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Meet the Press Transcript - January 4, 2015

MEET THE PRESS -- SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, the coming battle. A newly involved President Obama prepared to take on the new Republican Congress.

JOHN BOEHNER (TAPE):

We will take this fight to the president on the strongest possible ground with new majorities that the American people elected.

CHUCK TODD:

But on the brink of full control, Republicans are scrambling as a party leader admits to addressing a white supremacist group and puts the party in damage-control mode on the eve of their takeover. Also, 2014 was supposed to be the year the U.S. military finally left Iraq and Afghanistan for good.

PRESIDENT OBAMA (TAPE):

Our longest war will come to a responsible end.

CHUCK TODD:

But the rise of ISIS and a resurgent Taliban have left both countries in chaos. Are we now in a permanent state of war? Plus, women in charge. Just one of the 50 largest cities in this country will have women in the top three jobs in 2015. Do you know which city it is? I'll be joined by the women running this town.

I'm Chuck Todd. And joining me to provide insight and analysis are John Stanton of Buzzfeed News, Helene Cooper of The New York Times, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, and Matt Bai of Yahoo News. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

And good morning. Welcome to the first Sunday of 2015. The battle lines have been drawn. On one side, you have a newly-invigorated President Obama. In fact, he's going to hit the road this week not just to sell his agenda, but to try to get some credit for this economy recovery and acquire new political capital. Yes, he lost the midterms, but the White House believes they won the lame duck.

On the other side, you have a more powerful Republican Party. They hold both houses of Congress and they're ready to fight over an aggressive agenda of their own. Keystone, taxes and trade, immigration, education, and of course, the health care battle. But now, just as the Republicans were ready to take on the president, they have to deal with an internal problem. A potential scandal, involving one of their leaders, Steve Scalise, and a white supremacist group.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

I haven't used a veto pen very often since I've been in office. But now I suspect there are going to be some times where I've got to pull that pen out.

CHUCK TODD:

Just as President Obama is challenging Republican leaders to quote, "prove they can govern," they are scrambling to contain the fallout from the revelation that a top House Republican leader spoke to a white supremacist group back in 2002. On Tuesday, the new majority whip, Steve Scalise, called the speech to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, leaked to a blogger by a former opponent, a "mistake I regret."

REP STEVE SCALISE:

I'm not familiar with who that group was, but from what I've seen about them, they don't represent the values that I represent and I detest hate groups of any kind.

CHUCK TODD:

The group was founded by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Earlier this week, Duke's long-time political advisor denied Scalise spoke to the group. Duke though says he may have. Either way, Republican leaders are standing behind Scalise. Speaker John Boehner calls him, quote, a "man of high integrity, a good character," saying, "More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment." And most importantly, Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond, the only African American member of the Louisiana delegation, is defending Scalise.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND:

I don't view Steve as having racial challenges at all. I think that he is just a hard-working public servant that would go talk to anybody at any time whether he agrees with their social beliefs or not.

CHUCK TODD:

Some conservatives, particularly the anti-Boehner voices, are skeptical of how this has been handled, and see a double standard, believing if Scalise were a real tea partier, he wouldn't be in his jobs. RedState's Erik Erikson: "How the hell does somebody show up at a David Duke organized event in 2002 and claim ignorance?"

Radio host Mark Levin: "If Scalise was a tea party member of Congress serving in leadership, Boehner and his media cheerleaders would've forced his resignation by now." FOX News host Sean Hannity is renewing his call for Boehner to step down. In 2002, incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was forced to resign his leadership post when, at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday, he praised the South Carolina senator who ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist platform.

TRENT LOTT:

We voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have all these problems over all the years either.

CHUCK TODD:

Now Republicans have to prove they can govern. Already, both parties in Washington used their weekend video addresses to tee up the same old political fight.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:

Everyone is beginning to realize what millions of you already know. The Affordable Care Act is working.

REP. RODNEY DAVIS:

One problem with the health care law, one of many, is that because of its costs and mandates, small businesses face higher costs and have to hold off on hiring.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

So will Washington work in 2015? I'm joined by Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Welcome to both of you. Welcome back to Meet the Press.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Barrasso, let me start with the Steve Scalise story. Should he be serving in leadership as a representative in the Republican Party?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

If you talk to this group and it seems that there is some confusion if he did or not, I think it's a grave mistake on his part. But I--

CHUCK TODD:

Grave's a strong word.

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

Well, I think it's a grave mistake to speak to that group. But I think Cedric Richmond makes the point. He's a congressman, the next district right over from Mr. Scalise. He's a Democrat, African American, he said, "Steve Scalise doesn't have a racist bone in his body," and I'm going to stick with that.

CHUCK TODD:

And you're comfortable with his-- I mean, this adds to the stereotype of the Republican Party that Democrats want to paint.

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

Well, the Democrats do want to paint this. But I've just gotten back from Wyoming, this has not come up as a discussion in Wyoming. People there want to talk about the new incoming Republican leadership in the Senate, the majority there, jobs, the economy, what we're going to do about debt and spending and the health care law.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Klobuchar, do you think it's a disqualifier in leadership?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I think that it's something that the Republican leadership is going to have to decide and live with the consequences. It was clearly an inappropriate place to be. This was a Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke. But what I'm more interested in, when always this kind of thing happens, people disown it, they say, "This was wrong," but what do we do about it?

What are the actions? I'll give you a few. The Republicans can move along on Loretta Lynch fast. She's a U.S. attorney. The nominee for attorney general. She's been vetted before. Get it done in a month. The Justice Department runs the civil rights enforcement in this country. Get the voting rights bill done.

There were ten Republicans in the House on it last year, Sensenbrenner leading it. Get that done. That's action, not just words. And get immigration reform done. To me, that is what you do when you've got a major problem like this. You say that you disown it, you say you want to move on civil rights, then do it.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Barrasso, is that a proper response?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

I think we need to get the new senators sworn into office, move in. Specifically with regard to Loretta Lynch, I've met with her, we had a very cordial meeting. The issue there is the president's illegal action on executive amnesty.

CHUCK TODD:

Is she qualified to be attorney general?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

Well, that's going to come up in the questioning, what she views with the president's actions on amnesty. Is it legal, is it not legal, is she going to be the people's attorney, is she going to be a presidential protector? And that's going to be a big part of this. These hearings are going to be very consequential.

CHUCK TODD:

And you're going to be very much focused on immigration?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

Well, that's certainly going to be part of it because of the president's actions, which I believe have been illegal.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

What's the first bill that's going to be on the president's desk from this Republican Congress?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

The president's going to see the Keystone XL pipeline on his desk, and it is going to be a bellwether decision by the president, whether to go with jobs and the economy, his own State Department said it's 42,000 new jobs. This is a good infrastructure project, it's supported widely across the United States. He's going to have to decide between jobs and the extreme supporters of not having the pipeline.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Klobuchar, where are you on this?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Well, I believe that this project has merit. But I still don't think that Congress should be in the business of deciding where a pipeline is located. I think the president needs to make a decision. A lot of us are frustrated that it has taken this long. But I think the bigger issue--

CHUCK TODD:

How are you going the vote on this?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I have always voted to allow the process to continue. And that's where--

CHUCK TODD:

Allowed the process to continue means in favor?

(OVERTALK)

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

To allow the president to make a decision.

CHUCK TODD:

Gotcha.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

But I'm getting very frustrated with this.

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I don't think you're going to see a lot of votes switching on the Democratic side from just a month ago. The bigger issue here though, as we know, this is symbolic. And it has become symbolic on both sides. Bigger issue, we're now the number-one producer of oil in the world. We've surpassed Saudi Arabia.

Gas prices are down to something like two bucks a gallon in a lot of places. We're starting to move on climate change. And I think what I want to look for is the things where there's common ground. And there are things. Mitch McConnell said this week, they don't want to make a point, they want to make a difference.

Look at this, infrastructure funding, I think there's common ground on that. Getting our money back from overseas, over a trillion dollars sitting over there, and linking that into infrastructure funding. Making sure that we're moving on making sure that our high school kids are getting degrees with the jobs that we have. If they get one and two-year degrees, that we do something on the fact that it's harder and harder to afford college. I think those are things that there can be common ground on and we can go to the president and work with him on it.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I'm going to go to health care, I'm going to close with health care. Because Senator Barrasso, you've said, I think, two different messages on where you are on the health care law. In October of 2014, you said you would imagine that there would be a vote to repeal, but let's be realistic, Barack Obama is still going to be in the White House for another two years, and he's not going to sign that.

And then this week, you said, "We're going to use every tool that is out there, including reconciliation." Meaning that you might have a repeal in a reconciliation vote that would be mandatory with the budget. Where are you going? Is the priority of the Republican party to repeal health care? Or are you going to quote, unquote, fix it and go after it piece by piece?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

The priority is to repeal this health care law. It's bad for patients, bad for the providers, the nurses and doctors who take care of them, and terrible for taxpayers. We are going to put on the president's desk, at a minimum, stripping away the most damaging parts of the health care law. We're going to resume the 40-hour work week, which is hurting people right now in losing some of their pay. We're going to get rid of the employer mandate.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

So you’re not really going to do a repeal. There isn’t going to be a symbolic repeal vote. Or there is one?

(OVERTALK)

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

There will be a vote on repeal.

CHUCK TODD:

But that's probably not going to get to the president's desk.

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

The president in the White House will veto that.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

We will get on his desk for signature, bipartisan support, eliminating the tax on medical devices, the employer mandate, the 40-hour work week. We have bipartisan support for that. There have been votes on those bills in the House. Many Democrats have supported those efforts. This health care law continues, the costs are crippling the middle class. The vice president in his message yesterday said, "Things are great." They are not.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, there seems to be some dispute about what's working or not. But let's go to the medical device tax. Because Senator Klobuchar, you're somebody, you're going to support what a lot of Republicans -- a repeal of this. It's pretty important in your state. Where are you going to find-- that's how this law is being paid for, on small taxes and fees on various things, including the medical device industry. If you pick that apart, how do you know that 20 other interest groups aren't going to try to do the same thing? Don't you start pulling at a thread that actually undoes the health care law?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

This issue, as you know, while it's not part of the agreement originally, a major tax was smacked on the medical device industry. It was then just arbitrarily reduced in half. And so Senator Hatch and I are leading this effort, there are a lot of Democrats supporting it, including people like Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren. And the hope is that we will find a way to pay for this and get this tax off the books.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

But you haven't figured out how to pay for it yet.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

We are working on that as we speak. Again--

CHUCK TODD:

Anything you can leave our viewers with?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Well, again, we are looking at a way to reduce this tax. And I don't want to speak for Senator Hatch. And we're going to keep working on finding a way to do it. But the important thing is that this is a tax on manufacturing. I think the other future number here to leave, we've had 57 straight months of economic job growth in the private sector. We had the biggest reduction to the unemployment rate this year than we've seen since 1984. Our economy is gaining steam. And it is now important in this session for Congress to gain steam and to get to work on compromise.

CHUCK TODD:

I know you both are going to say you hope 2015 is about compromise, not conflict. But what's that likelihood, quickly. Senator Barrasso?

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO:

Well, I'm optimistic. I think we have a great opportunity as well as an obligation to the American people to listen to what the voters said. They want us to work together. And what we're ready to deliver is effective, efficient, and accountable government.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Klobuchar?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR:

We can finally govern from a position of opportunity and not crisis, when you see the economy. And that's what we're going to do.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Klobuchar, Senator Barrasso, we'll see. You guys sound good here. We'll be watching and so will a lot of voters. We'll get some reaction from the panel, John Stanton, Helene Cooper, Andrea Mitchell, Matt Bai. John Stanton, I want to go to the issue of Scalise here. You're a veteran Capitol Hill reporter. These stories look like they die down, and then everybody comes back, and then suddenly Scalise has to survive one more week here, doesn't he?

JOHN STANTON:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Before this is quote, unquote, "over" for him?

JOHN STANTON:

Yeah, he's got a week. Assuming that there's no more instances of him speaking to groups like this, and assuming he can deal with some of the questions about some of the state-level votes on Martin Luther King Day and get past this, he should be fine and the Republicans should be fine.

But I think talking to Republicans, they all saying, "We're supporting him for now, but he has to go out and deal with this. We're not going to take any kind of heat for him on this thing anymore because he's just going to start backing up our agenda if he hangs out there."

CHUCK TODD:

Andrea, I am taken aback. Trent Lott, you could say, said nice things about an old man at his 100th birthday party. How he said it, obviously, in heat. And there was an agenda by some who want to get rid of Lott.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

Scalise obviously doesn't have any enemies yet, because if there was an agenda to get rid of him, this could've been used as an excuse to do it.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

It certainly could have. And I don't think he's over it yet. I agree, we'll see what happens in the next week when the leadership votes. But he's gotta be the whip. Which means he has to really have relationships within his caucus.

CHUCK TODD:

Boy, that’s just--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And if you look back, there's just no credible way that anyone in Louisiana politics did not know what David Duke represented. We showed the famous Meet the Press with--

CHUCK TODD:

A couple of them with--

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

With Tim Russert questioning David Duke. In 1999, two years, three years before this happened, he was running for Congress. He was in a run-off a decade earlier for governor.

CHUCK TODD:

Matt, before I move on to this, you wrote this on New Year's Day, Five Ways to Know You're Speaking to White Supremacists. Number one, the group was founded by David Duke. Number two, banners that say things like "White Power" hang from the ceiling. The name of the group is the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. The hotel hosting the event is ashamed. And no one there cares about his tax stand, which is what Scalise claimed. So you don't buy the story, do you?

MATT BAI:

I don't. I was having fun with it, but I think it's a serious issue. Now why does this story resonate? It resonates because the leadership of the Republican Party says they want to be a responsible party, a party that can show America they're serious about governing.

And there's a feeling that they are too often indulgent off the radar screen, where people don't see, indulgent of some of the darker impulses in that party and the darker impulses in America. That's why a story from 2002 resonates the way it does. And I agree with Andrea, I don't think it's credible that just because David Duke's right-hand man says, "Maybe he actually didn't speak," I think he was there and I think everybody in town knew what was going on at that conference.

CHUCK TODD:

Helene, let's move to what we saw there. A kumbaya, senators individually always say that they're going to get things done and they're going to work together. And then the reality hits the road. Keystone gets on the president's desk, he's going to veto it, then what is life like in Washington?

HELENE COOPER:

I think we definitely go back to gridlock in Washington. I'm just curious to see how the Democrats and Republicans are going to move forward on any kind of real agenda this year. I think what you're going to see, I think what the Republicans are going to discover is how you have to govern from the center. You can't govern from the right.

And I think this Steve Scalise stuff just speaks really to at a time when the Republicans want to be moving forward with their agenda. They want to talk about Keystone. They're still talking about, you just mentioned you began your show with the words "white supremacist group" and “Ku Klux Klan.” I mean, that is proof that--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

In 2014. It’s like where did we go-- how did this happen? Right.

HELENE COOPER:

Exactly. At a time where the Republicans are looking to appeal to the Hispanics and they're trying to move, you know, looking to show that they can sort of govern from the center. And they're inclusive of the entire country. This is the last thing we're talking about. David Duke and white supremacy is just not where they want to be.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, John, I'm curious with Senate Republicans. Are they going to have a harder time finding six to eight Democrats to get them over 60-vote thresholds? Or is it going to be harder for Boehner and McConnell to agree on specific pieces of legislation? I've been curious about that, because I don't think it's an easy--

(OVERTALK)

JOHN STANTON:

I don't think it's actually a problem with Boehner and McConnell. I think the two of them get along just fine.

CHUCK TODD:

Personally, yes.

JOHN STANTON:

And agree on most things. Where they're going to have the trouble is finding a way to get enough House Republicans to agree to things, that they can get this sort of revolving cast of six or eight Democrats. It's never going to be the same.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

That's what Senator Klobuchar was saying. It won't be the same ten Democrats, that it will be different Democrats, depending on the--

(OVERTALK)

JOHN STANTON:

Well, one of the first things they're going to do in the next two weeks is this immigration vote on DHS. And that is going to really test their ability to get anybody after that back on, if they can do it.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

And wait until they get to trade. Which Democrats are going to join with the president and who won't on trade, where he thinks he can cut a deal on trade with Republicans.

CHUCK TODD:

With trade, always go to the coasts. The coastal senators, no matter their party, usually are more open to trade than the ones--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Forget about the Midwest.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

All right, exactly. We're going to pause here. We're going to be back in one minute with a three-star general who says we've already lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. A few years ago, President Obama was essentially promising that 2015 would be the year that Americans could stop worrying about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And technically, U.S. combat operations did formally come to a close in Afghanistan in 2014. However, here are the facts.

There are still going to be 11,000 American soldiers remaining in the country just as chaos is beginning, thanks to a resurgent Taliban. And there will soon be 3,000 American troops in Iraq, where the situation there is if anything bleaker, thanks to ISIS slaughtering thousands and controlling large swaths of that country, as well as Syria. So we asked our chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, to take a look at what appear to be wars now without an end.

(BEGIN TAPE)

RICHARD ENGEL:

ISIS now has a new kind of brutal propaganda tool. The group is asking for tips online, on how it should murder a Jordanian pilot it captured in Syria last month. The first coalition pilot to be taken captive. Suggestions have been tragically pouring in, including impalement and burning him alive.

ISIS hardly seems deterred by the U.S.-led war against it, now in its seventh month. 2014 was the year when old wounds and old wars in the Middle East, many Americans hoped were over, returned to center stage. Syria imploded, allowing ISIS to explode onto the scene. And Iraq, well, the U.S. is now back at war there with around 3,000 troops on an increasingly dangerous training mission.

GENERAL BARRY McCAFFREY (NBC NEWS MILITARY ANALYST):

The Iraqi Army is coming apart. Twenty-five percent of it ran off and left their equipment. But it's hard to imagine a modest training mission being the key to gluing Iraq back together. I think it's come apart and it will now have to settle along new geopolitical grounds.

RICHARD ENGEL:

The war in Afghanistan won't go away either. Last month, the president in a very understated ceremony, announced the end of the combat mission there after 13 years. America's longest war ended with the faintest of whimpers.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

We've been in continuous war now for almost 13 years. Over 13 years. And next week, we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan.

RICHARD ENGEL:

But the war isn't really ending. And military families will still have to keep giving. Around 10,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to support local security forces. The mission's success is far from certain.

GENERAL BARRY McCAFFREY (NBC NEWS MILITARY ANALYST)

It's hard to imagine that the Afghan Army and police pulling together these district factions. So I think bad news in Afghanistan is what we ought to expect.

RICHARD ENGEL:

For the U.S. Military, 2015 will focus on preventing old wars from getting even worse. Which means those conflicts will continue to be a drain on American resources and perhaps a distraction from what could be the real security challenges, like Iran's nuclear program, or cyber warfare. The U.S. now seems to be in a semi-permanent state of war, unable to break from the past. For Meet the Press, I'm Richard Engel, Istanbul, Turkey.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm joined by retired Lieutenant General Dan P. Bolger. He's author of Why Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. And Sarah Chayes, she’s senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who served as a special advisor to Admiral Mike Mullen when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Welcome to Meet the Press to both of you.

General, let me start with you. It was your Veteran's Day op-ed in The New York Times that got a lot of people's attention, which essentially had the headline about why we lost both wars. The wars haven't ended, even though we're saying they have ended as far as 2014. What are we in right now? What is this war that we're fighting? How would you describe it?

LT. GENERAL DAN BOLGER:

Right now, Chuck, I'd say we're in the salvage or damage-control phase from two failed campaigns. In Iraq, we sent in just enough guys to help the current Iraqi government try and hold on to what they have. In Afghanistan, we're trying to do a similar thing with about 10,000 troops. In a landlocked country, where the supply lines run through Pakistan and Russia, pretty tricky area to fight in, even under best circumstances. Right now, we're just in damage control. We're talking about end-of-combat operations. Our enemies, the Taliban and ISIS are talking about winning.

CHUCK TODD:

So Sarah, what is the U.S. policy now? The president sort of hinted at it in this interview he did at NPR basically saying, "Look, I'm not going to have another trillion-dollar expenditure for a ground war in either Iraq or Afghanistan." But there seems to be a new containment policy that we're coming up with, without saying the word "containment." Is that fair to say?

SARAH CHAYES:

Good morning, yeah. I think it is fair to say. And I think what's really interesting about this policy is the president repeatedly explains that there is no military solution to these wars. And yet, you still see all of the focus, all of the energy, even at this somewhat reduced level, on the military approaches to the war. So in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus on the quality of governance, on the ability of populations to feel they've got a stake in the way their country is being run, has been really ignored for a dozen years.

CHUCK TODD:

And there's no evidence right now that we're even focused on planting the seeds anymore.

SARAH CHAYES:

Correct, correct.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, General, you, in your op-ed in The New York Times, said there needs to be an accounting of why we lost these wars. A 9/11-style commission that needs to be outside the military." And there's of course a cover story in The Atlantic Monthly, I know you're very familiar with, “Why Do the Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing: The Tragic Decline of the American Military,” by of course Jim Fallows. I know you know this report very well. Is he right, by the way? Why do we have this incredible military that can't win these wars? What is your explanation for it?

LT. GENERAL DAN BOLGER:

I think Jim Fallows, unfortunately, is right on target. And I think the reality is, the U.S. military is all about winning battles. But wars are an act of the entire country. And one of the challenges that we have, one of the reasons an accounting of these wars, as the president said, that we fought for more than 13-and-a-half years as an order, we have to determine what we're doing wrong that's preventing us from winning.

And in a military sense, Chuck, I could tell you. And Sarah referenced it when she said it. The military can give you a quick victory over a conventional army. It cannot deliver a rebuilt country in the place you go. That takes an effort of the entire U.S. population and government. And moreover, it takes the commitment of the American people for the long term. That's what Jim Fallows is getting at.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Sarah, what is going to be the solution next? What is going to manage this and then what? At what point do we walk away? Or do we now just never walk away?

SARAH CHAYES:

It becomes difficult to walk away because these situations are spinning quite badly out of control. And it's spreading. There is a theme in these conflicts that also crosses a number of other really serious security situations, which is acutely bad governance, or even kleptocracy. You look at the Arab Spring, look at Nigeria, look at Central Asia.

And these issues are not really being dealt with, they're being sort of relegated, as we keep playing catch up with sort of stopgap military approaches. And so it seems to me that if there really is going to be a way to address these issues, it's got to be the civilian components of U.S. government that really step up to the plate.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Sarah Chayes, General Bolger, thank you for a sobering look at what is the state of America at war. Or I guess this is what post-war America looks like in the 21st century. Thank you both. Let me get some reaction from the panel. Andrea Mitchell this is your beat. 2015, the year of no more wars. That's not the case.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

It's not the case. And the General and Sarah are both right I think in that we are not-- we’re winning battles, perhaps we're not even sure against ISIS that we're winning battles. And we're not winning quote, "wars." And I think this goes back also to the volunteer army, the lack of engagement by the country.

The country ramps itself up emotionally when there is horrendous beheading. But then it falls back off the radar. We go about our lives. We, speaking metaphorically, and we're not really engaged in this in a big way. And it's clear, the president does not want to be.

CHUCK TODD:

No. Look, the Jim Fallows piece in The Atlantic is a tour de force about this. And a sort of over-reverence for the military sometimes. That in a weird way, politicians, they're so afraid to ever say a bad thing about the military, look like they're saying a bad thing, that we don't have this sort of, "Hey, do we need to look internally and think that we're not equipped to fight these new wars?"

HELENE COOPER:

Well, you then end up, I mean, if you keep going down that road, you end up talking about a draft again. And that's something that it seems that this would never, the United States has moved so far beyond that. You can't even talk about that. It's sort of so interesting.

I thought the Fallows piece was really, really interesting. I had a few issues in it, one of them being that when we talk about there not being a connection between the United States and its military, I don't know that I would say there's no connection between the United States and its military. I think there's definitely no connection between the elite that run the United States.

I think though when you talk about the New York elites and all of that, but if you go to small-town America and if you go out, there are a lot of people who are very close to the military. And that I think is where you see that kind of disconnect. And I would like to see the conversation focus on that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's the real disconnect there. It's small-town America, Matt Bai, who's fighting these wars. It's new immigrant populations.

MATT BAI:

Lower income.

CHUCK TODD:

Lower-income America that's fighting these wars. Nobody is disputing though that this military isn't well equipped. I think the question is this strategy of dealing with terrorism and terror groups. There maybe isn't a military solution.

MATT BAI:

Well, what strategy? We're 14 years into the new age of terrorism.

(OVERTALK)

MATT BAI:

There's no discernible strategy. There is no public consensus. Look, I talked to Jim Webb, I interviewed Webb this week, he's thinking about running for president. This is something he's adamant about, wants to start a debate with Hillary Clinton, or whoever runs in the Democratic field about these endless engagements.

I think it's important, because I think this is actually where campaigns really matter. I think the debate in 2004 and especially in 2008 had a lot to do with, I think Democrats actually backed themselves into an Afghanistan policy because of the political reality.

CHUCK TODD:

No doubt. When the president said, "One was a dumb war"--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

It meant that Afghanistan must be--

MATT BAI:

You had to have a good war.

CHUCK TODD:

You must have a good war or a smart war--

MATT BAI:

And then how do you back away from that?

CHUCK TODD:

Look, John, I'm convinced that the improving economy means foreign policy could be the dominant topic of 2016.

JOHN STANTON:

Yeah, I agree. And I think if you look at this as Afghanistan, Iraq, now Somalia you're starting to see areas where there are attacks on U.S.-trained troops. We're trying to sort of stand up people there to fight these things. And that strategy, just this morning, there was a car bomb targeting folks in Somalia. And I think that is going to become a major problem where they can't even point to that now.

They can't say, "Well, we've got troops on the ground that are not ours, but we've got them ready to go." And that's clearly starting to fail. I don't know how you get around that if you don't want to send more Americans in.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. And that doesn't seem to be where anybody is at these days, except for a few in Congress. All right, we'll hit the pause button here. In a few minutes, women in charge. We're going to meet the women who run all aspects of a major American city. And you will know this city a lot better than you think.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. When former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away this week, the country lost a liberal icon. What Barack Obama was to progressives last decade, what Elizabeth Warren is today, that's what Mario Cuomo was to progressives in the 1980s.

After losing a nasty runoff election to Ed Koch for mayor of New York City in the '70s, Cuomo beat Koch in 1982 for the Democratic nomination for governor. And of course, he won the general election. By 1984, with Cuomo's keynote speech to the Democrat National Convention, Cuomo has supplanted Ted Kennedy as the leading voice of American liberalism.

(BEGIN TAPE)

MARIO CUOMO:

There is despair, Mr. President in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit in your shining city.

CHUCK TODD:

Cuomo was the poet laureate of American liberalism in the '80s, where he famously once said, "Politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose." In his three terms as governor, he balanced budgets, reduced taxes, and stood strong against the death penalty when it was not very popular to do so. But for some, Cuomo will likely be remembered most for what he didn't do. He twice didn't run for president, despite being at the top of many Democrats' wish list.

TOM BROKAW:

And Mario Cuomo's on-again/off-again presidential campaign tonight is off. Period. For 1992, at least. Mostly for sure.

CHUCK TODD:

The second no-go in 1991, a down-to-the-wire drama that left two chartered planes on the tarmac in Albany that were there to rush Cuomo to Manchester, New Hampshire, in a last-minute bid to file for that state's primary. He cited the New York State budget as a reason that he could not run.

MARIO CUOMO:

But it seems to me I cannot turn my attention to New Hampshire while this threat hangs over the head of the New Yorkers that I've sworn to put first.

CHUCK TODD:

His public deliberation, both in '88 and '92 earned him the unfortunate moniker, "Hamlet on the Hudson." Also adding to it, when he seemed to openly apply for a spot on the Supreme Court in 1993, only to pull out when President Clinton was about to name him. That public indecision, his stance against the death penalty, as well as the Republican wave, helped contribute to his defeat in 1994. Cuomo remained an active figure in politics for years after leaving office. And his sharp sense of humor remained on full display over his 11 appearances on this program.

TIM RUSSERT:

You said you would do anything you can to help elect the Democratic president.

MARIO CUOMO:

If it's legal and not sinful. Any jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a good man or woman to build one.

TIM RUSSERT:

Let's talk about your nominating speech. Vice President Quayle last week said that it would be a lengthy speech because you'll have to retract all the unkind attacks that you've made against Governor Clinton over the past year. How do you respond to the Vice President?

MARIO CUOMO:

Well, for the Vice President's benefit, if it is a lengthy speech, I'll make sure to use small words.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Of course the great riddle of Mario Cuomo is why didn't he run? Well, Ken Auletta, in his remembrance in The New Yorker may have the answer. Here's what he writes, "Mario Cuomo was happy to be home. He hated travel. He boasted of wanting to sleep in his own bed, always. He disliked adulation, and felt it was too clingy. He had the temperament of a writer, not unlike Barack Obama, and he preferred observing from the outside, as if he were watching someone else's movie."

Among Cuomo's many accomplishments, perhaps the most important to the Meet the Press family, is when he gave a job to a young guy from Buffalo. We have a lot more on Mario Cuomo on our website. Check it out. Mario Cuomo was 82.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

NerdScreen time, as we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. We’ve got some hopeful news about 2014 to report: Almost half of you, 47% said it was an average or an above-average year for the United States. Believe it or not, that's the best number we've recorded in a decade. And compared to 2013, we've seen some huge jumps, 17 points overall, from 30% in 2013.

And this increase in optimism is practically across the board. Among white Americans, 17-point jump in optimism, from 24% in 2013 to 41% saying 2014 was an average or an above-average year, or even a great year. African Americans saw a similar increase. Fifty-seven percent in 2013, to 71% saying 2014 was a pretty good year.

We broke it down by geography as well. Our people in urban areas are more optimistic than those living in rural America. Both Americans in the cities and Americans in rural America felt optimistic about how 2014 went. In fact, Americans in the city, their optimism jumped from 36% to 53%, saying that that they felt 2014 was an average or an above-average year.

The jump in rural areas was a similar 20-point bump, 20% from 2013, 41% in 2014. And while this rise was across the board, of course, there were a few groups that weren't quite as optimistic as the overall poll. Retirees, those 65 and older, and folks with a high school diploma or less were somewhat less upbeat, maybe it's about their own current economic status.

Even so, overall, people were more optimistic about 2014 than at any time since 2004. And it brings us to our last interesting fact, courtesy of our friends at the American Communities Project. Check this out. Back in 2004, when a similar 47% of Americans said that the year was average, or an above-average year, it was Republicans who drove that perception, 72% back then.

And it was a majority of Democrats in 2004, who called it a below-average year. As for 2014, the trend has completely reversed. It's 70% of Democrats who said that the year was average, good, or great. A similar split, because Republicans said it was a below-average year. So what do you make of this split? The good-old partisan divide. Do you wear blue glasses or do you wear the red glasses?

Guess what, in 2004 it was a Republican in the White House. And in 2014, it's a Democrat in the White House. Shocked, shocked that people use their party labels to answer a poll question. All right, coming up, the women in charge. Meet the three women, the only three women, who in 2015 will run in major American cities.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Women are still chronically underrepresented in U.S. politics at both a local and national level. The 114th Congress, which convenes this week, will contain a record number of women. But the numbers are still low, especially considering a majority of voters, all voters, are women.

Women will make up 20 out of 100 senators and 84 out of 435 House members. At a local level, just 11 of the 50 biggest cities in the country have a woman mayor. Six have a female police chief or commissioner, and 12 have a female chancellor or school superintendent. But there is one city where those three top jobs will be filled by women for the next year.

And that city is Washington D.C. I'm pleased to be joined by the three powerful women who run the nation's capital. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Police Chief Cathy Lanier, and Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. And full disclosure, my wife worked as a paid advisor to Muriel Bowser's mayoral campaign in 2014. Madam Mayor, congratulations.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

It was a wonderful inauguration that a lot of folks in Washington started. So you start off, first of all, let's talk about this unique aspect of Washington D.C. What does it say?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Well, how fitting for the nation's capital to have three women in charge, women who have gotten things done in this city for years. And we're going to continue to focus on moving our city forward. Washington has come a long way. We've improved our schools, driven down crime. And we want the whole world to know that we are a city on the move.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's start with the challenge you have. You have a unique challenge in that you've got to deal with Congress as part of it. They control some of your funds. You're going to face a budget shortfall that you addressed in your inauguration speech. What do you need from Congress? Do you need more money from the federal government?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Well, we're a city and a county and a state all at once. So we do have a unique relationship with the Congress. And we're looking forward to working with the new Congress and are optimistic about those relationships. So we need the Congress to focus on the big issues of our nation, immigration reform, and working together, and getting things done at the Hill. We're actually getting things done for our city just fine, governing ourselves.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that, but you have the budget shortfall. Where does the money come from?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We're going to look closely at our budget and we balanced it for the last 17 years, and we're going to balance it again. We'll make those decisions, and we'll send up the balanced budget to the Congress. And all they really need to do is keep it clean. No riders. Know that they--

CHUCK TODD:

And they never do that. They do sort of makes them, you know, limit schools or on social issues like abortion or marijuana.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Yes, and our focus is working with our congresswoman and working with all of the members who care about the District of Columbia, is that we're going to send them a balanced budget and ask them to respect the will of the people of the District of Columbia.

CHUCK TODD:

One more question for you before I bring in the Chancellor and the Chief, which is the marijuana initiative passed by voters in Washington D.C. Congress basically said no. They're going to allow the decriminalization, but they said no to the legalization of recreational use. They said no federal funds, nor local fees would be used. Are you going to challenge Congress on that?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Well, we want to respect the will of the D.C. voters. Now we think Initiative 71 was self-enacting. Our legislators are going to send it up to the Congress in January. The bottom line for us is that we have to have laws that are clear and enforceable. And we have to have regulations in place.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to see Congress over this?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We want to work with our Congress and we want the will of the residents of D.C. to be enforced.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Have you ruled out a lawsuit?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We're going to explore every option to get our law enforced, so that the chief also can have, to be very clear with the officers of what's legal in the District and what isn't.

CHUCK TODD:

Chancellor Henderson, Chief Lanier, let me bring you guys in. Chief, let me go back to the uniqueness of the fact that three women are running these three. You probably have the toughest aspect of this as a woman in a leadership role, a majority of men on the force. Why have you succeeded in this, seven years now as chief?

CHIEF CATHY LANIER:

I don't think your gender really matters in this line of work. Like most uniformed services, if you come to work and work hard every day, and you have a reputation to being a hard worker, cops really don't care if you’re male or female or black or white and nor does the community. I've been here 24 years. I love this city and I love my police department. So I really haven't had any issues.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, all right. Let's talk about the challenges of it. Both of you are going to face, Chancellor Henderson, school reform in D.C. has been an issue for as long as I've lived in the metro area 25 years now. Your predecessor, Michelle Rhee, was certainly somebody who got a lot of attention for some of the reforms that she did. This is brought up all the time, how much per pupil the district spends. And yet, the reforms are slow. What do you say to that?

CHANCELLOR KAYA HENDERSON:

I say I think that's actually incorrect. If you ask the U.S. Secretary of Education, he'd tell you that D.C. is the fastest-improving urban school district in the country. Now, we've got a lot of work to do to kind of break down some things and to rebuild some things. But student satisfaction is at an all-time high, our test scores are rising more rapidly than other places. We have satisfied teachers, and most importantly, families are choosing DCPS after 40 years of decline.

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say, if there were more Washington D.C. residents who sent their kids to public schools rather than private schools, particularly in the wealthier areas, do you think D.C. public schools would have more attention?

CHANCELLOR KAYA HENDERSON:

Well, I actually think we're getting attention because for the third year in a row now, we've seen radical increases in the number of kids coming. Families are coming back from private schools, from charter schools, to DCPS. People are demanding good neighborhood schools. And the only time that public school systems are great is when the community demands it and the government works with the community to deliver.

CHUCK TODD:

Chief Lanier, obviously the focus on Ferguson, the focus on what happened in Staten Island, it's a challenge for a lot of police forces. You haven't had these issues in your police force. Why do you think that?

CHIEF CATHY LANIER:

I think it's really about building strong relationships with the community. You have to do it every single day. You can't do it in crisis. You do it every day, the community trusts and supports you. And during these protests here, I had the good fortune of observing our community, reaching out and hugging police officers, and shaking our hand, and we're very fortunate.

CHUCK TODD:

I can't let you go, Madam Mayor, without asking about D.C. statehood. How much of a priority, and would you accept separate statehood, or would you accept going and being a part of Maryland?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We are Washington D.C., Chuck. The residents of Washington D.C. deserve full democracy and statehood, just like every--

CHUCK TODD:

But you could get that connected to Maryland, could you not? Or Virginia?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We're Washington D.C., Chuck. The residents of the District of Columbia really want to forge a new path towards statehood. And we can start with budget autonomy, unhooking our government from the federal government.

CHUCK TODD:

And we wouldn't be talking about lawsuits about marijuana?

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

We wouldn't be talking about lawsuits or shutting down the government when the Congress can't figure it out. So we're going to set a pragmatic way to amp up our federal presence and forge a new path.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, a lot of people want to know how Washington would change if women were in charge, well, it's already happening in Washington D.C. Thank you all for coming on Meet the Press.

CATHY LANIER:

Thank you.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

And we'll be watching.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to make another note about a passing over the weekend. Former Senator Edward Brooke passed away yesterday. The Massachusetts Republican was the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate since reconstruction, when he got elected in 1966. Brooke developed a reputation for rectitude, though he ultimately was defeated for a third term after making some false statements in a divorce deposition. With his brahmin bearing and impeccable manner, he was representative of a more moderate GOP of the '70s. Here on Meet the Press in 1973, Brooke fielded this interesting question from the late, great Jack Germond

(BEGIN TAPE)

JACK GERMOND:

In view of the way people vote these days, do you think the Republican Party is ready for a black presidential nominee?

EDWARD BROOKE:

I think the country is, and I think the party is not behind the country. I think that the party will vote for a man that they believe can do the job.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Edward Brooke was 95. We'll be right back.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Stephen Colbert said to me he didn't think I would ever get through an episode of Meet the Press between now and 2016, without mentioning 2016. Guess what? It isn't going to happen on this show. Plus there were three events over the holiday break, in fact, this was worth noting that I want to bring up to you guys. Jeb Bush continued his resignation frenzy.

He stepped down from more corporate boards, every one of them now, including his education foundation that he, of course, put together. You have Chris Christie and Rick Perry said that they're both going to attend Rick Scott's inauguration. That’s Governor Rick Scott of Florida and its 29 electoral votes and its prominence in the primary calendar. And then there was this, last night. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said this on his FOX News Show.

(BEGIN TAPE)

MIKE HUCKABEE:

God hasn't put me on earth just to have a good time or to make a good living. But rather, God's put me on earth to try to make a good life. There's been a great deal of speculation as to whether I would run for president. And if I were willing to absolutely rule that out, I could keep doing this show. But I can't make such a declaration. I say goodbye. But as we say in television, stay tuned.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Matt Bai, my suspicion is Jeb Bush has totally scrambled the time table with some of these guys. I think if Jeb Bush doesn't throw his hat in the ring as quickly as he did late last year, Mike Huckabee wouldn't be quitting his show. What do you think?

MATT BAI:

I wish God put me on Earth to have a good time, make a good living, and I'd be set here. I think you're right. I think it changes the timetable on these guys. But look, we just got finished talking about Mario Cuomo and his stories. To invert, Yogi Berra a little bit. It ain’t beginning until it's beginning. It's not beginning yet.

And a lot of people can take steps. And I think they're all mulling the decision. But I don't get all ramped up about covering any of these candidates until they're actually candidates. Because I think this is the logical thing to do if you want to keep the door open. But it's a big decision they have not made.

CHUCK TODD:

It is. And I think we all had this hope. And I think a lot of the campaign strategists thought this race, Andrea, was not going to start until at least Memorial Day. Then it would be a later start than '08 and '12. I think Jeb Bush ruined everybody's plans.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

On the Republican side of it. I don't think that this is advancing Hillary Clinton's time table

CHUCK TODD:

Not changing her time table.

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

No. But the fact that Jeb Bush has resigned from all those additional, disentangled from all that corporate stuff, and the foundation, I think that Huckabee actually helps Jeb Bush. Because Huckabee in Iowa and the diversity of Republican conservatives in Iowa, you could have Jeb Bush actually doing well in Iowa, but with 20-some percent of the votes.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, obviously that's the Jeb Bush strategy. Hope that the Right is divided. And it certainly worked for Mitt Romney, it certainly worked for John McCain and all of those things. But we still haven't seen Jeb Bush the candidate. And he hasn’t campaigned for political office since 2002.

JOHN STANTON:

No--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Let's not forget.

JOHN STANTON:

He was smart though at the beginning getting out there early, and then do all the stuff and sort of keep himself in the background now. And I think particularly with Mike Huckabee, I'll believe it when I see it.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

I was the same way. Look--

JOHN STANTON:

--make sure.

CHUCK TODD:

I was the same way. But quitting that show was not insignificant.

JOHN STANTON:

No, but there are plenty of other reasons why he may have done it. And he's sort of done this before where he’s like, "Oh, I'm going to run." And then it turns out--

(OVERTALK)

JOHN STANTON:

--in Iowa next winter, right before the primary, then I'll believe it.

CHUCK TODD:

Helene, look, the primary, it's moved up earlier, it's moved up earlier, it's moved up earlier. Huckabee, he was sort of the populist before it was cool to be a populist on the right. Now Rand Paul wants to be that populist. Now Rick Santorum sort of took the role of this. Is he yesterday's news? Or can he re-establish himself as sort of the evangelical populist guy of Iowa?

HELENE COOPER:

I don't think he's yesterday's news at all. I think he has a certain appeal to a lot of people that would be surprising. I just can't believe we're talking about this already.

CHUCK TODD:

I know. And yet, listen, look, I'm going to blame us in the media.

HELENE COOPER:

But Obama announced in February of '07.

CHUCK TODD:

In January, right, that was the official announcement.

HELENE COOPER:

Yeah, that's true, that's true.

CHUCK TODD:

A month earlier, in January of '07, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, basically dictating the schedule to each other. That's why it feels like Jeb Bush is now dictating the schedule.

HELENE COOPER:

No, I think he is. I think I have to accept the fact that we're--

CHUCK TODD:

You have to accept it.

HELENE COOPER:

--now we're, okay, fine.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, after what stage of grief is this? You have accepted it, you have been in denial. You've moved, on this show, from denial to acceptance.

HELENE COOPER:

I have moved to acceptance.

CHUCK TODD:

What about anger?

HELENE COOPER:

You know what? I accept it. I'm not going to do anger.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, well--

(OVERTALK)

HELENE COOPER:

--presidential campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

Speaking of anger, there may be some anger out there. It's the new year, and that means there's some new laws. There's two times a year that you get new laws: January 1 and July 1. Well, here's some new laws that are out there. We picked three that are, some of the more unusual pieces of legislation, which have made it onto the books.

First some good news for you wine lovers out there. Former Patriots quarterback and Washington State vineyard owner Drew Bledsoe, he can now legally ship wine from his vineyard to the state of Massachusetts. It's being known as the Drew Bledsoe Law a little bit. Of course, he’s the former Patriots quarterback that got replaced by Tom Brady, the Wally Pipp of quarterbacks, he wants to sell his wine, he can now do that.

And for any Walter Whites out there that are living in Oregon, home sellers in that state will now have to disclose if their house was used as a meth lab. So it used to be lead paint, and now you have to sign-- But finally, it's bad news for you, John Stanton. No more selfies. Starting soon, it will be illegal to take selfies with tigers, lions, and other big cats in New York.

JOHN STANTON:

That is amazing.

(OVERTALK)

JOHN STANTON:

--about whiskey, so as long as it's selfies, I think I'm good.

(OVERTALK)

JOHN STANTON:

I've got to be a little more concerned.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, the selfie thing, and Andrea, I know you have your fair share of selfies, but usually you don't like the big cats. You're more of a bear--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I don't even like the little cats.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, you're more of a bear person. Right.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I’m allergic to the cats. Bears, moose.

CHUCK TODD:

Moose a little bit?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

This selfie thing. And Matt, I read that there's now an antenna that you can make your selfies even look better.

MATT BAI:

Yeah.

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But that's totally--

CHUCK TODD:

The selfie stick. We don't need it. Alright, that was fun. That's all for today. We're going to be back next week, because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *