating with whoever the speaker of the House may be, if they ever come up with a speaker or Mitch McConnell. And by the way, I hope by a political revolution we will be substantially increasing voter turnout. Democrats do well, Chuck, when a lot of people vote and Republicans lose. So I hope--

CHUCK TODD:

But you know the likelihood is the House probably-- If you're elected president, you're right. You'll probably bring a Democratic Senate. But you're probably not going to--

BERNIE SANDERS:

Maybe, it may not. But you may well be right. All right. What do we do? This is what you do. You say to the speaker of the House, "Hey, you don't want to negotiate with me? I think we should make public colleges and universities tuition free. And I think we should pay for a tax on Wall Street speculation."

Now, do I think the Republican speaker of the House will agree with me? No, I don't think so. But I think he'll have to look out the window and see a million young people demonstrating and marching in Washington saying, "You know what? We want to see affordability in college."

CHUCK TODD:

Barack Obama said this. Barack Obama--

BERNIE SANDERS:

Ah, but here's the difference.

CHUCK TODD:

--He said he was going to govern this way. I remember the whole idea of Obama-- they called it Organizing for America-- that they were going to create a legislative that when they were blocked, what you're describing, it didn't happen.

BERNIE SANDERS:

Okay. You're right, it didn't happen. And I think what ended up happening is the president, because he happens to be a very decent guy, actually thought that he could sit down with the Republican leadership and work out some fair compromises. The truth is, number one, they never had any intention to compromise. But number two, more importantly, you have to be prepared to mobilize people to take on these big money interests.

But you are right. I think we can do it. And I think that's what the bully pulpit is about. And that's what organizing effort's about. And that's what this campaign is about. And we're beginning to do that, Chuck. Every day I read in the paper things that are happening someplace in this country, whether there's spontaneous outbursts of support for us. And that is what we have to mobilize. The bottom line is, unless turnout becomes much higher, we lose. Unless people are organized and politically conscious in a way that does not exist today, we are not going to transform America the way we have to.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, you've always been hesitant to contrast yourself with Secretary Clinton. But you have, you make certain subtle differences by saying on some of these issues, where she now agrees with you, you welcome her over and you emphasize you've had these positions for a long time. Why should that matter? Why should that matter to a voter that you've held this position for a much longer say on TPP--

BERNIE SANDERS:

Good question.

CHUCK TODD:

--than Secretary Clinton?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Yeah, okay. I'll tell you why it should matter. And let me be very clear. I mean, I happen to respect and like Hillary Clinton, so I don't get into personal attacks, you know that. But are there differences of opinion that should be discussed? Of course, there are. That's what that election is about.

To answer your question, what it's about is at a time when so few have so much and when the big money interests have so much political power, the real most important question is, who is prepared to mobilize the American people to stand up to these very powerful and wealthy special interests? Whose track record for the last 25 years has been to say to Wall Street, "You know what? We are going to have to break up the large financial institution."

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's a trust issue. You're basically saying, "You know what? I've been there so you can trust that I'll never leave that fight." With somebody else who gets there late, you think it's perhaps a trust issue.

BERNIE SANDERS:

No, I mean, Keystone Pipeline, all right? I believe that climate change is the great global crisis that we face, environmental crisis. From day one, I opposed the Keystone Pipeline because I believe that if you're serious about climate change, you don't encourage the excavation and transportation of very dirty oil. That was my view from day one. TPP.

I believe that our trade policies going way back when. I voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, PNT, all with China. I think they have been a disaster for the American worker. A lot of corporations that shut down here move abroad. So people will have to contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street and corporations, big corporations, with the secretary.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's go into some issues. Let's start with TPP. You brought up, in fact, you have been against every single trade agreement.

BERNIE SANDERS:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

I had a senior Democrat say to me yesterday, "If you can't be for this trade agreement, then there's no trade agreement that you can ever support." What do you say to that Democrat?

BERNIE SANDERS:

No. Absolutely wrong. That's the problem that we have. This is a senior Democrat told you that?

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, sir.

BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, that's why the Republicans control the House and the Senate. Because what working people understand that after NAFTA, CAFTA, PNT all with China we have lost millions of decent paying jobs. Since 2001, 60,000 factories in America have been shut down. We're in a race to the bottom, where our wages are going down. Is all of that attributable to trade? No. Is a lot of it? Yes.

This trade agreement, Chuck, was written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street. That's what this trade agreement is about. I do not want American workers to competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour for a minimum wage.

CHUCK TODD:

So basically, there's never been a single trade agreement this country's negotiated that you've been comfortable with?

BERNIE SANDERS:

That's correct.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, let me move to foreign policy. There's actually some news this week. The Pentagon has announced they are no longer doing this training program for the so-called moderate rebels that we were searching. Good idea?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, it failed. I mean, the president acknowledged that. Syria is a quagmire inside of a quagmire. You have a horrific dictator who we all want to see removed from office. You have the barbaric ISIS people who do their atrocities every other day. You now have Russia involved in the situation as well. You know, I think what the president has tried to do is thread a very, very difficult needle.

And that is keep American troops from engaging in combat and getting killed there. And I think that is the right thing to do. So I think we continue to try to do everything that we can, focusing primarily, by the way, as bad as Assad is, focusing on trying to defeat ISIS. And let me say this. And I don't know too many people--

CHUCK TODD:

You didn't support his axis program. You didn't vote to authorize it. Why is that?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, because I am worried about American troops getting sucked into a never ending war in the Middle East and particularly in, you know, Iraq and Syria. But let me also say this. And this is the other reason why I've been very hesitant. I don't think the United States can or should be doing it alone. Not our troops. Who, you know, I've gone to too many funerals in the state of Vermont.

The war on our taxpayers, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost us $4 to 6 trillion. I believe very strongly that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, you know what? They're going to have to get their hands dirty as well. They don't like ISIS? Let them start putting troops on the ground. Saudi Arabia-- people don't know this, has the third largest defense budget in the entire world. And I found it very ironic that they were asking American troops to get engaged on the ground, when they had means to do that.

CHUCK TODD:

Gulf War one, we got them to pay for-- do you think we should be doing that?

BERNIE SANDERS:

I think it's more than pay.

CHUCK TODD:

You want to see them put blood and treasure?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Yeah. That's exactly right.

CHUCK TODD:

Into this thing? Not just treasure?

BERNIE SANDERS:

That's exactly what I think.

CHUCK TODD:

What does counterterrorism look like in a Sanders administration? Drones? Special Forces, or what does it look like?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, all of that and more.

CHUCK TODD:

You're okay with the drone? Using drones--

BERNIE SANDERS:

Look, drone is a weapon. When it works badly, it is terrible and it is counterproductive. When you blow up a facility or a building which kills women and children, you know what? Not only doesn't do us-- It's terrible.

CHUCK TODD:

But you're comfortable with the idea of using drones if you think you've isolated an important terrorist?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

So that continues?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Yes. And look, we all know, you know, that there are people as of this moment plotting against the United States. We have got to be vigorous in protecting our country, no question about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright. Let's talk about the gun issue. You've called for-- and we've been through this a lot with you so I don't want to get into the details of it. But you've called for moderation in this. Saying, you know what, you think you can bring both sides together.

BERNIE SANDERS:

I wouldn't use the word, "moderation." That's not quite the right word. This is what I do believe. I come from a state that has virtually no gun control. And yet, at political peril, I voted for an instant background check, which I want to see strengthened and expanded. I voted to ban certain types of assault weapons which are designed only to kill people.

I voted to end the so-called gun show loophole. What I did say is that we even keep shouting at each other, which is what's been going on here for 20 years. Ain't going no where. And kids on campuses and children in schools are being slaughtered. What I think there needs to be is a dialogue. And here's what I do believe, Chuck. I believe what I call common sense gun reform. Plus, a revolution in mental health, making sure that if people are having a nervous breakdown, or are suicidal, or homicidal, they get the care they need when they need it. I think the vast majority of the American people can support and agenda composed of those features.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, you joked about the idea when people call you a socialist, you say, "Yes, I'm going to make everybody wear the same color pajamas."

BERNIE SANDERS:

Especially you.

CHUCK TODD:

Especially me?

BERNIE SANDERS:

I have a pair of pajamas just for you.

CHUCK TODD:

I hear you. And then the other day I noticed you said, "You know what? Don't use the word 'Socialist.' I'm going to say I'm a progressive." Are you pushing back on that idea? Or are you embrace "I'm a European Socialist."

BERNIE SANDERS:

No, no not at all, it's not a question of-- look. When one of your Republican colleagues gets on the show, do you say, "Are you a capitalist?" Have you ever referred to them as capitalists?

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah. Are you a capitalist?

BERNIE SANDERS:

No. I'm a Democratic Socialist. But what I mean is I've been elected as an Independent throughout my political career. I am running now in the Democratic nomination process and will support-- I hope to win, I expect to win, but--

CHUCK TODD:

But you'll support the Democratic nominee?

BERNIE SANDERS:

I will.

CHUCK TODD:

And before I let you go, do you have a short list yet for running mate if you get the nomination?

BERNIE SANDERS:

You need another job?

CHUCK TODD:

No, I'm not looking for it, no--

BERNIE SANDERS:

Is that what you're hitting me up for it?

CHUCK TODD:

You know, in all seriousness.

BERNIE SANDERS:

Look, we started this campaign, I was at 3% in the polls, alright? Now we're ahead in some states and we're making progress. Before I start worrying about who my vice president will be, let me win this one.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright. Senator Sanders, good luck on the trail. Stay safe out there.

BERNIE SANDERS:

Okay, thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

See you.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

You can see my complete interview with Bernie Sanders unedited on our website, including him hinting that he might be willing to reconsider his vote to protect gun manufacturers from liability. Anyway, you can find that unedited interview, MeetThePressNBC.com. When we come back, Hillary Clinton defended the TPP trade deal dozens of times. So how can she defend opposing it now?

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Hillary Clinton is facing a much stiffer challenge from Bernie Sanders than she expected when this campaign started. But it would be fair to say she's not helping herself with her growing list of, shall we say, policy adjustments when it comes to the progressive movement. Same-sex marriage, tough prison sentencing, the Keystone pipeline and of course, her latest: her decision to come out against that big Asian trade deal.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. I don't have the text, we don't yet have all the details. I don't believe it's going to meet the high bar I have set.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The problem, to borrow a recent political cliche, she was for it before she was against it. And really for it. As CNN calculated a few months ago, Clinton pushed and praised the TPP trade deal on at least 45 separate occasions. In fact, in her book, "Hard Choices," just published last year, she said this, "The TPP became the signature economic pillar of our strategy in Asia."

We're going to get to that in a moment, and later, a little fun here. Jeb Bush finds out what happens when you stand in front of a green screen, and our friends in social media get a hold of it.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Let's have a look at this. Two weeks ago, even before she did an about face on the trade deal, I asked Hillary Clinton if she was changing some of her positions for political expediency.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

I just don't think that reflects either my uh, assessment of issues. And I don't think it reflects how people who are thoughtful actually conduct their lives. I mean if we don't learn , we don't make decisions based on the best information we have available, well that's regrettable.

I'm not gonna sit here and tell people that I make up my mind. That's the Republicans. They make up their minds.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Let's bring in the panel. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, Kathleen Parker also The Washington Post, Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Rothenberg & GonzalesPoliticalReport.

Kathleen, with she gave that answer, I had asked her about TPP at the time too. And she wasn't ready to announce it. But it always felt as if she was laying the groundwork.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Right. Well, look. In your question, "Are you doing things for political expedience?" Of course she's not going to say, "Well, yes. Actually, I'm just trying to win some people over from Bernie Sanders." But of course she is. But I think you can give her the benefit of the doubt too and at least it's plausible that she has changed her mind based on legitimate concerns.

Because whatever was happening before when she was secretary of State and representing the Obama administration may have shifted to some extent. But as she said, she doesn't really know because she hasn't seen the details yet. So giving her the benefit of the doubt--

CHUCK TODD:

Are you giving her the benefit of the doubt?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, for now. For this moment. I'm not really opposed to people changing their minds. I'm much more concerned with people who never change their minds no matter what new information is available.

CHUCK TODD:

Nathan Gonzales, I had Peter Hart described this to me as a decision about the next three months, not a decision about the next 13 months. Fair?

NATHAN GONZALES:

Well, I mean Peter Hart's one of the best in the business. I think that the first step for Hillary Clinton is winning the nomination. And Democrats are extremely confident in a general election. The president may believe the demographics are working in their favor, the electorate's working in their favor. So if you could say, "Well, this is for three months to get the nomination," I think Secretary Clinton and her team would take that. Because a general election they feel very, very good.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh Hewitt, isn't that familiar? Remember that with the Stuart Stevens' response, Mitt Romney's chief strategist? Every time someone said, "Hey, you're hurting yourself in the general election with some of these primary positions in 2011." And lo and behold, he hurt himself in the general election.

HUGH HEWITT:

But I will add it is the least of her problems. In the Washington Beacon yesterday, Alana Goodman ran a story about how Hillary and Sid Blumenthal had violated the Intelligence Identity Act of 50 USC 421. She's now violated 18 USC 19, 24. Nominating Hillary Clinton would be like watching a nitroglycerin juggling marathon for the Democrats. Honestly, it's a disaster for them. So I hope she keeps doing this.

CHUCK TODD:

Ah, you buy this?

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Well, I'm not so sure. I mean, you gave the alphabet soup of alleged violations. In fact, my guess is this is not going to amount to very much. It's going to be a nagging problem for her. I haven't heard anything yet that seems to me to guarantee some sort of long and embarrassing legal process. We'll see.

HUGH HEWITT:

Did you write columns on Valerie Plame back in the days?

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Oh I might have occasionally.

HUGH HEWITT:

Okay because I'm going to go back and look at them

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I might have, I might have occasionally.

CHUCK TODD:

Actually, before I leave this topic, Hugh, we did have two pieces of news over the last week about the Benghazi committee that Hillary Clinton is ecstatic over. One of course is the infamous now Kevin McCarthy comments and one now is this whistleblower where there's-- the disagreement is, somebody says he was fired because he wasn't targeting Hillary Clinton enough by the Republicans who were running the committee.

And the Republicans on the committee said they fired him because he was targeting Hillary Clinton too much. They disagree on who fired whom and who was doing what, but they agreed that Hillary Clinton was being targeted. I mean, doesn't that hurt the committee?

HUGH HEWITT:

It's a big story. One of the reasons that the House leadership needs to get resolved is October 22nd it's a hearing date. And they need to bring order back to that committee, which has been run well for two years, and it's being sacrificed in the chaos with the House leadership.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to bring, before we leave the Democrats here, I want to bring it to Joe Biden. Here's what Peter Hart had an interesting-- and Joe Biden's going to make a decision soon, we think. Peter Hart had an interesting way to describe a potential Biden candidacy.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PETER HART:

If Joe Biden were to ask me, I would say, "Announce that you will run for one term. And your only objective is to pull the nation together." There has to be a reason for him to run. It can't be about him personally and division.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Kathleen, his point is, he's got to have something to run on. And so Peter's idea is run on uniting the country. That's what makes you different than Hillary Clinton, without having to attack Hillary Clinton.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, and that's got Barack Obama in office, if you recall. I think that, you know, he has that talent and he has the ability to engage people because he is so likeable and he's so appealing. And he also has gone through this tragedy that I think, yes, you can't point to that as the reason for running, but it will be a factor in the way people perceive him and would accept him perhaps more than they might have under other circumstances.

But I think the one term thing is a pretty good idea. If he says that, then that gives some validity to the premise that he's really just trying to help the country get back on its feet together.

CHUCK TODD:

And Nathan, he's got to decide. There's a ballot-- believe it or not, there's a ballot deadline in October he has to meet. I'm told if a week from now we don't know the decision, then the decision's probably no.

NATHAN GONZALES:

I mean, if Vice President Biden gets in the race, he will be a credible nominee. But I just don't see the structural or even ideological space for him to do it. I mean, Democrats love Joe Biden. They love Joe Biden. I think a lot of them still want Hillary Clinton to be president before him.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's move to the Republican side of the aisle. First let's stick to the Speaker race. I have to just say, wow. I think we saw with Dave Brat and Charlie Dent-- Hugh do you feel like viewers now know, Americans now know this is-- that was Republican versus Republican.

HUGH HEWITT

If I were Paul Ryan, first of all I'm hoping the Packers beat the Rams today so he's in a good mood, because I want him to agree to be the Speaker. But if I were Paul Ryan I would ask Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Peter Roskam, two of the most respected Republicans in the house, to convene a conference next weekend.

You bring in some serious people like General McChrystal, General Mattis you bring in Condi Rice, you bring in people like Larry Arnn and Bill Kristol. And then at the end of it, Paul Ryan says, "Here are my terms. I will lead if you will give me 230 votes." And they should vote for him and he should lead. He is the guy to lead. We need him to lead.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, Kathleen just wrote, "Don't do it, Paul."

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, I think he'd be a great speaker. He's got all of the qualifications for the job, and he's well-liked, well-respected, he's the brainy one in the party. But anyway, they're gonna do the same thing, the Freedom Caucus folks are going to do the same thing to him that they've done to everyone else, because eventually, he will, whoever said it, I think it was Congressman Dent, he will eventually have to have conversations with Democrats. He will eventually face these debt ceilings, these other benchmarks that they're going to fight him on. So I said, "Don't run," because why would you? Why would you walk into that--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

And why, if you think that Paul Ryan is such a promising figure, and he seems the most responsible and intelligent and promising guy in the House on the Republican side, why would you want him to have this job right now? I mean, you need somebody in there who's just a sacrificial lamb, essentially, to try to bring order to this caucus. And then maybe set it up for somebody like Paul Ryan to actually preside over a working majority.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I'd like to nominate Donald Trump as speaker of the House, since you don't have to be a member of Congress to be speaker. And I think he could get things sort of settled.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it would be interesting--

NATHAN GONZALES:

Some people might argue that Ted Cruz was already speaker.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it's funny, you did the transition to Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is the potential presidential frontrunner we don't talk about lately, right? There's been a Marco Rubio bloom, we talk about Jeb Bush, we talk about Trump, Carson, Fiorina. Cruz has been in cruise control, Nathan, raised double the amount of money, maybe the second-highest fundraising pull of anybody. Ted Cruz, he's a plausible potential frontrunner, isn't he?

NATHAN GONZALES:

I mean, I think you have to put Ted Cruz in the top tier. I mean, I actually think Ted Cruz is more likely to be the nominee than Donald Trump is, even though the polls don't currently reflect that. But he's probably the one on the inside holding the collected office that is best able to articulate and tap into this outsider message compared with the others.

CHUCK TODD:

You know who agrees with you on this, on Trump versus Cruz? Ted Cruz. Take a listen.

(START TAPE)

TED CRUZ:

I think that's right. I think in time, I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee. And I think in time, the lion's share of his supporters end up with us.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh Hewitt, Ted Cruz, does he inherit the Trump coalition, and is that enough to win the nomination?

HUGH HEWITT:

He does. He doubled Marco Rubio in fundraising in Q3. He has 23 million bucks in the bank, he has got the best organization. None of them are out of it, I have no favorites. But that last stage with 11 on them, you know will win winnow soon. And you know that Rubio, Cruz, Carly Fiorina are three who will be there whenever, along with John Kasich and Jeb Bush. Whenever we get down, and if Donald stays in, Donald, those are the six people that have the most plausible path.

CHUCK TODD:

This is a party that wants an outsider badly. And it does feel like Fiorina, Carson, and Trump, do they have the discipline and infrastructure to survive? I don't know. But Cruz does.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Well, Cruz does. And I think he's in a good position. But he's not an actual outsider. I mean, he's an actual U.S. senator. And he's going to try to convince everybody that he's not, but he is. He's a U.S. senator.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

He's been an outsider to his own party.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Well, that's true. He certainly alienated his party. But he is a technical insider. And I think that counts this year. At least so far in this primary season, more than half the party says they want somebody who has never been elected, nothing, okay? That's where we are.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Well, we will leave it there, but I think we are on the verge of the Cruz moment is coming. Back in just 45 seconds, we promise, with our endgame segment. And wait till you see what Mike Bloomberg said about running for president. Here's a hint, he didn't exactly say no.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Can you definitively rule out running for president in 2016?

MIKE BLOOMBERG:

I'm very flattered that people would ask, you would ask. But the truth of the matter is, I'm very happy doing two things: running my company and working with the United Nations and with the U.S. government on climate change. And that's what we're here to talk about.

CHUCK TODD:

Shermanesque.

MIKE BLOOMBERG:

Say again?

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to be Shermanesque about this?

MIKE BLOOMBERG:

I don't--Sherman? He was a general back in the Civil War, don't you remember

that--

CHUCK TODD:

Look at you without the Shermanesque, though no Shermanesque?

MIKE BLOOMBERG:

You know, we've got to focus on climate change.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Alright little history lesson if you don't know: General Sherman, here he of course said, "If nominated, I will not run. And if I win, I will not serve." You know that is what was known as the Shermanesque. This is my no, no, no answer. Nathan Gonzalez, he did not give that answer. He wants to leave the door open on purpose. He knew what he was doing there.

NATHAN GONZALES:

Well, even when politicians say no, they say no right up until the point where they say, "Yes, I changed my mind." You know getting inside of a politician's head is a dangerous place to be. Time is ticking. I mean, there is a timeline where you have to get into a race and make a decision. And if you ask me if I think he's going to do it, I'd have to say no.

CHUCK TODD:

No I'd assume, but he wants the threat out there.

NATHAN GONZALES:

Oh please, that's clear. That's clear what he wants to get it out there.

CHUCK TODD:

Independent or Democrat?

HUGH HEWITT:

I've got to add, General Sherman was from Ohio, not-- Michigan. I climbed Mount Sherman a month ago, so I know about Sherman. But if he runs, every Republican will pop champagne corks. He will lose every Western state because of his gun control measures. So please get in, Michael, God bless you. I want Paul Ryan to be speaker more than you to run, but number two is Michael Bloomberg running for president.

CHUCK TODD:

But, he did look at running as an independent four years ago. And then you hear rumors that if he would do this, maybe he would do it inside a party this time, because he--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--hard, there's no path for an independent really, it's very hard. I mean, I know that Donald Trump has looked at this and has decided that Michael Bloomberg has a lot more money than Donald Trump even and doesn't have enough to just get on the ballot in all 50 states. You need to do it within a party. So which party? And I think the answer is how does he possibly get nominated in the Republican party today?

CHUCK TODD:

And by the way, Kathleen, this all comes as we have Joe Biden thinking about it, and you have Michael Bloomberg, and it clearly would be left of center in some point. Is this either fear that Hillary Clinton is struggling or something else?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, I think in both cases it's a matter of these individuals thinking they really would be a pretty good president. And this is something that they would do if they felt that they could win. You know, of course Joe Biden thinks he should be president, he's tried it a couple of times. And as for, I mean, surely they're watching Hillary's numbers and making some judgments along those lines. And she's still not doing that well. She keeps going down. So why not consider it? But I think Bloomberg's teasing.

CHUCK TODD:

Just--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I think why not?

CHUCK TODD:

Just so--that way more people would--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Why not toss it out there?

CHUCK TODD:

More people book him and he gets to talk about climate change.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

There you go, exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

And he gets to talk about guns?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

He was very clear that that's what he came to talk about.

CHUCK TODD:

But Nathan, the issue is the middle does feel, I mean, just watch her show today, okay? The middle feels as if you have Bernie Sanders pulling the Democratic party to the left. You have Trump and the Freedom Caucus pulling the Republican over. There is this opening. I hear it from voters saying, "Nobody represents me in the middle."

NATHAN GONZALES:

Well, but I think the number of people that say they're independent, they're open-minded, or in the middle is actually a very small group. You ask people, "Are you open-minded?" They say, "Of course I am." "Well, when was the last time you voted for a Democrat?" "Well, I think for county coroner in 1982," or something like that.

But, I think the middle in a general election next November is going to be about mood, how do they feel about the past eight years with a Democratic president. It's going to be which party can capture both their bases and bring them together and ride the wave?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, and Hillary has said, I mean, Secretary Clinton has said, she wants to continue the good work of Barack Obama. And that's not really a great selling point when you're trying to attract Independents.

HUGH HEWITT:

Turkey, a NATO ally shot down a Russian jet this morning. We have no idea what this world's going to be like in a year. And it's going to be a national security election. So I think it's going to change. It's going to be so dramatically different a year from now.

CHUCK TODD:

It always happens. All right Gene put your prediction hat on. Do we hear from Ryan or Biden first, by the way? Somebody asked me that today.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Very good.

CHUCK TODD:

Ryan or Biden first?

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I think we probably hear from Ryan first. Okay, we hear from Ryan--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to parse that segment. Before we go, let's have a little fun because Jeb Bush gave an interview to our NBC affiliate in Des Moines this week. And during his visit, he tried his hand at being a weatherman in front of a green screen, sharing the still on Twitter. Well guess what? Green screen and Twitter and the Internet and Photoshop? Watch out. Did they have some fun.

Here are some of our favorites people photoshopped in. There's tiny Jeb right there. There's Jeb with the president, I guess picking his nose? I don't know. E.T. Jeb. That's a pretty good one, phone home. There you go, right, Kathleen? Who doesn't want to touch the hand of God, but the president?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Yes, well, I thought the Bushes already had.

CHUCK TODD:

Wow. You know what, I don't know if I can top that.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Parse that.

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say, I think we have to say, that's all for this Sunday. Not going to touch that one at all. We'll be back next week. Because guess what? If it is Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *