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Meet the Press Transcript - September 20, 2015

MEET THE PRESS

SEPTEMBER 20, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday morning, the Republican race. Who do Republicans think won Wednesday's debate? Who lost, and where does the race stand now? We have brand new numbers. And I'll be talking to the frontrunners of both Iowa and New Hampshire, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and John Kasich. Plus, remember this moment from the debate?

CARLY FIORINA:

Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, "We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

CHUCK TODD:

What we now know those Planned Parenthood tapes really show and how the fight over Planned Parenthood could shut down the government in ten days. Also, Hillary's dilemma. How does a well-known candidate like her win a change election? It'll be an issue for Joe Biden too, who's inching closer to a run.

Finally, what does it feel like to be the Wall Street punching bag for both Democrats and Republicans? My interview with JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon. And joining me this Sunday for insight and analysis are author and Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss of The Washington Post, Molly Ball of The Atlantic, NBC News contributor Maria Shriver, and radio talk show host and debate moderator, Hugh Hewitt. 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. The Sunday morning after the big Republican debate. And we have the results of a brand new NBC News online survey, conducted with our friends at Survey Monkey, on who won the debate and where the Republican race stands. First, on the issue of who won the debate. And guess what? For once, the pundits were right. Republican voters saw Carly Fiorina as the big winner, followed by Donald Trump. After that, everyone else is in single digits. And by the way, the names you don't see, if your candidate's not there, it's because none of them topped 1% on that question.

Now, where does the overall race stand right now according to our new survey? Trump laps the field at 29%, more than double now of Ben Carson, and here comes Carly Fiorina moving into third place, into double digits at 11% followed by Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Again, if you don't see your candidate on there, it's because nobody else topped 3% after that.

And when you compare this survey to the results of the most recent, real clear politics polling average you can see the gains and losses. Fiorina gained the most, eight points over and above her Real Clear average, and Ben Carson lost the most, six. So she got her support at the expense of Carson. So with all that in mind, we've got three candidates this morning to join us. Ben Carson, John Kasich, and my first guest, Donald Trump who joins me now by phone. Mr. Trump welcome, back to Meet the ress.

DONALD TRUMP:

Good morning Chuck, I'm liking you more and more all the time. Those are great numbers.

CHUCK TODD:

You like the poll numbers I'm guessing?

DONALD TRUMP:

I certainly do.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with what you did in Iowa last night. You brought your bible to the event. What do you believe a person's faith matters to voters? Do you believe a person's faith should matter to voters when it comes to the presidency?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I can't speak for everybody. To me, that, you know, has a big bearing. The evangelicals have liked me a lot. And you know, I'm not saying I'm the perfect person, but they have liked me a lot. And I went and spoke largely in front of evangelicals last night. And we had a tremendous time. We had standing ovations and they had a lot of fun. I brought my bible. And they liked that. My bible that was given to me by my mother. And we had a great time. And, you know, the polls indicate that I'm doing very well with the evangelicals in Iowa and elsewhere. So I'm very happy about that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, look. In response to this controversy about the questioner at your town hall in New Hampshire. You tweeted out that you're not morally obligated to correct anybody who criticizes the president. And I think you're right about that. But isn't it appropriate at times to raise the level of political discourse and to correct sort of mythologies that are out there so that we're ultimately all dealing with the same set of facts?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think so. But you know, the president can really defend himself very well. He's a very capable person for that, you know, purpose. And he's able to do that. And, you know, I sort of put myself in his position. And I say, "Well, what happens when somebody says something about me, is he going to defend me?" And I can tell you emphatically that the answer is no.

So this man got up and he felt very strongly, whoever he was, he felt very, very strongly and very powerfully about something. And, you know, whether we all agree with it or not, it wasn't my obligation to defend. In fact, as you know, because I also tweeted that this is the first time I've ever gotten in hot water for not saying anything. I didn't do anything. And--

CHUCK TODD:

But the other part of his question was, it sounded like he wanted to get rid of all Muslims from America. That's the part that some people believed was the most offensive part of his question. Why not push back on that?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I feel strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people. But there is a problem. I mean, there's no question about it. And, you know, we can be politically correct, and we can say there is no problem whatsoever. But the fact is, there is a problem with some. And it's a very severe problem. And it's a problem that's taking place all over the world. But I have such great respect and love for so many of the people. I mean, they are great people.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you imagine supporting or being comfortable if a Muslim ever became president of the United States?

DONALD TRUMP:

I can say that, you know, it's something that at some point could happen. We'll see. You know, it's something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now. But I think it is certainly something that could happen.

CHUCK TODD:

You said you'd have no problem putting a Muslim in the Cabinet

DONALD TRUMP:

I mean, some people have said it already happened, frankly. But of course you wouldn't agree with that. And I--

CHUCK TODD:

Well, no, but actually let's get to that. Why won't you concede that the president is a Christian and that the president was born in the United States?

DONALD TRUMP:

Because I don't talk about people's faith. Now in all fairness, he said he was a Christian and he said he is a Christian. He attended the church of Reverend Wright. And so, you know, I'm willing to take him at his word for that. I have no problem with that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, why not take the birth certificate at its word?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I just don't want to discuss it. I mean, frankly, you know, when you get into these subjects, I want to talk about jobs, I want to talk about the military, I want to talk about the vets and frankly how badly they're treated. They're treated like third-class citizens. We're treating the illegal immigrants better than we treat our vets. And those are the things that I want to talk about. The other's a long, complex subject that I just don't like talking about, and I won't talk about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Don't you think you would have people more open to your message on jobs and the economy and things like that if you sort of put that other thing to rest?

DONALD TRUMP:

No, Chuck. I think we have two things that are totally different. I just don't discuss it. And it really hasn't been brought up for a long time. I mean, you're bringing it up this morning. But I'm into the world of jobs, I'm into the world of military and vets and frankly, I discuss ObamaCare because ObamaCare, you see what's happening with the premiums. They're going through the roof. A lot of problems with ObamaCare.

CHUCK TODD:

Two quick questions, this week we're going to see a lot of world leaders come to the United States, come to Manhattan, probably hanging out in some of your buildings that you own. Let me start with Vladimir Putin. Your counsel, your outside counsel intimated that you may have a meeting with the Russian president. Do you plan on trying to do that?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I had heard that he wanted to meet with me. And certainly I am open to it. I would love to do that if he wants to do that. I don't know that it's going to take place. I'm not sure. I know that people have been talking. But we'll see what happens. But certainly, if he wanted to meet, I mean, I'd enjoy doing it.

You know, I've been saying relationship is so important in business, that it's so important in deals, and so important in the country. And if President Obama got along with Putin, that would be a fabulous thing. But they do not get along. Putin does not respect our president. And I'm sure that our president does not like him very much.

CHUCK TODD:

And let me ask you about the pope's visit. You know, he's been pretty tough on capitalism and pretty tough on people that he believes overly worship money. You're somebody that likes to brag about how wealthy you are. What do you make of what the pope would think of sort of the way you speak about money?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think if he knew me, I think he'd like me. If he doesn't know me, perhaps he wouldn't. But if he knew me, I think he'd probably like me. He's a little bit of a different kind of a pope. There's no question about it. He's taken on some pretty big political subjects like climate change. And it's very interesting. But he's got a certain way about him that's very unique and very nice.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Donald Trump. I'm going to leave it there. I know we're trying to put together another face-to-face soon, I look forward to that. Thanks for coming on the show.

DONALD TRUMP:

I do too. Thank you very much Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it.

Joining me now is one of the top-tier frontrunners in this race, Dr. Ben Carson is joining me now this morning from Georgia. Dr. Carson welcome back to Meet the Press.

DR. BEN CARSON:

Thank you, good to be with you again.

CHUCK TODD:

I wanna start with a criticism of you, Bill Kristol writes this. "Did you watch the debate? Neither Trump nor Carson has much of a grasp of the issues. Carson is a Christian gentleman and a genuine conservative, but he is not yet prepared to be president, and he'd have to show an awful lot of growth to be ready a year from now." What do you say to Bill Kristol and other conservatives who like you but are concerned you're not ready for the job?

DR. BEN CARSON:

I would say, "Listen to what I actually say when I have an opportunity to say it in something other than a one-minute sound bite." That's a format that I have to grow accustomed to. That's not the world that I've lived in. But a time will come, down the road, where I'll be able to adjust to that appropriately.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you view the presidency as something that you need to be a good manager, where you don't necessarily have to have a full command of all policy issues?

DR. BEN CARSON:

Well, I think you need to have a very substantial command. But it's sort of like me as a neurosurgeon. I know a great deal about the brain. But if I have a patient who has a kidney problem, I also know a lot about the kidney. But I don't know as much as a renal specialist does. And therefore, I would get a consult.

CHUCK TODD:

Recently, you were talking about, in dealing with ISIS, that you said you would be going after them with ground troops in Iraq? But you would not go into Syria. Why?

DR. BEN CARSON:

Well first of all, what I said is I would use every resource available to us. That includes financial resources, covert operations, Special Forces, everything that we have available to us. And if that required ground troops, we would use those, as well. Because it's unlikely that a coalition will form behind nothing.

In terms of going into Syria, I think you have to have sequential goals. One of the goals right now is to push them out of Iraq, which is the largest part of the caliphate that they have established. This is what makes them look very powerful. They also control Anbar. And that's one of the largest energy fields in the Middle East.

Push them out of there. Don't allow them to have control of that. And I would be in favor of pushing them up into Syria, because there's going to be a lot of conflict, obviously, with them there. Let them fight each other. Because that's a very complex situation in Syria. You have the Russians coming in there now and establishing themselves. You have the Chinese starting to establish some contacts there. You want to be very, very careful before you jump into the middle of that situation.

CHUCK TODD

It's interesting, there does seem to be a split in this field. So you're one of those that says, "You know what? Let Assad and ISIS fight it out amongst themselves, and then wait to see what happens, and then clean up the mess later?"

BEN CARSON:

That is something that would certainly be on the agenda to consider.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what's been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President's faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?

DR. BEN CARSON:

Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.

CHUCK TODD:

So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?

DR. BEN CARSON:

No, I don't, I do not.

CHUCK TODD:

So you--

DR. BEN CARSON:

I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

CHUCK TODD:

And would you ever consider voting for a Muslim for Congress?

DR. BEN CARSON:

Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know. And, you know, if there's somebody who's of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I'm with them.

CHUCK TODD:

And I take it you believe the president was born in the United States and is a Christian?

DR. BEN CARSON:

I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Dr. Carson I will leave it there, I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

DR. BEN CARSON:

All right, thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now from Mackinac Island in Michigan is the governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Governor Kasich, welcome back to Meet the Press.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I've always loved being on Meet the Press.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me ask you a quick--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Many years.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes. Yes, sir. Let me ask you, you didn't get the greatest reception from some of your home state papers following the debate this week. Cincinnati Enquirer: "Where was John Kasich in the CNN debate?" Columbus Dispatch: "Debate shows Kasich can be overlooked." And Chrissie Thompson in The Enquirer wrote this: "Kasich is a threat in New Hampshire but candidates aren't visibly worried about him on the national stage." What do you say to that?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Look, I mean, the fact is that I, in the debate, you know, which was kind of like a demolition derby, I did fine in being able to tell people who I am. But, you know, we all want more time. We all want to be in a position where we get more time. And one thing I don't want to do is be jumping in, saying, "Hey, what about me?" You know, that's not the way to do it.

And by the way, the way this whole business works is state by state, not on the basis of what they think about you in Nebraska. And by the way, if they're not worried about me then I've got to try to figure out why they're all trashing me behind the scenes.

So, look, we're doing fine. You know, there were so many doubts about whether I would get on the stage, whether I could raise the money. Our campaign is extremely healthy and we continue to rise. And I'm very pleased with where we are right now.

CHUCK TODD:

Right after the debate, day after the debate, you were talking to a group of supporters and you said this when it comes to immigrants working in this country.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JOHN KASICH:

A lot of them do jobs that they're willing to do, and that's why in the hotel you leave a little tip.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Now, some groups took offense to your whole story here, feeling as if you were stereotyping Latino immigrants. Do you understand why they're offended?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yes. I would also tell you that the head of the Hispanic Chamber said he appreciated my comments. And as you know, Chuck, having followed me through this race, I've had a very reasonable position on immigration. I've always said that Hispanics are such a critical part of the fabric of the United States.

They occupy jobs from top to bottom. They're so critical to our country. They're God fearing and they're hard working. And if I need to clarify what I meant by that, I'm more than glad to do it. And that means that they hold very important positions.

I've got a friend right now who's a doctor. He's a doctor in oncology, you know. I mean, that shows you how crazy it can get in this business. But to be clear, I believe that, from top to bottom, Hispanics play a critical role in America, not only today, but going forward.

CHUCK TODD:

And finally, I know you're not a big fan of addressing Donald Trump issues. But let me ask the question this way when it comes to the president's faith. Number one, should it matter what a president's faith is?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, look, I don't know about that, Chuck. I mean, I'd have to think about what that means. But I believe the president, in fact, is a Christian. If he wasn't a believer, that would be his business. But he is, I believe he is. Secondly, I don't agree with him. I think he tends towards redistribution, taking from those at the top and, you know, kind of the Robin Hood effect. I don't buy that. And secondly, I think he thinks America should lead from behind on foreign policy, and I don't buy that.

But let me suggest, and I've said this earlier today: We need to respect our basic institutions, whether it's the presidency, whether it's our teachers, whether it's our ministers, or rabbis. We need to have great respect or the country begins to come undone. And so, you know, I may not agree with the president, but I respect the office, and I respect the fact that he is the president of the United States. And hopefully, I'm going to be.

CHUCK TODD:

Would you ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

You know, I mean, that's such a hypothetical question. The answer is, at the end of the day, you've got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you're doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Governor John Kasich. Be safe on the campaign trail. I'll look forward to having you on again, sir.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

There you have it our marathon of candidate interviews there, a lot to chew on, especially Ben Carson's suggestion that a Muslim should not be president, that it doesn't fit, that Islam doesn't fit the U.S. constitution. We'll get to all that when we come back, plus a look at the democrats and why it's looking more like when and not if for Joe Biden in 2016.

**COMMERCIAL BREAK**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back, let's turn to the Democrats. There are many explanations folks are offering up regarding Hillary Clinton's current struggle to maintain her front-runner status. And many of them have a familiar ring. Especially if your name is Al Gore. As with Gore, many Democrats whisper that they like Hillary, but they don't love her.

As with Gore, many Democrats lament, "If she could only be more like Bill." It's a standard that some may say is unfair, but also may help to explain why there is a missing spark on the trail, and why the chatter about an alternative, whether Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, is only getting louder.

(BEGIN TAPE)

MARIO LOPEZ:

Have you considered Bill as a running?

CHUCK TODD:

Like Al Gore back in 1999, Hillary Clinton has inherited all of the perceived Bill Clinton baggage without channeling Bill's charm to counter it.

HILLARY CLINTON:

You know how much I love being interviewed.

CHUCK TODD:

Gore had trouble with the press.

FEMALE REPORTER:

Controversy over a canoe trip on a river with extra water pumped in to make it look better.

CHUCK TODD:

She has trouble with the press.

MALE REPORTER:

Did you wipe the server?

HILLARY CLINTON:

What, like with a cloth or something?

CHUCK TODD:

The former vice president had trouble explaining fundraising phone calls from the White House and a trip to a Buddhist temple.

AL GORE:

No controlling legal authority. No controlling legal authority. No controlling legal authority.

CHUCK TODD:

The former secretary of State has trouble explaining the emails from her private server.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I did not send classified material and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified. Any material marked classified. Not saying that was sent at the time or received was secret.

CHUCK TODD:

Gore ran away from Clinton instead of running with him, signaling that he'd offer Clinton's policies without the private mess.

AL GORE:

I felt that what the president did, particularly as a father, I felt that it was inexcusable.

CHUCK TODD:

Hillary Clinton is never going to run away from Bill, but for now, her campaign is keeping the most popular Democrat in America at arm's length. While also hoping to be burnished by his economic legacy. And Hillary Clinton has this additional challenge: winning a third term for her party.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I am not running for my husband's third term, I'm not running for Barack Obama's third term, I'm running for my first term.

CHUCK TODD:

It's not that different from the obstacle George H. W. Bush faced in 1988. He ran a campaign that claimed continuity was enough change while also proving he could be his own man.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH:

I want a kinder and gentler nation.

CHUCK TODD:

That worked for Vice President Bush. But Gore could never thread the needle as effectively, as he struggled with how much to hug Bill. So far, Hillary Clinton appears to be using the Bush 41 playbook, trying to prove she's the change that voters need, a kinder, gentler Obama.

HILLARY CLINTON:

You know, I've been accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty. I think sometimes it's important when you're in the elected arena, you try to figure out how do you bring people together to get something done.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

And a little news this morning about Joe Biden and the potential candidacy. I want to tell you about what one myth that sources of mine want debunked. And that's this idea that Jill Biden, his wife, is not on board. And in fact, that is not true. The vice president's wife is very much on board for a 2016 run, should the vice president decide to do it.

With that in mind, let me bring in the panel. Author and Pulitzer prize winner David Maraniss of The Washington Post, who has a new book out, by the way, about the city of Detroit, Once in a Great City. We'll talk about it a little bit later in the show. Molly Ball of The Atlantic, NBC News contributor Maria Shriver, and radio talk show host and of course one of the moderators of the last debate, Hugh Hewitt. David, I want to start with you. You're the closest thing of anybody here that has crawled inside the head of the Clintons. You wrote a book on Bill--

DAVID MARANISS:

It's been a dangerous place.

CHUCK TODD:

This Hillary Clinton issue, it's she's not Bill. Right? That is really what you hear from Democrats. That's ultimately why they're not rushing, they're sort of waiting to rush.

DAVID MARANISS:

Yeah, I mean, Hillary dillemma, it's fascinating. You know, going all the way back to 1974 when she drove from Washington out to Fayatteville so they can attach their stars together. It's helped their rise together, but it's also hindered her in two important ways. One is that she doesn't have Bill Clinton's charisma and amazing campaign abilities.

You know, and theater. You know, you talk about authenticity. I always have called Bill Clinton sort of an authentic phony. He really is good at that. And Hillary, if you look at it, just as theater, is a phony phony. She's not as good at it. So that always hurts her in comparison with Bill. The other one is that because of Bill Clinton's history, there's been sort of an encrusted defensiveness to the Clintons that Hillary became sort of the poll star of defending her husband.

And it became so second nature to her that I think that that's what carried out through the whole email problem as well. So I think she's had to overcome that. Look, the parallel with Al Gore is fascinating because Mrs. Clinton, like Al Gore is experienced and intelligent, but she's also married to Bill Clinton, and Al Gore wasn't.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Molly, you went through all this earlier this week, you wrote a fascinating piece. And it's sort of like, they can talk all they want about repackaging Clinton, trying to present her in a different way, but ultimately, Hillary is Hillary and what you see is what you get.

MOLLY BALL:

She is. And at the same time, you know, you talk about her having trouble coming out from under Bill's shadow, coming out, or separating herself from Obama. And it's because she herself is not very well-defined for people. And you know, her campaign keeps trying to make this not about her, make it more about the policy or the substance. That's the ground she's most comfortable on.

But it's always going to be about her. And she has trouble creating an image of herself in people's minds that really stands out. And so you have her saying things like, "I'm comfortable in the center, I want to bring everybody together." Her new line, now that she stopped saying "Everyday Americans," because they decided that was weird, it is a little weird. So the new line is, "I want--"

CHUCK TODD:

Cause the every other day Americans? Who are they? Right? You know?

MOLLY BALL:

Right. I personally am a weekend American. That's how I identify. But so she's got this new line that I want to be the president who's about the issues that you see on your TV screen and the issues that keep you up at night. And so she's literally saying to people, "I'm for whatever you're for." And that's my identity.

CHUCK TODD:

That goes to this phony issue, this perception, that is she just saying what I want to hear?

MOLLY BALL:

It's very difficult to sort of put your finger on what's there.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Really, she has a tremendous amount, if we take a step back, she does have a tremendous amount of respect and tremendous amount of support. And I think to compare her to Bill Clinton is a little unfair. She does have a long record. She's done a lot for middle class Americans, she's arguing to try to be the first female president of the United States. And women ultimately will be the deciders of this election, be they Republican or Democrat.

CHUCK TODD:

So Maria, you and I were talking earlier, I want to shift a little bit to Biden. Right now, Biden's never had it like this, positively, about a presidential race. People--he's only hearing from people that are saying, "Go do this, go, go, go. I'm with you." And trust me, you're hearing about it. And it feels good to be drafted, right?

MARIA SHRIVER:

Uh-huh.

CHUCK TODD:

And you've had some experience with this in your family.

MARIA SHRIVER:

That's true. And let me just say, I have so much love and respect for Vice President Biden and I think millions of people do. And I think if you watch him even just recently on Stephen Colbert, it was one of the best interviews I've ever seen of a public official.

CHUCK TODD:

There's nothing phony about that.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Nothing. He's likeable, people identify with his story, with his loss. I think he's done more for the issue of fatherhood than probably any other public servant. But having been involved with someone in my family who was drafted, who was so important, you only heard the great thing, "Run Teddy Run," And almost overnight, polls went from, like, "We love you, we love," to, like, "What are you doing in this race? Why'd you get in here?"

CHUCK TODD:

For Ted Kennedy right, in '79?

MARIA SHRIVER:

This is Ted Kennedy, yes. And he was so popular. And literally overnight, it was like, you know, "What are you doing here?" So I think you have to be careful in these draft movements. You're never as popular as before you announce, and you're never as popular as the day of your inauguration.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh, I know you have a lot of feelings about Joe Biden. But I want to stick your party a minute. React to what Ben Carson said about a Muslim president. I just, you're a religious guy, you study these things almost like a theologian yourself--

HUGH HEWITT:

I'll be going from here to a mass at Saint Matthews Cathedral. And I believe in Article VI of the constitution, which there shall be no religious test to enter into the presidency, or any office in the United States. That's why I wrote the book about Mitt Romney in 2007, I'm an Article VI person.

So I'm surprised and will follow up on that. I think the answer ought to be, to all of these questions, President Obama is a Christian, anyone is eligible for the presidency of the United States. Roger Williams, William Penn, Charles Carroll, the first catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. I think they'd all be somewhat taken aback that religion remains a hot-button issue in America in 2015. It ought not to be.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, we're going to pause it here. We've got a lot more to talk about throughout the show. Up next, in fact, Planned Parenthood insists that everything Carly Fiorina said about the Planned Parenthood tapes at the debate was quote, "flat out false." Fiorina stands by her claims. I'm going to try to sort it out after the break.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

In this week's Nerd Screen, we're going to look at the Republican voters who are gravitating to the outsiders running for president, try to get a better idea of who they are. And here's how we define the outsiders. They're the candidates who have never held elected office. They're also known as Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson.

In the latest NBC News/Marist poll that we did out of Iowa and New Hampshire, these three candidates alone, combine for more than 50% of the total Republican vote. So you get an idea of who these people are. So who are they? Well, most of them are unmarried. Most of them are not college graduates. And most call themselves conservative or very conservative.

Now, the unmarried and non-college grads tend to be a little more worried about their pocketbooks, because they often don't have two incomes or a degree to fall back on. Which also makes candidates who have never served in the government, and therefore aren't to blame in their eyes for the economy, look like better choices.

But it's the conservatives, or identifying as conservatives, who really matter. Why? Because in 2012, those folks who called themselves conservative or very conservative accounted for a majority of primary voters in New Hampshire, and a huge majority of Iowa caucus goers. That's the good news. Having the support of this chunk of the electorate, ideologically, is a big deal.

And here's the downside of this coalition. Unlike conservatives, people without a college degree or who are unmarried tend to be less likely to vote during the primary season. They may be general election voters, they don't always participate in primaries. And that may be something that means that the numbers of the outsider candidates will deflate when the voting actually begins. We'll be back in a moment with a big controversy, what Carly Fiorina said about those Planned Parenthood tapes, and what's really in them.

**COMMERCIAL BREAK**

CHUCK TODD:

As we saw earlier, Carly Fiorina was perceived as the winner of Wednesday's Republican debate by Republican voters. The one moment of hers that has gained extra attention is her claim about those undercover Planned Parenthood tapes. Here what she said.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CARLY FIORINA:

Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, "We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Awfully graphic there. Fiorina was presumably talking about highly-edited tapes made by an anti-abortion rights group. And now Fiorina's super PAC has doubled down on it, putting out an online video that appears to show what Fiorina described. We're not going the show this on camera right now.

But Planned Parenthood says that Fiorina's claim, "This is completely and totally untrue. Every part of what she said is flat-out false." Now, Planned Parenthood also says that the fetus that was shown in the video was from stock footage, edited into the tapes themselves by the anti-abortion rights group and is not related to a Planned Parenthood health center.

A non-partisan fact-checking service called PolitiFact said that the anti-abortion rights group took an interview with a woman identified as a former tissue procurement technician talking about what she saw and edited the fetus video onto that interview. And PolitiFact weighted Fiorina's statement as mostly false. A highly charged issue, abortion always is, Hugh Hewitt, Fiorina go too far in her description here?

HUGH HEWITT:

You know, I want to borrow from Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. Planned Parenthood can't handle the truth. And if the president of the United States wants to shut down the government over these videos, I hope they take Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is the chairman of the House Republican Conference, and have her speak three times a day during the shutdown with those videos running in the background.

I've watched them. I heard that technician. I believe Carly Fiorina intended to say that if you hear someone talking about this, because they're so terrible, they're so awful that they get jumbled in your head and you have to avert your eyes, because it's murder.

And so if Planned Parenthood wants to occasion the endless role of those videos, which they're doing, they'll stand on that hill all day. But I hope Cathy McMorris Rodgers if the government shuts down, and the president shuts the government down in order to fund Planned Parenthood's trafficking of body parts, that that's how they handle it.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Maria, I don't think Planned Parenthood believes this is what they're doing. Go ahead.

MARIA SHRIVER:

I just think we can all take a deep breath and take deep breaths. But you talked about what Carly Fiorina intended. That's different than what she actually said. You would agree with that, correct?

HUGH HEWITT:

She should've said, "I heard the technician talking about this." But in that, I was saying on the set--

MARIA SHRIVER:

Everybody agrees that these videos are highly edited. And we also can take a step back and say that Planned Parenthood does a lot of comprehensive medical work--

HUGH HEWITT:

I don't agree that they're highly edited. This is highly edited. The debate the other day was highly edited.

MARIA SHRIVER:

This is live.

HUGH HEWITT:

Well, yeah, but it's been edited in the interviews that Chuck did earlier.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Planned Parenthood does a lot of good work.

HUGH HEWITT:

Oh, I--

MARIA SHRIVER:

--low-income families that does a lot more--

HUGH HEWITT:

But they should not be funded by the federal government if they're going to trade in baby parts. They shouldn't. They shouldn't give a dime for them if they're going to do that.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Well, they do a lot of healthcare work on behalf of women.

HUGH HEWITT:

They do.

MARIA SHRIVER:

They do testing. They do breast exams.

HUGH HEWITT:

They do.

MARIA SHRIVER:

There's a lot that they do.

HUGH HEWITT:

Not with my money. They shouldn't do it.

MARIA SHRIVER:

They don't trade, selling of body parts.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.Look, Molly this is probably going to shut down the government. And Republicans are fighting. I mean, Hugh, I think you'd agree to this, you wanted to put it on the president. The fact is, Republicans are in disagreement on how to handle this issue. It's highly charged. The base of the party, frankly, most of the party, Republican party, wants this to be their alibi.

MOLLY BALL:

Absolutely. And you heard a number of candidates on the stage on Wednesday night saying that they would agree with going there. And you do have a lot of conservatives.

CHUCK TODD:

So just let me pause you. I'll put up, it was actually about half the field was for it. I want to put up a graphic. And about half of the field was against it. You can see here on screen of who was for using Planned Parenthood to shut down the government, and those that were against it And it really does split along your sort of governing and non-governing lines.

MOLLY BALL:

Absolutely. And you have Republicans saying, "Well, first of all, how is this political poison when we just did it a couple years ago" and went on to win big in the midterms?

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MOLLY BALL:

So this argument that, "Oh, we can't do it, it'll kill the party, we'll never win a presidential election," a lot of them don't buy it. You have Mitch McConnell saying, "We can't do this," John Boehner is saying, "We can't do this." And, you know, conservatives have heard this from them again and again, and they're tired of it. And they want this to be the hill that they die on.

CHUCK TODD:

And yet, I think some of the more pragmatic Republicans try to just look at the 2012 election, David, and say, "Obama used defund Planned Parenthood as a way to motivate women voters in places like Virginia and Colorado."

DAVID MARANISS:

I think this is, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Hewitt on this. And I think it actually is going to be done most to the benefit of Hillary Clinton.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you?

DAVID MARANISS:

I do. I think that she can, that issue is a winner for Democrats, not for Republicans. It's fine for them in the primaries, but not in the general election.

MARIA SHRIVER:

I don't think the American people want to see the government shut down, they want to see solutions.

DAVID MARANISS:

Well, I covered the '95 shutdown from the inside of the Republican revolution, and it was a disaster. And the last one wasn't as much, but I think over this issue, it will be.

CHUCK TODD:

But Hugh, it's interesting. Carly Fiorina grabbed this issue away from Mike Huckabee, away from Ted Cruz. She's now the face of this. Short-term politics, this is probably pretty good for the Republican primary.

HUGH HEWITT:

She dominated the stage. And I scored it, she won the gold, and Marco Rubio got the silver, and Chris Christie or Jeb Bush got the bronze. But no one made a mistake. What she did is she captured every moment that would mobilize voters. Scott Walker, by the way, is also very strong on this issue, and he hasn't gone around.

He's running the Harry Potter book series. I was telling Molly in the, because you know, it's the fourth Harry Potter book, it's the same story, he goes down, he comes back up, he has very good members on this, he's very good on this issue and Iowa. So she captured emotion resonating issues in Iowa and New Hampshire and it will serve her and Scott Walker very well.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, we shall see. I think it is one, very different in a primary versus a general. All o this will be tested. All right, later in the broadcast, why the visit to the United States this year by Pope Francis may have as much to do about politics as it does with religion. There's never been a papal visit like this that's going to be coming up. But first, how does it feel to be the face of Wall Street when both parties are saying you're the problem? Jamie Dimon responds.

**COMMERCIAL BREAK**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. It's not easy being the face of Wall Street, the top .0001% of the country, when both political parties see you as the symbol of America's growing income inequality. But that comes with the territory of being the top man at America's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase. But still, some of Jamie Dimon's views might surprise you. I caught up with Dimon this week in Detroit, a city his company is investing a lot of money in to rebuild. And I in fact I started by asking him why his bank is spending so much money in Detroit.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JAMIE DIMON:

So JPMorgan has a history in Detroit. And then we saw all of the sudden a governor, Republican, and a mayor, Mayor Duggan, a Democrat, start to talk in a way we thought was right. So it wasn't about ideology. But what does Detroit need? They need the streetlights on, they need better police, they need sanitation, they need better schools, they need better businesses. And it's hard. You know, they have to make that--everywhere.

You can't do this one at a time, you have to make the whole thing work. And we saw them being practical and not ideological and not partisan. We said, "We could see--we could help." So we sent a team of people beyond what we normally do which is really important to see what can JPMorgan do to accelerate the survival and hopefully the thriving of Detroit.

CHUCK TODD:

You--you doing this for PR because people are so mad at the banks? Or you're doing this because it's good for the bottom line?

JAMIE DIMON:

Yeah, well, it's, we're doing it 'cause it's good for the bottom line. 'Cause we're here. We want--I love America. I want America to do great. So when we see problems, we try to help.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me borrow a phrase that we're hearing a lot. 'China is killing us.' Is China killing America?

JAMIE DIMON:

No absolutely not. What you saw recently is they had a bump in the road. And by the way, it was just a speed bump that showed you that the transition to where are they to where they're going-- it's not gonna be that easy. They're very smart, they're very educated. But they have to move to real market reform and let the market make certain decisions. They have to broaden out, you know, what--what you might call the democracy, the 100 million people vote inside the communist party. And they're gonna have bumps in the road. And--

CHUCK TODD:

Should we be, though, concerned as Americans that they hold so much of our debt?

JAMIE DIMON:

To the extent that they're a peaceful neighbor with the rest of the world we should try to help them. And they own I think it's a trillion and a half U.S. dollars of our debt. Our economy's worth $100 trillion. Okay, so no.

CHUCK TODD:

So this is-- this is a fear that you think's unfounded.

JAMIE DIMON:

It's absolutely unfounded.

CHUCK TODD:

The history of coming out of recessions, usually there's a faster acceleration in economic growth. We're not seeing that here, why?

JAMIE DIMON:

I give President Bush, President Obama, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke enormous credit for stopping it from getting worse. And I think if they had not taken a lot of those actions it likely would've gotten worse. And they didn't wanna take the risk, nor do I think they should have.

I think that since then, I'm not gonna blame any side here, we've had a series of things which I think just slowed things down. And for example, the debt ceiling crisis, government shutdowns gridlock on taxes, budgets we didn't finish immigration policy, those things are not good for America. And I think had not, I can never prove this. I think had we done all those things including like--Simpson-Bowles, Chuck Schumer and McCain came up with an immigration plan, detailed immigration plan which is--which is moral, right and good for the country. If we did the trade, if we do those things we'd be growing a lot faster.

CHUCK TODD:

So you're blaming Washington. You're basically saying the economy, we would be at 3.5%, 4% growth without Washington gridlock?

JAMIE DIMON:

Yeah, I-- I'm not gonna blame Washington because, you know, remember we elect those people. So-- you know--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you blame us?

JAMIE DIMON:

Blame all of us. You know, that if you--if we want people in Washington to collaborate let's-- let's elect people who are gonna collaborate.

CHUCK TODD:

We might be on the verge of another government shutdown. What do you say to conservatives in the House that are--that are thinkin' about doin' this?

JAMIE DIMON:

I think that people, you know, I tell them you guys compromising your family, you compromise with your friends, you compromise what you eat for dinner. A democracy is a compromise by its nature. It's not a dictatorship. So anyone who says, "my way or the highway on one issue," isn't necessarily thinking about the United States of America. And so I wish people to overcome that kind of stuff. A government shutdown is just bad management.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm gonna get a bunch of emails. I'm gonna get viewers and say, "You know what, those fat cat Wall Street bankers, they worry about their compensation. He's paid too much."

JAMIE DIMON:

I completely understand because I see that things haven't gotten better for large group of people. On the compensation thing if you-- there are two things to say, if you took all the compensation of all the CEOs of the top 500 companies in America it wouldn't make a dent in this problem. So there are two things to keep in mind, you're gonna have free competition for people. You're gonna see it in sports, you're gonna see it in Silicon Valley, you're gonna see it in engineers.

You're gonna see it--and that is a free market. You want that. That's companies- people have capital sharing the wealth with somebody. But you to get the wage going you have to answer what makes wages grow. And I-- at the end of the day it's economic growth.

CHUCK TODD:

You pay enough in taxes? You think your taxes should go up?

JAMIE DIMON:

I pay about I think 50% of adjusted income and 40%, you know, I get deductions for charitable contributions, et cetera. And, yeah, I pay. But, you know, if I, let me change the question, if you said to me, "Would you pay 10% more?" I'd say, "Yeah I'd have no personal problem doing that at all. Zero."

And I understand, you know, that I should be paying more than my assistant pays or something like that. What the American public also don't feel is that money that goes to Washington may not be properly used. So if you're gonna raise taxes for God sake make sure it goes to productive use that people know is properly done which can be infrastructure, education--et cetera.

CHUCK TODD:

It seems like the campaign trail whether it's Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Jeb Bush and Donald Trump--all of them are--wanna stick it to Wall Street in some of their tax plans and wanna show the American public that they're gonna stand up to Wall Street. Do you understand why they're running against you?

JAMIE DIMON:

Yeah. You know, we had a crisis. A lotta people got hurt. And the average American looks at what happened and they kinda blame Wall Street which I would--it's generally true. We-- a lot of us were part of that problem and Washington.

And, you know, I would tell the American public it wasn't all banks. Not all banks failed. And in fact, a lotta these banks--what we did in the crisis, we were so steadfast, we lent money to everybody at the same price when the market wouldn't.

So they couldn't get it here, they got it from us including Illinois, California, New Jersey, city schools, states hospitals, companies, you name it. So we were there in the bad times. And, you know, all the-- but banks did bad things.And people generically blame them. And so--we've-- I think it's a good sign when people admit they made a mistake, which we have. We were part of making mistakes. We also did a lotta great stuff.

CHUCK TODD:

You were a big supporter of the Clintons over the years including in 2007, 2008. Will she make a good president and are you gonna support her again?

JAMIE DIMON:

I am not gonna get involved in politics at this point.

CHUCK TODD:

Why is that?

JAMIE DIMON:

I think you guys are doing a perfectly good job laying all these issues out--

CHUCK TODD:

No but you did get involved in politics. You were a big donor and you've raised money for her last time. Why not this time?

JAMIE DIMON:

I don't know. I might. But I haven't decided what I'm gonna do yet.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, you can catch the rest of my Jamie Dimon interview, including his take on why CEOs do not necessarily have all the skills required to be president. That's on our website MeetThePressNBC.com.

But before I go, David Maraniss, I want to bring you in, You have this terrific book, Once in a Great City. Instead of a profile of a person, it's a profile of Detroit. Right at both its peak and when it started to fall in '62 to '64. Detroit. The day I saw you in Detroit, Jamie Dimon was there, the vice president was there. There's a lot of action going on. Is this real? Is Detroit's comeback real?

DAVID MARANISS:

In some ways it is, yes. And I think I've seen more energy every time I've gone back there, the midtown and downtown areas are booming. There's a lot of young people coming in and reinventing themselves and the investment is there. But you have to remember what Detroit gave America. My book's about this magical time and again, not just the soundtrack of Motown, but also labor and civil rights and the middle class.

And until you can bring back that lurking middle class in Detroit, you can't call it a true renaissance. This is a great start. And I think it started to go from the symbol of a city of ruins to a city of hope. But there's still a long way to go.

CHUCK TODD:

The sense you got is people are now collecting rooting for it anyway. It's a great book. You've got to check it out. Back in 45 seconds with our endgame segment. Pope Francis is in Cuba this morning, why not everyone is enthusiastic about his visit to the U.S. this week.

* * COMMERCIAL BREAK * *

CHUCK TODD:

What you're seeing here are some live pictures of the pope. He's in Cuba. He was at Revolutionary Plaza. Pope Francis is holding a huge outdoor mass there. Incredibly popular pope has been outspoken on his views about inequality and climate change. And when he lands in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, he will not only have a religious schedule, but a pretty political one too.

And Maria, according to your Shriver Report snapshot poll of American Catholics, a full 86% think it's a good thing that this pope is emphasizing income inequality and environmental issues over things like abortion and same-sex marriage. It's remarkable.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Yes. And I think Catholics were tired of the discussion about those other issues. And they're really excited about this pope. It's historic that he's speaking to the Congress. And in our poll, it showed that they find that his teachings very closely align with theirs, and that they want political figures to also talk about these subjects. So I think that as-- there's 70 million Catholics in the United States who will listen very closely, they see him as a religious leader, but also as a political leader.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh Hewitt, he's going to speak before Congress, and he's probably going to mention climate change. Going to be uncomfortable for some Republicans, particularly conservative Catholics.

HUGH HEWITT:

Oh, I'm not going to be uncomfortable with anything the pope says. I'm looking forward to his visit here with Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Dole and the Archbishop Chaput has a huge family meeting in Philadelphia. He's an energetic, energizing figure for the church. And any time a papal visit happens, the church does well.

CHUCK TODD:

David, you and I were talking earlier this week. You thought the pope's visit was coming at a fascinating time in our politics. Explain.

DAVID MARANISS:

Yes, well, we had Donald Trump on earlier. And when I think of the Pope, I think mostly about the versus Donald Trump. And it will either be proved wrong or right very quickly. But my sense is that the pope is such a stark contrast to what he represents, from what Donald Trump and sort of the celebrity culture represents. But it's going to get people in the middle thinking a little bit differently. And it might have a profound effect on the Republican race.

CHUCK TODD:

Molly, he's going to insert himself in the political debate in a way that, I mean, I couldn't believe, I read George Will this morning, who just eviscerates the pope politically. And you're just going, "Is that what we're going to see? The pope getting politicized like this?" But it might, right?

MOLLY BALL:

I think we have. And we've seen also the White House try very hard to sort of ride the pope's coattails. You know, the president has talked a lot about trying to sort of embrace the pope's message, trying to sort of enlist the pope as an ally. And I think of course the church doesn't want to be seen as on anybody's side.

But like you said, by emphasizing these issues, these liberal goals, like the environment, over the social issues that have been so divisive, and that a lot of American Catholics are not on board with, he's really changed the tone of I think how outsiders perceive the church. How the rest of the country, how non-Catholics view the Catholic church.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria, you were talking earlier, you were saying you were really impressed with him as a politician. That he's pretty good at it.

MARIA SHRIVER:

Yeah, he's very strategic. Liberals think he's liberal, moderates think he's moderate, and conservatives think he's kind of moderate to conservative. So, and they like him much better than the quote, "institution," or the church he represents. So I think that there's a lot that political leaders can learn. He's an outsider, people call him a prophet, that he's the people's pope. And yet, he's kept the people in the pews.

CHUCK TODD:

It is, and he's bringing people to the pews anyway. It's going to be fascinating. I want to have a little fun here. It's a fascinating point, Bernie Sanders is starting to have fun trying to address this issue that he is a Democratic socialist. Take a listen.

(BEGIN TAPE)

STEPHEN COLBERT:

People call you a liberal and a socialist. Why will you not accept those two terms as the insults they're meant to be?

BERNIE SANDERS:

Does anyone here think I'm a strong adherent of the North Korean form of government? (LAUGHTER) That I want all of you to be wearing similar colored pajamas?

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Molly Ball, you know, I've had a lot of Sanders supporters say, "Hey, stop calling him a socialist like North Korea, that he is more for European Democratic socialism." He is trying to redefine the word.

MOLLY BALL:

Well, he is. But, you know, Stephen Colbert really hit it on the head there, because what he does is he refuses to take it as an insult. People point at him and say, "You sir, you're a socialist." He says, "Yeah, sure."

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, I am.

MOLLY BALL:

So I am. Guilty as charged. And then, he can get to these issues that he's so passionate about.

CHUCK TODD:

I'll tell you this--

MOLLY BALL:

It's working for him.

CHUCK TODD:

The fact that he's actually showing a sense of humor. That's been sort of Bernie's problem, I'd say, that he needs to laugh at himself. And that was the first time I've seen him laughing at himself. All right, that's all we have for today. Wow, a packed show. We'll be back next week. Big guest coming up next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *