Meet the Press Transcript - June 14, 2015

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MEET THE PRESS - JUNE 14, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, the dynasty candidates. Hillary kicks off her campaign, again.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I'm not running for some Americans, but for all Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

Tomorrow, it's Jeb.

JEB BUSH:

It's going to be an exciting time. I'm really excited about this.

CHUCK TODD:

After rough starts, Clinton and Bush 2.0. I'll be joined by Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, and then Mitt Romney, who may be the Republican kingmaker in 2016. Also, challenges for President Obama at home, on trade, where Democrats defiant, and abroad on Iraq and Isis.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

We don't yet have a complete strategy.

CHUCK TODD:

Is the U.S. losing the war against ISIS? I'm Chuck Todd. And joining me for insight and analysis this morning are conservative radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, former advisor to President Obama, Stephanie Cutter, and historian and journalist, Evan Thomas. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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

CHUCK TODD:

Good morning. It is dynasty weekend. They come from the two most powerful political families in American politics today. But neither Jeb Bush nor Hillary Clinton wants to be defined by their last names. And this morning, those campaigns are hard at work, Jeb Bush, back from Europe, is in Miami preparing for his announcement tomorrow.

And his campaigned has released a little teaser today. It's a video that also happens to unveil the name of the campaign and logo. And look what's missing? One key word: Bush. Hillary Clinton woke up in Iowa this morning. And for those who wondered if she's going to start take questions from the media, well, we've learned that she will.

It'll be local, TV interviews all this week throughout the early states. Yesterday though, in her big speech in New York, she made clear that she wants to tell the story of her life and achievements, rather than be defined by her previous campaigns or by her husband's legacy.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

America can't succeed unless you succeed. That is why I am running for president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

On New York’s Roosevelt Island, Hillary Clinton attempted to answer a question that she never effectively addressed in her last campaign for the White House, why does she want to be president?

HILLARY CLINTON:

For everyone who's ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out.

CHUCK TODD:

She even tends to persuade voters she's a progressive champion, more Rodham than Clinton. But her campaign has been dogged by reminders of so-called Clinton baggage, and the perception that her new progressive positions are ones of convenience, not conviction. At her announcement, Clinton delivered a State-of-the-Union style laundry list of policy proposals. Managing to name-check nearly interest group within the Democratic party.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Immigrants, young people, LGBT community, union leaders, Silicon valley, poor people, people with disabilities, and people of color.

CHUCK TODD:

Clinton also decided to take on the issue of age head on.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

Another famous last name who's had a rocky rollout will finally make his campaign official on Monday at Miami Dade College. He's selling himself as more Jeb than Bush. But he is borrowing one thing from his brother: compassionate conservatism.

JEB BUSH:

My core beliefs start with the premise that the most vulnerable in our society should be at the front of the line, not the back. And as governor, I had a chance to act on that core belief.

CHUCK TODD:

Back in December, when Bush first hinted he might run, his campaign was expected to be a juggernaut, generating shock and awe, vacuuming up money, pushing out candidates left and right. Instead, he is barely clinging to front-runner status, with 15 Republicans battling him to lead the party. Bush is also struggling with conservatives, thanks in part to two big issues: Common Core and immigration. Then there's his brother's legacy. Some Republicans believe he has to find a way to distance himself.

STEVE SCHMIDT:

This is going to be a change election. At the end of the day, Republican voters want somebody who can prosecute a case without being wrapped up in these debates from the past.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let's talk about the Hillary Clinton rollout. I'm joined by John Podesta, he's chair of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Of course, he was most recently President Obama's senior advisor in the White House. And President Bill Clinton's last chief of staff. So you really encompassed everything about the last two administrations, two Democratic administrations. Welcome back to Meet the Press, Mr. Podesta.

JOHN PODESTA:

Good morning, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with, there was an exhaustive list of issues that Hillary Clinton rolled out, ideas, proposals. But there was one issue she ducked almost completely, Bill referenced, to the issue of the trade. She has not wanted to step into this fight between House Democrats and President Obama. Why? Why was there no mention of the rift inside the party, and why did she not take a position on what is the foremost debate inside of the Democratic party right now?

JOHN PODESTA:

She actually has been very clear about where she stands on trade. She's rolled out a two-pronged task on how to look at trade agreements. First, does it grow jobs, grow wages, and protect American workers, and second, does it protect our national security? That's her position. She said that she wants to wait to see what the final deal is with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is the substance of the trade agreement.

What we've seen at the last couple of days is skirmishes around the process for considering that agreement. But the agreement's not final. So when it is final, she'll render a judgment about that. And she's stated her concerns. But she has a clear standard that it's got to be good for American workers, or she thinks the United States will walk away from it.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me stop you there.

JOHN PODESTA:

No tougher negotiator with both our trading partners or with Republicans in Congress, than Hillary Clinton if she's elected to office.

CHUCK TODD:

And can we credibly assume that she would walk away from TPP? Something that she called in 2010 an "exciting opportunity," in 2011, a "benchmark for future agreements," in 2012, a "gold standard for trade agreement," and in 2013, "really enhance our relationship with Asia." Which does not sound like somebody's against this deal. Yet you're implying she might be. It sounds like you're trying to please labor here.

JOHN PODESTA:

Chuck, she's also stated that she has problems with the provisions that are weak. Give special privileges to corporations and not similar treatment to workers and their representative. She's stated her concerns about strong environmental standards, worker protections. The deal's not done. The deal has some good things, it has some concerns, but when the deal is done, she'll render her final judgment.

I think what she's saying is that this is one issue, and it's an important issue, amongst a lot of issues about how we're going to build our economy, bring it back, make sure it works for working people, seeing wages rising again. And that's what she laid out in an ambitious agenda, along with her vision for what we needed to do to stop the deck from being stacked for those at the top. And of course, the values that have motivated her, her entire career and her entire life, or since she left law school.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask you about some of those, because the trade issue actually fits in with a whole bunch of changes. Over the last decade, she's shifted her position on same-sex marriage, on immigration, on NAFTA, on the Iraq War, on Cuba policy, on criminal justice reform, just a few that she's done recently. Now all to the left, all to the progressive side of things, how should progressives believe these are changes of conviction and not simply changes of convenience because the Democratic electorate has changed?

JOHN PODESTA:

I don't think there's anybody who's been more consistent in their entire career, from the day she left law school and went to work for the Children's Defense Fund, from her work in Arkansas, to first lady of the United States, she's fought for children, for families, she's made her priorities clear, her values clear.

You know, times change. A decade ago, I think a lot of people have a different view on marriage equality. Today, the country has shifted. She's at the forefront of saying that that is a right that every American should have. She's gone further and said, "We need to protect the LGBT community in the workplace." So I think circumstances change. This isn't 1992, it's not 2008, it's 2015. And she'll take positions that are consistent with a long-term, long-time set of values that have made her a progressive, in the best sense of the word, fighting for working families, fighting for children, fighting for women across the country and across the world.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's interesting. Both some progressive columnists and some conservative columnists came to the same conclusion watching that speech yesterday, which is she seems to be embracing the Obama economic agenda that was outlined by the president, frankly, in his last two State of the Unions, something you were very much a part of.

Republicans are deriding it as the "Obama third term," progressives are embracing it as Hillary Clinton is signing onto the Obama economic agenda. Is that a fair description, that she is sort of hugging the president here on his economic agenda?

JOHN PODESTA:

Look, I think she thinks that the president brought the country back from what could've been a depression, from certainly a great recession, and has created a lot of private-sector jobs. But we still haven't seen enough wage growth in this country. This is not 2008. This is 2015. The election will be in 2016.

She's projecting into the future, what the country needs, whether that's paid leave, childcare, the kinds of policies that will both strengthen families, improve the economy, and really when American workers succeed, as she said yesterday, America will succeed. It's a very different economic philosophy than the Republicans, so she's going to build on that work, and take the country forward.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly on the Clinton Foundation, when is the campaign going to officially outline exactly what a President Hillary Clinton's relationship would be with the Clinton Foundation? Do you feel like you're going to actually formally have to put that out? Not how it would work during the campaign, but how it would work if she were elected president?

JOHN PODESTA:

Well, look. I think that she has dropped off the foundation board, and severed a relationship with the foundation, because she's focused on running for president and getting elected president of the United States. If she is successful and we get the nomination, which we're fighting for every vote for, and she's elected president, then we'll put in an appropriate separation. And I think that--

CHUCK TODD:

But after if she's elected, this wouldn't be something you would do before to--

JOHN PODESTA:

Well, people--

CHUCK TODD:

assuage any concerns?

JOHN PODESTA:

I think if there are concerns, we would be happy to address those at an appropriate time. But right now, she's separated from the foundation. And I think that as she did as Secretary of State, she'll put in place anything that's appropriate to make sure that the work of the foundation, which has been excellent across the country and across the world, can continue, but without any question about undue influence.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, John Podesta. I know you go from here straight to Iowa, a busy week on the early states. We'll be watching. Thanks for coming on Meet the Press.

JOHN PODESTA:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Let me bring in the panel, Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio talk show host, of course. I think you've interviewed more of the Republican field than any person in radio or television.

HUGH HEWITT:

Uh-huh (AFFIRM).

CHUCK TODD:

And you've got a new book out, The Queen: The Epic Ambitionof Hillary and the Coming of a Second "Clinton Era". We'll talk about that later. Andrea Mitchell, yes, you're our chief foreign affairs correspondent, but you're also our chief Hillary Clinton correspondent these days, Stephanie Cutter, served as deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, knows a lot about these things, and Evan Thomas, the former Washington bureau chief at Newsweek, you have a great new book on Nixon that comes out Tuesday.

And you've got an interesting little Nixon-Hillary comparisons as well. We'll get into all of that. But you were there, Andrea. You were there yesterday. There's been an interesting little debate, even among, I've noticed, in Democratic operatives about whether it felt like a good event, but it didn't ever feel like an Obama event.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Hillary Clinton is never going to be Barack Obama. You're not going to see the kind of speech in his Springfield launch in '07, which was so tremendous. She had the crowd. Figures are assumed on the ground, when you looked at the high shots and the television shots. She's not a soaring speaker. But she is projecting the fighter, which is the name of the new video.

That's what they want her to show. That's the strategy. She'll fight for you. And that's their answer to the progressive criticism that she's not, you know, out there on economic issues. They're trying to say that she will be, you know, your champion, and you know, that's the line that they're using. She used that language over and over again. And I think that there is something to the gender issue. As we all recall back in '07 and '08, she was the commander in chief, she hid from it

CHUCK TODD:

She almost thought it was a liability.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Right. Now they've checked that box. And, so, you know, she's not talking about foreign policy, that's for sure. But boy is she talking about the women, her connection, the first woman president, "I may not but the youngest," which you played, "but I'll be the first, you know, the youngest woman president." And I picked that up from people I talked to in the crowd. Men, fathers, children, the history-making thing is a big deal.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, Stephanie, I'm curious. Dan Balz, who always writes these great day-after analysis pieces, he is the king of this, he wrote this talking about subtle differences that she wanted to project with President Obama in style. And he wrote this: "If the Obama who defeated her eight years ago was the candidate of soaring rhetoric, of hope, and inspiration, Clinton is running as a dogged and determined fighter at a time when many voters are looking for evidence of achievable results." With the implication being, you know, if President Obama doesn't finish the job, she's the taskmaster, she'll finish the job.

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

She'll take it over the finish line.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair?

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

I think that's fair. I think, you know, as Andrea said, she is not Barack Obama in terms of how she can deliver speeches. Very few people are. And I think what we saw yesterday, was very true to who Hillary is. And yeah, she achieved what she needed to achieve, that she's a fighter, that she's going to restore that basic economic bargain, write out a series of proposals of things that she's going to actually fight for.

So I think she achieved what she needed to achieve. I think, you know, looking for that soaring rhetoric, and grandiose high-lifting remarks, I think we're going to see that through the course of this campaign. That's not who she is, and that's not where the Republican field is either.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Hugh, let's get a little conservative point of view here a little bit. Phil Klein, in The Washington Examiner, I thought something fascinating in his after-action column. He said this, "Hillary Clinton displayed today her tremendous weaknesses as a candidate," he writes.

"All she has going for her is hope that pushing the right buttons on identity politics and promising new government benefits, that Americans will overlook what they don't like. But in 2016, Republicans have the ability to nominate a formidable candidate to put up against a Democrat with lots of baggage. If they blow it, then it may be time to throw in the towel." You buy his argument here, that if they can't beat the Hillary Clinton that was presented yesterday, the Republican party should just change course big time?

HUGH HEWITT:

Well, she is a prohibitive favorite, but I noted in your conversation with Mr. Podesta, her catastrophic tenure at State did not come up. It did not come up yesterday in her speech. Libya, Egypt, the reset button with Russia, her failure to reorient towards the Pacific, so that was all missing from her otherwise State of the Union sort of thing.

And then she brought up age, I thought Andrea made an interesting point. She headed head on, but her cultural reference, her one cultural reference in the speech, was to the Beatles song Yesterday, which was recorded 50 years ago today, which is not exactly hitting all the buttons of the culture.

CHUCK TODD:

What I was waiting for, "Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone, don't stop thinking about tomorrow." I thought that was what Hillary was saying. And it's funny you point that out. Let me quickly show Marco Rubio was quick to pounce on this. Take a look.

HILLARY CLINTON:

They believe in yesterday.

MARCO RUBIO:

Yesterday is over.

CHUCK TODD:

Evan, I don't know, there's a lot of people who think some of that beginning part of her speech about the Republicans meant Marco Rubio's in her head. What do you think?

EVAN THOMAS:

Well, Marco Rubio is new. She is old. He's a new story. She's an old story. And she's got to cast herself in a new way. A lot of people remember the old Hillary. And you can rebrand yourself in politics. You can. It can be done.

CHUCK TODD:

You've just written a book about a guy who did it 17,000 times.

EVAN THOMAS:

The new Nixon.

EVAN THOMAS:

A new Nixon, a new, new Nixon.

CHUCK TODD:

This is the new, new, new Hillary.

EVAN THOMAS:

And every politician does this. But you can't entirely escape the past. I mean, Nixon couldn't. Nixon ran as a moderate, but people remember the old Nixon. And the old Nixon had a way of coming back. Hillary's not Nixon, I don't think. That's not the case.

But Hillary has some Nixon tendencies. She had a sense of aggrievement, she thinks the press is out to get her, she's not wrong about that. But that, over the long run, that sense of aggrievement, and that sort of petulance can get you into trouble.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, and it also seems to sometimes power her, interesting.

EVAN THOMAS:

Yes, or power Nixon.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right. We're going to pause here. When we come back, we're going to turn to the Republican side of the race. A lot of them lined up this weekend to win over financial voters to this man, the 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. Governor Romney joins me next.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back. This time four years ago, our next guest was running for the Republican presidential nomination. Mitt Romney won that race, but then lost the general election to President Obama. Now he may be playing king maker, of sorts. And this weekend, a half a dozen Republican hopefuls gathered at an event organized by former Governor Romney in Utah.

They said a little touch football, they did some skeet shooting. But more importantly, they aimed for the hearts and minds and deep pockets of some big-money donors, who supported Mr. Romney last time. Governor Romney, welcome back to Meet the Press.

MITT ROMNEY:

Thanks Chuck, good to be with you.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with something that I saw that you did, I believe it was two days ago, that your main power point to the donors and frankly to the candidates and their aides that were there, you spent about, I think, it was 20, 30, 40 minutes all about foreign policy and national security.

Yesterday, we heard Secretary Clinton give a speech that was 97% about domestic policy. Your campaign four years ago was about the economy first. Do you believe that the Republican nominee in 2016 needs to make this about national security first, that this is a national security election?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, that's certainly an important issue. And of course, the fact that Secretary Clinton was the Secretary of State during a period of time where America's interests around the world have been badly damaged. That's an issue. But I think the heart of the campaign in 2016 is going to be about who has the policies most able to lift people out of poverty and to help people in the middle class have rising incomes again.

Because over the last seven years, we've seen policies that have led to record numbers of people that are poor, wage stagnation, greater income inequality, it has not worked. And so when Secretary Clinton is out giving a speech saying she's basically going to do the same thing that President Obama promised, that didn't work. We can attest to that. So I think that's going to be the heart of the campaign in 2016.

CHUCK TODD:

So, okay, very much still more domestic first than national security, as far as you're concerned. Let me move onto a couple of interesting nuggets that have been attributed to you and I want you to respond to it. There have been some reports that you and Sheldon Adelson, the big, Las Vegas casino mogul, that you want to avoid a repeat of the primary chaos you went through in 2012. What does that mean? What was the chaos of 2012 that you don't want to see repeated for the Republican field in 2016?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, I think that's a comment I'll make very broadly, which is I think it's harmful in a process if you have Republicans attacking Republicans. And so I think it's very effective if instead we can talk about the differences between our views to help people in the middle class and help the poor versus the views in our opposition, as opposed to going after one another. And I'm not saying I was perfect in that regard either. But going back to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment, that kinda makes a lot of sense for our party.

CHUCK TODD:

A lot of people are trying to read your mind and have this assumption that somehow you're a Marco Rubio guy. And I know you've been denying this left and right, that you're fiercely neutral in all this. But do you believe that his time as a senator is a liability? That actually, before you used to advocate, "The next nominee has to be a governor." Do you still believe that?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, I think it's very helpful to have someone who has had experience in leadership. And if you look at the people who are running on the Republican side, almost every single one of them has had the opportunity to lead, to manage, to have direct something. Marco Rubio, for instance, was speaker of the House in his state.

CHUCK TODD:

So that counts?

MITT ROMNEY:

And laid a whole series of plans, but--

CHUCK TODD:

That counts as experience to you?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, people have different types of experience. Jeb Bush, of course, was a superb governor, did a great job, was the education governor that people across the country look to. He's a very strong contender in this, of course. Scott Walker has taken on tough issues in Wisconsin, has prove his leadership chops, and of course, John Kasich, governor of Ohio, you see extraordinary job growth there.

I mean, we've got a field of very strong people. I think the thing that surprised most folks who came to this conference that we were holding out here in Utah, was how many strong contenders there are in our party. It's a real blessing I think for the American people to get a good look at such capable people.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, a lot of these backseat drivers on the Republican race look at Governor Jeb Bush's candidacy that gets launched tomorrow, and say, "He's got a similar problem with conservatives that you had in your two campaigns," that you had to convince conservatives you were one of them. What's your advice to Governor Bush?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, Governor Bush I think is a person of real integrity, who is well-known, his record on issues is what we'll be defining for him. And he's got a strong record. People understand he cut taxes time and time again in Florida. He fought very hard to improve schools, to get more school of choice, to grade schools that weren't successful in such a way that students were able to go to other schools of their choice if their school was failing. You know, he has a very strong record. He doesn't have to speak his way into conservatism. He has lived conservatism. And I think that will hold him in good stead.

CHUCK TODD:

Why hasn't he been the juggernaut that everyone thought he would be? At this point in time, you had just announced, and you were the prohibitive front-runner, both financially, and yes, people were saying maybe you were, you know, were classifying your status as frontrunner. But you were that guy. Jeb Bush is not considered that guy. What's happened?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, actually, as you go back to 2012, I remember it well, Rick Perry led me, Herman Cain led in the polls, Newt Gingrich led in the polls. I wouldn't say that I was the prohibitive frontrunner.

CHUCK TODD:

And let me just ask you the question I know you've been asked before, but I'm curious your answer, which is simply, what mistakes do you feel like you made that you would tell a Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, if they're the nominee, to avoid?

MITT ROMNEY:

Well, each have their own kind of mistakes. But in my case, I think the biggest mistake I made was not focusing very early on on minority voters, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans. Our policies, as a conservative group of people, our policies are designed to help people get out of poverty and to see rising incomes.

And the policies of the opposition party are to talk about that. But they don't help people get out of poverty. We have seen that. They don't create jobs. Hillary Clinton said famously that businesses don't create jobs. How in the world could you be so out of touch as not to realize that if we want to have better jobs for people, we want small businesses to grow and thrive. That's what we'll do.

Each of our candidates needs to communicate that to minority voters. And if we do, I think you're going to see a lot more minority voters say, "You know what? I hear the rhetoric, but I also see the record. And I want to work for the people who are going to get me a better job by rising incomes."

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Governor Romney, I'm going to leave it there. Very quickly, our friends over at Vice think you should be the next head of FIFA. Will you be the commander in chief of FIFA and fix soccer for the world?

MITT ROMNEY:

Frankly, I'm focused on trying to make sure that we get this country going in the right direction so we can help the people who need it most.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, no soccer for Governor Romney. Mitt Romney, thanks very much. Coming up, has President Obama lost control of his own party? But first, do we have the wrong strategy to fight ISIS, do we have any strategy that's going to work? We'll be right back.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Whoever wins the presidency in 2016 is sure to inherit the war against ISIS. On Wednesday, President Obama unveiled plans to deploy an additional 450 U.S. troops to help train the Iraqi army and some non-ISIS-allying Sunni fighters. On Thursday, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey revealed the Pentagon is actually considering establishing what he called, "lily pad bases" near the frontlines in Iraq.

A move that may require even more U.S. troops. The headlines, of course, this week, have been damming when it comes to ISIS. And watch this. Military experts and many Democrats being highly critical as the leader of their own party's approach to the war.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

We don't yet have a complete strategy.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN:

Waiting on the Pentagon for the plan is not where it should begin. Where it needs to begin, if it needs to begin, at the White House.

GEN. RAY ODIERNO:

Can I put 150,000 soldiers on the ground to defeat ISIS? Yes. But they won't.

CHARLIE ROSE:

If you put 150,000--

GEN. RAY ODIERNO:

But they won't.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN:

I am very concerned about mission creep.

REP. KEITH ELLISON:

It is a real fear about mission creep here.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY:

I'd be much more comfortable in supporting that mission if I knew what the limits of it were.

SEN. TIM KAINE:

We've got a lot of questions about it.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL:

Enough is enough. This is how we get started in Vietnam.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm joined by Ambassador Brett McGurk. He's the president's diplomatic eyes on the ground in Iraq, and an ISIS expert these days. His official is Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL or ISIS. He is also key advisor to President George W. Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan, and he just returned from Iraq on Thursday. Welcome to Meet the Press.

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Thank you. I'm honored to be here.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask it this way. Obviously the president's plan really depends on a functioning Iraqi military. What do 450 advisors going to need $20 billion in training the Iraqi army hasn't done?

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Well, Chuck, we're of course, nine months into what's going to be a long-term campaign. And what the announcement the president made this week is designed we’ve looked at what really works. And we had a training mission, which is longer term, we also have an advise and assist mission. And we found that every time we have advised and assisted Iraqi forces' tribal fighters, the Kurds, they've been very effective against ISIS.

Taqaddum Air Base is centrally located right between Ramadi and Fallujah. After Ramadi fell, about three weeks ago, we saw Iraqi forces consolidate. You know, when Mosul fell, five Iraqi divisions completely disintegrated. Ramadi was a little different. They actually retreated, consolidated, they reset their headquarters of Taqaddum Air Base. And Prime Minister Abadi asked us to come to help him to train to plan to recruit Sunni fighters to take back territory.

We looked at that. And based upon success we've had in other areas of Anbar Province, at Al Asad Air Base, we've been working there since November with three tribes. They're mobilized, they're fighting. And the Iraqi Seventh, the first Iraqi Army division is out there fighting. And they've actually had some real success. So what the National Security Council Team and the president we said, "What's worked, what hasn't worked?" The advise and assist mission has been very effective. We think that Taqaddum, we can really make some gains there.

CHUCK TODD:

It seems as if whether you want to go back to the surge or go to this plan that you just described, that you say is taking what works, the common denominator is this: as long as the United States is there, Iraq can be cobbled together. The minute you try to withdraw the American presence, Iraq falls apart. It's been that way now for 14 years. How is that ever going to change?

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Well, it's a question we ask ourselves every day, let me say two things. I think we have to keep in mind what the enemy ISIS is. We've looked at it very closely. Main assessment last summer and it still holds. It is better in every respect than its predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq. It's better manned, it's better equipped, they're better fighters. And we remember what it took for U.S. forces to defeat that enemy.

It's also a real threat to the United States. This is something we've never seen before. The number of fighters, the number of Jihadist fighters coming into Syria right now, about 24,000, depending on who's counting, but it's about twice as many that went into Afghanistan over ten years to fight the Soviet Union in 1980s. We know what that led to.

So we have to get our hands on this. It's why we built a global coalition to defeat it and many facets, including the foreign fighter flow. But in Iraq, we're not trying to make Iraq into a Jeffersonian democracy and a perfect place. Prime Minister Abadi’s vision for the government is much more federalism, much more local control.

As Sunnis rise up to take on ISIS, they're going to have much more autonomy in their provinces. It's called a functioning federalism, it's consistent with their constitution, and we've been working with them. I was in Iraq last week

CHUCK TODD:

It’s a partition with an umbrella. It's a three partition, but with a little bit of a federal umbrella

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

It's a constitutional federalist framework. Now I was in Iraq last week, you know, talking not only to the central government leaders, but the governor of Anbar Province, the local tribal leaders, I just got off the phone with some of our commanders in the field. Now that we're based in Taqaddum, and working with the tribal committee in Anbar, we're gonna see over the next week, I think pretty soon some new tribal fighters coming in to get equipped and get into the fight.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to ask you about something the former president George Bush said this week in an interview with an Israel media outlet. He said this, "A fair number of people in our country were saying that the was impossible to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is ISIS as far as I'm concerned. They said I must get out of Iraq. But I chose the opposite. I sent 30,000 more troops as opposed to 30,000 fewer.

"I think history will show that Al Qaeda in Iraq was defeated. And so I chose the path of boots on the ground. And we'll whether or not our government adjusts to the realities on the ground." He's essentially, first time we've heard him directly, I think, criticize the strategy. If he thinks there has to be boots on the ground, why is he wrong?

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Well, Chuck, I've worked closely with two presidents. And I think the strategy we have now, it was a different time. When we were in Iraq before, we were there, we had real authority to do whatever we wanted. We're there now at the invitation of the Iraqi government. And we have to work very closely with them.

But the president made, again, specifically tailored to what works, we're there to advise and assist, to get Sunni tribal fighters into the fight, to work with Iraqis to reconsolidate and get their plan together. Every time we've advised and assisted an Iraqi operation, it's been successful. In northern Syria, as we speak, the Kurds, with Arab Free Syrian Army Fighters, and some Christian organized units, they're really giving a beating to ISIS.

And they're very close to cutting off the main supply route that ISIS has in its capital of Raqqa. So there's a lot going on, Chuck. I think we'll watch the Euphrates Valley over the next six months, from Raqqa, to Ramadi, to Fallujah--

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

We're going to be focused there.

CHUCK TODD:

Those six months, success or failure depends on--

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Specifically in Anbar province. That's where we're focused.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Ambassador McGurk, I know you've been doing this for multiple administrations, and now I think multiple decades. Thanks for coming on.

AMB. BRETT MCGURK:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

In a moment, a huge loss for President Obama in trade. He's never had the "congressional Republicans" on his side of many issues. Now, why is he losing Democrats too? Also, something new coming up. Meet the Next, in this case, the next big idea. What will be asked to debate it? We'll be right back.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

It's hard not to get down on the government when you see dysfunction play out on our TVs every day. Frankly, sometimes at every level of government. So let's just take a moment, we started a new feature here on the Meet the Press, we're calling it "Meet the Next." Maybe the next inspiring or interesting or even controversial idea that's popping up in communities, local governments, perhaps even businesses.

How are they trying to solve some vexing problems? So one idea that caught our eye this week comes out of the Seattle area. Back in March, King County Metro Transit started a fare program that's by income. It's called Orca Lift. If your income is less than double the poverty line, you qualify for reduced bus fare, $1.50, down from the normal fare of $2.50.

More than 10,000 people have signed up for the program since it started. San Francisco has had a similar program for years. So we were surprised more cities haven't tried it, especially when we talk about income inequality all the time. Is this a good way of doing things, by the way? What do you think of this idea?

Is it the right approach or the wrong approach? We are bringing more ideas like this in the coming weeks and months. So share your thoughts about this idea on our Facebook page. But also, give us ideas that you think we should be featuring on the show. So go check it out on our Facebook page where you can find it. Coming up, we're going to geek out a little bit on whether the presidential candidates are really listening to the voters.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it was an embarrassing defeat Friday for President Obama, when many of his fellow Democrats voted against a bill that would've made it easier for him to negotiate a huge international trade deal, specifically one with Asia. This came after the president turned on the last-minute charm offensive, in the hours before the vote. Making his first presidential appearance at the annual congressional baseball game.

He shook hands, chatted with multiple members, who, it turns out, was not able to persuade to go along with them. He also walked the hallways of Congress the next morning, with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi before she took to the floor to pull the rug out from under him and ended up explaining why she would not be support a key part of this trade plan. And while the trade deal isn't dead, this past week the vote shows cracks in Obama's relationship with his own party in Capitol Hill and possibly now his legacy.

Joining me now, someone who knows a lot about President Obama's dealings with Congress and trade deals. It's his former chief of Staff, Bill Daley, you of course were President Clinton's point man on NAFTA. And this is where I want to start. And we're starting with this amazing set of numbers we’re gonna put up. House Democratic support for trade agreement over the last 20-plus years.

In 1993, when you did NAFTA, you got 102 House Democrats to support it. In 1998, that number on trade agreement support was down to 29, I believe that was for a couple of Central American trade agreements. By 2015, yesterday we saw 28 Democrats do it. What has happened here? Democratic party almost now unanimously anti-trade agreement.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Right, I think obviously the influence of labor. Who have been consistent forever that trade deals are bad. And they think there is the root of all the loss of jobs that may have occurred over the last 30, 40 years. I feel strongly that both from a policy sense and a political sense, it is very wrong for the Democrats to undercut the president at this stage. This deal though can still get done in the next couple of days.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it's interesting, he wasn't successful at lobbying Congress. You were brought in to try to help him fix this. It never was able to get fixed. George Condon wrote the following, he said, "At the heart of the discontent is the belief by many members of the House and the Senate that the president is unmindful of the most basic rule of executive-congressional relations: don't wait to call members until you need them. So when the president tried that late flurry of personal activity, it looked both panicky and ineffective." What is going on? Why has this been such a conundrum for him?

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Well, putting trade aside, look, I think there's been a consistent message by some people, that the president isn't engaged. I spent a year with him. And the truth is, you know, at this stage, after six and a half years, this president has met with, spoken to Democrats especially over and over and over again. Now was he one of them seven and a half years ago when he ran for president? No.

But I think to pass this vote off in some way because he wasn't nice to people or didn't go and have a beer with them or go to the baseball game enough with them is kind of silly, especially when you consider the seriousness of this issue. In my opinion, both for Democrats, is the Republican House members in late President Bush's term, turned on him and weakened him, it hurt them in the general election in 2008.

If the Democrats continue to do this sort of thing, and especially on this issue and undercut the president, they're only shooting themselves in the foot, because it's only going to weaken the party and whoever the nominee is of the party next year.

CHUCK TODD:

And so in that case, Hillary Clinton. Let me get the panel a couple of questions. I know your friend Andrea Mitchell has a question for you, Andrea?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Thanks so much, Bill. You could say it's silly that he hasn't schmoozed enough with members, but the day after this devastating vote, instead of taking people golfing, he's off with his friends on the golf course again, he has not done anything to show members of Congress that he cares about them, if he wants some control, it's almost too late. And big business, I talked to a House member yesterday after Roosevelt Island, who said that not a single person from the Chamber of Commerce had tried to offset labor’s big push.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Well, the Chamber and other business interests, obviously, are very much in favor of the trade deal. And they have been out there, there's advertisings on TV, pro trade, pro TPP. That's all coming from business, not from obviously, but--

ANDREA MITCHELL:

There hasn't been any real arm twisting by business to offset the power--

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Well, business doesn't add a lot of power to arm twist Democrats, and with Republicans, this deal can done, all the speaker has to do is put it back together, the TAA and TPA, which is just the authority to get a deal. I heard John Podesta did say something really smart about Hillary Clinton's position. There's no trade deal yet. All we're talking about at this point is giving the president authority to get a deal done. First president, since other than Richard Nixon, since Franklin Roosevelt, who wouldn't have the authority.

CHUCK TODD:

And Hugh Hewitt, I know you have a question for Bill.

HUGH HEWITT:

Yeah, Bill Daley, you were the president's right arm during the time that Secretary of State Clinton was in the State Department. How surprised were you to learn that she had a private server and had you known about that at the time, would you have required that it be removed from her home?

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

I don't know if I would've required it be removed from the home, because that's more than just her server. Obviously, it was something that I did not know and others didn't. But she followed the rules of the State Department, and we're beyond that.

HUGH HEWITT:

So you had no idea at all that there was a server over at the Clinton's residence?

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

No, how would I know that?

HUGH HEWITT:

I thought the chief of Staff might.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

No, they know a lot, but they don't know everything.

CHUCK TODD:

Bill, let me wrap it on this front. If he doesn't get this trade agreement, and this trade authority, how much does it damage him on the world stage?

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Oh, I think it's a serious blow to the country. You've got the Iranian negotiation being finished, he then has to bring that back to the Senate to be voted upon. And if all of a sudden, people out in the world are seeing he has a less of a chance to get in something at Congress, then I think that's a serious blow. And--

CHUCK TODD:

He can't get a trade deal. This trade authority, but it's sending a message to the Iranians, "Hey, buddy, don't--"

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

I think it’s sending a whole bunch of things. And I think that's where Democrats again are making a serious political mistake in weakening the president, when they're going into an election. He's not on the ballot, but he is their leader. And this is a fella who's going to be out there making the case along with the nominee for the Democrats to get elected. And if they weaken him, it is a politically stupid thing to do.

CHUCK TODD:

A lot more partisan redistricting now than when you were dealing with Democrats circa 1993. That's also an issue.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

It is, definitely. There are a lot fewer. This is the smallest number of House Democrats in I don't know how long.

CHUCK TODD:

And they are more afraid of a primary

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

And they're more afraid because of the primary. But if you want to grow your numbers, you know, you don't go into a crouch. You have to be aggressive. Bill Clinton said, and I think President Obama's seeing it regarding this trade deal, the party that looks frightened and wants to go back is not a party that's going to be victorious. You've got to go forward and you've got to be out there fighting the fight in trade and around the world.

CHUCK TODD:

Bill Daley, thanks for--

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

--sharing your views and experience, and we'll see if the Cubs might actually make your hometown of Chicago proud.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

I'm a White Sox fan.

CHUCK TODD:

So you don’t care, do you? You South-Sider you.

WILLIAM M. DALEY:

But I'm a Black Hawks fan.

CHUCK TODD:

Oh, there you go. We'll be watching them. All right, before we go to break, we know you lead busy lives and sometimes you can't be in front of the TV to see Meet the Press live, no problem. You know we’re always on demand. So give us the season pass, will you? Hurry up and do that now. So even if it's not Sunday, you know, it's always still Meet the Press. We'll be back in a moment with our endgame segment, including a remembrance of a man who hosted Meet the Press longer than anyone else. It was a big remembrance day for us yesterday.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Well, we're going to start our endgame segment today with the nerd screen, and with the two big announcements that are taking place, Hillary yesterday, Jeb Bush tomorrow, we decided to examine every word in the 13 announcement speeches that have been given so far, to find out whether candidates were focused on the issues that actually matter to most voters.

In fact, take a look at this, in our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Democratic voters said economic growth and job creation were their top two issues. Republicans and their top issues? It is national security and the economy. And it turns out the candidates are listening, at least so far. So for example, Senator Bernie Sanders, who's running as a Democrat, devoted 45% of his speech to the issue of the economy.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who of course is running as a Republican, he dedicated 42% of his speech to foreign affairs and national security. Now, candidates also spent time on other issues of particular importance to them. So, for example, Senator Rand Paul, he spent a noticeable chunk of time on his announcement speech on government surveillance.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, it was a mixed bag of domestic issues, including, by the way, some social issues like abortion and of course Veterans Affairs. That’s how candidates can make themselves stand out in a crowd, find little smaller issues that make them different. Now let's geek out on this a little bit more. And take a look at Hillary Clinton's speech yesterday.

Look at this, huh? Kind of an interesting pie chart. She actually spent 27% of her time on calls for action. 17% of her speech was on the economy, and just 3% was on foreign policy. Pretty interesting. Former secretary of State announces for president and spends just 3% on foreign policy. And here's the line that I think best sums up what issue she would like to have her presidency be defined by.

HILLARY CLINTON:

I'm running to make our economy work for you, and for every American. For the successful and the struggling. For the innovators and adventurers. For anyone who's ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out.

CHUCK TODD:

Her "why," as we were painting out. Evan Thomas and Stephanie Cutter, Evan, I want to start with you. As you can see, the two parties have two different views of what the 2016 lesson is going to be about. Is it about the economy? Is it about national security? Mitt Romney waffled on that. He spent all of his time with his donors about national security, but then he went, "Whoa, no, no, no, no, it's still about the economy."

EVAN THOMAS:

I think both parties know that each issue, economy and foreign policy, is something that doesn't have much legs. I don't think voters really think that we're going to do much about the economy. They'd like to lessen the gap between the rich and poor, but they don't have much faith that we will.

On foreign policy, they sure don't like ISIS, but they don't want to get into a war with ISIS. So I think both parties kind of know that. And they know that in the end, it's going to be personality and character that drives this more than the issues.

CHUCK TODD:

You buy that?

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

Oh, I think personality and character are extremely important in presidential races. But I don't buy that the American people believe that nothing's going to get done on both topics. I think foreign policy is a Republican-based issue. Which is why you see Republicans coming out of the gate talking about it--

CHUCK TODD:

Kinda new though. It never used to be, this was an extra-based issue.

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

Well, it's a Republican-establishment issue, and it always has been. I think the problem is that what they're talking about is all critique of the president. There are no policies out there. The problem for them is that the policies that their establishment wants is commitment of troops. And that's a loser for the American people.

I think the economy, Mitt Romney actually did say it best. And had he had this belief in 2012 he might've been a better candidate. But it is the economy, it is the sense that everybody's going to get a fair chance and everybody's going to be lifted up. And that is what you saw in Hillary Clinton's speech yesterday, that, you know, the basic economic argument. You work hard, you do your part, then you can partake in the success.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's turn to tomorrow and Jeb Bush, Hugh. I watched that whole video, the little teaser, as we note, and I noted, he really is running on compassionate conservatism, but don't call it compassionate conservatism. And he is not going to be one of those Republicans that leads with national security first.

HUGH HEWITT:

Right. Yeah, well Andrea pointed out that Mike Murphy, his campaign consultant, was already tweeting out that he hasn't been rebranded, he's been saying the same thing for many years. Jeb Bush is going to run on everything because he's got the best resume of anyone in the race. He's going to run on his vast experience as governor of Florida, but I do think national security is going to dominate.

Stanley McChrystal was in my studio for nearly two hours on Friday. ISIS makes 100 million social media contacts a day. And as General McChrystal pointed out, it takes only a very small percentage of that to radicalized significant numbers. We are living in perilous times. So that's coming out.

CHUCK TODD:

Very fast, Hugh, is Jeb Bush conservative enough for today's Republican party?

HUGH HEWITT:

He is very, very conservative, yes. Common Core is an issue, you pointed out at the beginning of the show, he needs to address that with the base.

CHUCK TODD:

So you really do?

HUGH HEWITT:

Absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

And maybe flip?

HUGH HEWITT:

Distance himself from that which was Common Core and what it is today.

CHUCK TODD:

Distance, another word for flip but alright. Before we go, yesterday marked seven years since this program and our Washington bureau lost its leader, Tim Russert. I didn't feel as if we should let this weekend go by without mentioning it. I can't believe it's been that long. Andrea, seven years feel like seven minutes, seven days. That's for sure, doesn't it?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

He's in my head every day, every interview.

CHUCK TODD:

WWTD, what would Tim do, with every challenge internal and external?

ANDREA MITCHELL:

The loss is so profound for his family, for our viewers, for us here.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, that's for sure. Well, guess what? His presence is felt obviously everywhere, whenever we're thinking about this. But his presence and his legacy lives on in one very particular moment that you hear all the time. It's probably his most endearing legacy here at Meet the Press. It's the catchphrase that he came up with. He came up with it at the last minute on a Saturday night before the first show he ever did. And it goes like this: “If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.”

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