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Meet the Press Transcript - July 26, 2015

MEET THE PRESS -- SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2015

NBC News - Meet The Press

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, our brand new polls. Hillary Clinton is struggling and Donald Trump is surging in two key early states.

DONALD TRUMP:

I'm leading as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. The best chance we have of winning is if I win as a Republican.

CHUCK TODD:

Why Trump may be a more durable candidate than many people realize. Also, the man who makes the Clinton campaign very nervous, Senator Bernie Sanders. And the latest Republican in the race, John Kasich. Both will join me.

JOHN KASICH:

We're not running for class president. Grow up.

CHUCK TODD:

Plus, the latest twist in the Hillary Clinton email controversy.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.

CHUCK TODD:

Will there be a Justice Department investigation? And the Planned Parenthood firestorm, serious wrongdoing or an orchestrated attempt to discredit the group? I'm Chuck Todd and joining me to provide insight and analysis this Sunday morning are MSNBC and Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart, former White House political director under President George W. Bush, Sara Fagen, Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, and Ron Fournier of National Journal. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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

CHUCK TODD:

Well, good Sunday morning. It's been another big week in the presidential campaign with Donald Trump continuing to wreak havoc in the Republican race. We're going to have plenty of that later in the program, including Trump's strong numbers in our brand new polls from Iowa and New Hampshire. But we're going to start by focusing on the battle for the Democratic nomination.

And those new NBC News surveys out of Iowa and New Hampshire. There are some particularly troubling news for the Hillary Clinton campaign, confirming that there is a negative trend happening here. Her favorability numbers are dismal. Remember, Iowa and New Hampshire are actual swing states in a general election. So in Iowa, look at this. 56% of all voters have an unfavorable view of the former Secretary of State, just 37% view her favorably.

It's the same story in New Hampshire. 57% say they have an unfavorable view of her, and an identical 37% say they have a favorable one. And all this has impacted her lead over Senator Bernie Sanders among Democratic voters in Iowa. Clinton leads Sanders 55-26. It's a solid lead until you realize this: she was up 61 points when we surveyed in February.

And New Hampshire, she had a 56-point lead back in February. Well, that lead has shrunk down to just 13 points, 47-34. All of this, as the Hillary email controversy is in the news again. Did she have classified emails on her private server? Did she know? Will the Justice Department investigate? When will she testify before the Benghazi Congressional Committee? She tried to address some of the controversy after an event in Iowa last night.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received. And what I think you're seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent, to disagreement among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released.

CHUCK TODD:

A much-ado-about-nothing defense there from her. We're going to get a lot more on the Clinton email controversy later in the show. But right now, I want to bring in the man that's challenging her for the Democratic nomination, the Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who joins me from New Orleans. He actually has been spending the weekend in Louisiana. Senator, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Good to be with you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You were in Louisiana, so let me start with the tragic news there and get into the politics of it a little bit, which is having to do with the issue of gun control. A lot of Democrats, President Obama has expressed some remorse that he hasn't been able to make more progress on gun control. And you continue to straddle a line here. You talk about, you're sort of pro NRA votes in Vermont, having to do with being about Vermont.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Chuck, that's not what I said. I come from the state which has virtually no gun control. And yet, I voted to ban certain types of assault weapons, I voted to close the gun show loophole. And I voted for instant background checks. And what I said is that as a nation, we can't continue screaming at each other, or else we've got to find common ground.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, what is that?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, where the common ground is, for a start, universal instant background checks. Nobody should have a gun who has a criminal background, who's involved in domestic abuse situations, people should not have guns who are going to hurt other people, who are unstable. And second of all I believe that we need to make sure that certain types of guns used to kill people, exclusively, not for hunting, they should not be sold in the United States of America.

And we have a huge loophole now with gun shows that should be eliminated. There may be other things that we have to do. But coming from a rural state, I think I can communicate with folks coming from urban states, where guns mean different things than they do in Vermont, where it's used for hunting. That's where we've got to go. We don't have to argue with each other and yell at each other, but we need a common-sense solution.

CHUCK TODD:

You bring up the instant background checks. If you look at what appears to be the situation in Louisiana, the situation in Charleston, there were background checks made, and they didn't work. They didn't catch what was necessary. Instant background checks lead to more speed and more mistakes. Don't you need longer waiting periods?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, what we need to do is, whatever we need, is a system that works. Bottom line is, I hope that nobody in America disagrees that people, as in the case of the shooter here in Louisiana, who has a history of mental instability, should not be having guns. People who have criminal backgrounds, people who are abusing wives or girlfriends, should not be having guns. That is the issue that I think we can bring people around.

CHUCK TODD:

I guess going back to the question, we have those laws on the books and it's not working.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, we've got to make them stronger. We've got to make them more enforceable. That's what we've got to do.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I'm going to move to, you last night spoke at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Of course, it's a major Civil Rights organization, a lot of history there. But I want to play a clip that you had sort of a reaction last week at Netroots Nation, in a confrontation with a Black Lives Matter--

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

No, I didn't have a confrontation. What I had was, I was there to speak about immigration reform. And some people thought of disrupting the meeting. And the issue that they raised was, in fact, a very important issue, about Black Lives Matter, about Sandra Bland, about black people getting yanked out of, in this case of Sandra Bland, getting yanked out of an automobile, thrown to the ground, and ended up dead three days later because of a minor traffic violation. So, you know, this is an issue which is a very important issue, an issue of concern that I strongly share.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I guess there were some people who felt that you were being too dismissive of the protesters.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, I'm not dismissive. I've been involved in the Civil Rights movement all of my life. And I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism. This is what I also believe. And speaking to the FCLC last night, this is what I quoted. Martin Luther King, when he died, when he was assassinated, understood and was working on a poor people's march. We have to end institutional racism, but we have to deal with the reality that 50% of young black kids are unemployed. That we have massive poverty in the America, in our country, and we an unsustainable level of income and wealth inequality.

CHUCK TODD:

The criticism that's come to you at this though is that your answer is always economic injustice, and that many African American activists believe, "No, no, no, no, no, you've got to deal with race. Institutional racism is a separate problem from economic injustice."

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

They're parallel problems. They are. Absolutely correct. But as Martin Luther King Junior told us, we have to address both. We have to rid this country of racism. What we saw in Charleston, South Carolina, a few weeks ago, a guy motivated by hate groups, who goes out and kills black people because they're black. Sandra Bland being yanked out of a car, dying three days later, for what? For a minor traffic violation.

But my view is that we have got to deal with the fact that the middle class in this country is disappearing, that we have millions of people working for wages that are much too low, impacts everybody, impacts the African American community even more. Those are issues that do have to be dealt with and just at the same time as we deal with institutional racism.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me go to economic injustice. Hillary Clinton on Friday gave a speech in front of a Wall Street crowd, showing that we wants to get a little tougher on Wall Street. Does that tell you your campaign is working?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

I think my campaign is working. I think a whole lot of people are talking about what I've been talking about for decades. And that it is morally unacceptable that the top 1/10 of 1% of people in this country own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%.

That we have millions of people working for starvation wages, that we've got to raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, that we have a trade policy which allows corporations to shut down in America and take out jobs for cheap labor countries abroad. So I think that message is resonating. I am in red states, I am in blue states, and I think the American people want changes in the way we do economics and politics.

CHUCK TODD:

This morning, New York Times and Washington Post lumped you and Donald Trump as touching the same chord but in very different ways. You buy that comparison?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

No, I don't. I think the chord that we are touching all over this country is that people are profoundly disgusted with the economics that make the richest people richer and everybody else poorer. They are profoundly angered and disturbed by a political campaign system that, not yeah, that allows billionaires to buy elections because of this disastrous campaign finance system called Citizens United.

And what I have said is that if elected president, we're going to pass a constitutional amendment to get rid of Citizens United so that we'll restore democracy in America, and not move for oligarchy. This is a huge, huge issue.

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't buy these comparisons to Trump and the chord and the populist core he's touching either?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

No, I've been working with people who are saying that it is absurd that almost all new income and all new wealth is going to the top 1%. They can't afford to send their kids to college, they can't afford childcare for their kids. They're working longer hours for lower wages. We want an economy that works for all of us, and not just the billionaire class. We want a campaign finance system that ordinary people can run for office on without being dependent on the Koch brothers and other billionaires.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, I'm going to leave it there. I know you've been all over the country these days campaigning, stay safe on the trail, sir. Thanks for coming on.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

My pleasure.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Let me bring in the panel here, MSNBC and Telemundo host, Jose Diaz-Balart, former White House political director under President George W. Bush, Sara Fagen, Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, and Ron Fournier, senior political columnist for National Journal.

Amy, let me start with you. You know, he's fiery, he touches on these issues, and it's interesting here, Amy, he was pretty quickly defensive with me on two areas. The Clinton campaign is trying to poke at him a little bit here. Guns and on African Americans.

AMY WALTER:

And on the liberal base. Look, for all the talk about Hillary Clinton's drop and her favorables among the broader electorate, when you look into these polls and she where she is among the Democrat electorate, she is still very popular. But support for Bernie Sanders isn't coming at the expensive of because they're saying, "I don't like Hillary Clinton, so I'm going to choose somebody else."

They like her, but they also like his bluntness. They like his refreshing candor. He is the exact opposite of Hillary Clinton in terms of how he presents himself. And I think that is something that's appealing to Democrats. But they're not going to him because they think that Hillary Clinton is not a good enough advocate for them.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Ron, there's something in our polling in Iowa and New Hampshire about Bernie Sanders and the rest of the field. We tested out on favorability ratings, about seven or eight candidates, all the major Republicans and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Among all voters, there's just one candidate who has a net positive favorable rating: Bernie Sanders. What does that tell you?

RON FOURNIER:

Partly, they don't know who he is. And they don't see him as part of the politics that they hate. They don't see him as part of politics that's not getting anything done. The part of politics that's cynical and only cares about winning the next election, the part of politics that's broken.

The week that Donald Trump got in, I know Bernie Sanders had a problem with this, and now I think it’s a perfect one. The week that Trump got in, I compared the two men. They both are channeling, they both reflect the public's anger in politics.

But what does Hillary Clinton do? Bless her soul, but she's playing right into, that disdain. We have a candidate who's being secretive, unaccountable, not playing by the rules that everybody else is, and not being honest or candid about what she's done with her emails, and that is exactly what the American people don't want.

CHUCK TODD:

Jose, I want to go back to this issue of Sanders. If he's hit a ceiling right now, it's because he can't convince African Americans or Latinos that he's a better choice than Hillary Clinton. He's trying to get better on immigration, talk about it more. How did he do there? He still always wants to go back to economic injustice.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Well, because I think that he hasn't perceived in the past as being someone who is a standard there on the immigration issue. He's trying to do that just some time ago by addressing the issue of immigration. But Chuck, you know what it is I think that people see in him? They see someone who probably believes what they say and says what they believe.

CHUCK TODD:

You never look at him like he's in politics.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

You never get a sense that what he's telling you is focus group, poll driven, what are the correct words, what are the key terms to use. This is a guy who comes across. And in that sense, Chuck, I think that there is a similarity with the perception there is out there, with Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

Sara, when you see the Sanders, you think that he's dragging Hillary Clinton to the left in a bad way? Or do you think actually it's making her a better candidate?

SARA FAGEN:

think it's dragging her to the left in a bad way. The reality is, if you look back over the last 20 years, the left of the Democratic party has moved farther than the right of the Republican party. On tax--

CHUCK TODD:

I don't think everybody would agree on that, but--

SARA FAGEN:

Oh, on taxes, on spending on social issues.

CHUCK TODD:

They both moved farther--

SARA FAGEN:

They did. But they moved more. And her ability to win a general election is her ability to run as a centrist candidate. And Bernie Sanders is going to make that very difficult for her.

CHUCK TODD:

Sara, immigration?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

I don't think that George W. Bush was far different on immigration than Romney was.

SARA FAGEN:

09:14:21:00 But on social issues on spending on taxes, they have moved farther to the left. And he imperifies that.

RON FOURNIER:

Sara, her problem isn't ideology, her problem is people don't trust her. That's the problem.

CHUCK TODD:

It seems to be. But where does Sanders go from here? And at what point does he become big enough that Joe Biden can't get in, Amy?

AMY WALTER:

That Joe Biden doesn't get in?

CHUCK TODD:

You know what I mean? Does that have any impact on Biden’s thinking you think?

AMY WALTER:

I can't believe that it does. But look, I do think that this is really the question for Hillary Clinton, you hit right on it. Which is at what point do voters say, "I don't know that I can trust her," becoming much more of an issue, and where Bernie Sanders hitsit, is exactly that. Is that there's an authentic to him--

CHUCK TODD:

Authenticity.

AMY WALTER:

--that she cannot replicate as much as she's trying.

RON FOURNIER:

At what point, Chuck, is Hillary Clinton decides that grinding out this election and winning even if people don't trust me, but I'm better--

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Ron what people really want to trust is that the person will do better for them. All other issues are secondary

SARA FAGEN

You can’t do that if you're seen as entitled.

CHUCK TODD:

I will pause it here, because we have more time to go today. But I am trying to get to other parts of the show. Up next, he continues to surge in the polls no matter how much criticism he gets. You know who I'm talking about, just who are the voters that are supporting Donald Trump, after the break?

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

It's no secret that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have very little in common, you just saw it there, Bernie doesn't even want to go there. But less known is that there is something they do share. They are startling more conventional rivals by surging in the polls, thanks to two very different strains of the classical American political movement: populism. On the right:

MALE VOTER:

He talks about what needs to be talked about, which is something that most politicians just dance around.

CHUCK TODD:

And on the left:

FEMALE VOTER:

I think he would stop the corporatocracy that's going on in America.

CHUCK TODD:

Trump and Sanders supporters are disenchanted with what they see as a broken system, fed up with political correctness and Washington dysfunction. Economic anxiety is fueling both campaigns. But that's where the similarities end. Sanders supporters are likely to be right, liberal, and have a college education.

And despite his focus on income inequality, most of his support comes from voters earning more than $50,000 a year. Trump supporters are also more likely to be white, but without a college degree. He performs somewhat better among self-described moderates.

DONALD TRUMP:

We have a tremendous danger on the border with illegals coming in.

CHUCK TODD:

And Trump is taking advantage of a powerful wedge issue with the Republican primary: immigration.

FEMALE VOTER:

We’re tired of the dishonesty and the people that just can't do anything.

MALE VOTER:

He's not worried about being politically correct.

MALE VOTER:

He can't buy him, okay? He has some ideas that people need to pay attention to.

CHUCK TODD:

We've seen this attempt to appeal to Republican voters who feel left behind economically and culturally before. Pat Buchanan channelled anxiety inside the GOP in 1992 and again in 1996.

PAT BUCHANAN:

You watch the establishment, all the knights and barons will be riding into the castle pulling up the drawbridge in a minute. And they're coming. All the peasants are coming with pitchforks after them.

CHUCK TODD:

Another wealthy businessman, this man Ross Perot, tapped a coalition of the disaffected back in 1992, winning 19% of the vote by exploiting fears that NAFTA would send jobs overseas.

ROSS PEROT:

There will be a giant sucking sound going south.

CHUCK TODD:

And if Trump follows Perot and takes the independent route?

BILL MCINTURFF:

Trump would be sliding into the Perot slide in '92 and sort of standing the surrogate for the same voters and it would do the same thing. It would mean once again a third Clinton might get elected with less than 50% of the vote.

CHUCK TODD:

But between Clinton and the nomination, there's Bernie Sanders, a modern-day Eugene McCarthy, with a message of economic inequality that's drawing crowds.

BERNIE SANDERS:

All of our workers from coast to coast need at least15 bucks an hour.

CHUCK TODD:

10,000 in Madison, Wisconsin, 7,500 at Portland, Maine, 2,500 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

FEMALE VOTER:

He's not bought by the billionaires. He's honest and he stands up for what he believes in and you can't buy him.

CHUCK TODD:

The better Sanders does, the more attention Hillary Clinton has to give to the progressives in her own party. I'm joined now by Pat Buchanan who rode that populist wave to a strong showing in the '92 Republican primary in New Hampshire, and then he won New Hampshire in '96, also with me is John Nichols, he's the Washington correspondent for The Nation. The progressive magazine is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month. Congrats on that, John. And he's also interviewed Bernie Sanders many times. Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

PAT BUCHANAN:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Pat, when you see Trump and what he's doing to the field, regardless of your views personally about him, I know the two of you have had your own encounters in the past, similar to what you rode in '92?

PAT BUCHANAN:

There is great similarity in this sense. Trump's strength is his precise opposite of the distance of the Republican base from the Republican leadership in the country. He's exposing that and he's hitting two of the really strong, popular sections. One of them which overlap with Bernie Sanders, and that's the trade issue, the export of American jobs and factories, and what's happened to the American middle class.

But the other one Trump is hitting, which is one of the hottest issues in the whole West as well as the United States, is the massive invasion, if you will, and that people feel is the conquest of the West by massive third-world immigrations coming from refugees and border jumpers and all the rest of them. He's wired into both of these, and they're enormously popular issues.

CHUCK TODD:

And John, in some ways though, even when we talk about immigration, immigration is tied to economics. Basically, they're both appealing to the same working-class voters who feel left behind. Is that fair?

JOHN NICHOLS:

I don't think so.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

JOHN NICHOLS:

I think that our politics has really divided a lot since Pat ran for president. It's that our parties are very, very different. The truth of the matter is that within the Democratic party, and I've been at these events that Bernie Sanders has been at, I've moderated panels he's been on, I've introduced him in different settings. And the truth of the matter is that the people who are at these events I think tend to be very supportive of immigrant rights, passionate about getting real immigration reform.

I was very concerned, you pointed out about Black Lives Matter, about a lot of these other issues, and concerned about economic injustice. But I think a thing a lot of people are missing at this point is that a lot has changed since 2008. We have seen a development in this country of mass movements for a $15 wage, saying, you know, it's wrong to bail out bankers who have billion-dollar campaigns. You run down that list of issues, there are people who speak that language profoundly. And they've been waiting for a candidate who comes along and talks about it.

PAT BUCHANAN:

But that is left populism.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

PAT BUCHANAN:

That is the populism with full dinner pails, you know, the cost of gold, and money changing

CHUCK TODD:

William Jennings Bryan populism.

PAT BUCHANAN:

Money changers in the temple of our civilization, FDR. And there is an aspect seeded in this immigration issue, which is noneconomic. It's about social or radical, ethnic, different changes that America is changing dramatically, we're becoming a different country. And rooted people, all over America, are tremendously concerned about it.

Remember when Barack Obama talked about these people, you know, they're stuck to their bibles and their guns and their hostility, to foreign folks. This is an enormous movement. Look at it in Europe, there's a fire all over this movement, in every country. And Trump has tapped into this. And frankly, just like the issue we had that black lady that was killed, or that killed herself eventually, but you had that lady out there in San Francisco. These things are going to feed this, Chuck, all the way into the primary, these incidents. Just like Black Lives Matter.s

CHUCK TODD:

You're shaking your head there a little bit.

JOHN NICHOLS:

You know, I just couldn't disagree with Pat more about this. I think this country is growing and evolving. And I think that what's really positive is that we have started to see, for instance, the labor movement, which was once resistant on some of these immigration issues, really embrace immigration.

CHUCK TODD:

In 2007, Bernie Sanders was with the conservatives in the Senate and killing immigration reform arguably.

JOHN NICHOLS:

And--

CHUCK TODD:

Labor was there too.

JOHN NICHOLS:

And what I wanna tell you is people have grown. And, you know, you point out as critical of President Obama--

PAT BUCHANAN:

They haven’t grown that much in the Republican party.

JOHN NICHOLS:

Well, not that much in the Republican president. You criticized President Obama, I respect what you're saying, but I'll tell you that President Obama won the nomination and the election. He won because there's a substantial portion of Americans who desperately want to get beyond

CHUCK TODD:

Is this a silent majority or a vocal minority in the Republican party?

PAT BUCHANAN:

The immigration issue, if you talk about border security and the rest of it, look, the Republican party, they overturned McCain and Bush and Clinton and all of them in 2007. This is enough. Frankly, those two issues are enough to carry you to a Republican nomination. Now look, Trump is ranked number one by Kentucky in the Sweet 16. I think he gets into the final four.

And if he maintains these polls, he's going to be in the finals. And let me tell you something else. If the president comes home with his TPP, his Transpacific Partner Trade deal, I can see Bernie Sanders and Trumpout on the stump and going up to the hill and killing it.

CHUCK TODD:

Could you picture that?

JOHN NICHOLS:

They will not be together. No. I let me tell you something else. There's a point in Bernie Sanders's candidacy, and I would point out increasingly in Martin O'Malley talking about a lot of these issues too, and even Hillary Clinton bringing up some of this, if there's a point to this, it is that a billionaire beating up on immigrants is not an economic populism that America wants or needs.

PAT BUCHANAN:

But look--

CHUCK TODD:

And I think that's where this populism is not the same.

JOHN NICHOLS:

These are profound--

PAT BUCHANAN:

There's an aspect of Trump which is there, you know, the showman, and big limo and all the rest of it. But here is a touch of Huey Long. Every man a king, but no man wears a crown. You know, he's got that. We’re going to make America great again, there are people out there--

JOHN NICHOLS:

he best economic populist in America was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He talked about Wall Street, he said, "I welcome their hatred." He didn't talk about poor people or immigrants or people of color and say, "There's a problem." But that's a better populism.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to pause it there. You two I think are going to continue this debate in our green room after that anyway. Thank you both. The two strains of populism. Later in the broadcast, the big news from our new poll from the two states you may have heard of, a couple of them named Iowa and New Hampshire. But first, the length some Republicans are going to to get out of the shadow of, yes, Donald Trump.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. With Donald Trump being, well, Donald Trump, the rest of the field for the Republican nomination is having to contend with a major problem: how to break through when Trump is sucking up media attention like a black hole. Well, let's start with Ted Cruz. He departed from accepted rules of behavior on the Senate floor Friday when he decided to call out his own majority leader, Mitch McConnell, over his position on the export/import bank.

TED CRUZ:

What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie.

CHUCK TODD:

A liar. He called a fellow Republican a liar. Then there's Rand Paul, Kentucky chainsaw massacre of the tax code, which Paul says he'd like to simplify to just one page. And let's not forget Lindsey Graham, who's been fielding a lot of extra calls after Donald Trump gave out his cell phone number. Graham decided it was time for a new number and a phone upgrade. So in a way to get some attention, he started a video showing some creative ways to destroy his old flip phone.

LINDSEY GRAHAM:

If all else fails, you can always give your number to The Donald. This is for all the veterans.

CHUCK TODD:

We'll be back with our latest poll numbers from Iowa and New Hampshire. And good news for, yes you guessed it, that guy that's sucking up all the attention, Donald Trump.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Nerd screen time, and we are back with more numbers from our brand new NBC Marist polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire. And biggest story on the Republican side, no surprise here, as Donald Trump would say, "My poll numbers are huge." So let's start in Iowa. Where few figured that Trump would be a major player here. But guess what, right now, Trump is surging to second place, just behind Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who edges him out by just two points.

The only other candidate in double digits is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with 12%. By the way, as you know, so many candidates, we have three tiers we have to continue. So here's the second group of candidates in Iowa, the ones in sort of mid single digits, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee lead this tier with 8% and 7%, respectively, you can see the rest, including our next guest, John Kasich rounding out things at 2%.

Trailing in the third tier in Iowa are six other candidates who poll at 1% or less, including somebody who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum. Now let's move onto New Hampshire, where Trump has surged all the way into the lead. He's sitting at 21%. Again though, it's the same three candidates with double digit support. Bush, this time in second place, with 14%, and Walker is the one in third place.

Let's take a look at the second tier of candidates in New Hampshire though, and look who leads this tier. It's John Kasich. He's got 7%. One thing you may not know about Kasich, he's actually had TV advertising, $2 million of it that's been spent in New Hampshire. By the way, the bottom of the field in New Hampshire looks a lot like the bottom in Iowa with the same names, at 2% or less.

As you can see, we have to use carets. We have to do less-than signs, we just have so many candidates there on that front. Sara Fagen, let me tell you too, because our polling of Iowa and New Hampshire was conducted a little bit before the McCain incident, you remember the John McCain/Donald Trump incident, and it was a little bit after it. What's interesting is that Iowa, Trump's numbers actually went up post incident.

He was at 16% before, 18% after. But in New Hampshire, not surprisingly, when McCain has still beloved, before, Trump was at 26%, and the half of the survey that was conducted after the incident, he went down to 14%. So trashing John McCain is bad politics in the New Hampshire primaries still?

SARA FAGEN:

It is bad politics in New Hampshire. But let's also keep in mind, yes, Donald Trump has had a good couple weeks from a poll perspective, but he's at 20%, which means that 80% of Republican voters are not for him right now. And so he's sucking up a lot of oxygen, and there's a lot of noise in the system, but at the end of the day, he is not going to be the Republican nominee. And that support is likely to go elsewhere to a Ted Cruz or perhaps a Rand Paul.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, go ahead Amy.

AMY WALTER:

No, that's what I wanted to touch on too, which was I think has he hit his ceiling now, at 20%. When you look at his negative in New Hampshire, he got 53%. There's nowhere to go after 20%--

CHUCK TODD:

But this is an improvement though. Ron every time--

AMY WALTER:

--was up 65% and getting 15%.

CHUCK TODD:

Amy, I was where you were. I always said, "Oh yes, this is the peak, this is the end." Every time we think I'm with you, Ron.

RON FOURNIER:

First of all again this is not about Trump. This man is more liberal than any Bush, but more slippery than any Clinton, okay? If it was just on the merits, he wouldn't be anywhere. But he stands for something else. He's been reflecting this anger and his populism that you talk about before. You heard a couple names brought up. Look at Ross Perot, who got 19%, and is not a very credible man, in a time that wasn't as tumultuous as our times now. What if he had the internet? What if Huey Long had radical connectivity?

CHUCK TODD:

William Jennings Bryant had it, by the way.

RON FOURNIER:

Exactly. So I think Trump's not going to win the nomination, would be my guess. But what he stands for is not going to go away. And somebody else who's going to tap into it. It's not going to be somebody in one of these two parties.

CHUCK TODD:

Jose--

SARAH FAGEN

I don't know if that's true.

CHUCK TODD:

It's interesting to me the-how he used you as sort of, you asked him a question in Laredo and he just--

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

I tried to ask him.

CHUCK TODD:

You tried. And he used you as a way to, like, and it probably pleased his supporters by beating you up.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Yeah, I was just going to ask him--

CHUCK TODD:

He does it to me too

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

And Pat Buchanan talked about that perception of the invasion, right, from--

CHUCK TODD:

Which is what Trump feeds off of.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

But I was pointing out that the invasion is from within. The majority of the Hispanic population and the growth is U.S.-born. And you know what? I have some breaking news for them, for all of them, which is it's over. It's dangerous to start thinking of Latinos as a demographic. Fifty-three, and this is a poll we did in Telemundo.

53% of America is either married to a Latino, Latino, living in a multicultural community, U.S.-born. And that is something you should put, sprinkle that on your oatmeal, or probably on your huevos rancheros, because that's what people are eating.

CHUCK TODD:

53%?

RON FOURNIER:

The vocal minority, as you said.

CHUCK TODD:

There it is.

SARA FAGEN:

We shouldn't discount the stylistic appeal of Donald Trump. Take aside the issues. It's the authenticity, it's the say it like it is, it's directness.

RON FOURNIER:

Not scared.

SARA FAGEN:

Not scared, loud, proud, and that appeals to people in a time when most voters are sick and tired of politicians.

CHUCK TODD:

Bernie Sanders, intellectual authenticity, Donald Trump, that sort of gut-level authenticity. Both working hard. When we come back, my interview with the latest candidate to enter the Republican presidential race, Ohio Governor John Kasich. But before we go to break, I'm going to show you some of those new pictures that have just been released by the National Archives.

All of these photos come from September 11th, 2001. They were taken by Vice President Cheney's staff photographer that day. They show President Bush and the vice president and other members of the cabinet reacting to the news as they're trying to figure out the response on the night and evening after the attack.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. There are now a sweet 16 set of candidates officially in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And if you could name them all in ten seconds or less, well, kudos for you for being on the ball this Sunday morning. The latest candidate to enter the race is Ohio Governor John Kasich. I sat down with him yesterday in Michigan, where he was campaigning. And started by asking him whether it's harder for him to break through in the polls because he refrains from using hot rhetoric.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Oh, I think a chunk of it is hot rhetoric. And the other part of it is I'm a problem solver, you know? And I'm not going to just make statements just to make them. Do you ever notice, when people run for president, they never keep their word? They never keep their promises.

And the reason is they make promises that are ridiculous. They don't know what they're talking about. So, you know, running Ohio, look, this is a big, big state. This is an important state. I have to solve problems. But I'm balancing budgets and cutting taxes and promoting school choice and reforming everything and deregulating so much of the silly laws that we have in our state.

CHUCK TODD:

You're also doing another counterintuitive thing. You spend a lot of time talking up your experience in Congress. Lot of people, when they run for president, I don't care if they're a Democrat, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, all were talking about they're going to come in there and they're going to clean up the mess that's Washington. You're running on a, "No, I've got the experience to make Washington work." How are you gonna sell that to voters who don't like Congress, who think congressional experience isn't worth a darn?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I think we have to be careful about what we think that voters think. I think voters want the system to work. I think they want us to balance budgets, fix defense, you know, solve the immigration problem. They want us to do many, many things. Reform the health care system. So they know that there is great anger and antipathy between the parties, and I don't think they want that to be the case.

And secondly, I can run on it because I spent ten years of my life to try to balance the federal budget. Now when I say that I was an architect, I feel like I'm talking about some sort of a fiction movie, you know, because people have a hard time believing it can be done. And then when it comes to the Pentagon and the reform things that we did, I'm very proud of what I was able to do there.

And, Chuck, now being a governor and executive, I know what the problem is down there. And part of the reason I'm running is because I have the experience to know how to fix it. And you can't fix it with hot rhetoric, one party. It has to be, look, either we're in this to fix America or we're in this to get elected. Somebody said to me, you know, "Is it about elect--"

CHUCK TODD:

Can you do both anymore?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, Chuck, they say--

CHUCK TODD:

Is that what we're going to find out?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

--it's about electability. You know, I said, no, it's about capability. And part of capability is electability. But if we're running for these offices just to get elected, I mean, we're not running for class president. We're running to be the commander-in-chief and the leader of the United States of America. Grow up.

CHUCK TODD:

Biggest, toughest foreign policy challenge for the next president?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, radical Islam really is a giant one.

CHUCK TODD:

That's number one.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yeah. And, you know, I've said all along we should have a coalition. We should be there, including boots on the ground. And we need to degrade and destroy ISIS. Number one.

CHUCK TODD:

You would be sending more troops?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, I would have them in a role where they're going to be on the ground fighting. I mean, you've got the air power, but you can't solve anything just with air power. But I would be part of a coalition and I would take them down and begin to destroy a caliphate--

CHUCK TODD:

It would include U.S. troops?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yes. Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

You would send U.S. troops?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yes, I said it months ago.

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say I want to bring-- because every time I travel through Ohio, and I've been a part of focus groups, I've conducted that and you talk to people. It is amazing to me, Ohioans in general, and I'll see it across the spectrum, boy, they're leery of trade deals. And they still blame NAFTA--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Sure, they are.

CHUCK TODD:

You go to Ohioans, I didn't even bring up NAFTA in a bunch of interviews, and they immediately went to NAFTA and said, "Bad deal for Ohio."

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yeah. Well, you know, the interesting thing is there are now some car companies talking about moving things to Mexico, and they're citing NAFTA. And I'm going to dig into that. But by and large, open trade is good for us. It's a part--

CHUCK TODD:

And you were a NAFTA guy.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yes. It's part of our ability to--

CHUCK TODD:

Tough thing to be in Ohio, no?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Chuck, we're not in this to get elected, we're in this to do the right thing. I mean, aren't you tired of-- I mean, forget it. I'm not doing those calculations. Now, here's what I do believe. I think that we have, in some ways, been saps. I have a friend that ran a steel company. I said, "Do you think that Koreans, for example, are dumping their material and destroying our jobs?" He said, "Yes."

I said, "Why don't we do something about it?" He says, "It takes two years to get a remedy, to get a decision." That is baloney. We need to have these decisions decided quickly because we can't have people coming in here and dumping stuff and destroying our jobs in this country. That's where I grew up. I grew up with steel workers.

So what I would say to you is open trade, but we're not going to be saps. We're not going to look the other way when there's a problem. Now, there are some people actually running for president now who think that, no matter what happens, they're free traders. I'm not. I am not. I am for open trade, free trade, but I am for clamping down when the United States worker gets shafted because somebody is cheating on a trade agreement.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, you brought up Mexico so let's go to immigration. The Senate comprehensive compromise on immigration reform. What did you make of it? Would you have supported it?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I don't know what the details are. What I support is a guest worker program expanded so people can come in and then go home. Seal the border. There are some interest groups that don't want the border to be sealed.

CHUCK TODD:

What does "seal the border" mean, though?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

It means--

CHUCK TODD:

And how do you do it? I mean--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, I mean, you do it with fencing and you do it with technology, drones and sensors. And, you know, Duncan Hunter over there in San Diego has significantly reduced the number of people coming across the border because of his initiatives on fencing. So do as best you can there.

I've been told by grownups, real experts, that, you know, most of this can be done, and can be done effectively. Guest worker program, the 12 million that are here, if they violated the law, they go out or they go to jail. But if they're hardworking, God-fearing, family people, they go to church, they work with us, let them stay. They're going to have a pay a fine--

CHUCK TODD:

It's interesting you said violating the law though. There are some people that say just being here, they violated the law.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yeah, well, that's--

CHUCK TODD:

And that should be held against them.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, they're going to have to pay a fine and pay a penalty for the fact that they violated the law. But, you know, if they're part of our culture now and society, and they're doing fine, they're hardworking, they're just like all of us, then I think they can stay.

I have learned over the course of my lifetime you need some degree of bipartisan cooperation. And just think back to Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill. I mean, they were working together when it was to serve America. And that's what I think we need, a good dose of that.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. One of the things that I do in these first interviews now with candidates is we have a deal with Facebook and we have a Facebook specific question. Let me get it right here. This comes from Grant Barwick. Simple question. "Governor Kasich, why did you give up the challenge to unions, against unions, when your governor to the north in Wisconsin did not?" How do you answer that question?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, first of all, you know, our initiatives were much different. And, secondly, when you get, you know, really beaten on something and the public speaks clearly, you've got to listen to them, okay? And frankly, in my state, we now have very good relations with organized labor.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask a question about Trump that you asked about Trump. This came from-- you subbed for O'Reilly back in 2004.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I did, yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah. And here's a--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I was really good too, wasn't I?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, okay then. You were asking a Celebrity Apprentice contestant. Your question was this: "And what about this fascination with Donald Trump? It doesn't seem to be abating. What the heck is the deal with this? I know we're a big celebrity culture. What's the deal with this guy?" That was your question to the--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

That's really good.

CHUCK TODD:

Answer your own question. What do you make of this?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

No, no. I asked somebody. I don't remember their--

CHUCK TODD:

I know.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

What was their answer? Because I'm not getting into that.

CHUCK TODD:

He's larger than life, is what he said. He's just fascinating. What is your--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Chuck, let me--

CHUCK TODD:

--read on this?

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

I don't really pay any attention to it. Now--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that, and I know you've--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, I don't have a read on it. I'm not talking about him.

CHUCK TODD:

The pre-announcement video for you from New Day for America, your super PAC, on July 19th, it went out. And there was a line in here that sort of made me raise my eyebrow, describing your bio. And it said, "Kasich then worked in the real world as a commentator at Fox and in finance here in Ohio." Do you think most Americans would say--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

--your experience on Fox--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Yeah, somebody else pointed out-- it was a great experience, yeah. It was the real world--

CHUCK TODD:

But that's not the--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

But, Chuck, let me tell you--

CHUCK TODD:

But this is not what Americans would consider the real world.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

--what the real world is. You get bad ratings and you're not going to be doing Meet the Press. And when I was at Fox--

CHUCK TODD:

There's no doubt.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Okay. So it's part of it. But the real world for me was I had about five different jobs. You know, I worked at Lehman Brothers where I traveled the country meeting with entrepreneurs and business leaders. I served on a few boards. I taught. You know, people don't know this. I taught at three universities on very part-time basis. I was out there. And, look, you know, my dad was a mailman and at McKees Rocks--

CHUCK TODD:

A lot of people think that's the real world.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, it is. It's a real world. Look, in my mind's eye, it's the people I grew up with, working in the steel mills, working--

CHUCK TODD:

What you're saying--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

--in the chemical plants. So--

CHUCK TODD:

It isn't being a political pundit on Fox.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

Well, it's part of the world. But--

CHUCK TODD:

It's part of the world.

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

--I wouldn't really say that I understand--

CHUCK TODD:

You kind of wish you wouldn't have--

GOV. JOHN KASICH:

--working people. Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Kasich’s one of those candidates who could surge in New Hampshire. So, keep an eye on him. Quick reminder, if you can’t watch Meet the Press live on Sunday mornings, you can always catch us on demand. So DVR us, season pass, whatever your machine makes you do, do it. That way, even if it isn't Sunday, it's still Meet the Press. All right, coming up, our End Game segment. We're going to be focusing on those Planned Parenthood videos. What is the bigger story here? The content or the the tactic used?

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

It's End Game time with a lot of news in politics that sometimes slips through the cracks, but I didn't let this story slip through the crack. I want to talk in a moment about a couple of controversial videos that came out recently. It's a group of anti-abortion activists known as the Center for Medical Progress, and they recently released what it called undercover videos.

In the edited videos, the activists from the group were posing as tissue buyers discussed the process for donating tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research with top doctors from Planned Parenthood. Here's a portion from one of those videos.

DR. DEBORAH NUCATOLA, PLANNED PARENTHOOD (ON TAPE):

We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part.

CHUCK TODD:

In statements, Planned Parenthood called the groups' claims that a profit's offered these tissue donations "outrageous" and that the group is a "bunch of extremists." But, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Richards has also apologized for the doctor's tone and statements in that video. I want to bring it here to the panel. Abortion always gets sort of everybody to stiffen their spine a little bit. Amy Walter, the tactic here is fascinating, a very aggressive tactic. The content obviously is very gruesome. What's the bigger story here? The content or the tactic?

AMY WALTER:

Well, I think the bigger story is when we talk about abortion rights, often times we're up on this sort of plane up here, right? It's very theoretical.

CHUCK TODD:

Nobody likes to talk about the procedure.

AMY WALTER:

About the actual procedure. And so, like, well Planned Parenthood is correct. They are not profiting off of this. They are pretty much donating tissue for research. However--

(OVERTALK)

RON FOURNIER:

They're not donating, they're not donating.

SARA FAGEN:

They're not donating, they're haggling over pricing--

AMY WALTER:

They're haggling over price to pay for what it was. I think the bigger issue is--

(OVERTALK)

AMY WALTER:

--wait, wait, wait, just hold on, let me finish. But I think that's the issue, which is once you start getting into the details of this, you're talking about crushing, you're talking about tissues, you're talking about human beings, then it gets to be a much more difficult--

(OVERTALK)

AMY WALTER:

--visceral content problem.

SARA FAGEN:

Your question was, is this--

(OVERTALK)

SARA FAGEN:

And this is a content problem. Let's describe what these two medical doctors, senior officials at Planned Parenthood are describing, which is the extraction of an infant, which is infanticide, crushing below the heart-- above the heart, below the lungs, and then harvesting the organs, which is by the way, illegal in the United States, and selling them. That is what they have described--

(OVERTALK)

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

--to do that, what's illegal is to sell it for profit.

SARA FAGEN:

Is to sell it.

(OVERTALK)

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

But very quickly, just separate from the issue of abortion that brings up so many different sentiments in people, and when you see the unedited version, you see over and over again the official was saying they weren't doing it for profit, they weren't going to be haggling the price. But separately from that, to watch someone as they're eating a lunch or dinner, talking about making a fetus less crunchy. It's just very uncomfortable to watch.

RON FOURNIER:

And to answer your question--

(OVERTALK)

RON FOURNIER:

Any time an institution makes it about the tactics, you know the issue is the content. But in this case, there are a lot of people in this country who are against abortion period, there's a lot of people who say, "Woman's right to choose, period." A lot of America, probably most of America is kind of ambivalent about this. Then when you have a video like this, it makes it impossible for Americans, they have the kind of emotional and political distance and psychological distance from abortion that Planned Parenthood has to have. Right? Let's put abortion right in our faces, which is not good for Planned Parenthood.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, what's interesting, it's going to be one unifying moment for this Republican field here. And it is the one thing that has unified Jeb Bush and the rest and Donald Trump and everybody, as they've been attacking each other like crazy.

SARA FAGEN:

Not just the field, every Republican. And I think that this is going to become a huge issue this fall. There's going to be congressional hearings, and every Democrat is going to have to answer what they're going to do with the money that they have accepted from Planned Parenthood.

CHUCK TODD:

And, you know, Amy, I want to bring up Planned Parenthood, because in 2012, defunding Planned Parenthood worked--

AMY WALTER:

Worked against Republicans.

CHUCK TODD:

--against Republicans. It was a wedge issue. It was almost as if the conservative movement was saying, "Oh yeah? Well, we're going to take away the Planned Parenthood wedge issue from you."

AMY WALTER:

Right, and--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Could they do that?

AMY WALTER:

--war on women--

CHUCK TODD:

Is this a crisis moment for Planned Parenthood with their whole organization is at risk here?

AMY WALTER:

Well, given what the Republicans in Congress and the ones on the campaign trail are talking about, there's a very serious movement there. Now, listen. They've gotten support from enough Democrats, from the president, that they will not be defunded.

CHUCK TODD:

But it's a perception issue.

RON FOURNIER:

If I was advising Planned Parenthood, stop taking money for tissue. If it’s donated, just donate it.

CHUCK TODD:

Just get out of it.

RON FOURNIER:

Or if you're donating it, just donate it.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

I saw one scientist say, "You know what, Planned Parenthood doesn't need to be in this." They don't need--

SARA FAGEN:

This is not morally ambiguous. This is wrong and Americans understand this is wrong and this shined a big light on the practices that these folks find acceptable, and it disgusts most people.

CHUCK TODD:

Does it bring the abortion issue into the political square in the general election, Jose? Or has this become sort of more of a primary fight?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

I think it's just a visceral issue. And I think that it reaffirms your position one way or another. But again, if you remove that position, watching someone eating a salad, I mean, as they're talking about that, is very difficult.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, the success on this issue, and I've got to wrap it up, the success on this issue as a tactic point, I think you're going to see other political groups left and right say, "You know what? Be damned. Ends justifies the means."

RON FOURNIER:

Can I tie this to an earlier conversation?

CHUCK TODD:

We've got to go. I've got to let you go. We'll do it on Periscope.

RON FOURNIER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

That's all for today. We'll be back next week, because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.