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Meet the Press Transcript - September 27, 2015

NBC NEWS -- MEET THE PRESS -- SEPT. 27, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, the two leading women running for president. First, Hillary Clinton. Her emails, those sinking poll numbers and questions about whether Joe Biden will jump in. My one-on-one with the former Secretary of State. Then, Carly Fiorina. Her debate performance catapulted her into contention.

CARLY FIORINA:

I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

CHUCK TODD:

Now, how does she deal with the pressures of being a possible frontrunner? Carly Fiorina joins me live. Also, our latest presidential poll numbers for both parties. Where do the races stand this morning? Plus, who saw this coming?

JOHN BOEHNER:

Oh, I'd say they were shocked.

CHUCK TODD:

John Boehner's stunning resignation. It may be the latest sign of the civil war that's raging inside the GOP. And the pope does politics.

POPE FRANCIS:

God bless America.

CHUCK TODD:

Why this visit to the United States was like no other. And joining me this morning for insight and analysis are David Brooks of The New York Times, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post. 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. And what a how we have for you today. Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, the speaker of the House resigning, Scott Walker dropped out, by the way, and we have our latest poll. And oh yes, the pope's in America. To quote the character Penny Lane in the great movie Almost Famous, "It's all happening." So let's start with our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton's lead over Bernie Sanders is now down to just seven points, 42 to 35. That includes Joe Biden in the race at 17. If you take Biden out of the mix, Ms. Clinton's lead stretches to 15 points, 53/38. So you see there, Biden takes a lot more from Secretary Clinton than Sanders.

But look at this. Back in June, Clinton's lead over Sanders was 60 points, six zero, 75 to 15. Quite a dramatic change in just three months. We'll have the Republican numbers later in the show. But let's get right to our first guest and a "Meet the Candidate" interview with the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

And a reminder, and I know there's always conspiracy theories out there, there are no limitations to this interview. You know?

HILLARY CLINTON:

As far as I know that's true.

CHUCK TODD:

Exactly.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

Exactly. So let's get that out of the way. Let me start with a piece of sound, it's Meet the Press. This is what you said on Meet the Press seven years ago about transparency.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Uh-huh (AFFIRM).

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON (ARCHIVE):

I want to have a much more transparent government. And I think we now have the tools to make that happen. I want to have as much information about the way our government operates on the internet. So the people who pay for it, the taxpayers of America can see that.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

A year later, ClintonEmail.com, this server started, private server. Had every government agency head did what you did, at the State Department, there would be a lot of information that wasn't in the public. Do you see that now as a problem as far as the public is concerned?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, Chuck, let me make a couple of points. First of all, as I have said very often, all of the emails that I sent were intended to be in the government systems if they were work related. That's why I sent them to people at their work addresses. And, you know, the vast majority of them ended up there.

So I have said also that if I had to do it all over again, I would've used a separate email account. I did it for convenience and it turned out not to be that at all. But the bottom line is, my emails were predominately in the State Department system or on other government servers. And then I said, "I'm going to give them all," after a very careful review, and I did so.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I want to unpack a couple of things here. But let me start with just the news of this week. You had said in a written statement under oath that you had turned over everything that you believed you had for the federal records with those 55,000 emails.

But we have now discovered an email chain between then General Petraeus and yourself that took place a couple of months before these records started. Can you explain the discrepancy there? Because it was the same email address that you used while at State that you were using with General Petraeus just two months before you had said everything was out there.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, everything that we had access to was certainly out there. And the reason we know about the email chain with General Petraeus is because it was on a government server. And so from my perspective, we have a very thorough review process that we conducted. And my attorneys supervised it, they went through everything. And what we had available at the time was turned over.

CHUCK TODD:

But I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, if you'd said in March that the email system began in March of '09, and yet we have this same email address popping up in January, explain that discrepancy.

HILLARY CLINTON:

There was a transition period. You know, I wasn't that focused on my email account to be clear here.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me stop you here. Because you say you weren't focused on it, except this seemed to be, to put an email server at your house is not a-- it's a complicated thing.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Yeah, but it was already there. It had been there for years. It is the system that my husband's personal office used when he got out of the White House. And so it was sitting there in the basement. It was not any trouble at all. I know there are a lot of people who are questioning that.

But the fact is that it was there, I added my account to it, it apparently took a little time to do that. And so there was about a month where I didn't have everything already on the server and we went back, tried to, you know, recover whatever we could recover. And I think it's also fair to say that, you know, there are some things about this that I just can't control.

I can't control the technical aspects of it. I'm not by any means a technical expert. I relied on people who were. And we have done everything we could in response to the State Department asking us to do this review because they asked all the former secretaries. And the reason they asked, Chuck, is because they found gaps in their own recordkeeping. You know, my assumption, because this system was there before I became secretary, it was there when I left, my assumption was anything that I sent to a .gov account would be captured.

CHUCK TODD:

But, you know, that's very difficult to capture all of your emails by going through to perhaps thousands of people and their .gov accounts. It would've been a lot easier if it was sent to your .gov account.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, but when you communicate with people in other parts of the government, you're not sending it to TheStateDepartment.gov. And that would've been true either way. Look, I think I have done all that I can to, you know, take responsibility, to be as transparent as possible in turning over 55,000 pages, in turning over my server, and to, you know, testify on October 22nd, which I've been asking to do before the Congress.

CHUCK TODD:

You had said just now in one of your explanations that you provided these records because State asked of all secretaries to tape. Now, as you know, there was a report earlier this week in The Washington Post that said, "That isn't quite how it happened." In the summer of 2014, they discovered the discrepancy with your records, and they wanted to make a request. And then it became a formal request of the last four secretaries of State. Can you explain that discrepancy?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, we have explained that. The campaign has explained it.

CHUCK TODD:

What is it?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, look. When the committee, the I think eighth or ninth committee, investigating Benghazi asked for information from the State Department, you know, they were doing a survey. And they found discrepancies in their recordkeeping. Not in my records, per se, but in their overall recordkeeping. There were gaps. And that's why they sent the letter.

And that's why we did the overall, you know, comprehensive search for everything. And it got us to the same place. We looked through everything. We gave them everything work related. In fact, we gave them so much, they've already told us they're sending back 1,200 because they were clearly personal and not work-related.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you respond to an alternative explanation that has sort of circulating?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Another conspiracy theory?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that perhaps the reason you wanted to have a private server and not a government server is that Republicans have been coming after you for years, you might have been running for president in the future, and you wanted to make it a little more difficult for congressional investigators to subpoena your government emails and a little more difficult for Freedom of Information Act requests. Is that a fair theory or not?

HILLARY CLINTON:

It's totally ridiculous. That never crossed my mind. And in fact, since more than 90% of my work-related emails were on the system, they are subject to FOIA or any other request. That's how the Benghazi committee got the emails even before we, you know, went through our exhaustive process.

Now I have, as you're rightly pointing out, been involved from the receiving side in a lot of these accusations. In fact, as you might remember during the '90s, there were a bunch of them. And, you know, all of them turned out to be not true. That was the outcome. And when I ran for the Senate, the voters of New York, they overlooked all of that and they looked at my record, and they looked at what I would do for them, and I was elected senator after going through years of this kind of back and forth. And it is, you know, it's regrettable, but it's part of the system.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, one of the things about this over the last six months, and I've heard from supporters, is that there's an allegation about your email server, the campaign provides an explanation, you provide an explanation, there's a new allegation, you have to provide a new explanation, there's an addendum to that explanation, it has the feel of a drip, drip, drip. Can you reassure Democrats that there's nothing else here?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, it is like a drip, drip, drip. And that's why I said, there's only so much that I can control. But what I have tried to do in explaining this is to provide more transparency and more information than anybody that I'm aware of who's ever served in the government, and I'm happy to do that because I want these questions to be answered.

I can't predict to you what the Republicans will come up with, what kind of, you know, charges or claims they might make. I have no control over that. I can only do the best I can to try to respond. The Justice Department has the emails, they have the server, they're conducting a security inquiry. They will take whatever necessary steps are required to get this matter resolved.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you say with 100% certainty that the deleted emails that the F.B.I.'s not going to find anything in there that's going to cause you to have to explain again?

HILLARY CLINTON:

All I can tell you is that when my attorneys conducted this exhaustive process, I did not participate.

CHUCK TODD:

Why? Why?

HILLARY CLINTON:

I didn't look at them.

CHUCK TODD:

I would want to know what emails.

HILLARY CLINTON:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

Why wouldn't you want to know?

HILLARY CLINTON:

I wanted them to be as clear in their process as possible. I didn't want to be looking over their shoulder. If they thought it was work-related, it would go to the State Department. If not, then it would not. And as I just said, over 1,200 of the emails that we were overly inclusive in trying to be comprehensive, the State Department's already said, "We don't want these. These are personal. These aren't work-related." They're sending them back.

So when that process finished, you know, my attorney said, "Well, what do you want us to do with all these personal emails?" I said, "Well, I don't need to keep them. I don't need them or want them." So they then talked to the IT server, the technical people who were responsible for maintaining them and said, "You know, we don't need them anymore." That's the limit of my knowledge. And I know I was a little sarcastic in one exchange with the press.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough.

HILLARY CLINTON:

For which I, you know, I'm sorry guys. But, you know, I'm not a technical expert. I just said, "I don't need them." Whatever happened to them happened to them. And I'm, you know, very sure that my attorneys did the most meticulous job that could've been done.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm just curious, would anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation, would that have been personal or work?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, it would depend. You know, I did not communicate with the foundation. Other people in the State Department did. In accordance with the rules that had been adopted.

CHUCK TODD:

So any of these deleted emails are not going to be foundation-related at all?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, they might be, you know, "There's going to be a meeting," or, "There's this." But not anything that relates to the work of the State Department. That was handled by, you know, the professionals and others in the State Department.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Let me sort of move on from this just a little bit. And I say sort of move on because obviously you've taken a hit in the polls.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I have.

CHUCK TODD:

This New Hampshire poll, I mean, do you believe you have explained this and that there aren't any contradictions here. So is the issue not truthfulness, but the issue of how you've handled it?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, you know, let me say this, Chuck. I have tried to the best of my ability to be able to respond. And if people are uncertain, if they have concerns about these questions about the emails, it is their choice to say, "That's going to influence, you know, how I think about the election?" I understand that, I get it.

But I also hope people will look at my lifelong advocacy for kids and families and women and look at what I'm proposing, the vision I have for the country to move forward on everything from raising incomes, to equal pay for equal work, to getting the cost of college down, to dealing with high prescription drug costs. That's what I hope people focus on. And people get to make their minds up. That's the beauty of our process. People can decide on whatever basis they choose.

CHUCK TODD:

Is this trust deficit, your husband did an interview on CNN. And he basically put it all on the Republicans and a little bit us on the press that this whole thing that has driven down your poll numbers. Do you bear any responsibility?

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, first of all, you know, I love my husband, and you know, he does get upset when I am attacked. I totally get that. But we also get the fact that look, this is a contest. And it's fair game for people to raise whatever they choose to raise. As he said I think in that same interview, you know, "They're not giving this job away." You have to get out there, you have to earn it.

And that's what I'm trying to do. And of course I take responsibility. It was my choice. It was a mistake back when I did it. And I'm trying to do the best I can to answer all of the questions that people have. And as I said, during the '90s, I was subjected to the same kind of barrage. And it was, it seemed to be at the time, endless. And then when I ran for the Senate, people said, "Hey, we are more concerned about what you're going to do for us." And I trust the voters to make that decision this time around too.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I want to play a little comp we put together of some of the positions where your positions have changed a little bit. Take a look.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON (ARCHIVE):

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interest of our nation. I've made it very clear that I made a mistake. Plain and simple. I believe that marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman. This morning, love triumphed in the highest court in our land.

We've not yet signed off on it, but we are inclined to do so. We're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dependent on dirty oil from Canada. I oppose it and I oppose it because I don't think it's in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

How do you respond to some critics who say, you know, "Your positions have changed out of political expediency." That you're sort of whatever the majority is at that time, that's the position you have.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, I just don't think that reflects either my 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, if we don't, you know, make decisions based on the best information we have available, well, you know, that's regrettable. And what I've always tried to do is to say, "Okay, what is the best decision that I can think about making?"

Now, with those that you did, you know, number one on the Iraq War vote, I've written about it, I've talked about it, I said it was a mistake. It certainly became a very clear mistake when you saw the way the Bush Administration conducted that war and the decisions that they made.

And so I have been very forthright in saying, you know, "As I looked at what was happening, it was a mistake." On same-sex marriage, like a lot of people, including our president, I did evolve. And I was not raised to even imagine this. And I'm thrilled now that it is the law of the land. And I have a lot of good friends who are now able to be married because of the changes we've made legally and constitutionally.

When it comes to Keystone, you know, I was at the beginning of the process of trying to evaluate what was the best outcome. I did feel that I shouldn't jump in before the president and Secretary Kerry and make my views known, because they're still in the middle of that process.

But it was, frankly, uncomfortable to have so many people asking me and my saying, you know, I'm waiting and waiting and waiting, and it still hasn't happened. I don't know when it will happen. It may have to happen when I'm president, I hope. So I've said, "Look, I'm against it." On the total evaluation, when I made that statement years ago, we did not have the kind of energy profile that we now have.

We did not have the full understanding of how the particular oil that would have been extracted from those tar sands was of a different degree of dirtiness and polluting in terms of greenhouse gasses. So, you know, I'm not going to sit here and tell people that I make up my mind. That's the Republicans. They make up their mind. They're never bothered by evidence.

CHUCK TODD:

But Bernie Sanders has been on the, sort of, where you are on these issues, Bernie Sanders was there when it came to marriage 20 years ago. Do you think one of the reasons he's doing well right now is some progressives think, "Well, you know, what, he was there when it wasn't popular."

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, he can speak for himself. And I certainly respect his views. I can just tell you that I am not someone who, you know, stakes out a position and holds it regardless of the evidence or regardless of the way that I perceive what's happening in the world around me. And as I was saying, that's where the Republicans are.

You know, they're still believing in trickle-down economics even though it was a disaster not once, but twice for our country. So I want people, because I think my experience on these issues is much more reflective of how people talk to me, about how they too have evolved and moved in their understanding. And I feel, you know, very comfortable saying that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I have a lot more questions. And the good news is, I have a part two interview we're going to do for the new show, my new show MTP Daily. So we will get into some foreign policy, domestic policy, a whole bunch of stuff. Madam Secretary, thanks for coming back on Meet the Press.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Thank you. Glad to be here.

**COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Earlier, we shared our new numbers on the Democratic race from our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Now to where the Republican race stands this morning. And yes, things are getting tighter on that side of the aisle. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are essentially tied at the top, Trump at 21, Carson at 20. Then two more in double digits are Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina tied at third with 11%.

They're followed in high single digit by Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz. No one else. If you don't see your candidate there, it means they didn't even top 3%. And when you compare these numbers, by the way, to where we were in July, you can see that Carson, Rubio, and Kasich, all have doubled their support.

On the other hand, Bush and Cruz saw their support cut in half. And by the way, there's a name you don't see on the board at all. It was Scott Walker in July. Walker was in second place alone at 15%. And of course, he dropped out of the race less than a week ago. Another big change is for Carly Fiorina. She literally came from nothing. She was at zero, to where she is today, tied for third. And Carly Fiorina joins me right after the break.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK * * *

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back, given her performance in the two Republican debates that Carly Fiorina has participated in, her rise in our new polls should not be a surprise and she joins me now after campaigning in Iowa this weekend. She's been in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Carly Fiorina, welcome back to Meet the Press.

CARLY FIORINA:

Good morning, Chuck. Thanks for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Let me start right in with the Planned Parenthood situation. At the debate, the most recent debate, you described the following scene, claiming it was on a tape: "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.'" Since then, when asked about the claim, your campaign has attacked Planned Parenthood, but there is no tape. There is no evidence that the scene you described exists. Are you willing now to concede that you exaggerated that scene?

CARLY FIORINA:

No, not at all. That scene absolutely does exist. And that voice saying what I said they were saying, "We're going to keep it alive to harvest its brain" exists as well. Here's the thing. Yesterday I was at a football game--

CHUCK TODD:

So you saw that moment on the tape?

CARLY FIORINA:

Yes. And I would challenge Planned Parenthood. Here's the deal. Yesterday, I was protested by Planned Parenthood people who were throwing condoms at me. I don't know what that has to do with this. They're trying to distract the American people from the hideous reality that Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and other body parts. That is a fact.

Planned Parenthood will not and cannot deny this because it is happening. It is happening in this nation. And taxpayers are paying for it. Planned Parenthood desperately wants everyone to think this isn't going on. Because when Americans realize it is going on, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, they are horrified. This goes to the character of our nation and it must be stopped.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, the footage you describe at best is a reenactment. The people even-- the people that made the videos admit it's stock footage. Yet, you went right along and said, "It's Planned Parenthood."

CARLY FIORINA:

Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. Do you think this is not happening? Does Hillary Clinton think this is not happening? So sad that you missed the opportunity to ask Mrs. Clinton why she said, "Late-term abortions were only performed for medical purposes." That is patently false. This is happening in America today. And taxpayers are paying for it. That is a fact. It is a reality. And no one can run away from it.

CHUCK TODD:

But you are sort of ducking the video, the specific of this question. And I guess I'm trying, because let me tell you what a Washington Post--

CARLY FIORINA:

I am not--

CHUCK TODD:

--a Washington Post editorial this morning--

CARLY FIORINA:

I am not ducking--

CHUCK TODD:

A Washington Post editorial is calling it a "full-fledged falsehood on Ms. Fiorina." They said, "Why would you--"

CARLY FIORINA:

Okay, well you know what? In Washington--

CHUCK TODD:

They said that it doesn't excuse your mistruth. They said they understand you have a deeply-held belief on abortion, but that you're exaggerating this specific claim.

CARLY FIORINA:

No, no. Well, first of all the Washington Post also claims that I am lying about being a secretary. So let's get real. I mean, I don't even know how to deal with that. I was a secretary part-time to put myself through college, and full-time after I graduated. The Washington Post gave me three Pinocchios for claiming that I was a secretary.

So honestly, I don't think The Washington Post has a lot of credibility here. This is not about being pro-life or pro-choice. It is certainly not about birth control. It is not even about women's health. It is about the character of our nation. No one can deny this is happening because it is happening.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you believe this is still something that Republicans in Congress should force a government shutdown over and have this showdown with the president?

CARLY FIORINA:

I believe if the president of the United States and Democrats are willing to stand up and defend for what is roughly $500 million to $600 million line item in a budget, if they are willing to stand up and defend this practice and shut down the government over it, then let them explain it to the American people. Let them explain it.

CHUCK TODD:

So you want the showdown? You want this? You think Republican leaders in Congress should force this showdown?

CARLY FIORINA:

I believe there are a variety of ways to deal with this. But I believe this is something we must stand up and fight for. Because it is about the character of our nation. Taxpayers are funding this activity. And not only that, not only are taxpayers having to fund this butchery, but Planned Parenthood doles out millions of dollars every single election cycle to Democrat candidates. This is a political slush fund on top of being butchery that Americans, again, whether they're pro-life or pro-choice, cannot support.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you believe any of the money Planned Parenthood uses is for good, from the federal government?

CARLY FIORINA:

I'm sure it is. I'm sure it is. But you know what I find amazing? The hypocrisy of Democrats who stand up and oppose every time taxpayer funding for, say, pregnancy centers, that are also very much focused on women's health, but no, Democrats don't want taxpayer funding for pregnancy centers.

I just visited one in South Carolina. They are all privately funded. This is hypocrisy on Democrats' part. This is about a political slush fund. It is about the character of our nation. And yes, we should stand up and fight on this issue.

CHUCK TODD:

In 2010, in your Senate race, you called Roe v. Wade a decided issue. You have since said you would work to overturn it. What changed your mind?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, you know, here's the thing. We are finding common ground. People's views evolve on all kinds of things. And the American people's views have evolved on this. So let's just take one example. The majority of women, the majority of young people, the majority of Americans now believe that abortion for any reason at all after five months is wrong.

Just as they believe that the butchery of live fetuses for body parts is wrong. So I think we ought to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act now. It is good politics. It is also good policy. And shame on Democrats who stood and blocked it because the majority of Americans now disagree with where Democrats are. The Democrat policy is it is not a life until it leaves the hospital. The vast majority of Americans oppose that policy.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me play for you, there's some concerns with some Republicans, as excited as they are about your candidacy, that they're concerned your time at HP is going to be a liability a la Mitt Romney. Let me play for you an ad Barbara Boxer used against you and ask you to respond on the other side.

(BEGIN TAPE)

ANNOUNCER (IN AD):

As the CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers.

CARLY FIORINA (IN AD):

When you're talking about massive layoffs, which we did, perhaps the work needs to be done somewhere else.

ANNOUNCER (IN AD):

And while Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million-dollar yacht, and five corporate jets.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Can you reassure Republicans who are still shell-shocked over what the Obama campaign was effectively able to do to Mitt Romney on the issue of layoffs, that that won't happen to you? When Barbara Boxer played that ad, her lead grew.

CARLY FIORINA:

Yeah, you know, I find it very rich. Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, all the Democrats who are attacking me, they've never created a job, they've never saved a job, and their policies destroy jobs, including Mrs. Clinton's latest position on Keystone Pipeline. Look, I have run to problems all my life. It's how you go from secretary to CEO.

And I think people are looking for a president who will run to the problems that this nation faces. Yes, I led HP through a very difficult time. The NASDAQ dropped 80%. Some of our strongest competitors went out of business all together, taking every job with them. We saved 80,000 jobs. We went on to grow to 150,000 jobs. We quadrupled the growth rate of the company, quadrupled the cash flow of the company, tripled the rate of innovation of the company. And went from lagging behind to leading in every single product and every single market. I will run on that record all day long.

CHUCK TODD:

You don't think it will be a liability? I mean, at the end of the day, the jobs you're talking about that grew and expanded were jobs overseas after the HP/Compaq.

CARLY FIORINA:

No, that is false, that is false, that is false.

CHUCK TODD:

There were no American jobs. No?

CARLY FIORINA:

That is false, Chuck. That is false. You know, here's the thing about business. Politicians can spin words. But in business, you actually have a record of results. And in fact, I had to stand up and report those results every single quarter. And if I misrepresented our results in any way over a six-year period, or misrepresented our projections, I could be held criminally liable.

Imagine if any other candidate running for president was held to that same account. There were many jobs that left California. And you know where they went? To the state of Texas. Because the state of Texas had a set of policies in place that made job creation and job salvation easier than the state of California.

This is what Democrats always want to talk about. They want to slam job creators. But the truth is, Democrat policies, the ones that Bernie Sanders, the ones that Hillary Clinton, and the ones that Barbara Boxer pursue destroy jobs all day long.

CHUCK TODD:

Steve Rattner, in an op-ed in The New York Times noted that one of the things you have used to defend your time at HP and defend being fired is that people like Steve Jobs had been fired in the past, and there were other successful, eventual successful CEOs. But he asked this question in there: Why didn't another company hire you as a CEO? Why didn't you have another full-time job in the private sector after you left HP?

CARLY FIORINA:

Oh, well, Steve Rattner, you know, a political operative masquerading as a business analyst, we have a couple others of those as well. Because I didn't want to go back to work as a CEO. That's why. Because I had done that. Because I had been in a very high-pressured--

CHUCK TODD:

Had you been recruited?

CARLY FIORINA:

--chief executive job for--Yes. I was offered many jobs as a CEO in the Bush Administration, I wanted a break. And then I wanted to give back. And so over time, I became the chairman of two charities in this nation, work of which I'm also very proud. I advised the C.I.A. as the chairman of the advisory board, I advised two secretaries of Defense, a secretary of Homeland Security. I believed it was time for me to use my experience in other realms, whether it was policy or government or charity.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you make of Speaker Boehner's decision? Do you think he made the correct decision to step down?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well I do. I think every leader has a season. And I think John Boehner's season was coming to an end, and he understood that. And I hope now that we will move on and have leadership in both the House and the Senate that will produce results. I think leaders produce results. And I think Republicans are quite frustrated, having worked very hard, to restore historic majorities to the House and a majority to the Senate, but there haven't been a lot of results.

And so I've asked for three very specific things: one, pass a border security bill. Two, pass the REINS act, which would give Congress the authority to oversee all of these rules that are rolling out of the administration. Of course, we talked about defunding Planned Parenthood, and it would be great, actually if the House and the Senate would pass the bills that deny finally the special exemptions they get from ObamaCare.

CHUCK TODD:

Is Mitch McConnell leading in the right way on the Senate side of things?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, we will see. He has been a leader for a very short period of time. Not even one session. Leaders produce results.

CHUCK TODD:

Is he producing results?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, we'll see.

CHUCK TODD:

So I take it not yet? Or you're, "to be continued"?

CARLY FIORINA:

Well, I think we will see.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough. Carly Fiorina, stay safe on the campaign trail. Thanks for coming back to Meet the Press.

CARLY FIORINA:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Coming up, we'll get reaction from our panel, Brooks, Mitchell, Sorkin, and Robinson. It's a great panel to discuss everything we have heard this morning. So stay with us.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

Well, so much to get to on this very busy Sunday. It's been a busy week. We'll have reaction to the big interviews with Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. Plus, what in any other week could've been our lead story this morning, Speaker Boehner says goodbye. Conservatives in Congress got their scalp, but at what cost? Back with the panel in a moment.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back, lots to discuss, Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, and of course, the news that shocked Washington on Friday John Boehner's sudden announcement that he's stepping down as speaker. The panel is here. David Brooks from The New York Times, Andrea Mitchell, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, who of course is covering Hillary Clinton's campaign for us, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times and co-host of CNBC's Squawk Box, celebrating 20 years.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

Thank you, sir.

CHUCK TODD:

You haven't been there 20 years.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

I have not been there.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

And Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post who I think actually has been at The Post for 20 years.

(OVERTALK)

EUGENE ROBINSON:

A little bit more than that, but let's not--

CHUCK TODD:

We'll just say it. Alright. I've done enough talking. Let's start with the Hillary Clinton interview, your first reactions, Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, she is carefully saying that I'm not an IT person, I'm not technical, we know that about her. It was the IT people, it was the lawyers who decided which emails to delete, which to turn over. So she's building in deniability her, her affect, her lack of, oh you know, an adversarial, contentious interview, striking in, you know, a different tone from Hillary Clinton.

But she's basically not dealing with the question that there is this continued drip, drip, drip. And she cannot get to the policies that she wants to talk about. She tries to pivot to it. She does in your interview later and tomorrow. But she can't, this is all, you know, shadowing, overshadowing what she really wants to be talking about. And that is the reason why she is hurting in the polls.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. David, and when we have these poll numbers, I mean, it's down 16 points in New Hampshire. Her favorable ratings have been a continued slide.

DAVID BROOKS:

Yeah, well she was having a little more fun today. Sometimes she's campaigning like she's in Napoleon's march on Moscow, just like a trudge through the winter. This was a little more upbeat, a little more fun. But she's still in her own bubble. Not where the country is, but it's sort of in the Clinton bubble And finally, as Andrea said, she spent her entire political career on the defensive, whether it was the Rose law firm, whether it was Benghazi, whether it was her husband's shenanigans.

She's basically has a defensive posture. And that means she's erecting walls, not trusting people, and there's no romance. People, especially this year, they want a little romance, they want a lot of ideological action going outward. But she's on the defensive. And so that's the core problem. It's not the emails. Nobody's going to disqualify her as president because she used one server versus another. That's not a real scandal. It's her attitude.

CHUCK TODD:

Gene, you want to pick up on that?

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Well, yeah, I'll pick up on that. I kind of agree with you, David, but I see it somewhat differently. I think if I were with the Clinton campaign, I would be very pleased with that appearance. Because you asked her very tough questions. You stayed on the email scandal. You kind of took her through it. And I thought that was her best presentation on that subject by far so far.

Because of her effect, because of the way she kind of smilingly went through it. It was, she was able to be, she seemed less sort of defensive, crouchish to me today. More open, more willing just to, you know, "As long as you want to talk about it, Chuck, let's talk about it." I thought that was the best she's done on that issue.

CHUCK TODD:

Andrea, let's pivot here to Carly Fiorina. You've been a tough critic of hers yourself. Can she get elected president with her HP record?

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

Well, the question is whether the public cares about her HP record. But if you do care, and I don't know if it's a narrow question or not, about her record, it's a bad record. She talks about it in this very relative way, relative to where things were at the time. But even relatively, it was relatively terrible.

And she talks about it empirically. She lost $60 billion of investors' money at the time. That's empirical. That's right there. You know, she says, there's a repor-- "In business, there's a report card." That is her report card. And even if we were to look at it and say, "Okay, so what happened at IBM, what happened at Dell," by orders of magnitude worse, and even more so, when you think about politics, she's out here selling something.

When she was the CEO of HP, she sold something and she told investors targets, what she was going to do. And she missed them. She missed them repeatedly to the score of, by the way, of $2.4 billion in missed targets. So now, whether the public actually cares about those numbers, that's a very different question.

CHUCK TODD:

David, where she showed passion is not, like, she is not accepting any of the fact checks on this Planned Parenthood thing. And she really doesn't want to, you know, she's basically saying, "The details don't matter. You should be outraged."

DAVID BROOKS:

Yeah, well, to Andrew's point, it's not quite clear that reality matters to the electorate right now. And I think that's true with Trump, it's true with her, there are some people that are great campaigners, and some people that are actually good in reality. And so far the good in reality people are not doing so well in the polls.

I think Jeb Bush falls into that category as a bad campaigner. She's aggressive. I do - I mean, it was interesting to me to watch the Clinton interview and the Fiorina interview. Clinton, I agree with Gene, she answered every question very clearly. Fiorina does not accept the concept that she should answer these questions. She's on the offensive. She's throwing blows. No matter what you ask her, she's throwing blows to the Democrats. And she's just permanent offense.

CHUCK TODD:

Which may explain why she's getting a moment.

DAVID BROOKS:

And that's where the country is. That's the ethos of the country right now.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

Certainly with Republican primary voter is.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But let's face facts here. The facts are also that that fetus was from a Pennsylvania miscarriage. That fetus had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood. And Planned Parenthood does not get federal money for abortions, period. Abortions are 3% of their work. The rest is women's healthcare. Now that said, you're absolutely right. Carly Fiorina is in tune with the mood of the electorate. The electorate, actually in both political parties.

CHUCK TODD:

Is Hillary Clinton in tune with the mood of the electorate?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Not so far. Not so far. She's not angry enough. She's not-- And it's hard for her to be angry because then you've got, you know, Donald Trump saying, "She's shrill," which is a sexist word,let's face it. But she has to get around that. But the anger, the passion is all on people going on the attack, whether it's, you know, whether it's Donald Trump, whether it's Carly Fiorina, or whether it's Bernie Sanders.

CHUCK TODD:

And by the way, and this is the mood. And this is the electorate that just forced John Boehner out of his job.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Yeah, but I was actually floored by that though because she simply would not deal with the factual issue. She would not deal with the issue that she has misrepresented the facts about that video. And you correctly told her what the facts are. And she simply wouldn't deal with it. I don't think you can continue to do that on a specific issue time after time after time, because people are going to keep bringing it up until you acknowledge that well yes, these are the facts. She wouldn't even acknowledge that fact.

DAVID BROOKS:

You seem to think the laws of gravity are applying this year. But so far, they haven't applied.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it's funny you say that--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--I do forget, I do forget

CHUCK TODD:

Can I just tell you that Bill Kristol wrote this great column yesterday where he basically said, you know, Everybody has predicted that things are going to revert to norm. Hillary Clinton's going to be the nominee, Biden isn't going to run, Jeb Bush will probably end up as the nominee and these outsiders will go away. And yet, who three weeks ago would've predicted, as he writes, that Scott Walker would drop out and Speaker Boehner would resign in the same week. David Brooks?

DAVID BROOKS:

Yeah, no I, I think the laws of gravity will come back.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you?

DAVID BROOKS:

Like, I'll step on the scale and it'll still say the same, the same damn number!

CHUCK TODD:

I think so too, but I'm afraid of it! I'm afraid of that scale.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But I think the headline out of our poll today is Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio is now tied with Carly Fiorina. And he's moving on up.

DAVID BROOKS:

I would say that the two key things in the polls, Ted Cruz so far has not become the next Trump. He's not inheriting anything yet from Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

He's not the outsider candidate for some reason. Neither of them--Fiorina grabbed it.

DAVID BROOKS:

Rubio is grabbing the plausible candidate mantra right now.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

But grabbing it--But I was going to say, grabbing is money. And at some point, even though we never thought that Trump or Fiorina or Rubio would be where they are today, the money's going to follow them because there are people who are, Jeb Bush people, who at some point are going to say, "You Know, the train's leaving the station."

CHUCK TODD::

Right.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

But--

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, last words here.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--timing is important. And so is Rubio peaking too early? I think he might be. Cruz might be in a better position, actually.

CHUCK TODD:

Who knows?

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Keep your head down. Keep your head down.

CHUCK TODD:

You know what? Exactly. We'll find out next week, right, with the new poll. Anyway, thanks to the round table. We'll have more from you in a bit. But I want to show you these pictures. People are gathering in Philadelphia where Pope Francis will celebrate mass this evening. A million people are expected in the city of brotherly love, folks. Wow, we'll be back in less than a minute with our endgame segment and a papal visit unlike any other.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD

Look at this scene right now of folks gathering in Philadelphia where people are ready for a mass from Pope Francis, that he'll be giving later this afternoon. The pope of course has asked many to pray for him as he's delivered a political message of social justice and the need to help those who are in poverty. In fact, during his speech before Congress, he mentioned two Americans whose names you may not have been familiar with, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.

Some to say, neither were perfect Catholics in the traditional sense. Merton was a monk, a prolific writer, and a supporter of the nonviolent civil rights movement. Dorothy Day, some called a radical journalist as well as an ardent pacifist. After converting to Catholicism, she helped create the Catholic worker movement that still exists today to directly help those in need.

I want to bring in George Weigel. He is our senior Vatican analyst. George, let me ask you, how much does Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton and the pope's decision to use those two names among as also with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, what does that tell us about his own politics?

GEORGE WEIGEL:

It tells us that he's basically a Christian radical, Chuck, and a pastor. Lots of us who don't necessarily share Dorothy Day's pacifism during World War II, or Thomas Merton's views of the Vietnam War, still find these entirely admirable people because of the deep, deep quality of their faith and the struggles they went through.

Dorothy Day called her autobiography The Long Loneliness. This was someone who knew that Christianity was very demanding and did her darnedest for decades to live that radical gospel both in her own spiritual life and in her service to others. Thomas Merton was deeply steeped in traditional monastic spirituality but reached out to other great monastic traditions around the world, especially Buddhism. And introduced America to this classic notion of meditation and the contemplative life. So I think what the pope was doing was not sending a political signal here so much as a deep, spiritual signal.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this. There's been a lot of people who are trying to read political tea leaves into what the pope said in front of Congress. It seems as if he emphasized issues like climate change and the economy and he deemphasized issues like abortion and marriage. Is that a fair takeaway? Or do you think the media's overhyping it?

GEORGE WEIGEL:

No, I don't think it's a fair takeaway. The connecting thread through the four big speeches here, Congress, the UN, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and I expect we'll hear it again at mass this evening, is religious freedom. And that concern of the pope's, religious freedom in full, the ability of the church's institutions to be themselves, according to their own convictions of faith and conscience, was dramatically underscored on Wednesday night when he paid an unexpected visit to the home for the indigent elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor near Catholic University in Washington. The Little Sisters of the Poor are suing the Obama administration on the famous ObamaCare contraceptives mandate.

CHUCK TODD:

Basically a not-so-subtle message is what you're saying?

GEORGE WEIGEL:

Yeah, no, there was nothing subtle about that one at all. And, you know, for a guy who's not supposed to be judgmental, he was making some judgments here.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough. George Weigel, I'm going to let you go. We are always indebted to you when we cover anything having to do with the papacy. We appreciate it here at NBC News. George, what a week you've had. Thank you sir.

GEORGE WEIGEL:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me bring in the panel. David Brooks, the thing that caught me the most on Congress is here's somebody who lives in Italy. Obviously, not Italy technically, the Vatican is its own country. But lives on another continent. And when he spoke before Congress, he knew that the first thing he had to talk about was polarization. And he sort of lectured them in a very nice way. What does that say about Congress?

DAVID BROOKS:

Well, the Catholic church has history of that too. Listen, he's operating on the different axis than the rest of us. We're on a horizontal axis, left/right. He's up and down. And so what he did was to defeat polarization the right way, by uplifting hearts and uplifting souls. And whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, I think everyone felt uplifted. And the big effect of this week is not what he says on global warming.

It's that hundreds of thousands of people will have their hearts opened by his presence. And some percentage, their life will be utterly altered by this week. Today in Philadelphia, there'll be tens of thousands of people whose souls are just exploding. And they will look back on this moment as the moment their life changed.

CHUCK TODD:

Andrea, it's unbelievable. By the way, is Francis and Obama going to be bonded together a generation from now the way John Paul and Reagan were?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well yes, on, on particularly on Cuba and Iran. We were up there, I was up there at Congress. And the most incredible uplifting spirit, and then 24 hours later, exactly 24 hours later, we are in, you know, a world war up there with Boehner resigning. And now you're going to have a huge fight over who's going to be majority leader. We assume Kevin McCarthy is going to rise up. But the--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm not assuming anything anymore in this race, but that's all right.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But I have to tell you that as Boehner was resigning exactly, I was in New York. And the most moving experience I had was watching the pope at Ground Zero and the interfaith prayer. So go online and watch that, because that was profound.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, go ahead very quickly.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Just, Speaker Boehner was one of the people most, I think, profoundly affected by the pope's presence.

CHUCK TODD:

He was too.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

But he was deeply moved, he's a devout Catholic. One wonders what that had to do with his timing, and also how will it affect his next month, and it's his last month as speaker.

CHUCK TODD:

It could be. Very quickly, I've got to show you this. We've been discussing the huge crowds that the pope's visit has attracted this week. Plenty of emotion shown, particularly by John Boehner. But look at this, Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Bob Brady decided he wanted a unique memento of the papal visit. After the pope had finished his speech to Congress, Brady helped himself to that very glass of water that the pontiff had been sipping from as he made his address.

Brady, who has said he believes the water in the glass is holy, shared some of it with members of his family and staffers in his office. He intends to sprinkle the rest on his grandchildren. And get this, by the way, this is not the first time Brady has done this. He swiped President Obama's glass after the inauguration in '09, though he says he hasn't drank out of it. That's sort of an interesting fireplace mantel thing, don't you think there, Andrew? Is that a collection you want to start?

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

Does he keep the glasses?

CHUCK TODD:

He keeps the glasses.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN:

He actually physically keeps the glasses?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

This is the Philadelphia way--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I don't think that's--

DAVID BROOKS:

Wafers and wine--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I don't think that--

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--make holy water. I don't think that's how you make holy water.

CHUCK TODD:

I admire the faith.

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I don't think that's how you make holy water.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, you've got to give him credit. He was throwing himself in there. Anyway, that's all we have today. I'm going to be back tomorrow now on MSNBC at 5:00 p.m. Eastern for my new show MTP Daily. I have the second part of my interview with Hillary Clinton and much more. We talk a lot about Syria and Libya in particular, so tune in for that. Because now if it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, it's MTP Daily. And of course, we'll be back next week, because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *