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Meet the Press Transcript - June 28, 2015

Meet the Press - June 28, 2015

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, a landmark for progressive politics in America. The Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal from coast to coast. Plus, politicians from both parties say it's time for the Confederate battle flag to come down.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

By taking down that flag, we express God's grace.

NIKKI HALEY:

It's time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds.

CHUCK TODD:

And that Affordable Healthcare Act, it's here to stay.

MALE VOICE:

Right, we're all excited.

CHUCK TODD:

We'll cover it all, victories for liberals, President Obama's growing legacy, and how conservatives will respond. I'll be joined by two 2016 Republican candidates, Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina.

Finally, terror abroad and concerns at home. How serious is the threat to us? I'm Chuck Todd, and joining me for insight and analysis this Sunday morning are former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post, and Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School. 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. Perhaps it was a bit of hyperbole, but one writer we admire said, "This week would be a book that historians would write books about this week." When an African American president sang Amazing Grace as the country buried the Confederate battle flag. It was a week in which the left/right ideological struggle swung sharply in favor of progressives, as Americans came to look at three issues in a different way in rapid order.

The Confederate flag came to be seen by most, not just some, as a reminder of hate, not heritage. Healthcare reform, seen now as a right, not a privilege. And same-sex marriage became law of the land. It was also a week that cemented President Obama's legacy. Here he is, celebrating that Supreme Court's healthcare decision with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. And Friday night, the White House was bathed in rainbow colors, in honor of the marriage ruling, capping the most sweeping period of social transformation since the 1960s.

REPORTER:

There is the right to marriage equality. We have it.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Okay, there is a right to marriage equality.

VOICES:

USA! USA! USA!

CHUCK TODD:

The progressive victories were led not from the top down, but by a new generation of grassroots activists, pressing their political leaders to keep up with the pace of change.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Sometimes there like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.

CHUCK TODD:

Just 30 years ago, the Supreme Court said gay people could be punished as criminals.

EVAN WOLFSON:

In historical terms, it has moved quickly. But that quickly came on the strength of more than four decades of engagement and work and persuasion and many stumbles and much injustice. So it took a lot of work to get to this overnight success.

CHUCK TODD:

For Republicans running for president, responses to the ruling are a litmus test for which voters they intend to target.

TED CRUZ:

Some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history.

CHUCK TODD:

Others, like Jeb Bush, eyeing the general election, have criticized the decision, but essentially said, "Accept it and move on." Also this week, a flag that emerged as a defiant political symbol in 1948 with the segregationist Dixiecrat Party is now being taken down all over the South, in state capitals from South Carolina to Alabama. And the tragedy in Charleston may actually be changing the debate on race from a conversation to action.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS:

That's a wakeup call to the nation, in the same that a loss of four little girls in a church in Birmingham galvanized the Civil Rights Movement.

CHUCK TODD:

Two years ago, President Obama brought a message of tough love to African Americans at Morehouse College.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination.

CHUCK TODD:

At Friday's eulogy, for Reverend Clement Pinckney, the president took a much different approach.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

We're guarding against not just racial slurs, but we're also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview, but not Jamal.

CHUCK TODD:

This change in tone is being led by a new generation of civil rights and social justice activists with a message amplified by social media. Hillary Clinton was criticized this week, along with rival Bernie Sanders, for appearing uncomfortable using the phrase, "Black lives matter."

HILLARY CLINTON:

All lives matter.

CHUCK TODD:

That didn't cut it with one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.

ALICIA GARZA:

Racism is an epidemic in this country. It's a public health crisis. But right now, our politicians can't even say, "Black lives matter."

CHUCK TODD:

On Friday, the president wanted to make sure that phrase was crystal clear, and then broke into an old hymn.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

(SINGING) "Amazing grace, how sweet..."

CHUCK TODD:

It was a week of dramatic social change inextricably linked to the age of Obama. Just hours after Friday's historic Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, I sat down with Mary Bonauto, one of the lawyers who successfully argued the case before the court, and two plaintiffs, Greg Bourke, Michael DeLeon. And I began by asking Mary Bonauto, who has been at the forefront of the same-sex marriage fight for over a decade, if she was surprised by the rapid pace of change.

MARY BONAUTO:

When Massachusetts legalized marriage in 2003, no, I didn't expect to see this day this quickly. But when people started marrying in Massachusetts in May of 2004, you could see very quickly the temperature coming down and people relating to the fact that this was just folks who loved one another. Wanted to commit to each other and take on legal responsibility. And it was kind of hard to argue with that. So we've seen that sort of extend out throughout the nation.

CHUCK TODD:

Justice Roberts, in his dissent, on one hand said, "Celebrate." He seemed to be happy about the outcome, though upset about the legal justification for the outcome. He says, "You can celebrate in every which way, but you can't point to to Constitution." What's your response to that?

MARY BONAUTO:

This case is entirely about the Constitution. And the great thing about our nation is that we have the courts there to say when laws trespass on basic guarantees. And in our nation, for over a century marriage has been considered one of those basic cherished liberties. And the state needs a very good reason to keep two people out of it.

And in the end, there were no good reasons here, as the majority pointed out. The major argument was, "Well, if same sex couples marry then different sex couples won't marry." But that's not how people make their decisions about joining in marriage with the most important person in their lives.

CHUCK TODD:

Gregory and Michael, you have two kids.

MICHAEL DELEON:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

You now get to tell your kids that your marriage is legal wherever you move, wherever you live. How important is that, Michael?

MICHAEL DELEON:

It's very important, especially since in the state of Kentucky I am their only parent right now.

CHUCK TODD:

The state of Kentucky does not recognize you as their parent?

GREG BOURKE:

Because they don't recognize our marriage, they won't allow us to have a second parent adoption of our children. So we don't have that option.

MICHAEL DELEON:

So I hope we are using past tense.

GREG BOURKE:

That's true.

MICHAEL DELEON:

That's an important outcome of this, is for us to, now that we're recognized as a married couple, to be able to put both names on their birth certificates. And they've always seen us as both of us being their parents, so this is the big win for us.

CHUCK TODD:

You think your services are done? You've been in on the forefront--

MARY BONAUTO:

I hesitate--

CHUCK TODD:

I mean--

MARY BONAUTO:

I hesitate to say so. People still get singled out for discrimination, and sometimes, as we know from what's happening in South Carolina today, just unspeakable violence. And so I do believe that the work goes on to ensure that in the way that we live our lives and the way people treat us, we're not singled out for different treatment because of who we are.

CHUCK TODD:

To break down what's been a historic week at the Supreme Court, we can think, of course, nobody better than our own justice correspondent, Pete Williams. Mr. Williams, you've been a busy man.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Yes, sir.

CHUCK TODD:

What did we learn about the court this week? Is it a liberal court? Is it a conservative court? How do you answer that question, Pete Williams?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Well, this is one of the most liberal terms in years. You had the marriage decision, saving healthcare, reviving the housing discrimination law, saying that states don't have to put the Confederate flag on their license plates, restricting campaign fundraising and judicial elections, and so forth.

But if you look at the last ten years with John Roberts' now ten years running the court, the decisions that will stand out for conservatives that will annoy them are the fact that he's twice bailed out ObamaCare, but liberals hate the fact that he's the chief justice whose court gave us the Citizens United decision, which is a darling of conservatives, and also dealt a huge blow to the Voting Rights Act.

I think what we see about John Roberts in these two decisions is dissenting on marriage, agreeing on ObamaCare, is he doesn't like to see the court as a political institution. He hates it when we describe a liberal block or a conservative block of justices. And I think the other thing is, he is concerned about the court's legacy and his own image.

CHUCK TODD:

So is it fair to say we know where three justices are always going to be on the right, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia, and we always know where four justices are going to be on the left, when it comes to Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Ginsburg.

CHUCK TODD:

And it's Kennedy and Roberts are the swings? Is that what we're looking at here?

PETE WILLIAMS:

You know, we often see that on the big social issues. But remember, where we really saw the fault lines is in the marriage decision, not so much the ObamaCare decision. The two different things the court does. One is interpreting statutes, which was the ObamaCare decision, but the other is saying, "What liberties does the Constitution protect?" And that's where the court's liberal/conservative, five-to-four divisions are the sharpest.

CHUCK TODD:

Now, there's the difference in conservative jurisprudence I think between Scalia and Roberts, right, and this has become a very big debate.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Oh, very much so. Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Explain the difference here a little bit. There's been a lot of commentary on this. Scalia looks at it in almost the description of script constructionist, and is it fair to call Roberts more of an institutionalist?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Yes, I think that's right. Justice Scalia thinks of himself and has written about this as a textualist. Not so much originalist, is the term often used, the original meaning of the Constitution, what would the founding fathers say, but finding no meaning beyond the words of the law itself.

And so, but remember, in his majority opinion in the ObamaCare case, you have Scalia saying, you know, "This is crazy, you're twisting the statute, you shouldn't be doing this." The chief justice twice quotes Scalia as saying, "You have to read the law as a whole."

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I'm going to quickly, your other beat of course is national security, homegrown terror is something we're very concerned. There is this general warning that's out there about the 4th of July. Explain it when it comes to worries about terrorism.

PETE WILLIAMS:

It's ISIS based, and it's been out there for, well, several weeks now. The attorney general and the F.B.I. director had a meeting with, or rather, the Homeland Security secretary had a conference call with police chiefs. They're very worried about ISIS social media inspiring people in the United States to take terror actions.

And they're concerned about this 4th of July period for a couple of reasons, one is the obvious fact that it's a holiday, and a potential something that would rally people. But they've seen in some of these social-media messages exhortations to do something now. So you've seen a lot of the F.B.I. rounding up people, doing arrests, and you'll probably see some more of that this coming week.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Pete Williams, thanks very much.

PETE WILLIAMS:

You bet.

CHUCK TODD:

A busy week for you, and I know we've got another big one coming up on Monday for real political junkies when it comes to redistricting, we assume. So thanks--

(OVERTALK)

PETE WILLIAMS:

Well, we know it. It's coming.

CHUCK TODD:

We know it's coming. As we bring in the panel, I wanted everyone to see how the Supreme Court's decision was covered in America's newspaper. For many people, these are the kinds of front pages they'll be saving, hanging on their wall, framing it. You'll see it there from all over the country. They will be souvenirs for many people.

Others maybe not so much. Let me bring in the panel. Charles Ogletree, Michael Eric Dyson, Newt Gingrich. Charles Ogletree, let me start with you. You're the Harvard law professor here. What did you learn from the Supreme Court this week?

CHARLES OGLETREE:

It was a great series of decisions. And I think that this is not about left and right. The Republicans have not turned conservative or library. This is about justice and equality. And I think those opinions show about justice equality. So I'm very happy with what was decided by the court today.

CHUCK TODD:

Speaker Gingrich, I take it you aren't.

NEWT GINGRICH:

Well, I think they're two radically different kind of decisions. In the ObamaCare decision, which actually was probably a great wound to Republicans, because it allowed them to sidestep having to figure out how to solve a 37-state decision. In the ObamaCare decision, it's almost impossible to read the law the way the court read it. I mean, it takes a grotesque avoidance of the language of the bill.

In the case of the gay rights movement, which goes back, I think this is the 46th anniversary since Stonewall riots, I mean, this has been a long evolution. Most of the country has already migrated in the direction of the court decision, and there you have the court following the nation, not having to rewrite the law.

I don't happen to think we ought to decide these things in courts, I think there's a reason to have political bodies. But clearly, if you look at the reaction around the country, this is an issue which I began saying several years ago, once you have people getting married legally, whether it's Massachusetts or anywhere, you're starting to have a challenge you can't unravel, because human beings' lives are now so affected by many. The court, in that sense, has been catching up with a changing reality.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it's interesting, the speaker brought up something. He doesn't like that the courts do this. But you could argue in our country's history, it's only been the courts that have dealt with social transformation. That the legislative bodies, they can't deal with it.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

No question. You think about the Dred Scott decision in one direction, you think about Brown versus Board of Education, you think about these decisions. Those who give hallelujah are those who have been victims of state forces of oppression in the name of legislation and government.

Don't forget that Jim Crow was a state-sponsored form of, you know, division of races. So the courts have often intervened in progressive fashion to keep the dream of democracy alive. I think when it comes to ObamaCare, again, to disagree with Speaker Gingrich here, I think that the people who make the law are alive. Their intents are clear.

Why? Because they went to court to say, "That's not the interpretation we want to lend to those four words." So when legal jurists become literary artists who are trying to deconstruct and demythologize meanings, just ask the dudes who did it and the women who did it and we can work it out. I think we could save a lot of time.

CHUCK TODD:

Kathleen, it's interesting. You could argue that everybody's point of view was represented at the Supreme Court. Isn't that a good thing?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

I mean, it's always everybody has seen, like, this is a piece of what they want representative in how they want to see the Constitution interpreted.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

And that's true. And I appreciated Professor Ogletree's explanation of how this thing has evolved through the years. And you know, and I love Pete Williams' explanation of Scalia being a textualist and Roberts being an institutionalist. Those are both important perspectives to bring to any discussion we have on it, whatever the case may be. But to follow up on one of the things that Speaker Gingrich said, you know, I lost my train of thought.

CHUCK TODD:

No, no, no, it's all right.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Oh no, no, I think this, I'm sorry, I did just kind of space there. That I'm still visualizing the White House bathed in rainbow colors, and I'm having a slight flashback.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

I can't wait for the red, black, and green to come.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

No, but I think the marriage issue was a gift. I think the ruling on the marriage issue was a gift to the GOP. Both of these things take the pressure off of all these politicians, say, "Look," and follow Jeb's lead, say, "Look, this is the law, we follow it, let's move on."

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Absolutely.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

And they don't create wedge issues. They're liberated.

CHUCK TODD:

In crass political terms, I've already seen some conservatives on Twitter saying, "Should Republicans trust another Bush when it comes to Supreme Court justices," reciting Souter and Bush's father, W. and Roberts. Does this hurt Jeb Bush in an odd way with some conservatives? Does he have to deal with this issue?

NEWT GINGRICH:

Maybe some conservatives, but something's going to hurt Jeb Bush with some conservatives anyway. I just want to come back and dissent for a second. If you look at Dred Scott, where the Supreme Court was totally wrong, that's decided by a Civil War, and by elections which put Abraham Lincoln in the White House. If you look at the Civil Rights Movement in the '50s and '60s, well, you can cite Brown versus Board of Education. There with an immense amount of political activism and the U.S. Congress passed a series of--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Oh listen, I absolutely agree with you on that. But my point is that adjudication of the court has to reflect a principle of democracy that those people are putting pressure. It's both/and, not either/or.

CHUCK TODD:

Actually, I'm curious. How do you feel about this idea that the Supreme Court should reflect public opinion?

CHARLES OGLETREE:

I think the Supreme Court does not reflect public opinion. I think they're deciding what's law, and what's justice, what's equality. And if you take a peer vote, we're going to lose every time. We're the minority. African Americans, people, Asian Americans, people who are Latinos and Latinas. But the Supreme Court says, "We can decide what the law is going to be." And I rest and say that they have made a good decision, a good series of decisions on ObamaCare, on other issues as well.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. We're going to pause here, come back with more on this debate. When we come back, 150 years after it was used in battle, and a half a century after it was revived as a symbol of resistance to civil rights. The confederate battle flag starts coming down all across the country.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. In the aftermath of the tragedy in Charleston, it didn't take long for politicians from both parties to suddenly unite and call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the front of the state capital in South Carolina. One prominent South Carolina politician who has changed his mind on the issue is Senator Lindsey Graham, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination. On Friday, he attended the funeral of Reverend Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, where President Obama spoke so movingly. Senator Graham joins me now. Senator, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

Take me to the services on Friday. What did you make of the president?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

A great speech, good singer, I don't think he's a very good commander in chief, but he did a very good job. I guess when we started talking about God's grace and embracing the Democratic agenda across the board, he sort of lost me there. But I thought he did an incredible job of speaking about Reverend Pinckney. I think he did a good job of explaining our history. Then it got a bit political. But I'm glad he came and I know it meant a lot to the people there in South Carolina for the president to come.

CHUCK TODD:

Why did it take nine deaths to change your mind on the battle flag?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

If you'd asked me the day before the attack, and this killing, I would've said, "The compromise worked for South Carolina," Chuck. I'm not going to throw my state under the bus. That's never going to happen. This compromise was 15 years old, we took the flag off the top of the dome, moved it by the war memorial, built an African American monument, that worked for most South Carolinians.

But after the shooting, it didn't work. My state will never be able to move forward after this shooting if we don't take the flag down. The people at the AME church, the families of the victims changed everything by their grace, by their love, by their forgiveness, making it impossible for a guy like me to say, "Keep the flag up."

CHUCK TODD:

When you see the flag now, do you see a symbol of hate or heritage?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

I see it as a road block for South Carolina. Put it in a museum. You can look at it any way you would like. But after this shooting, and after the call for it to be taken down by the families of the victims, I see it as a road block to the future of my state. I love my state. We've come a long way, we've got a long way to go. But it's got to come down. And I see it being in a museum, and you can look at it any way you want. The only flag that's really ever meant anything to me is the United States flag, which I've served for 33 years as an Air Force officer.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm curious to get your reaction to what David Brooks wrote this week about Robert E. Lee, and he calls it the "Robert E. Lee problem." And he says, "My own view is that we should preserve most Confederate memorials out of respect for the common soldiers. We should keep Lee's name on institutions that reflect post-war service, like Washington and Lee University, where he was president. But we should remove Lee's name from most schools, roads, and other institutions where the name could be seen as acceptance of what he did and stood for during the war." And these debates, Senator, are going to be about Jefferson Davis as well, Virginia, very prominent here in Northern Virginia, Jefferson Davis highway. Where do you believe we should go forward on this?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

Well, if you look back, the goal is to go forward, right? To look back in a way to come to reality about who we are as a nation, but to go forward together. And I would say to David, who I admire a lot, "Well, why would you stop there?" The whole country was founded by slave owners, for the most part. Here's a question: why would you name the capital of any nation after a slave owner? Well, I think Washington D.C. is appropriately named even though George Washington was a slave owner. Because when you look at what he did as a whole, I think he's earned the right to be called one of the great figures in American history. As to Robert E. Lee. If it wasn't for his leadership after the war, urging his soldiers to lay down their weapons and become good Americans, only God knows what would've happened after 1865.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to move to the court here. I'm curious to see your reaction. This is what Ted Cruz said in response to the two court rulings on Friday night:

TED CRUZ:

Today, is some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you agree with his assessment?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

No. I think it's a transformational moment. There are a lot of upset people who believe in traditional marriage. They're disappointed, they're down right now. But, the court has ruled, so here's where I stand. If I'm president of the United States, here's what would happen. If you have a church, a mosque, or a synagogue, and you're following your faith, and you refuse to perform a same-sex marriage, because it's outside the tenets of your faith. In my presidency you will not lose your tax-exempt status. If you're a gay person or a gay couple, if I'm president of the United States, you will be able to participate in commerce and be a full member of society, consistent with the religious beliefs of others who have rights also.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you about the Republican party platform. The 2012 platform said this, "We affirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman." Should that go away in 2016?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

I don't believe there is any chance for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman to get two-thirds votes in the House or the Senate and be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

CHUCK TODD:

So get it out of the platform?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

I think, I agree with Jeb. In my view, you can put it in the platform, but it will, in my view, hurt us in 2016, because it's a process that's not going to bear fruit. What I want to do is protect the religious liberties of those who believe that opposing same-sex marriage is part of their faith. So no, I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the court's ruling, fight for the religious liberties of every American.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, are you confident the flag's coming down in South Carolina?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

Yes, because we have no other choice. And I am confident that after all this is over, we'll be stronger than South Carolina were before. This is a case where the people led the politicians. The grace, the love shown by the victims of these families represent my state better than I could ever hope to.

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

I'm so proud of the people in Charleston.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Lindsey Graham, I'll leave it there. Stay safe on the campaign trail. We'll see you back here soon I'm sure.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:

Thanks, buddy.

CHUCK TODD:

Panel is here. Kathleen Parker, you're a Charleston resident. You were down there this week.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I was.

CHUCK TODD:

The flag coming down, right? You feel as if South Carolina's unifying around that position?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, you're still going to have pockets of dissent, for sure. And the national media will certainly root out those people. But for the most part, I don't know anyone who thinks the flag belongs there. I don't know anyone who didn't think it needed to come down from the dome 15 years ago. I mean, there are, as I say, there are always going to be people, those who have the Confederate flag in their front yards, for example, and have them in their trucks, and that sort of thing. I mean, they're going to dissent. You know, it has almost less to do with the flag itself than the outside forces insisting that they take it down. There's still that sort of dig-your-heels-in-and-resist mentality. But it's coming down because it's the right thing to do. It's the least we can do to pay our respects for the people who died in that attack.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to play something, Cornell Brooks of the NAACP, and he actually is posing a question to everybody on this panel. Take a listen.

CORNELL BROOKS:

I pose a question to the viewers of this program. Would you feel safe walking into a room full of swastikas and Nazi paraphernalia in the same way Americans do not feel safe, do not feel comforted by this emblem of hatred, of bigotry, bias, and slavery waving in front of the state capitol. That's why it has to come down.

CHUCK TODD:

Speaker Gingrich, you represented Georgia. You represented, you know, this divide on what the Confederacy was about. And when you hear his comments, how do you respond?

NEWT GINGRICH:

Well look, I joined Democrat Zell Miller 13 years ago in saying the Georgia flag had to be changed. I mean, it's very clear.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you comfortable with the flag the way it is now? You know, it is modeled, it is the original Confederate flag, just with the Georgia seal on it, the way it's modeled.

NEWT GINGRICH:

I think that may well be changed now that people are into a new cycle. But let me tell you what I think is crazy. It's crazy for Amazon to come along and say, "Here is an educational game about Gettysburg, which is used widely in schools to teach people to think." And by the way, it has a Confederate versus an American flag, and therefore they've taken the game out of Amazon. Now there's a point here however we begin to get towards Orwell's memory hole, in which we try to hide from the past. I think it's one thing to say you should not have a symbol which is very offensive to a large part of your population, it's another thing to say, "Let's erase our history and pretend it never occurred."

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well look.

CHUCK TODD:

So what is that balance?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well, look, I absolutely agree with that. The question is, the flag is the easy part. The difficult part is the ideas for which that flag stands. The vicious white supremacy, the repudiation of African American identity and the autonomy to move where you want to move. So the question is, the flag itself is gone, but the hatred remains and how do we root out that hatred and then speak to the forces of oppression that prevail. That's why it's so important to say, "Yes, the semblems (SIC) and emblems of hate have been removed, but the realities to which they refer are not." And that's why it's more difficult for Republicans to stand up and defend that flag, because they are also defending a way of life that is problematic.

CHUCK TODD:

Tree, very quickly, this idea of rethinking how we honor the Confederacy.

CHARLES OGLETREE:

I think it's important. I think that we had a history of slavery that we've already heard about. And we've moved from that. We have a society, we have the first African American president, and not the last, I hope. And I think that people are in Congress, people are working in jobs, people are doing a great job in education. We need to talk about us as a country, all of us, united, coming together. And I think that's what the flag should be about. That all of Americans should be embraced in the same way.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I'm going to leave it there. Coming up, my next guest says this, "If we want to save some money, let's just get rid of the court." That was Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal's reaction to 48 hours of court rulings. He joins me next.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

We pointed out what an historic week this was in America, and it reminded us that there are times when presidents simply figure out how to capture the moment. A moment that transcends partisanship and brings the country together. Sadly, those moments are often rooted in tragedy. In 1986, it was Ronald Reagan after the Challenger explosion.

RONALD REAGAN:

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

CHUCK TODD:

Bill Clinton after Oklahoma City.

BILL CLINTON:

You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you.

CHUCK TODD:

George W. Bush after 9/11.

GEORGE BUSH:

I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

CHUCK TODD:

And this week, Barack Obama's eulogy in Charleston.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group. Through the example of their lives, they've now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure. May grace now lead them home. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound."

**Commercial Break**

BOBBY JINDAL:

Mommy and Daddy have been thinking and talking a lot about this. And we have decided we are going to be running for president. Maybe if you'll get a chance, if you behave, to go back to Iowa; would you like that?

CHUCK TODD:

Giving the politically correct answer there about the state of Iowa, that was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's somewhat unconventional announcement video from earlier this week, where he broke the news to his children that he was running for president. We've also learned that New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, will jump into the race for the Republican nomination on Tuesday.

And that now takes the number of declared major Republican candidates to 14. Interestingly, Jindal and Christie do have something in common. They're both one-time rising stars of the party who are getting hit hard in their own states. And they'll both be hoping somehow to turn the problems in their backyards into advantages to show that they have the conviction to lead even if unpopular on the national stage. I'm joined now by the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Welcome back to Meet the Press, Governor.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Chuck, thank you for having me. Of course my kids love Iowa. If they don't love Iowa, they went to the Iowa State Fair, they had a deep-fried candy bar. Who wouldn't love that?

CHUCK TODD:

There you go. Pander, pander, pander away. Let me start with this. Put up this map here. Just one state in the Union has not issued any marriage license since the court ruling on Friday. And it is your state in Louisiana. Even there's been some in some counties in Mississippi, some in Texas. Can you explain why your state hasn't implemented the law yet?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Sure. Chuck, look, I strongly disagree with the court's ruling. According to Chief Justice Roberts, they weren't even reading, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. But of course we're going to comply with the court order. We don't have a choice. Our agencies will comply with the court order.

We were in a situation where we actually had it in our state constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman, a local federal judge actually upheld that. It was upheld. We are now waiting for the Fifth Circuit to reverse that ruling. They'll implement the Supreme Court's order. We've got no choice to comply, even though I think this order, I think this decision was the wrong one.

CHUCK TODD:

So how quickly do you think you'll end up complying with the law?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Well, look, it'll be up to the court. As soon as they issue their ruling, I suspect it will be a matter of days. I don't know how quickly they will move.

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

But Chuck, look, I do support, I know there are efforts in Congress to restore our Tenth Amendment rights in response to this ruling, especially when it comes to marriage. I think the court shouldn't have ignored the Tenth Amendment. Here's where the next fight's going. I think the left is now going to go after our First Amendment rights.

I think it is wrong for the federal government to force Christian individuals, businesses, pastors, churches to participate in wedding ceremonies that violate our sincerely held religious beliefs. We have to stand up and fight for religious liberty. That's where this fight is going. The left wants to silence us, Hillary Clinton wants to silence us, we're not going away.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I want to get you to respond, because you bring up a couple of debate points here that are familiar. But first, I want you to respond to this. This is from Ric Grenell, he's a long-time conservative foreign policy voice, worked in the Bush administration.

And he makes a conservative case for same-sex marriage, writing this on FoxNews.com, "The debate on marriage within the Republican Party has been hijacked by those who wish to dictate their beliefs onto others. The only true conservative position, the individual right of marriage for all has been affirmed by the Supreme Court. It's time for consistent conservatives to come out in favor of the court's ruling." That's a conservative argument for same-sex marriage. Why do you believe he's wrong?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Well, look, I think he's wrong, I think Hillary Clinton, I think President Obama's wrong. Chuck, look, all your viewers know that both the president and Hillary evolve their views because of opinion polls. They can read opinion polls just like the Supreme Court. My view of marriage is based on my Christian faith. No earthly court's decision is going to change that.

I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Now look, I think we're all created equal in God's eyes, I think we need to respect and love those we disagree with. I think we can have religious liberty without discrimination. My views on marriage aren't evolving with the polls. I can read polls just like the president can. It's based on my faith, I think it should remain between a man and a woman.

CHUCK TODD:

Now, the issue of religion and faith was used in the '60s during the debate about interracial marriage. None other than former president Harry Truman, here's The New York Times from September 12th, 1963, the headline: "Truman Opposes Biracial Marriage," and here is his reasoning, governor. “He said that racial intermarriage ran counter to teachings of the Bible.” So are you comfortable using religion as a way to defend your position on marriage?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Chuck, I am. Look, I think it's offensive to evangelical Christians, to Catholics that are trying to follow their church's teachings, and millions of other Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. It has been taught in our faith for centuries. It was just a few years ago the position held by President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

This wasn't just a Republican position. So I think it's offensive to try to equate the two. I'm glad that America has moved towards a much better view on race relations. I've said we need to stop viewing ourselves as hyphenated Americans, we're not African Americans or Indian Americans, we're all Americans. I think viewing people by the color of their skin is one of the dumbest ways to view people.

I've written that, I have said that. So I think it's offensive to equate evangelical Christians, Catholics, others that view marriage as between a man and a woman, as being racist. We're not racist. We love our fellow man, we think we're all equal under God's eyes, we simply believe that marriage, we don't believe we should change the definition of marriage simply because of opinion polls or because of a court that quite frankly isn't looking at the constitution.

Earlier this week, Scalia says that words no longer have meaning in an Obamacare decision. So you can have a court that's not reading the Constitution, not reading the dictionary. Why couldn't the court have said, "We're going to respect the decisions made by the states"? Why not say, "We're going to defer to the elected representatives of the people"?

CHUCK TODD:

I want to go to the launch of your campaign. You don't start out at least at home, it's not like you're getting a good favorite-son send-off. Here's your job approval rating in the most recent polls, Southern Media and Opinion Research, sitting at 32%. That was actually lower than President Obama's job rating in the state of Louisiana.

And then I put a summary together of what has been Republican criticism of your tenure as governor. Jennifer Rubin, conservative columnist in The Washington Post says, "You suffer from awkward over-eagerness." A Republican state representative, Chris Broadwater says that he's concerned that your campaign doesn't reflect who you really are.

Eric Erickson, an influential movement conservative wrote this about one of your appearances, that you throw rhetorical bombs simply to get noticed. Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review called one of your plans, your health care plan, simply would cause millions to lose coverage, you don't deal with that. Former Republican Governor Buddy Roemer says, "When it comes to Baton Rouge, you've gone AWOL." What's happened here? Why do so many Republicans seem concerned, critical of your tenure as governor and of your launch here on the national stage?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Well, Chuck, two things. If I were afraid of polls, I never would've been elected in two landslide elections, leading a highest percentage in our state's last election for governor. If I were afraid of polls, we wouldn't have privatized our charity hospital system, we wouldn't cut our state budget 26%, wouldn't have cut over 30,000 state government bureaucrats, wouldn't have done statewide school choice.

Here's the real record. In Louisiana, we've got more people working than ever before, earning a higher income than ever before. We're a top-ten state for private-sector job creation. Chuck, when you do that, you're going to make the big government people unhappy. We've upset the apple cart, we've taken on the status quo, we've made big changes.

Secondly, I've said in my campaign, I want to run a campaign where we embrace our principles, establishment Republicans don't want us to do that. Jeb Bush says, "We've got to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election." I strongly disagree with that.

Let me translate that for you. What some of those Republicans are saying, what Jeb Bush is saying is we've got to hide who we are. Nonsense. We don't just need to send a Republican to D.C., we need to send somebody who will take on the conventional wisdom. Republicans in D.C. say you cannot repeal ObamaCare.

That was one of the criticisms that you just read. You cannot shrink the federal government. You cannot balance the budget. You cannot do term limits. Chuck, if we don't do that, we're done. We can own this next century if we actually implement conservative reforms. I'm not running to manage the decline of this great country. I'm running to make real changes in D.C.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I tell you, your state, according to CNBC, ranks 46th out of 50 in 2015 as a state to do business. How do you take that record to conservative Republicans and say, "Make me the executive in charge"?

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Chuck we also, now we're a top-ten state for private-sector job creation, after 25 years of out-migration, seven years in a row of in-migration, we actually have more people working and living here in Louisiana than ever before. We have $60 billion, 90,000 jobs coming into our state. We were ranked higher in every business ranking that has been done since I've taken governor.

We're now at our highest ranking ever. We've turned this state around. When you look at what was going on post-Katrina, many were wondering whether they could come back here. Again, decades of out-migration, we have reversed that, highest ever per-capita state income ranking in our state's history. Eight different credit upgrades, our highest credit ratings in decades.

And also, the fewest number of state employees in decades. We measure success by how people are doing in the real world, not in the government sector. I know that a lot of politicians, Republicans and Democrats, don't like that. But that's how we measure success.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, we will see you on the campaign trail, see how voters react. Governor Jindal, thanks for coming on Meet the Press. Stay safe on the trail, sir.

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL:

Thanks Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Coming up, how ten days in June have cemented President Obama's legacy. But first, following the big progressive victories of the '60s, conservatives used a silent majority for victories at the ballot box in the '70s and '80s. Will they do it again?

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Nerd screen time. Nobody likes to feel like they're on the losing side of anything. But cultural conservatives who mostly live in rural America have found themselves on the losing side a lot this week, with hit after hit favoring a progressive tide, highlighting the divide between urban and rural America.

It all started Wednesday, when Congress decided to hand President Obama a big victory when it comes to trade, by paving the way for the Transpacific Partnership Trade deal. About a third of Americans overall in our latest poll said free trade hurts the United States. But in rural America, the view on trade is even more pessimistic.

Half say trade hurts. Many rural Americans pine for the day when a small factory was the local economic engine. Of course, those days are long gone. Thursday came the Supreme Court's ruling upholding subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. And when it comes to the healthcare law as a whole, the country has been evenly split on whether to keep the law or eliminate it.

But in rural America, there's no waffling. Two-thirds say the law needs to either have major changes or simply by scrapped all together. And then on Friday, the court ruled same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Well, guess what, a majority of Americans supported the action that the court took, except in one area of the country. That's right, you guessed it, rural America, where support sits just under 50% at 46%.

Now many in rural America may look at this week and see America changing in ways they aren't ready to embrace. And if history is any guide, there is going to be a backlash to this rapid social change. Is it a lasting backlash that powers a conservative political movement, ala the silent majority of the '70s, or is the backlash temporary?

The answer could come during the presidential campaign. I want to bring in the panel. And Newt, in some ways, your political career was a product of the first backlash conservative movement of the silent majority. Where is this going?

NEWT GINGRICH:

Well, I think first of all, issues change and topics change. I'll give you an example. The president wants us to be deeply concerned about poor children getting a decent education. The city of Baltimore spends $130,000 a year for every student who passes the eighth grade math test. Yet, there's not a single Democrat who's prepared to fundamentally reform the school system.

Now 78% of the country said last week they would be for a candidate who wants major change in the federal government. No Democrat's going to run on major change, because the public employees won't let them. You’d have a Madison, Wisconsin uprising on the part of the unions. So if the issues next year become who's prepared to reshape the federal government, I think the Democrats are in big trouble. If it stays on social issues, I think it's a muddle.

CHUCK TODD:

So you're basically telling the Republican party, "No matter what the rural base of the party says, don't pander to them"?

NEWT GINGRICH:

No, I'm saying the rural base of the party is deeply opposed to the IRS being totally incompetent and deeply opposed to the Veteran's Administration failing to serve veterans as any other part of the country. A majority party figures out the issues that unify a big majority, preferably if you're a conservative, 60% or 70%. That's the Reagan lesson.

You cannot run in a country that has liberal media with 51% issues and expect to win because they will strip away 6%. You can run with a 70% or 80% issue, because no matter what the liberal media does, they can't drive you down below 50%.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I've got to sneak in one more break and then we're going to bring everybody else into this discussion. More from the panel, very short break. But first, a reminder of course, if you can't be in front of your TV to see Meet the Press live, no problem.

We're always available on demand, you want to, you know, pause us as well, be able to catch graphics perfectly and really triple check our facts there. So even if it's not Sunday, when it's on the DVR, it's still Meet the Press. We'll be back for our end-game segment and a new perspective on President Obama's legacy.

* * *Commercial break* * *

CHUCK TODD:

It's end game time, and I want to start with something that candidate Obama said in 2008. And Kathleen Parker, he said this, he wanted to be-- he compared himself to Reagan, and not Clinton. And at the time, it was a little needling of Bill Clinton a little bit during the primary campaign. But he said, "Ronald Reagan was transformational."

And his point was, he moved the whole country to accept conservatism. And he argues, shifted the country to center right. And he wanted to be a transformational president. On social issues, I'd say this week, we've made a dramatic shift to the center, center left. Barack Obama transformational?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, his administration is certainly transformational. Now I don't know that he gets all the credit for that. I think the country has been moving along for 30, 40 years toward these more liberal, social positions. And frankly, in reaction to the overreaction of the right, of the religious right and beginning with the moral majority. But I think, you know, it certainly does line up in his column that these progressive, more progressive positions have occurred under his watch, and this week, for heaven's sake. I mean, has the president ever had a week like this?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, no. And the White House, they’re saying that. In fact, you know, Tree, it’s interesting. Right after the midterms, there was this, "Boy, is he a lame duck or is he a dead duck," you know, type of conversation when it came to the last two years of his presidency. And he sort of took a whole, he said, "You know what, fine, I'm going to executive action, I'm going to do things unilaterally." This is the presidency that many progressives were upset they didn't see in the first two years, that they're happy about now.

CHARLES OGLETREE:

Well, he's a very happy duck, let me put it that way. He's done a lot to make things go forward. And I think back to when Ronald Reagan was running when I was able to vote. And there were a lot of Reagan Democrats, because he had an idea, something new, transformational. This president has something new, transformational. I think that's going to make a big difference. And I think we're moving in the right direction.

CHUCK TODD:

I want--

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well, he ain't no duck, he's a phoenix.

CHARLES OGLETREE:

Absolutely.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

He killed the duck, he rose as a phoenix. And I say if we gave Reagan the credit, we've got to give the credit to Obama, younger, sharper, smarter, blacker, and more intelligent about the ways of the world. And I think represents a growing consensus about what it might mean to be an American by redefining the boundaries of what we find acceptable. So I think Obama's legacy has certainly been not only resurrected, but put forth as a model for others who can use the end game. He's a fourth quarter guy. He was down in three quarters, and now he's shooting threes. He's Steph Curry.

CHUCK TODD:

Now you're his--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

If you're lucky.

CHUCK TODD:

The age of Obama. Is it going to be, we had the Reagan era, and we'll have an Obama era?

NEWT GINGRICH:

I think Obama has an enormous investment in the 2016 presidential campaign. Because he could be Franklin Roosevelt and change things permanently. Or he could be Woodrow Wilson, and within two or three years, have an amazing part of what he--

CHUCK TODD:

Look, Ronald Reagan needed H. W. Bush to win that third term.

NEWT GINGRICH:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

Barack Obama needs Hillary for the same thing.

NEWT GINGRICH:

Absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I've got a little fun thing here for everybody here. It's on super PACs. One that is backing Carly Fiorina had to change its name earlier this month from, ready for this, Carly for America to C.A.R.L.Y. for America. Are you confused? Well, I'll explain. According to the federal election rules, a super PAC's name cannot include the name of the candidate that they support.

Just this week, by the way, there's a group of Jewish Americans supporting Ted Cruz called Jews for Cruz. And they too were told to change its name. So Carly, as in Fiorina, became this, Conservative Authentic Responsive Leadership for You and for America. So you could be an acronym, just not the name. Pretty clever.

So we thought we might offer some suggestions for candidates who are trying to abide by the letter, but not the spirit of the FEC law here. Can't use Jews for Cruz? Well, how about Jews for Conservative Republicans Understanding Zionism for America? I think we'll see that. Hillary Clinton, you want to rename your super PAC? Here Is a Lady Living America Rallying for You for America.

And you might like this one, Marco Rubio, this was an easy one for us to come up with. Making America Really Conservative, Okay? for America. The absurdity of the FEC, right? It is our campaign finance laws, anyway. At least you guys provide the laugh track for me.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Very funny.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

You're turning into Bill Maher.

CHUCK TODD:

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

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *