Meet the Press   |  November 03, 2013

3: Roundtable reflects on remarks from Romney

A Meet the Press panel analyzes comments made earlier on the show by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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

>>> here this morning, bob woodward , david axelrod , katty kay and bill kristol . now, david gregory .

>>> we get back to the story now of one tsa agent who was left for dead . pete will tell us how the 23-year-old suspect could now be facing the death penalty . pete ?

>> investigators are trying to determine what got paul astencia into the letters he was carrying. he said if tsa is going to treat every american as a potential terrorist, then it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. the note also said he had no intention of killing, quote, innocents, and that he made a conscious decision of trying to kill several tsa employees. he said he wanted to instill fear in what he called their traitorous minds. they haven't been able to question him because he's in critical condition in the hospital, but he could get the death penalty if he's convicted. he shot several rounds at hernandez , but when he moved away and hernandez started to move, he returned and shot him again, and as we know, hernandez was fatally wounded, david .

>> how much additional security will there be for tsa at airports?

>> they said the shooting will not lead to a decision to arm tsa officers, and they have a couple reasons. first they say airport security has never been tsa's mission. that's in the hands of airport police or other city officials who do carry firearms. the job of tsa is to protect airline passengers by keeping dangerous things off planes. and second, tsa officers are not sworn officer officials. they do not have arrest authority, they are not trained to use firearms. they could be, but that would represent a major change in their mission. all of that said, the union that represents tsa employees says airports need to provide more armed security at the screening checkpoints, david .

>> all right, pete reams here in our newsroom. thanks very much.

>>> i want to get back to talking about mitt romney and obama care. he had very tough criticism for president obama just a few moments ago. listen.

>> and whether you like the model of obama care or not, the fact that the president sold it on a basis that was not true has undermined the foundation of his second term. i think it's rotting it away. and i think the only way he can rebuild credibility is to work with republicans and democrats and try to rebuild a foundation.

>> rebuild a foundation is what he says is the job now for president obama . here is his approval rating . our poll last week with the wall street journal has the president's approval rating at 42%, disapproval at 51%. it's a big deal . all-time low for him. the roundtable is here to discuss. david axelrod , would you like to respond?

>> i'm having flashbacks when i hear that number, david , because i remember when i was in the white house in the spring of 2010 and we had the oil leak in the gulf and washington was in a twitter about that. and our numbers were damaged by that, and it was why can't they get it done? why didn't he know what was going on in the minerals and mine service? this is obama 's katrina. then we plugged the leak, got republ repairs for people in the gulf, and it wasn't mentioned in the 2012 campaign. so i think it's hard to make a judgment.

>> obama care is not the oil.

>> no, it's not, but if i were concerned about these numbers as well as the number of people that can get on this website and get obama care. i think when they fix that, this problem will take care of itself.

>> is this a grand problem of the inability to solve problems?

>> that's a good question. obviously, we don't know, and you're right, health care is not the bp oil spill . it's something that's going to go on for years and decades. you talk to people about it and say, we're really not in the first inning of the nine-inning game. so it's going to take a while to sort this out. i go back to the old notion of follow the money. where is the money going in health care ? and individuals are going to pay, employers are going to pay, the government is paying subsidies, but the real interesting x factor are the insurance companies , and we've got to look at what the insurance companies are doing because they're going to have to pay these claims. are they really going to cover people? are they going to shy away from it? and the real answer is we don't even come close to knowing answers.

>> how much damage, bill kristol , is being done to the obama presidency right now?

>> a lot. a lot. they had two and a half years to implement it, they spent $6 billion on the website alone, tens of millions of dollars advertising trying to convince people it was the answer. obama care is failing and will fail and i'm very much looking forward to being on the show in january of 2017 when finally all of obama care is repealed. parts of it can be delayed and even parts of it can be repealed. think a month ago. how crazy is it for ted cruz to say we should delay the mandate? how crazy is it to say premiums might go up? and now they're saying, gee, we have a big problem.

>> spoken by a man who has good health insurance .

>> it's a little early to say obama care is totally sunk. we don't know how many people are going to sign up. we need 7 million healthy young americans to sign up to this program, and we will probably know fairly late in the six-month process because young people are not the people who sign up in the very beginning. they're young, after all. they think they're invincible, they'll take their time and shop around. this website is a disaster, but to say obama care the policy has failed, we can't say that. if enough young people don't sign up to make this financially viable, then you have a serious problem. but we can't make that call right now.

>> can't we say that, in fact, it's not true? if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, the premiums won't go up. these are things that already are not the case.

>> no, no, we can say in a small cohort who got bad substandard health care policies after the law went into effect that they will have to transition to other policies. i know something about this. when i was 26 years old, i got a health care policy. i thought it was adequate. i was healthy and as long as it was healthy, i was good. then i had a child who was born with a chronic illness. it cost us $1,000 for prescription coverage, which we didn't have prescriptions for her to keep her alive. none of the treatments that was outside the policy was paid for. i would make it as $35,000 as a newspaper reporter. i almost went broke. there are a lot of americans who think they can get by with substandard, and i wish somebody had set standards then, david .

>> but this is about political practice and leadership. if you believe all those things and, therefore, you want to get the very best health care , you were in the white house . you were advising the president on the kinds of things he should say. why did not you or somebody else say to him, mr. president, don't say no matter what you're going to keep your health care plan. was that bad practice?

>> hindsight is 20/20.

>> but that's why you're there.

>> the vast majority of americans , that statement will hold true for this small group of americans , it has. but the calamitous thing here is that the people who had to transition will get better insurance for less money. they can't tell that right now because they can't get on the website .

>> this can be rectified. i remember early in the obama presidency, and there was some dispute about the cabinet nomination and the president came out and said, i screwed up. why not just be straightforward? he said, this is absolutely everyone's going to keep their insurance. why not correct it?

>> he could say we didn't anticipate this one glitch, we adopted those policies, but many of those people will get better care for less money when this website is up and running and they can select it.

>> why wasn't there a better education effort to get out in front of this and go to americans whose policies were going to change and explain why. there is a fairly good case to be made about minimum standards, the kinds of things that can hit you if you have a substandard policy. never was that education process carried through from the white house , and i think that was a failing.

>> the obama allies and fans i have talked to, their opinion is twofold. one, if you believe government is the only one able to solve these big problems that you undermine it for years, if not more, with this troubled rollout. and the obama people who championed him to win reelection, look at the cover of "new yorker." it looks so retro when it comes to technology.

>> david , i tell you again, i think bob said the key thing. we're in the early innings of the game. to declare this, to define this whole program by the web start -- by the website debacle at the beginning and the rollout, i think, would be a huge mistake. they will fix the website , i'm confident of that. if they don't, as deval patrick said, that's another story. but when they do, people are going to find there are good deals to be had that they never had before.

>> i want to switch a little bit and talk about politics here in the book "double down game change 2012 ." i asked governor romney about it and maybe i'll ask chris christie about it during the break. they write in the book about the prospect of switching out biden, putting hillary clinton in place. david , you say didn't happen like that?

>> i was there. i'll tell you exactly what happened. that was the buzz in the political community in the fall of 2011 . it was raised that we should take a look and see if that even makes a difference. there were no focus groups, there was no big project. we put a question in a poll where we split the poll and we tested the obama /biden ticket and the obama /clinton ticket against the presumed republican ticket, and what we found was what people always find when they test these things, which is the effect was minimal. people don't vote for vice presidents , they vote for presidents. it would have been a disastrous decision to replace the vice president.

>> you took it seriously enough to poll it.

>> we tested everything. and that was our job.

>> everything but obama care.

>> we tested it over and over which is why the president kept misleadingly saying you could keep your doctor ask your plan. they tested that.

>> early reading on hillary clinton here, the fact they tested it and it wasn't an overwhelming change?

>> all my democratic friends say she's the front runner and i say, you're welcome to it. the republicans for years have voted for the front runner , someone who ran and lost. she's someone who is there because she's sucked up all the money from the party. let the republicans have the vigorous fight the governors have had in the past among young governors and senators who have fresh ideas. i look forward to 2016 .

>> governor romney sounded like he was leaning pretty forward in