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Sunday Study Guide: Levin, King, Meeks, Cote, Roundtable

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)

  • Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has served in the U.S. Senate since 1978. He chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been a member of the committee his entire Senate career.
  • Levin has defended UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who has come under fire for what she said on Sunday morning programs after the Benghazi attack. He called it the “one of the most unfair attacks” he has seen and noted Rice was using unclassified talking points provided by the intelligence community.
  • With the upcoming fiscal cliff, cuts in defense spending are under negotiation. Levin has indicated that he is willing to accept an additional $10 billion in cuts to avoid the across-the-board cuts of the sequestration.
  • Watch his most recent appearance.


Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

  • Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is in his 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House, he chairs the Homeland Security Committee, and also serves on the Financial Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
  • King, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was a part of the recent closed hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. King briefed the press after former CIA Director David Petraeus testified. He said that although Petraeus testified the CIA knew it was a terrorist attack from the beginning, King “had a very different recollection of that [earlier account].” King said there are still questions about the talking points used by UN Ambassador Susan Rice and how they were developed.
  • King recently said he was concerned about the FBI investigation that uncovered Petraeus’ affair and led to his resignation. He said, “Once the FBI realized that it was investigating the director of the CIA or the CIA director had come within its focus or its scope, I believe at that time they had an absolute obligation to tell the president.”
  • Watch his latest appearance on Meet the Press here.


Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) represents New York’s Sixth Congressional District for 13 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House he serves on the Financial Services Committee.
  • Meeks released a joint statement with fellow New York congressman, Michael Grimm, last week thanking the president for coming parts of the state damaged by Hurricane Sandy. They had asked the president to come “so that he could see first-hand the devastation that the storm left behind.” They wrote, “Our state faces an estimated $33 billion in damages from Sandy, but the decimation of lives and livelihoods is arguably beyond measure.  Our constituents have seen not only substantial and costly damage to their property, but they continue to endure incalculable disruption to their lives.”
  • Meeks was one of 44 House members from the areas affected by Sandy to sign a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asking for additional funds to help the recovery effort.


David Cote

  • Honeywell CEO David Cote was named by President Obama to serve on National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan commission, in 2010. He has also served on the U.S.-India CEO Forum since 2005 and was named co-chair of the forum by President Obama in 2009. Cote was also a member of the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
  • Cote is also involved in the Fix the Debt Campaign, a non-partisan movement focused on solving the country’s debt that was founded by former Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. The campaign is pushing the White House and Congressional leaders toward agreeing to a bipartisan grand bargain, which would reform Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and taxes, using Simpson-Bowles recommendations as the foundation. Cote said the plan “could be a big boost to the markets.”
  • Cote was one of a number of business leaders who met with the president at White House recently prior to the president’s fiscal negotiations with Congressional leaders. Cote said of the meeting with President Obama, “He’s working very hard on how do you get that combination of revenue increase, entitlement reform, discretionary cut and hopefully some money left over for infrastructure and math and science education, but he clearly understands it and understands the impact and understands that everyone is going to have to work together to make it happen.”
  • Watch his most recent appearance on the show.



Roundtable: Burns, Fiorina, Brooks, Sharpton, Mitchell

  • Filmmaker Ken Burns is out with a new documentary, The Dust Bowl, about the dust storms that ruined farmlands in the Great Plains during the Great Depression. In his most recent interview with Meet the Press on PRESS Pass, Burns said of the country's more recent fiscal issues, "We’re on the edge of a fiscal cliff and we have the possibility, a real bright possibility, of finding a grand bargain. But we will do as human beings always do; get as close to the edge of that cliff as possible."
  • Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina served as vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2012 election. She also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), served as victory chair for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid and co-chair for Mitt Romney, and is on the Board of the American Conservative Union. She is also the author of “Tough Choices.” Watch her latest Meet the Press appearance.
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote this week about lessons learned from Lincoln. “It shows that you can do more good in politics than in any other sphere” but these things can only be achieved if “you are willing to stain your own character in order to serve others — if you are willing to bamboozle, trim, compromise and be slippery and hypocritical. The challenge of politics lies precisely in the marriage of high vision and low cunning.” Watch his latest appearance here.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton, the host of MSNBC’s Politics Nation, said of compromising on a debt deal, “Folks, this debate is over. The American people have spoken. Mitt Romney ran on two big ideas in this campaign: Cut the taxes and repeal Obamacare. He lost; those ideas lost, but they didn’t learn a thing.” He is also the President and Founder of the National Action Network.  Watch his most recent Meet the Press appearance.
  • NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, host of Andrea Mitchell Reports, said on her latest Meet the Press appearance that leaders are discussing trigger mechanisms as part a compromise. “[T]here is agreement all around that Boehner wants a deal, the speaker wants a deal, but he cannot sell a deal, even with the good will that he thinks he and the president have on that right now, unless there is real Gramm-Rudman type, real requirements that these things go in simultaneously.”  


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