Meet the Press   |  August 18, 2013

50th anniversary of March on Washington nears

A Meet the Press roundtable remembers the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and looks forward to the commemoration of the historic March on Washington.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> republican party . we're coming up on an anniversary that is going to give the president an opportunity to highlight some presidential leadership moments. we're talking about the anniversary of the march on washington coming up on august 28th . that's where dr. martin luther king jr ., of course, made his "i have a dream" speech. 50 years ago next sunday, king appeared on this very program. here is some of what he had to say.

>> i think that we must face the fact that in reality, you cannot have economic and political equality without having some form of social equality . i think this is inevitable, and i don't think our society will rise to its full maturity until we come to see that man are made to live together as brothers and that we can have genuine intergroup, interpersonal living and still be in the kind of society which we all long to achieve.

>> congresswoman, next saturday, the 50th anniversary , president obama going to recreate that moment, in effect, on the washington mall . how significant is it?

>> i think it's really significant when you think 50 years ago, and i think that, you know, dr. king did have some vision that some day there might be an african-american in the white house , living that dream. and i think the president is going to speak to that. and most importantly, i think he's going to speak to economic inequality . he's done that a number of times over the last several weeks and months. and i think that the speech in washington is actually going to give him an opportunity to follow up on the dr. king dream, say i saying it's social equality . you know, we've had problems around race relations , but it's about economic inequality .

>> rich lowry , does he use any part of this as a way to challenge republicans to try to jump start something in his second term on inequality, on the economy?

>> i doubt it. and it's sort of an inappropriate forum for that, i would think. what i take away from the march on washington -- abraham lincoln referred to the declaration of independence as this electric cord going throughout all of american history and you had those marchers grabbing on to that chord and using that to make the country a more just place.

>> robert gibbs .

>> obviously, it would be a special moment, and i think, you know, we look back 50 years and see how much the country has changed, how much it still has to come, but understanding the role that martin luther king played, as "time" magazine pointed out this week, is probably one of the founding fathers of modern america.

>> john lewis 's speech, right? john lewis will be on this program next week, a special edition of "meet the press" as we mark that 50th anniversary . thank you all very much for the discussion this