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CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday on the campaign trail, Beto O'Rourke makes it official. He's running.

BETO O'ROURKE:

I'm running to serve you as the next president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

His first trip to Iowa draws throngs of voters, lots of reporters, and very few specifics.

BETO O'ROURKE:

If you have all the answers, why show up?

CHUCK TODD:

But in Iowa yesterday, the Texas Democrat told me what sets him apart.

BETO O'ROURKE:

There's one candidate who's there who can talk about the profoundly positive impact that immigrants have had on our safety and security.

CHUCK TODD:

This morning, my on-the-trail interview with Beto O'Rourke, plus my one-on-one in Iowa with Senator Amy Klobuchar on her campaign.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I wasn't born to run, but I am running.

CHUCK TODD:

On whether she's a progressive.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I'm in the getting-things-done wing. And I am a progressive.

CHUCK TODD:

And on bringing down health care costs.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Pharma may think they own Washington. They don't own me.

CHUCK TODD:

Also, first veto. The Senate votes to block President Trump's border wall emergency declaration.

SEN. TODD YOUNG:

The joint resolution is passed.

CHUCK TODD:

And Mr. Trump strikes back.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it.

CHUCK TODD:

I'll talk to one of the 12 Republican senators who voted against the president, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. And that terror attack in New Zealand. How white supremacy is being driven by a dark internet culture. Joining me for insight and analysis are: José Díaz-Balart,, anchor on Telemundo and NBC News; Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour; Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute; and Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of U.S.A. Today. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the longest-running show in television history, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, good Sunday morning and a happy St. Patrick's Day. The race for the Democratic nomination has been going on for some time now. But Beto O'Rourke's announcement on Thursday, fairly or not, seemed to signal that the starting gun at least in the campaign part of it had just gone off. There have been a handful of eagerly awaited candidacies in recent history that matched the frenzy preceding O'Rourke's announcement. Ted Kennedy was the presumed Democratic frontrunner in 1980 against President Carter right until he announced. Nearly three decades later, a first-term senator named Barack Obama rode his pre-announcement enthusiasm all the way to the White House. And twice the prospect of a Ronald Reagan candidacy generated huge Republican excitement, in 1976 when he lost the nomination to President Ford and then again in 1980 when he won the presidency in a landslide. Already O'Rourke's candidacy, along with the adoring Vanity Fair cover story that came with it, has inspired comparisons. Is O'Rourke the gifted political athlete in the image of Reagan or a bright-lights flameout like John Edwards? This much we know. However O'Rourke's candidacy ends, it's beginning in the full glare of a fascinated media.

BETO O'ROURKE:

We will either make or break the future of this country.

CHUCK TODD:

In Iowa this weekend, trailed by crowds and cameras, Beto O'Rourke is making it official. He's running. After an early morning announcement --

BETO O'ROURKE:

I am running to serve you as the next president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

-- that glossy Vanity Fair cover story declaring, "I'm just born to be in it," and the expected attacks from the president.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

A lot of hand movement. I've never seen so much hand movement. I said, "Is he crazy? Or is that just the way he acts?"

CHUCK TODD:

While other Democrats run on signature policy proposals, O'Rourke is betting on a national unity message and largely avoiding specifics.

BETO O'ROURKE:

I mean, if you have all the answers, why show up? If you're not ready to listen and to learn, then what's the use of campaigning?

CHUCK TODD:

He was once for Medicare for all. On Friday, he backtracked.

BETO O'ROURKE:

I think that's one of the ways to ensure that we get to guaranteed high-quality health care for every single American. I'm no longer sure that that's the fastest way for us to get there.

CHUCK TODD:

And he declined to say whether President Trump should be impeached.

BETO O'ROURKE:

I leave it to Congress, where the power resides in our Constitution.

CHUCK TODD:

One thing O'Rourke did make clear: He plans to run to the right of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on economic issues.

BETO O'ROURKE:

I consider myself a capitalist.

CHUCK TODD:

He will be pressed to answer why an increasingly diverse party should select a white male nominee and is responding to criticism after these comments in Iowa about his wife.

BETO O'ROURKE:

My wife Amy is raising, sometimes with my help, Ulysses, and Molly, and Henry. Not only will I not say that again, but I'll be much more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege.

CHUCK TODD:

Other 2020 Democrats are already raising money off of O'Rourke's new candidacy.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND:

I am delighted that we have so many Democrats who want to take on President Trump.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS:

The more, the merrier.

REPORTER:

Do you have any comment on Beto O'Rourke getting into the race, senator?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Free country. Anybody can run.

CHUCK TODD:

At a Democratic Party dinner on Saturday night, the last major holdout in the race, Joe Biden, nearly slipped up and declared himself a candidate a bit early.

JOE BIDEN:

I'm told I get criticized by the new left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the-- anybody who would run.

CHUCK TODD:

Biden clearly arguing electability as Democrats debate whether the 2020 race is about ideological transformation, generational change, or simply who can win.

IOWA VOTER:

The most electable progressive. But the progressive part of it's important though.

CHUCK TODD:

How important is electability to you?

IOWA VOTER:

It's huge.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, yesterday I was in Waterloo, Iowa. It's good to be back there. And I managed to grab a few moments with O'Rourke on his first weekend of campaigning. O'Rourke's presidential campaign kicked off roughly four months after his two-and-a-half-point loss to incumbent senator Ted Cruz, which yesterday was one of his favorite applause lines because it is one of his best cases he can make because it was the best showing a Democrat in a Texas Senate election had ever had in decades.

CHUCK TODD:

When I heard you say up there you came 2-and-a-half points short I was thinking, "What if you hadn't?" Would you be in Waterloo today?

BETO O'ROURKE:

I might be in Waterloo helping Eric Giddens.

QUESTION:

Have you thought about that?

BETO O'ROURKE:

But I don't know that I would be in Waterloo, and Keokuk, and all the other communities I've been in to run for president. I was running to serve my state in the United States Senate and I'd made that commitment that I was going to serve everyone in the six years in that position of public trust. But I have an opportunity now to do something that I think the country badly needs. Or maybe I should put it this way, I get the chance to be part of something that the country badly needs, and that is coming together at this very divided moment. And not just coming together for the sake of it, although that's important enough, but coming together so that we can achieve these really ambitious goals that we have for ourselves.

CHUCK TODD:

You're not the first candidate to say, "I'm going to bring this country together." The most recent Democratic president a lot of people put their hope in and thought he was the answer that was going to do that. Why do you think that didn't happen in Obama's eight years? What was hard and why do you think you'll be able to do it?

BETO O'ROURKE:

Yeah. I don't know. I know that President Obama worked incredibly hard to find common ground with Republicans and Democrats alike, took a message to the entire country. But I'll say he was able to achieve a heck of a lot in those eight years. Domestically you look at the Affordable Care Act and millions of Americans who lead better lives, many of those lives saved because of that legislation. In foreign policy you prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And there were little and perhaps smaller victories along the way. All I know is that everyone I've met, the most partisan Democrat, the most hardcore Republican, wants to see us come together and they want to make sure that we get something done. They don't want the perfect to become the enemy of the good. And as I shared with someone earlier today, if we wait until we're in office to begin this work it will be too late. It has to start now in the way that we campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

You have admitted that, hey, you're in a party right now that isn't necessarily interested in a white male candidate, and that you're sort of at a disadvantage in that. And yet the coverage of your campaign some people have criticized going, "Oh, it's not fair. He's getting coverage that some of the other candidates didn't get." You've actually tried to answer some of that criticism. What do you say to that?

BETO O'ROURKE:

Yeah, I would never begin by saying I'm at any disadvantage at all. As a white man who has had privileges that others could not depend on or take for granted, I've clearly had advantages over the course of my life. I think recognizing that and understanding that others have not, doing everything I can to ensure that there is opportunity and the possibility for advancement and advantage for everyone is a big part of this campaign and a big part of the people who comprise this campaign. I just think that this is the best field that we've ever seen in the nominating process. I think the diversity of background, and experience, expertise that is going to be brought to bear on these problems is exceptional. And I know at the end of the day we're all going to be on the same team and I'm excited about that. And so that's the way that I'm going to continue to run. But I'll tell you I also happen to be the only candidate from the United States/Mexico border at a time that that dominates so much of our national conversation and legislative efforts and the things that the president talks about. There's one candidate who's there who can talk about the profoundly positive impact that immigrants have had on our safety and our security, as well as our success and our strength. I ran for statewide office in what was thought to be a red state, and that state is now in play by most people's estimation. So there are some things, perhaps, that, you know, will be different about this candidacy, from the candidacy of others. If that's better, if that's worse, I don't know. I leave it to the voters to decide.

CHUCK TODD:

We’re going to get a long time-- let me just ask you one last question in this way, people are trying to get to know who you are. Give me three or four books that you read that would say, "You know what? If you read those books you'll get an idea of how I think."

BETO O'ROURKE:

Yeah. The Odyssey is my favorite book of all time. It's got so many stories within the story, but ultimately about homecoming, and family, and friendship, adventure, and struggle, and loss. I'm in the middle of reading Uninhabitable Earth, which clearly describes the consequences of inaction. I'm reading some articles right now by an economist named Darrick Hamilton that talks about how wealth has accumulated in this country that disproportionately favors white households at the expense of black households and lays out some policy prescriptions for coming back. And I'm also concurrently reading a book by Joseph Campbell about the power of myth and kind of the universality of human experience. And it's a great way to escape from the immediate world and get to something deeper, and at the same time further away. So those are a few books.

CHUCK TODD:

Good luck staying isolated right now.

BETO O'ROURKE:

Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate it. Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that was former Congressman Beto O'Rourke with that quick pull-aside interview with me yesterday in Waterloo, Iowa. But if you're into politics, there was no better place to be than Iowa yesterday or New Hampshire when a presidential race begins. And yesterday there was no better place than Waterloo, which is where I also managed to spend some time with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. We sat down at the Screaming Eagle American Bar and Grill, and I asked her when she first started thinking about running for president. And Klobuchar said it was in college. But distinctly, she noted, not at birth. You made a reference to "born." Do you feel born to do this?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Oh, that's the Beto line.

CHUCK TODD:

It was the Beto line. But you brought it up. I'm just curious.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

No, I will say that, you know, I have a lot of respect for Beto. And it's great to have some Texas in this race. But no, I wasn't born to run for office, just because growing up in the '70s, in the middle of the country, I don't think many people thought a girl could be president. I wasn't born to run. But I am running.

CHUCK TODD:

You said, during your announcement, we shouldn't wallow over what's wrong. Is there anything Donald Trump's done, as president, and you think, "You know what? That wasn't bad"?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Well, I am glad that he's pushing on Venezuela right now. I think that's really important. You've got a dictator in place there that's got to go. I think there are a number of things that he's said he wants to do, like bring down prescription drug prices, that I agree with. My problem is, he doesn't have the will to actually get it done, whether it's the people around him that are whispering, "Oh, don't take on the pharma companies," or whether it's just the inability to work with Congress to pass legislation. Drug -- insulin, simple drug prices tripling, quadrupling, doesn't make any sense. And we can bring those drug prices down.

CHUCK TODD:

You brought up Venezuela. What would be your line on military, on military intervention? I mean, he's using motorcycle gangs. It's clear people are getting killed there. At what point do you think it's the United States' problem too?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Right now, it's our problem, in that we need to push for humanitarian aid. We need to make sure that, I'm glad we have recognized Huerta [sic] the -- who should be, the president here, Huerda [sic]. And I'm also glad that we're trying to push Maduro out. But the answer here is to make sure that we are working with our allies, pushing for democracy and some kind of a negotiated agreement. Military should always be on the table, but I don't see that we use it now.

CHUCK TODD:

General Stanley McChrystal has a question that he always asks in the job interviews. And I've picked it up. And I've used it now with, on these candidate interviews. And it's this. What would someone who does not like you say about you?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I think you've heard some of it. Some people might say that I can be too tough, and I push things too hard. And, and you know, that's a fair criticism. But I do it for a reason. And I do it because I want to have high expectations for myself and the people around me and for our country. And I think those expectations have fallen in the last few years. And we need to get them to the place where America is, again, the beacon of democracy and a country that can be respected around the world and in our own nation, that has the backs of people.

CHUCK TODD:

How important do you think it is for the Democratic party to make sure they nominate somebody that isn't a white male?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I don't think there should be one litmus test. But I do think that our ticket should reflect the country. And I always like to say, "May the best woman win." We saw in 2018 --

CHUCK TODD:

You say the country or the party? You know, the majority of the Democratic party is female, not male. So is that, is that the case?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

No, but for the country. A woman can well represent men. And one of the things that bothers me is where I hear things that people don't think that. In my own state, I have won with women, and I've won with men. I've won every congressional district, including Michele Bachmann’s. And I've done it by not just running as a woman. I’m proud to be a woman candidate, but by looking at what unites us, by going not just where it's comfortable, but where it's uncomfortable. And I think, when you look at 2018, we have a roadmap. A number of incredible women won,including two new congresswomen right here in Iowa, including the new Governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly.

CHUCK TODD:

Presidents always have a lot of things that they promise, when they run. And we're talking about various issues. But the reality is this. The first issue you pick, the first big issue you pick, is the best chance that you have to get passed. And everything else decreases. What will you make -- what is number one, in your mind, that you’ve got to, that you know -- that is going to be the hardest thing to do, so you're going to do it early? Healthcare was Obama’s. What is yours?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Bringing down healthcare costs with some much-needed changes to the Affordable Care Act. And that would be, first of all, pharmaceutical prices. I have been on this for over a decade. And neither during Democratic or Republican administrations, have we had any significant votes in this Congress. Pharma may think they own Washington. They don't own me. And this means everything from unleashing the power of 43 million seniors to negotiate lower prices under Medicare, bringing in less expensive drugs from Canada, stopping the pay-for-delay practice, a bill that I have with Senator Grassley. So I would push those. I would also, on day one, put us right back into the International Climate Change Agreement.

CHUCK TODD:

So let me go to healthcare. What that sounds like is -- and I've heard you say this before. You’d love Medicare-for-All. But, but you've got to do what you think you can do. It sounds like you're the candidate of Obamacare. And you believe, make Obamacare work first before figuring out what's next.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I believe in bringing out universal healthcare to all Americans. And we're not there yet. And the fastest way --

CHUCK TODD:

But you want to use the, but you want to use the structure of Obamacare?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Yes, I do. And the fastest way you get there is with a public option. You can do that with Medicaid. You can do it with Medicare. I would get that done in the first year as president. There's no reason we can't do that, as well as immediately using reinsurance and cost sharing, things that would really help here in Iowa, where they've had some major issues with their premiums.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you tell the folks that say, "No, no, no, no, no, no. You know, stop that. Obamacare isn't the answer. Go to Medicare-for-All"? What do you tell those folks?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I tell them that we have had some major successes with the Affordable Care Act. We have made sure kids get on their parents' insurance until they're 26. We have stopped people from being thrown off their insurance for pre-existing conditions.

CHUCK TODD:

And finally, there apparently is going to be another conversation in the Democratic party about reparations for descendants of slaves. Where do you come down on that?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I believe we have to invest in those communities that have been so hurt by racism. It doesn't have to be a direct pay for each person. But what we can do is, invest in those communities, acknowledge what’s happened. And that means better education. That means looking at, for our whole economy: community college, one-year degrees, minimum wage, childcare, making sure that we have that shared dream of opportunity for all Americans. And I'll tell you this. You know, we may look different. We may pray different. But we all have that shared dream of America. And that is not being sent to many communities right now in this country. And it is hurting not just them. It is hurting our whole country.

CHUCK TODD:

Is a reparations debate a good debate, or is it one that could get, that could get taken out of context?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I think these debates are actually good to have. I think it's good to have a debate on the environment now, so we can make the case, you know what? Economically, when your home insurance goes up by 50%, we've got a problem. It's an economic problem, with climate change. When the floods are coming down to Iowa again, including projections, right here, with the Cedar River in Waterloo or the Mississippi coming down from Minnesota, where I just met with our weather experts, when this kind of stuff is happening, and you've got hurricanes battering Florida, and you've got wildfires in Colorado and California, these are debates we have to have. We have to have a debate on race, yes. But what I am tired of doing is admiring the problem. Let's get the solutions in place. And that's what's cool about the fact that we have leadership in the House that's finally pushing through ethics bills, trying to get the dark money out of politics. We're in a different place after 2018. But right now, it's just going to be proposals passing one house, being squashed down by Donald Trump. This is our moment to get it done in 2020.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Klobuchar also talked about whether she's in favor of adding members to the Supreme Court. We talked about the death penalty and about the label "progressive." You can see the entire interview, as you will with all of my sit-downs as we go through these presidential candidates, on MeetThePress.com. By the way, big shout out to my friend Ivan from the Screaming Eagle. Thank you, brother. When we come back, Beto's in. So what does that mean for the one big name still to announce, Joe Biden? And as we go to break, when I was in Iowa yesterday, I asked Democratic voters what they're looking for in a candidate.

CHUCK TODD:

What matters most to you: somebody that you agree with more or just the person best equipped to take on Trump?

IOWA VOTER:

I think it needs to be a combination of both.

IOWA VOTER:

What matters to me are the particular issues.

IOWA VOTER:

We definitely want whichever candidate can beat Donald Trump.

IOWA VOTER:

He may not even be there then. So I'm not going to worry about him.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Panel is here. José Díaz-Balart, anchor of Saturday NBC Nightly News, among other jobs. A lot of them, more of them at Telemundo. Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of U.S.A. Today. And Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of the new book Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. Good luck with that, Arthur.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Well, thank you. Let's start today.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let's start. You know, Arthur, I want to start with you with Beto O'Rourke because in some ways, you and I spent a lot of time this week about your book. And he is trying to be an uplifting messenger. You try to be an uplifting messenger from a conservative point of view. But I would say this. He's a lot of optimism. But the question is: Is there any there there? Do you sense there there?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

It's hard to say. I mean, I think that he basically has ascertained that America does not want another player in the outrage industrial complex. And so he has to do one thing. He knows that for a Democrat to beat Donald Trump, you have to be basically nice, normal and not weird. And so that's what he's trying to do. Now, the problem is he has to backpedal all the time. He has to apologize. You know, he says, "Yeah, I'm out of town a lot and my wife has to take care of the kids when I'm gone." Pretty normal joke. And now he has to backpedal and apologize for it. That's a mistake for him to do that in my view, not that he's asking my point of view. But I actually believe that the brand of being normal and nice can be incredibly successful. Not to be outraged. Not to fire people up in the way that they hate others and treat other people with contempt. So, so far, so good. Now, he's got to have some more substance going forward, as you pointed out. And we'll see.

CHUCK TODD:

There's another challenge here, Susan. Let me read you from the Daily Beast under "The unbearable male privilege of Beto O'Rourke." And this is what the author writes, "It's not news that women have to be at least twice as qualified and still expect at least twice as much criticism and doubt. But the Beto reception points to a problem that persists specifically in presidential politics today. For both Democrats and (as the current presidency clearly illustrates) Republicans, we have a bias towards newness, conflict, and theater." By the way, the contrast between Beto and Klobuchar, if you will, in the two ways they're going about this, I think, this is emblematic.

SUSAN PAGE:

Pretty, pretty remarkable. Of course, Amy Klobuchar probably could not have thought of herself as born to be president because when she was born, women just generally could not aspire to be president. And as a matter of fact, you may have noticed we've not yet had a woman as president, even today. So that's a message that may persist with some little girls. So of, of course she doesn't come with that sort of confidence about her role in the world. But what she does offer is centrism, pragmatic views, an achievable message. What does she want to achieve? "Let's bring down health care costs." What does he want to achieve? "Let's heal the nation." Those are very different approaches to presidential politics.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

I was thinking about your exchange, though, with Senator Klobuchar when you thought about, when you asked her about reparations. And instead of articulating all the different inequalities that come with black people and white people in this country, she pivoted to climate change. She pivoted to talking about all Americans. And that's a message that of course should be had by Democrats. But I think a Democratic Party, especially the Democratic base, is hungry for someone to say, "I know that things aren't equal, and I'm not just going to lift all boats. I'm going to look at this little boat here and say, “African Americans have particular problems that stem from slavery. And let's look at them in a, in a way where we can actually look at things not just as all people.” I think Beto is going to have some issues when it comes to people receiving him in this party because I think we're looking at all of these candidates with 2019 eyes. After the #MeToo movement, after Ferguson, we're looking at him and saying, "Okay, you have your wife in this three-minute video. Why can't she speak?" So I think that there are a lot of people--not to say that she should speak, but there's just people that are looking at it and saying, "If the wife is going to be there, why not have her say something?" So I think that some of this might be outrage, right? Some of this, people might say, "You're being too politically correct." But I think Beto's going to have to, to have to navigate that.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

And yet Beto is the one that gets a Vanity Fair cover. Yet Beto is the guy who with the dog and the pickup truck is on every cover, you know, of magazines. Why is that? Why is it that someone is chosen to be the poster person for what's hot and interesting at the time? Why is it that people who have deep thoughts and Klobuchar had some very interesting policy positions. Talking about Venezuela, which is, by the way, going on right now. And it's a crisis that we must deal with. But why is it that he is the one, the flavor of the month?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Because he's--

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Because he's what?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

He's telegenic. Because he's attractive. I mean, you know, the truth of the matter is he's somebody that people want to look at. The same reason that people are talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is because she's, she’s attractive. People want-- she's interesting. She's, she’s nice to look at on television. And that's what television does. It gives you an image along with a message.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Magazines as well--

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Magazines as well. Absolutely--

SUSAN PAGE:

But a huge opportunity. Not a guarantee. And you think, "Is he John Edwards? Or is he Ronald Reagan?" Well, the fact is Ronald Reagan was good looking, and he was fresh, and he was interesting, and he had a lot of very specific policy proposals that he had developed over decades of thinking about them. So on day one, Beto O'Rourke doesn't need to know what he thinks about Medicare-for-All or have a coherent answer on impeachment. On day 50, he better.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

That's why I think we're going to see a vetting of that. I think people are going to look at Beto and say, "Why is he getting this cover?" and I was reading that article about kind of the white male privilege that that writer from Daily Beast was writing about. And she said, "Well, why does he get to say that he's not exactly sure of things and gets to go on this kind of tour where he thinks about himself?" I would, I would say that Stacey Abrams, someone who hasn't announced and said she's still thinking about 2020, she said, "Look, I'm still dealing with the after-effects of running for governor and losing." I think people are okay with that from a black woman. So I in some ways would push back from the idea that only Beto could do that.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. There is another-- you brought up Stacey Abrams. And, by the way, I -- Dan Balz this morning, I mean, she's clearly leaning more into a presidential perhaps than I think many people realize. But let me play that clip again from Joe Biden last night. And forget the accidental slip up. Listen to the first part of what he said very carefully. Here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JOE BIDEN:

I'm told I get criticized by the new left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- anybody who would run.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

It was a very important tell. Not the second part. The first part. Susan Page, he's going to run on the Obama-Biden record. And he's going to say, "Whatever you want to say, that's the new standard bearer for progressivism. Top it. I did it." He's running his third term. Can you look back and be the candidate of the future?

SUSAN PAGE:

Historically, no. Historically, that is a really hard thing to do. And Joe Biden has another problem, which is that he wasn't first elected as Obama's vice president, he had a long history in public office, including some aspects of his career that do not represent the most progressive parts of the American government or of the American left. So this is not a statement he's going to be able to make and get, get by with. He's going to be challenged on where does he stand and where does he stand, as you say, looking forward, not looking back, either to the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration or to his years in the Senate before that?

CHUCK TODD:

You know what's interesting to me? The question I have is: Can he handle six months of Iowans kicking the tires on other candidates while his support goes down a little bit? Maybe he's there as the, "Okay, we're for Biden,” but they have to go through these other phases.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

They have to go through these other phases, and they have to also -- he's going to be vetted in a way that 2019 is going to look at all the things he does. I'm waiting for the Anita Hill interview. I'm waiting for the person who, who starts talking to him about integration and his writings about whether or not he thinks that integration is still a problematic thing, as he's, as he’s said in the past. There is going to be a vetting of Joe Biden. Right now, I think the name recognition is why he's at the top of the ticket when you poll Iowans and nationally. I think that there's going to be a vetting that’s going to change things.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

I am looking forward to the debate that NBC, and Telemundo, and MSNBC are going to have.

CHUCK TODD:

Look at you.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

The first debate with--

CHUCK TODD:

Ding, ding, ding, ding.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

--all of the candidates.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

His key strength is going to be that he's going to say he's a uniter, not a divider. When he said "the new left," that's the key thing.

CHUCK TODD:

Boy, that was an interesting--

ARTHUR BROOKS:

The "new left." He was basically saying that, "These are a bunch of dividers that are trying to whip people up and make people hate each other. And I'm not going to do that because I didn't do it with Obama."

CHUCK TODD:

I'm glad you brought up that phrase, too. That was an important message he was sending to the party. Anyway, when we come back, President Trump took not one, not two, but three hits from Congress this week. I'm going to talk to one Republican who voted against the president's national emergency declaration, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN TAPE)

IOWA VOTER:

I am more concerned about -- health care is number one. Two, something that a lot of people aren't talking about is public education. That's huge.

IOWA VOTER:

We have real issues. We have challenges. And this is the most diverse city in the state per capita.

IOWA VOTER:

Education, health care, civil rights. Everybody being treated equally.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. President Trump was rebuked three times this week by members of his own party on Capitol Hill. First, the Senate voted to end support for the Saudi led war in Yemen, largely as a show of disapproval for the president's handling of the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Second, that unanimous non-binding resolution passed to the House, urging Attorney General William Barr to release the full findings of the special counsel's Russia investigation. And third, and perhaps the most personal for the president, 12 Senate Republicans joined 47 Democrats to reject his national emergency declaration to fund his border wall. On Friday, Mr. Trump responded by issuing the first veto of his presidency. Now, there are not enough votes to override it. So this is likely to be the end of this debate for these two branches of government. The Supreme Court comes next. Joining me now is one of the Republicans who voted against the president, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Senator Toomey, welcome back, sir.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Good morning, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

So let me start with this. Look, I feel as if you and many -- and your other 11 Republicans that voted with the Democrats on this were trying to send the president a message about the Constitution, a message about Article I versus Article II to the president. He clearly did not hear that version of the message. The president almost was gleeful in vetoing it. Does that disappoint you, that he didn't hear your Constitutional argument?

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Well, you know, I think the president came to a different conclusion about the Constitution and the law, as did about three quarters of my Republican colleagues to be -- you know, to be candid about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, do you think --

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

But you're right --

CHUCK TODD:

-- they really mean that? Or do you think they voted that way?

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Look, I don't question the motives. I look at what people do. You're right that this was never about the wall. I'm pretty sure every Republican that voted in favor of disapproving of the emergency declaration, including me, we support the wall funding. And if we did have the votes to override the president's veto, the president would still be able to build a wall. What's important to me is the source he uses to fund that. It should be a source -- it should be a combination of sources that Congress has approved of, not those that have a very legally dubious basis. So for me, it was about the separation of powers. And I think that's an important issue.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you hope the Supreme Court takes this up? And which part, and how do you want them to look at this? Do you want them to look at the appropriations aspect of it or the legislative disapproval of the emergency?

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

So, so my -- I might have a somewhat outlier and certainly nuanced view on this, Chuck. I'm not sure that it is straight up an illegal act. I think it's a strained argument, but there is a plausible argument for the legality of what the president did. There's a plausible argument for the Constitutionality. What we voted on on Thursday was not a question of whether the president has broken the law. What we voted on was whether we approve of what he did. And I approve of border wall construction. I don't approve of the way the president is funding it. So when that question was before me, I voted to disapprove of the declaration. I’m not -- The courts might very well end up siding with him.

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't know for sure if this is unconstitutional? I mean, this is the first time the emergency act was used to essentially -- to overturn a rejection of a funding proposal to refund -- I mean, that is something that had never been done before in the emergency act.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

I totally agree. And that was fundamentally why it was inappropriate, I think. And that's why I voted as I did. But as you know, courts are generally reluctant to overrule a president's judgment all about what constitutes an emergency. And Congress did delegate authority to the president under this emergency -- the emergencies declaration act. So I don't know how the courts end up deciding on this.

CHUCK TODD:

Is it time to redo the emergencies act? There's been some --

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Yeah. Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

-- movement to do that. I think Mike Lee's proposal.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah. Do you want that, the 30 days sort of contin -- that it, it's the other way? Congress doesn't reject or flip it the other way, essentially?

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Yeah, you're absolutely right. So I think for decades now, Congress has been transferring way too much Constitutional authority from the legislative branch to the executive. That's very bad for a representative democracy, for a republic such as ours. And this is one area where we should simply reclaim the legislative responsibility that, that we have in this regard. So we delegated this authority to the president. You know, initially, that delegation of authority, the National Emergency Act, included a Congressional only veto power. That was struck down. What we could do is reclaim that responsibility by requiring Congress to provide its ascent before a presidential declaration can go forward. And I fully support that.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright I want to --

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

It'll be interesting to see if our Democratic colleagues do, Chuck, because, of course, they're very happy to poke President Trump in the eye. Will they join us in making sure that this can never happen again?

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's funny you bring that up. Let me ask this because a lot of your Republican colleagues said a lot of rhetoric about Barack Obama and executive power. And then, of course, you could make an argument President Trump has pushed the limits even further. I mean, when are we going to end this sort of, "Oh yeah, you guys, oh yeah, you guys"? We are in a bad place here.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

We are in a bad place. I don't agree that President Trump pushed it further. I think President Obama did, between the recess appointments, unappropriated funding for parts of Obamacare, the DACA and DAPA, which he himself admitted he had no legal authority to do. And I was very critical of that. And that's part of why I think Republicans should stand up. And if the president gets into a gray area or uses legislation in a way that Congress didn't intend, I think we should stand up. I'm hoping that those of us who are consistent about that might persuade others to adopt a consistent approach. And I'm hoping that we restore some of this authority to Congress where it belongs.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask about what happened in New Zealand. And I want to ask about it in terms of rhetoric. You know, the president offered condolences to the prime minister of New Zealand. And her, her ask back to him was, "Can you essentially say better things about Muslim communities around the world?" When the president uses the term "invaders," does that dehumanize to the point where it can get misused? I mean, it is not healthy for anybody, for these crazy people to be citing our president of the United States in their manifestos.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Chuck, look, I have often disagreed with things the president has said and the things that he has tweeted. But I think it's a long way to attributing any kind of real link between what the president might say or tweet and the extraordinary type of madness that leads someone to massacre people in large numbers, whether it's in Pittsburgh at a synagogue or whether it's in New Zealand.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this. You brought up Pittsburgh because this person also seemed to get a little more fired up on the internet, on the dark corners of the internet. Let's be honest here, Senator Toomey, if this, this person had used NBC's airwaves or Comcast's equipment to push out his manifesto and to push out that killing, the world of hurt would be brought down on us by the FCC. There are regulators out there. These internet companies have done nothing about this. They wait till after the fact. And do we need to do something to treat these companies as media companies? That Facebook would get held as responsible as any broadcast media company would?

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

You know, I mean, that’s a, it’s a -- it's a big, really important discussion, Chuck. I'm not sure where we come down on this because, as you know, in many cases, these companies are really aggregators and, you know, they don't have their own news departments, per se, in some cases. They don't have their own editorial boards. And so they're aggregating messages and they're providing a platform. And this, this is a new, very, very important challenge for us. I don't think there's an obvious or easy answer.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Senator Toomey. I will leave it there. Republican from Pennsylvania. As always, sir, thanks for coming and sharing your views. Good to see you.

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY:

Thanks for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. When we come back, millennials are much more open to socialism than older voters. And we may have just figured out one big reason why that is these days. That's coming up.

CHUCK TODD:

We are back. Data download time. The problems with fairness and equality in our higher education system have been splashed across the headlines all week. But one key issue has not been part of this conversation, student loans and their potential to upend the entire economy. And by result, our politics. For many millennials, student debt is up and home ownership is down. According to the Federal Reserve, a $1,000 increase in student loan debt causes a one to two percentage point drop in the home ownership rate for student loan borrowers during their late twenties and early thirties. So how do millennials stack up to other generations? Well, millennials on average carry roughly the s ame amount of debt as baby boomers, $36,000, and slightly less than gen-Xers, $39,000, according to Northwestern Mutual. But it's where millennials' debt comes from that's striking. 21% of the debt comes from student loans. 20% from credit card bills. And only 11% from mortgages. Compare that to gen-Xers and baby boomers, whose mortgages make up 32% and 25% of their debts respectively. Millennials simply have less money to put in the economy. And that could impact how they view our political system. In our most recent NBC News Wall Street Journal poll, Americans age 18 to 34 was the only age group where there is not a majority who believe socialism is a negative term. Look, millennials, taking on record amounts of student loan debt, because these universities jacked up tuition rates in order to achieve the American dream. But they don't see a way out of a hole they're in. They may see more reason to topple the entire system. When we come back, how white supremacy is getting a boost in the internet age.

ANNOUNCER:

Meet the Press is sponsored by BP. At BP, we see possibilities everywhere.

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with End Game. I wasn’t -- we're sort of out of the Trump tweet business here. But my word, the last 48 hours he seems to be on another level of agitation. It been -- he’s -- every conspiracy theory he could think of on Mueller and all of this stuff. And now he's angrily attacking John McCain again. Arthur, your book is Love Your Enemies. What do you tell to people -- what do you tell to Meghan McCain? What do you tell to Mark Salter? What do you tell to people when he's sitting here just -- just angrily and in mean-spirited ways continues to just sully this man?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

This is -- well, he's on the wrong side of where most Americans are. 93% of Americans hate how divided we've become as a country. One in six Americans have stopped talking to a family member -- family member or close friend because of the election in 2016, because of politics. That's not a mainstream point of view.

CHUCK TODD:

But Donald Trump is the one. This is him --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

I got it. I got it. And that's how he works --

CHUCK TODD:

-- lighting the fire.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

But in point of fact, that gives an opportunity for all of us who have a public platform and all aspiring politicians, including the ones we've talked about today and people on college campuses, to start a new movement that starts with themselves and actually gives people what they want. They don't want this hatred. They don't want this outrage. And we can actually--

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

You know -- I --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

-- come back from this, starting with ourselves.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

-- I think we all have a responsibility. I mean, social media has made people maximalists. Made people to think that, "I can't not only disagree with you, I must destroy you because you think differently than I do." And I think we all have a responsibility to tone that down and to say --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

We have an opportunity. José, we have an opportunity. Here's the key thing. We are unhappy because of this. We have an opportunity to be happier as people by acting in a different way.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

That said, the person who currently resides in the White House can help themselves. If we're talking about Donald Trump, he's someone who built his brand and has succeeded in becoming president by being mean, by attacking people. In John McCain's case, it's the fact that he really is just angry at him. Angry at his legacy, angry at the fact that he's probably thinking about that amazing funeral that he had and all the people who were -- who were saying about how he was a hero and how he was a symbol of America and the best of this country. I think that the president just can't help himself when he looks on SNL and sees people ridiculing him. He says, "You know what? I want to just vent and be angry." And --

SUSAN PAGE:

You know, I think --

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

-- there's no one in the White House who can stop him.

SUSAN PAGE:

I think it tells us something very particular and that is how concerned Donald Trump is about the Mueller Report because--

CHUCK TODD:

Good --

SUSAN PAGE:

--this is what seemed to spark the tweet--

CHUCK TODD:

You could be right.

SUSAN PAGE:

--that it goes back to the Steele dossier. So what is on President Trump's mind? I don't actually think it's his dislike for John McCain. I think it's about the perils that are ahead perhaps very soon when it comes --

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Words matter.

SUSAN PAGE:

-- to the Mueller Report.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Words matter.

CHUCK TODD:

Speaking of words, here's the president being asked about the issue of white supremacy and the -- and the mass murder in New Zealand.

(BEGIN TAPE)

REPORTER:

Do you think today white nationalism is a rising threat around the world?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:

I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's a case.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

But the real issue here may be what's happening in the dark internet. I want to bring up what The New York Times highlighted on Saturday. "Online extremism is just regular extremism on steroids. There is no offline equivalent of the experience of being algorithmically nudged toward a more strident version of your existing beliefs or having an invisible hand steer you from gaming videos to Neo-Nazism. The internet is now the place where the seeds of extremism are planted and watered, where platform incentives got creators toward the ideological polls, and where people with hateful and violent beliefs can find and feed off one another." And let me just say this, we work with the -- New Zealand to worry about extremism with radical Islamist followers. It sounds like we need a white nationalism extremism database and start working with our allies on this?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

The idea is that the president had this opportunity to once again denounce white nationalism. And once again say, "Even I was mentioned in the manifesto, and I found that disgusting." He didn't do that. Instead, what he did was say, "This is a problem, but it's not as big as people are making it out to be. The numbers bear that out." I was talking to White House officials just this morning who said that they think the president was condemning this act. And as a result, people should take that as condemning white nationalism. But there should be -- there could be programs. There could be research done particularly into white nationalism because we know it's a growing thing.

CHUCK TODD:

This -- it's obvious there's an internet issue.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Yes. Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

We've got two shooters who cite this Norway-- this is the dark web, Susan. Or you brought it up, go ahead, José-

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

No, and--

CHUCK TODD:

--uniting these people?

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

And it's not just the white nationalists. I mean, look at all of the assassins, these terrorists, in San Bernardino, in Pittsburgh, in New Zealand, in Brazil this week at the school. They're all basing it on others who they've found on the internet to have their same thoughts and concepts.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

And this is not just the dark web. This is the interesting thing.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Correct.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

What's going on is you saw James Hodgkinson who tried to kill Steve Scalise and those other Congressmen. He was reading mainstream stuff, you know, just mainstream political content that was very, very sort of othering. And saying that people were deviants, that the stuff that says that people are evil and stupid on the other side. You know, for us, it makes us -- it might whip us up into a frenzy.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Yes. Tatchell--

ARTHUR BROOKS:

But for somebody on the other side pathologically, that can actually make somebody murderous.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Tatchell’s Theory.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

And that's a big problem. That's our responsibility--

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Yeah, of social --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

-- as people in public life.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

- responsibility.

CHUCK TODD:

Can I just tell you, Susan? As somebody said, when Facebook worried about a child pornography issue being spread different ways, they found a way to fix their algorithm to deal with it. They can do something about this. They choose not to.

SUSAN PAGE:

And, you know, we are just being to understand how this works, how these platforms are not neutral things that don't affect the debate. That they affect the debate in ways we are just beginning to try to figure out. And it's changed attitudes toward the social media companies. You know, there was a time when the idea of government regulation of social media companies was seen as absolutely unacceptable.

CHUCK TODD:

Tax free internet.

SUSAN PAGE:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

"Oh, let them go."

SUSAN PAGE:

You know what? That day is over. When they -- social media companies are being held to a level of responsibility. And that is going to involve new forms of government regulation that we are just now understanding --

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

And Chuck, we should be looking into this. We should be looking into white nationalists and how they get their information and what they do with it and if it's a red flag or not. All of us have a responsibility to talk about the important --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

We can fix it.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

We can fix it.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

We can fix this with -- by talking about the big problem which is anonymity on the internet.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

Yeah, but also --

ARTHUR BROOKS:

We can repudiate, we can--

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

--all of us can do more.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

--we can stop being anonymous--

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

We can do more.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

You still have to have the will to do this from the actual federal government. The president right now does not seem like he has the will to do this.

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

True.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR:

And then you have Senator Toomey telling you when you ask that smart question, "What should we do with these social media companies?" he said, "I'm not really sure. We need to look at this. But--"

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

The concept--

SUSAN PAGE:

"-- there is no --"

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

--that it's us against them, that we're better than you, that we don't assimilate, all of these issues are things that we can be doing to mitigate and minimize this divide.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

And the social media companies can actually start dealing with the level of anonymity by requiring people to give their real identities to participate.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. This has to be the last comment. You guys can keep talking, but I need --

JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART:

We will.

CHUCK TODD:

--15 seconds to say this. That's all we have for today. Thank you for watching. Enjoy not too much green beer, but just enough. We'll be back next week because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.