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CHUCK TODD (V/O):

This Sunday, beyond Baltimore. The unrest in American cities.

D. WATKINS (TAPE):

Baltimore City Police officers are out of control.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

MARILYN MOSBY (TAPE):

No one is above the law.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

What needs to be done? I'll be joined by the mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and former mayor and Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley. Plus House Speaker John Boehner on Baltimore, healthcare reform and the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

CHUCK TODD (TAPE):

When I say Hillary Clinton, what do you think? Give me a word or phrase, first thing that comes to mind.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

And Chris Christie allies indicted in the Bridgegate scandal. Can the New Jersey governor even make it to the Republican presidential primaries?

I’m Chuck Todd and joining me to provide insight and analysis this morning are: our own Tom Brokaw, American Urban Radio’s April Ryan, a Baltimore native. Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal, and author and veteran and also Baltimore native Wes Moore. 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. The mood in Baltimore has markedly changed this weekend following a week of violence and unrest that culminated in the charging of six police officers over the killing of Freddie Gray. Yesterday's protests were largely peaceful, but there were a small number of arrests after dark as some protesters attempted to defy the evening curfew.

And Baltimore remains a deeply divided city with major problems of poverty and inequality. But this is a national problem, and Americans are deeply pessimistic about the state of our cities. In fact, we have a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning and look at this: 96% of those folks that we surveyed expect more racial disturbances this summer. And 54% believe those disturbances will occur near where they live, in the closest big city to where they live. In a moment, I'm gonna be joined by the mayor of Baltimore. But first, a reminder of why her city became the focus of global attention.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

From protests and violence to celebration, in a city still under curfew and patrolled by the National Guard.

MARILYN MOSBY:

We have probable cause to file criminal charges. The manner of death deemed a homicide by the Maryland state medical examiner.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Six police officers, three white and three black, were charged Friday in the death of Freddie Gray. State Attorney Marilyn Mosby accuses the officers of arresting Gray illegally, ignoring his pleas for medical help, and failing to put a seat belt on him.

MARILYN MOSBY:

Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet, and unrestrained instead of the B.P.D. wagon.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

The charges against the officers run the gamut from assault to false imprisonment, involuntary manslaughter to second-degree murder. All of the officers have been released on bail.

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

There will be justice for Mr. Gray. There will be justice for his family. And there will be justice for the people of Baltimore.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

The police union is defending the officers, for now, and demanding that a special prosecutor take over the case.

MICHAEL DAVEY:

We believe that these officers will be vindicated as they have done nothing wrong.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

I'm joined now by the mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Madame Mayor, welcome back to Meet the Press.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

Good morning Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with the curfew. Is it possible you will lift this curfew in the next 24 hours?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

Chuck, we're looking at that right now. I'm very pleased that, for the most part, every day you've seen peaceful protests. But this is a decision that has to be made in collaboration with all of the public safety forces on the ground, and we're going to make that decision.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, a state senator named Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, I'm sure you know him well, he said this about the curfew: "It is having a negative impact on communities and on businesses. The curfew has now transformed into another symbolic issue. The community has expressed its desire to move forward peacefully, and the public sector should respond in kind." What do you say to him?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

We try to be responsive to all of the concerns. I heard from the community that said, "Look, we've had these peaceful protests. We want to be able to get back to normal." But the same way that you ramp up into a curfew and a state of emergency with an executive order from the governor, you have to ramp down. And with the same people who were in town, but last Saturday, that participated when the protest went from peaceful to destructive, they were back in town. And there were significant public safety concerns.

CHUCK TODD:

So you still believe there's public safety concerns today, and something you're worried about tomorrow?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

I'm hopeful. What we saw last night was a peaceful demonstration. It wasn't anything like what we had last Sunday. I'm taking a look and having conversations with all of our public safety partners so we can get back to normal. Everyone wants to have that sense of peace and calm back in our city so we can begin to heal. And that's going to be my focus for this week.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you regret using the phrase "space to destroy?”

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

Yeah, I certainly think that it was taken out of context, but let me say this. I'm from Baltimore. My parents are from here. I'm raising my daughter here. I'm a public defender. As city councilperson, as mayor, I've always worked to strengthen my city. We fought to get those stores in our communities. I would never condone rioting, just period. I would never condone it. So--

CHUCK TODD:

So you wish you didn't use that phrase?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

I certainly used the wrong phrase to talk about what was clear, that there were people who took advantage of the peaceful demonstrators' First Amendment rights and they used it to destroy our city. And I don't condone it, and we’ll make sure that those individuals will be held accountable.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, you've said that the other day. Do you have a task force that's actually going to monitor? You said there's all this videotape of people that looted and you were going to hold them accountable. Is that the plan? You're going to have people go through all those videotapes and arrest these people?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

Absolutely. We've already started identifying people. We're working with the stores that have videotapes themselves, the mall that has videotape. We have a lot of evidence that we'll be looking through. And I'll say that we're looking forward to working with our other public safety partners that have better facial recognition technology so we can quickly identify these individuals and bring them to justice.

I do not condone the type of violence and destruction that we saw in our city. And I'm going to make sure that they're brought to justice. People in the communities are hurting because of the destruction that was done. And I am doing it for our city, and in their name, to bring peace and calm and justice for those community members.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, you referenced one of the businesses that made it into one of these communities and it was very important, in particular, CVS. I was struck by something that was said by one of the protest organizers. His name's Kwame Rose. It's in this morning's Baltimore Sun. And here's what he said.

"Had it not been for the youth burning that CVS, we would not have had charges yesterday," and he's referring the surprise to a lot of people, that you were prepared and the state attorney was prepared to bring charges against those police officers. But is this protester right? Without the burning of a CVS, we wouldn't have seen charges Friday against those officers?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

I think that statement is totally misguided and untrue. I pledged to do everything that I could to have a thorough and transparent investigation, and give all of that information to the state's attorney so she could do her investigation and make charges. And we saw that is exactly what happened.

What happened with the rioting and the destruction of CVS was senseless. What it is doing is destroying neighborhoods. It is making it difficult for our seniors to get their medicine, to get food. Now we are working to repair that damage that was done. We have stations that are going out food. We are working with the health department to get people connected with their prescriptions. That's the result of the CVS burning, not the charges that were brought.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, your leadership has been critiqued, shall we say, over the last week, including your pastor, Rev. Todd Yeary. He said this, of your church, "Some folks have had the impression that the mayor has been indifferent and aloof, and that the governor," referring to Larry Hogan, "has been more active, coming in to save Baltimore from its inclination to implode." What do you say to your pastor, to that sort of characterization?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

You know, I think everyone has their opinion. That's really not my focus. As a leader, I'm focused on bringing us through this crisis. You have to remember, Chuck, when I came into office, we were already the face of a national scandal. That's how I got into office.

And I know how to lead our city through tough times, and that's what I'm going to do again. I'm going to focus on healing our city and making the decisions that I need to make in order to get us forward and get us through this unfortunate, unfortunate crisis.

CHUCK TODD:

How should you be judged?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

I don't think any elected officer can say how can you be judged. You know, I'm judged on what we've done, right? We have a strong track record in Baltimore of confronting the issue. You cannot heal until you acknowledge that there is a problem.

We've been talking, I've talked on your show about the fact that in Baltimore we're dealing with reforming our police department. I acknowledge that we have work to do. That's why we've instituted police brutality reforms. That's why I asked the Department of Justice to come in and work with us in a collaborative fashion to reform our police department. We have a lot more work to do, but it starts with acknowledging the problem. And I am a leader that was willing to acknowledge that we had this problem, and work to fix it.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, I thank you for your time this morning, and thanks for coming back on Meet the Press.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Before I turn to another former mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley, here's a sample of what some Baltimore residents told us needs to be done to fix the city.

(BEGIN TAPE)

FEMALE VOICE #1:

Focus on education because that's why you've seen as many people, young black boys on the streets you see today, because they have lack of education which pretty much charged them to do nothing else but be on the streets.

MALE VOICE #1:

There's been systemic disinvestment. So we're going to have to come back to economic development, human development, and community development.

FEMALE VOICE #2:

My son is three years old. That's all he wanted to watch, was news, the other day. He didn't want to watch cartoons. And he's scared of the police now. So what's he supposed to do when he grows up?

MALE VOICE #2:

Don't feel like nobody in politics has our back. So they do what they do and look at the tension we've got. Baltimore now, the cornerstone for protecting the police brutality.

MALE VOICE #3:

The politicians, the police officers, the clergy within Baltimore, they can't address the problem because they haven't identified it. You can't identify or find results to an issue that you don't know about. So as soon as we can fix communication and get everybody on one accord then you'll see more progress.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Joined by the former mayor of Baltimore and the former Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, who of course is also weighing a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Governor O'Malley, welcome back to Meet the Press.

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

Thank you, Chuck, good to be with you.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to pick up on that last comment. He said politicians won't have the answers because they can't agree on what the problem is. What do you think the problem is?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

Oh, I think the problem is the fact that we have built an economy that's leaving whole parts of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, so many citizens behind. I mean, I was giving out food there at St. Peter Claver's in the aftermath of this unrest, and there are people in whole parts of our cities who are being totally left behind and disregarded.

They are unheard. They are told they are unneeded by this economy. And that extreme poverty breed conditions for extreme violence. People are frustrated. They're angry. And they feel like people aren't listening.

CHUCK TODD:

1999, Martin O'Malley said this when you were running for mayor: "As much as we'd like to think poverty is the cause of crime, crime is also the cause of poverty." And people have been talking about your focus that was on more policing to deal with the crime issue. You talked about the drug issue back then. Looking back, what would you do differently?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

Well, looking back, I mean, the fact of the matter was that in 1999 the main issue that was holding Baltimore back was the fact that we had allowed ourselves to become the most violent, addicted, and abandoned city in America. We had a conversation through a long, hot campaign about not only how to improve policing in Baltimore, but how to improve how we train and police the police.

And so, we followed through on that pledge. I was elected with 91% of the vote of my neighbors of that majority African-American city. And we greatly improved drug treatment. And thanks to the work that has continued to this day, under Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, we have cut crime in half. And this has been a heartbreaking setback for an otherwise remarkable comeback for Baltimore over these last 15 years.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, when you look though, there's this big bipartisan focus now on criminal justice reform. And--

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

As there should be.

CHUCK TODD:

It has to do with nonviolent criminals, basically people that were arrested, thrown into jail on drug issues. That wasn't the focus in 1999. That wasn't the focus in the '90s when sort of the policing, the broken windows thing. That's the part, I wonder, have we gotten wrong? Did we get it wrong then?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

We didn't get it wrong then but we have yet to get it entirely right. Look, I've spent my whole life on criminal justice issues. My very first job out of law school was as a prosecutor on the west side, a place now familiar from the images of these last sad several days.

In our state, we actually were able to reduce our incarceration rate to 20-year lows. We were able to reduce our recidivism by 15%. And we also, at the same time, reduced violent crime down to 35-year lows. I signed legislation to decriminalize, in essence, marijuana possession and other minor charges. I signed legislation to restore voting rights. So this is constant work, Chuck. It is not done. But we are getting smarter and better every day at this, but we still have a lot of work to do.

CHUCK TODD:

I want you to respond to something that Speaker Boehner said to me about blame when it comes to America's inner cities. Take a listen.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Chuck, what we have here is 50 years of liberal policies that have not worked to help the very people that we want to help.

CHUCK TODD:

And this morning's Baltimore Sun has this headline or, excuse me, Washington Post: "Why Couldn't $130 million Transform One of Baltimore's Poorest Places." $100 million was poured into this community over the last 20 years. Are we not spending the money correctly? What are we getting wrong here? Money has been there; what are we getting wrong?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

No, Chuck, that's just not true. We haven't had an agenda for America's cities for at least two decades.

CHUCK TODD:

So we've had money but no agenda, that's what you would--

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

No, that's not what I'm saying. Look, we have not had an agenda for America's cities probably since Jimmy Carter and the UDEG grants and that era. We have left cities to fend for themselves. And you know what? Because of the dedication of a lot of mayors and good people throughout cities in America, cities have been actually coming back.

In our city, we actually see more younger people moving back to the city than we have in decades, and it's actually one of the higher numbers of any city in America. But, look, the structural problems that we have in our economy, the way we ship jobs and profits abroad, the way we fail to invest in our infrastructure and fail to invest in American cities, we are creating the conditions.

Please, Speaker Boehner and his crocodile tears about the $130 million. That is a spit in the bucket compared to what we need to do as a nation to rebuild our country. And America's cities are the heart of our country. We need an agenda for American cities. We need to stop ignoring especially people of color and acting like they're disposable citizens in this nation. That's not how our economy's supposed to work. It's not how our country works.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think you can still run on your record as mayor of Baltimore, governor of Maryland, given all of this? You're getting a lot of scrutiny now. Do you think this is a positive thing that voters will look at and say, "You know, Martin O'Malley ought to be president"?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

I'll tell you what, Chuck, I did not dedicate my life to making Baltimore a safer and more just place because it was easy. And I am more inclined and more deeply motivated now to address what's wrong with our country and what needs to be healed and what needs to be fixed.

This should be a wakeup call. What's happened in Baltimore should be a wakeup call for the entire country. The protests that also happened in New York, in Philadelphia, and other cities. We have deep problems as a country, and we need deeper understanding if we're going to give our children a better future.

CHUCK TODD:

This now sounds like you want to make it central to any campaign.

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

I think it has to be central.

CHUCK TODD:

So you'll probably announce in Baltimore?

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

I wouldn't think of announcing anyplace else. Baltimore, this has been a setback for us, Chuck, but our story is not over. We are not defeated as a city, and we are not about to throw in the towel on our country.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor Martin O'Malley, thanks for coming on Meet the Press.

FMR. GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Appreciate your time. Fifty years ago, Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who then of course became a U.S. senator from New York, wrote a very controversial report at the time. It was diagnosing the social and economic disparities between white and black Americans. He appeared on Meet the Press on December 12th, 1965, to defend the report.

DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN:

The point about the family is that it's a good place to see the results of unemployment, the results of discrimination, the results of bad housing and poor education.

CHUCK TODD:

Five decades later, the problems of inequality and poverty are worse in many areas. Fifty years ago, a third of African-American children lived with only one parent or none, nearly three times the number of children overall at the time. That number is now over 60%. In Baltimore, by the way, 62% of children live in single-parent homes.

In 1965, the unemployment rate among African Americans was nearly double the national average. In 2015, the situation is exactly the same, twice the national average. In Baltimore, just 59% of black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are working compared with 79% of white men.

Child poverty rates for African-American children have gone down since the '60s, but there are nearly twice as many African-American kids that continue to live in poverty as children overall. Tom Brokaw, when I reread this report, you sit there and say, number one, Pat Moynihan was very prescient. And number two, some things have just never changed.

TOM BROKAW:

Well, the fact is, I remember when that report came out and we also have the current report talking about a nation separate and unequal in this country. Moynihan was attacked from the left. He was vilified, as a matter of fact, for his very candid, very honest description of what was going on in the inner city.

What was going on in the inner city, by the way, at the same time is that a number of black families were getting out and getting education. And they've not gone back. And so what we have left across America in every city is we have way too much crime, way too much unemployment, substandard education, and very little hope. If we had seized that moment across the country, and if black leaders, high profile, had said, "Unfortunately, it breaks my heart, but Pat Moynihan is right and we have to do something about it." So I agree with the governor that this is a time for us to have a Marshall Plan, if you will, for cities. I would appoint--

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, Pat Moynihan was basically calling for that--

TOM BROKAW:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

--50 years ago saying that's what the federal government should be doing, and it didn't do it.

APRIL RYAN:

Yes, I'm in agreement with that. I think it's more of a holistic approach. I believe that the absence of a father, the breakdown of the family is part of the issue, but there's a lot more. We've got issues with police. And we also, I mean, I've been covering the White House for the last 18 years, under Democratic presidents and a Republican president. And I've seen whenever there's a budget crunch or tightness that they want to go in after programs that affect the communities.

There are always going to be people in this country, or anywhere in the world, that fall through the cracks. And we have to come at this as an approach a holistic approach, not just pointing fingers at the father, at the police, but it's a holistic approach we've got to look at. And look at the old blueprint of the civil rights movement, the most successful movement in this country. What are black people asking for now in the inner cities? It's not about what is given to us, it's what are we asking for as a group, as a people.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Wes, one of the conclusions-- and he was struggling, Moynihan, coming to saying what's the answer here, but he said this in the report: "Three centuries of injustice," this is about the time, "have brought about deep-seated structural distortions in the life of the," and this was the term back then, "Negro American. At this point, the present tangle of pathology is capable of perpetuating itself without the assistance from the white world. The cycle can be broken only if these distortions are set right." This was 50 years ago.

WES MOORE:

And I'm one of those kids, Chuck. I mean, I was raised by a single mom, you know. My mom, when she was in her late 20s, unexpectedly, and in many ways unprepared, now had to raise three kids on her own. I think it's not just about the family structure, it's about the family definition.

It's about the fact that we think that somehow, just because a child is your child that you're the sole one responsible for it. What happened to me was the fact that I was surrounded by people, starting with my mom and my grandparents and aunts and uncles, but leading to an amazing strong of role models and supporters and pastors and mentors, and people who taught me that the world is bigger than what was directly in front of me.

You know, my mom used to say something that I thought was so right. She said, "Kids need to think that you care before they care what you think." And if we don't have children who understand and feel like people genuinely care about their future, they are going to care less about what comes out of our mouths, and care less about the policies that we're trying to put in place to help them.

CHUCK TODD:

Look, Kim, you write for a business-oriented opinion page, Wall Street Journal. How should the business community be responding to Baltimore?

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

Well, I mean, I think they want to be able to help in this situation. But I was really struck by what the governor said, he said we need a national agenda. Tom just said we need a Marshall Plan. You know, the reality, there has been a kind of common plan in a lot of these cities, which is what John Boehner was referring to.

There have been a lot of policies out there that you see replicated across these cities of sort of central planning, lots of money being poured in from both the state and the federal level, but you still have a failing education system. It's dominated by public sector unions, teachers unions. You've still got high crime and high unemployment. So what you have to do is you've got to start getting some of those things in place. You've got to actually do something about the crime, and then the business sector comes and you have private investment. And that is what helps.

CHUCK TODD:

I think the biggest fear is that CVS won't rebuild that CVS. I certainly hope that they do, at a minimum. All right, we're going to do more on Baltimore in a minute. In fact, when we come back, a voice from Baltimore, a lifelong resident, who says Baltimore was on fire long before anyone heard of the name Freddie Gray.

D. WATKINS:

I can't remember having a positive experience with a police officer. Ever.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

In a few minutes, we'll bring you my interview with the speaker of the House, John Boehner, including what he thinks of the Republican presidential field. But coming up next, some of the most provocative opinions you're going to hear about Baltimore, this one from D. Watkins. He's a writer, professor, and lifelong resident of the city.

D. WATKINS:

Police officers see me as an animal or a thing. They don't see me as a person, they don't see me as a citizen. They don't see me as a person who could potentially work with them to enhance community relations.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. The eyes of the world have been on Baltimore this week and the dramatic scenes as thousands took to the streets to vent their anger over the death of Freddie Gray. But as we've been discussing, the city's problems have deep roots that go back decades.

An op-ed for The New York Times this week caught our eye. It was by Baltimore native D. Watkins, a writer, a professor at Baltimore's Coppin State University, and, by his own admission, a former drug dealer. Watkins wrote about the toxic relations between Baltimore's police and its African-American residents. So we invited him to put those same thoughts on camera.

D. WATKINS:

Baltimore City police officers are out of control. I can't remember having a positive experience with a police officer ever. If you're a black person and you're in a black neighborhood that's poor then they'd speak to you like you're not a person. It's never like, "Hey, how is everything?" It's, "You mother Fer-- why the F are you on the corner? What the F are you going out here?"

Police officers see me as an animal or a thing. The cops pull their guns out, they just make everyone lay on the ground, cracking you across the back of your head. The distrust, it's not a new thing. It's been going on forever. Everyone I know has been dealing with police brutality.

The bulk of police officers in Baltimore don't live in Baltimore. Their first experience with a black person is when they get a license to kill. Everyone should be upset. Everyone knows what's going on. They can see it.

PROTESTERS:

I can't breathe.

D. WATKINS:

We do need peaceful protests and we do need those clergymen to step up. But, you know, violence brings about a different result because when they attacked these stores, the people with money started paying attention. Too peaceful doesn't work. The violence doesn't always work. The violence makes it urgent. How do we take that urgency and move it to a place where we can get it without the violence? Then we can have real change.

CHUCK TODD:

That was D. Watkins. It was a provocative op-ed, Wes Moore, sort of making the argument that, I don't want to say justifying the riots, but rationalizing them.

WES MOORE:

Yes. And D.'s a friend of mine, and I can tell you right now that the truth is that the frustration that he's expressing, the distrust he's expressing, this is real. And this is real for not just people in Baltimore, not just people in Santown Winchester, but for many people and many communities, especially communities of color, around this country.

And that's actually why law enforcement actually needs to be at the tip of the spear of their own reformation. Because it comes down to three main reasons. You know, 1) this situation's making them personally less safe. The second thing is they're not able to recruit, and specifically recruit in communities that they need actually to have people and members of.

And the third reason is it's about human intelligence, right? So when I was a paratrooper in the military, we relied heavily on this idea of humans, or human intelligence. If people don't trust you, they'll never cooperate with you.

CHUCK TODD:

It's funny, I had a mayor say this to me, that they know when their police force is working, there's trust in the community, by the percentage of crimes that are solved, right? The solve rate. On homicides in Baltimore, it's just 45%, Kim.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

What does that tell you? That means the community's not helping the police solve crimes.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

Yes. And if you look around, there are cities where this is working. And one of the things you see is a sort of common--

CHUCK TODD:

Washington, D.C., it's working.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

Yes. The common feature is that--

CHUCK TODD:

Homicide, I think it's over 70% of crimes solved.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

--they have community sort of policing. There is a lot of interaction. And it's a question of tactics mostly, more than anything else. It's not necessarily always a question of how big the police force is, but it's a vicious circle. The more high crime there is, the more police they can put in, and the more potential for sort of mistrust between those communities.

CHUCK TODD:

April, you've written a book, The Presidency in Black and White, you call it. We have America's first African-American president.

APRIL RYAN:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Didn't go to Ferguson.

APRIL RYAN:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

Didn't go to Sanford.

APRIL RYAN:

North Charleston.

CHUCK TODD:

Didn't go to North Charleston. And they have said they're not going to Baltimore. It's always, "Well, we'll get in the way. We don't want to be" that image, though, wouldn't that be a powerful image if he's walking the streets of inner-city Baltimore?

APRIL RYAN:

That would be a mighty powerful image. But, Chuck, they never definitively said that they would not go. They said they wanted to assess the situation and make sure that the condition was safe. And anytime that you bring a president in, you take away the policing from--

CHUCK TODD:

No, I--

APRIL RYAN:

--the community. But I will say this, I do believe that President Obama should go to Baltimore and the reason why I say that, President Obama was the president-- this is going to be a legacy piece for him. He was the president who started talking about this, even in his first term. We kind of got a glimpse of it with Henry Louis Gates, you know, with that situation with the racial profiling issue that he talked about. And there was a subsequent beer summit.

But let's move to Trayvon Martin. The "My Brother's Keeper" was an outgrowth of what happened with Trayvon Martin. And then let's move down some more to other cities, North Charleston, Ferguson, Baltimore. I mean, Baltimore's so close but yet so far. Forty miles away, and this is happening. I do believe President Obama should go, and it sends a powerful message because there are going to be more of these situations. And I think people really need to know that the leader of this country is there.

CHUCK TODD:

Tom, it was interesting, she said it's a legacy issue. This is one he didn't expect.

TOM BROKAW:

No, I think it is a legacy issue. I think the two legacy issues for him as he closes out his term are what's going on in the Middle East and what's going on in this country. And the fact is that we're spending a hell of a lot more money in the Middle East, and we're making a bigger commitment in the Middle East, than we are in the inner cities of America.

I've been thinking about whether we could have a new kind of Carter Commission. And I'm not talking about a feel-good kind of thing. I'm not talking about just throwing money at the inner city. But let's find out what the tertiary issues are out there. What's working across the country? Put Wes Moore on it, let Colin Powell have a part.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL:

There you go.

TOM BROKAW:

The chancellor of the University of Texas--

CHUCK TODD:

Put John Boehner on. You know, John-- I'm serious.

TOM BROKAW:

And have give them real power, and take nine months to a year, hold hearings, and be honest. And it has to be honest from the bottom up as well as from the top down. Because the fact is pigmentation is still a bit part of where we go to have problems in this country. People look at each other, they look at a cop from the inner city, and they apply all kinds of preconceived notions.

APRIL RYAN:

Exactly.

TOM BROKAW:

White people look at black people in the inner city and they apply all kinds of preconceived notions. We've got to get beyond that. And I think that we have to have an honest conversation, which we refuse to do.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right.

APRIL RYAN:

He's preaching on Sunday morning.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, he is. I think it's a good place to pause. When we come back, my interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner.

CHUCK TODD (ON TAPE):

When I say Hillary Clinton, what do you think?

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Nerd Screen time. And a surprising result in our brand new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll - turns out you're going to see two very different kinds of campaigns in the coming months- the Democratic presidential candidates and Republican presidential candidates are going to have two different conversations with their voters. Why? Because each group of voters have very different opinions of what the top issue for the country is.

Take a look. For Democratic primary voters the number one issue is job creation and economic growth, followed by health care and climate change. Republicans, though, have a different set of priorities. Their top issue? National security and terrorism, then deficit and government spending, and third, creation and economic growth. Think about this. The jobs and the economy message that has been number one for both parties for eight years is now different in both parties. It means economic inequality—you’ll hear that a lot on the Democratic side. But on the Republican side, it very well could be size of government and foreign policy.

Coming up, the Speaker of the House, the top Republican in Washington, John Boehner, on fixing inner cities, his earlier predictions that health care reform would fail. And on whether there's too much money in politics.

JOHN BOEHNER (TAPE):

We spend more money on antacids than we do on politics.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. Speaker John Boehner has a lot of issues on his plate. Big fights over immigration, the GOP alternative, if any, to Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal, and oh, by the way, he’s got a lot of Republicans in the 2016 race that’s right around the corner. On Friday, I sat down with the Speaker and started by asking about the unrest in Baltimore and if as he says the city needs is more jobs and opportunity, if that’s the case, how do you do it?

(BEGIN TAPE)

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Fix a broken tax code that encourages more investment in the United States, creates more opportunities in communities like this. How about we find a way to educate more of America’s kids? Half of our kids get an education. More than have get a diploma, but they get a diploma and they can’t read!

And then when you look at the schools in these inner cities, these families are trapped in bad schools that don’t provide a real education and look what you get. Chuck, what we have here is 50 years of liberal policies that have not worked to help the very people that we want to help. It’s time to look at all these programs and determine what’s working and what isn’t. Because until we start to find programs that actually work and we provide opportunities, more opportunities, and a better education, we’re going to have more of the same.

CHUCK TODD:

What works? What has worked?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Educating more of our kids.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, so how do you do it? That takes government money. Improving schools in Baltimore, does it not?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

If money was going to solve the education problem, we would've solved it decades ago.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you believe we’re in a national crisis when it comes to the relationship between African Americans and law enforcement?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

I do. I think that if you look at what’s happened over the course of the last year, you just got to scratch your head. And when you hear about these charges that have been brought –

CHUCK TODD:

They’re now charging homicide for Freddie Gray.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Public servants should not violate the law. If these charges are true, it’s outrageous and it’s unacceptable.

CHUCK TODD:

Are body cameras the answer? Or one of the answers?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

I think most departments around the country are moving toward body cameras. I think the states, if they want to require that they’re worn, happy to do so. But clearly --

CHUCK TODD:

You think the federal government should chip in to help with this?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

We have got a lot of police grants that we already have on the books that can be used for this. Why not?

CHUCK TODD:

Let's talk about health care, another Supreme Court issue that may be thrown in your lap. You have your plan B ready?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Not yet. I think our three House chairmen are working on this. We're beginning the process of working with the Senate Republicans. Because I think it's important that we're on the same page in terms of what our response is, if in fact, the court rules against the Obama administration.

CHUCK TODD:

You made some dire predictions about health care. 2014, you said, "Fewer people would have health insurance." According to plenty of surveys, more people have health insurance today than they did before. The uninsured rate went down from 17% to just under 12%. You said it would destroy jobs. The first year it was implemented, the country added three million jobs.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Well--

CHUCK TODD:

Why didn’t your dire predictions come true?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

ObamaCare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands. And as a result, you're going to have more employees because businesses have to. But you can ask any employer in America, ask them whether ObamaCare has made it harder for them to hire employees, and they'll tell you yes. Because it's a fact. When you look at, yeah, you know why there's more people insured? Because a lot more people are on Medicaid. And given, you know, we expanded Medicaid in a big way, and giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like like giving them nothing, because you can't find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients. And so where do they end up? The same place they used to end up, in the emergency room.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to need Hillary Clinton's help to get trade done? She’s, you know, look, the Democratic Party is led by two people right now. Their nominee, potential to be, and her, and the President, he clearly is trying to lobby House members. Are you going to need her help on this?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

The president needs trade promotion authority to continue to try to get to an agreement with the Asians on the Trans Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton was for trade permission, promotion authority. Hillary Clinton is for the trade bill with the Asians. She just won't say so. And the fact is, the president needs her help and in order to get Democrats, those in the House and Senate, to get this passed.

CHUCK TODD:

You think some House Democrats look at the split and think, "Oh, she's on the ballot, I better."

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Every Democrat leader in the Congress is opposed to the president's position. Now listen, we've got the majority here in the House, in the Senate. But we can't do this by ourselves. Now we're going to carry the bulk of the votes to get trade promotion authority done for the president.

Because this trade promotion authority, every president over the last 50 years has had this. Now there's no reason why President Obama shouldn't have it either, because trade is good for our country. But she can't sit on the sidelines and let the president's swing in the wind here.

CHUCK TODD:

So you think she needs to be more engaged?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

I do.

CHUCK TODD:

Congressional dysfunction. The idea that Washington doesn't work. Let me ask you. Do you think there's too many special interests in Washington? Too many lobbyists?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Everybody's a special interest. When I get home, everybody I talk to has their own interest. And some--

CHUCK TODD:

But the organized special interests can kill things like that. Look at import/export--Look at the way the healthcare bill has--

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Every American belongs to dozens of special interest groups, whether they want to or not. You know, if they're older, they--

CHUCK TODD:

You don't think it's a problem--

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

They get represented by the AARP, all right? They're business people, they get represented by a number of business groups. You know, if they're environmentally conscious, you know, they're represented by a number of environmental groups. The competition, the competition of ideas is what matters. And there's a lot of good ideas and a lot of bad ideas that float through here. But it's, in my view, a misconception of the so-called special interests.

CHUCK TODD:

Gerrymandering. Bad for your Congress or an acceptable way to do business?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

You can call it gerrymandering, but in Ohio, the Democrats had the pencil in their hand for 50 years. Now the Republicans have had it for the last 20 years. Our turn to draw the lines.

CHUCK TODD:

Tit for tat? You don't mind it?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Listen, at the end of the day--

CHUCK TODD:

You don't think there's a better way to do it?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

It's got to pass constitutional muster. And it does.

CHUCK TODD:

Too much money in politics?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

We spend more money on antacids than we do on politics.

CHUCK TODD:

So you're saying special interests, gerrymandering, money, not a problem?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

At the end of the day, I'm responsible to my constituents for what I do here. Not who I listen to, all right, not how I run my campaign. It's based on how I vote and what I do here. And frankly, the Congress on both sides of the aisle, I'd say 95% of the people here are good, honest, decent people trying to represent their constituents to the best of their ability. We live in an imperfect political system. We live in an imperfect democracy. But as bad as it is, guess what? It's better than anyplace else in the world.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me have a little bit of fun with you in presidential politics. You have made it clear you're a big fan of Jeb Bush, but you haven't endorsed. Why?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Well, I'm not going to endorse anybody. I'm a big fan of John Kasich's too. I know most of these people out there are thinking about--

CHUCK TODD:

But you think one of those two ought to be the nominee?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

But I'm not going to get into, I'm not going to endorse anybody. I don't want to hurt anybody.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me throw out a few names. When I say Hillary Clinton, what do you think? Give me a word or phrase, first thing that comes to mind.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Listen, I don't have a word for her.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

Former Secretary of State.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah? Anything on Scott Walker? What do you think of him?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

He's done a good job as governor.

CHUCK TODD:

You think first-term senators will make the best president?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

We'll see.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

I'm not going to get in the middle of it.

CHUCK TODD:

Cruz, Paul, Rubio, They've got enough experience?

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER:

We've got a big field, it'll sort itself out over the next year. Good luck to all of them.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

And you can watch my extended interview with Speaker John Boehner right now on our website, because we also talked about the same-sex marriage case in the Supreme Court last week, Benghazi and his surprising answer about the Hillary Clinton email server, and the issue he says has made his life miserable on Capitol Hill--thanks to the President. We’ll be back in less than a minute with End Game.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

As you just heard, End Game time, and we are going to have another big week of presidential announcements coming up. Carly Fiorina is expected to announce tomorrow, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO will be making her announcement online and then she takes questions via Twitter's live streaming app Periscope.

Baltimore native Ben Carson also announces tomorrow, he'll do so though in Detroit, not Baltimore. Mike Huckabee will announce his presidential candidacy Tuesday in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas; that's right, the same hometown as Bill Clinton. And, by the way, there is a fourth candidate that's been in the news this week. Chris Christie's presidential ambitions are, well, shall we say floundering after two key allies were indicted and another pled guilty over the bridgegate mess. So let's talk a little quick 2016 with the panel. The Baltimore native Ben Carson, do you give him, you know him well, April. You actually just got some reporting on him.

APRIL RYAN:

I just talked to him before we came on the air, and he actually has raised from $3-5 million in the last six weeks. And he's excited about making this announcement. He's talking about one of the central pieces is criminal justice, thinks that but he's also talking about the heart issue, and dealing with the heart. So he's in it to win it for the long haul. We'll see what happens.

CHUCK TODD:

Kim, of those three candidates that are announcing this week, Fiorina, Carson, Huckabee, which one will be relevant on March 1st of 2016?

KIM STRASSEL:

It's going to be whichever one has the most--

CHUCK TODD:

Or will any of them be relevant?

KIM STRASSEL:

Well, it's possible because it's going to be who has the most resonance with what is a fundamentally changed conservative electorate. I mean, one of the problems that the Republicans have had over the last two presidential elections is that they got good, decent, honorable candidates who were out of step with what has been a revolution ever since they sort of changed--

CHUCK TODD:

Right. Out of step with their base but then also out of step with swing voters. There's been sort of a confusion there.

KIM STRASSEL:

Both of those. But what's so fascinating about this primary field is that almost all of these people have come into their own as a reaction to the Obama presidency. You know, they are a new generation. And so it's going to be who can have the biggest, boldest ideas out there.

CHUCK TODD:

Tom, you know Chris Christie well. What do you think? Is this recoverable?

TOM BROKAW:

Well, I don't want to speak for him but, reading all the tea leaves, it looks like it's over for him. I don't think that he's going to run probably, or if he does he's going to tiptoe in backwards at this point. You know, the indictment of those people who were very close to him.

He's not getting much of a reaction as he goes around the country. He kind of threw a hail Mary in New Hampshire. But it's hard for me to see how he can inject himself into the frontrunners. Look, he's a very smart guy. I always thought part of the success of Christie was that he's been a prosecutor. He knew what cases to prosecute, how to get the job done.

He's going to like at his presidential candidacy the same way. "Do I have a shot here?" So I can't speak for him, but it's uphill at this point-- let me just say one thing quickly about the subject that brought us here today. I wish all of these presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, could have been at Monticello yesterday where I was for a weekend. They were doing a big benefit to restore some parts of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, beginning with a place of slavery.

There were probably three dozen Thomas Jefferson descendents, including from the Sally Hemings line, and the fact is it was the most thoughtful, wise, civil discussion about race and slavery. And the contradiction of the man who said, "All men are created equal," and kept slaves. And it was so useful, frankly. I mean, it's the subject that's preoccupied a lot of my journalistic career. I came away from that thinking, "How could we recreate that," frankly, because it was honest and no finger pointing. So it was very useful.

CHUCK TODD:

Hey, Wes, I should have asked you this earlier, Martin O'Malley: relevant presidential candidate now? More relevant, less relevant?

WES MOORE:

I mean, he's going to be more relevant now if he can actually take advantage of this moment, take advantage of this situation. You know, this is not going to be a side issue in the Democratic race--

CHUCK TODD:

Not anymore.

WES MOORE:

Not anymore. This is going to be at the epicenter. So if he can make and articulate the argument that his experience back in Baltimore and in Maryland better prepare him than anyone else then he becomes relevant. If not, and it's all the other issues that, you know, have come up, even along these policing, et cetera, then it's going to be difficult.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, it was interesting, Kim, to watch Hillary Clinton earlier this week backtrack from a Bill Clinton policy on crime.

KIM STRASSEL:

Oh yes.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, and frankly, Martin O'Malley--

KIM STRASSEL:

Her own policy.

CHUCK TODD:

--sort of backtracking the entire Democratic Party, sort of the new Democratic wing. You know, I'm old enough to remember when he was a D.L.C. Democrat.

KIM STRASSEL:

One word for you: Elizabeth Warren. Two words, rather. You know, she is so worried about Elizabeth Warren getting into the race, and she is moving left, left, left, left, left. She will backtrack from a lot more from that before she's done.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, I'm obsessed with elections, as people know, and there's a big one going on across the pond, shall we say. And I've got to show you something here. We're less than a week away from that general election in the U.K. It's going to be too close to call. The opposition Labor leader, Ed Miliband, he's challenging David Cameron, the Conservative, to be prime minister.

Literally, though, Miliband set his party's key pledges in stone. He unveiled an 8'6" high limestone slab that he's promised to place in the Downing Street rose garden should he become prime minister. Tom, you'll love this. It reminded me of something Russ Feingold did in '92 for his Senate campaign. Nobody thought he could win the primary at the time, so he put it on his garage. He put his promises on his garage. It worked for Feingold, I have to say.

TOM BROKAW:

Well, you've got to remember, he knocked off his brother to get to that position.

CHUCK TODD:

Ed Miliband did, yes. Don't underestimate--

TOM BROKAW:

I mean, they played hardball, and his brother's doing a great job running the International Rescue Committee. But the fact is that he was the kind of anointed son and Ed comes along and says, "No, I'm going to challenge my own brother." So I don't think he can be underestimated in terms of his passion and his hardball tactics.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you buy, Kim, there's been some commentary that if Cameron loses, that the Republican Party ought to learn something from that?

KIM STRASSEL:

Well, I mean, I don't actually. Look, the Republican Party has its own issues and, again, they're going to sort through them in this primary. But English politics, I lived there for a while, it is just a different breed of politics. I'm not really sure it translates over--

CHUCK TODD:

Although--

KIM STRASSEL:

--the Atlantic all too well.

CHUCK TODD:

--it's becoming more Americanized, Wes. I mean, look, they now have TV debates; they didn't use to have that. They now have American--

TOM BROKAW:

Hiring American consultants--

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say--

WES MOORE:

I was going to say, yes.

CHUCK TODD:

You have two of Obama's closest aides are on opposite sides. Jim Messina, the campaign manager, is involved in Cameron's; David Axelrod is Mr. Miliband's chief strategist.

WES MOORE:

The question, and actually one of the differences, and it goes back to also our system, is the money where you have not seen the idea of, you know, billion-dollar prime ministership. But I think there's actually something we should be thinking about as well.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, they do have shorter elections, which would put us out of business, I think, maybe. Well, that's all for today. We'll be back next week of course because, if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *