Meet the Press   |  January 01, 1910

Next president must 'act fast'

Nov. 2: David Broder, David Gregory, Michele Norris and Chuck Todd discuss what is ahead for the next president with NBC’s Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press.”

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MR. GREGORY: I think it's probably optimistic on the part of the McCain campaign that they break in a way of 2-to-1 or in such a fashion that's decisive for McCain . But nevertheless, if we look at the primaries in a state like Pennsylvania , we see that these undecideds are not breaking for Barack Obama. With all this spending, with all of the media saturation that Obama 's had, it's hard to think at this point, if he hasn't gotten them yet, that he's going to get them now. All of these threshold questions about whether he can handle the big stage seemed to have been answered or not answered, depending upon where you're coming from.

MR. BROKAW: We're talking a lot about the election and what happens on Tuesday, understandably, but it's Wednesday that also interests me. The line that's been going around is that the candidate who wins is going to wake up and demand a recount because of what's ahead in terms of the meltdown and the economy, the vexing decisions that are going to have to be made. You know, let me just share with you what Tom Friedman writes this morning in The New York Times .

"Since the last debate, John McCain and Barack Obama have unveiled broad ideas about how to restore the nation's financial health, but they continue to suggest that this will be largely pain- free. McCain says giving everyone a tax cut will save the day. The Obama tells us -- Obama tells us only the rich will have to pay to help us get out of this hole. Neither is true."

Based on what you're seeing in the polling, Chuck , how much are people looking for more candor from their candidates and willing to make those sacrifices that they've not been asked to make in the last eight years?

MR. TODD: Well, I do think that there's going to be an expectation that there's acting fast. There's -- gone will be the days of checking in on the president-elect as he's relaxing at his, you

know, where he's trying to figure out, "Is it going to be a Western White House , a Southern White House , a New England White House ." It is going to be an expectation that he hits the ground running. But I tell you, I'm just concerned watching everything that's -- we're going to see 10, maybe 10 new senators, 12 new senators, you know, mostly from the Democratic Party . Potentially 40 to 50 new House members. Folks that have -- are really new to the system, not just new to Washington , new to politics, new to what they do. You know, when they -- some of these folks that are going to win, when they announce, they really didn't think they were going to win, they were sort of trying this out for once to see if this was going to be... And so the learning curve , not just for the incoming president, but this new Congress . You know, there is -- this first 60 days in -- before these guys take the oath is going to be very critical because their problems are too big.

MR. BROKAW: Finally, there's a phantom in all of this, and we want to share with our viewers what John McCain had to say about the sitting president back in March when he wrapped up the nomination.

SEN. McCAIN: I intend to have as much possible campaigning events and -- together as is in keeping with the president's heavy schedule. And I look forward to that opportunity.

MR. BROKAW: David , have you ever seen a president so completely disappear?

MR. BRODER: Not since Lyndon Johnson and, and Hubert Humphrey , I think, have we seen one quite like, like, like this. That's a little cruel to John McCain , because he was saying the absolute minimum that he had to say when he was standing next to George Bush . He knew perfectly well that he was not going to be enlisting President Bush in this campaign.

MR. BRODER: And he's been emphasizing the last two weeks, "I am not George Bush . If you want to run against him, you should have run in 2004 ."