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updated 2/12/2010 1:30:28 PM ET 2010-02-12T18:30:28

MR. DAVID GREGORY: This Sunday: The House passes healthcare reform late
last night. Plus, Decision 2009, Republicans retake the governors'
mansions in New Jersey and key swing state Virginia.

(Videotape)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA): The message was simple: People have a grave concern
about what Washington is doing to them, not for them.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: GOP dissent, however, cost the party a House seat in New York.

(Videotape)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We won last night.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: But independent voters are the big story, breaking big for
Republicans over concerns about the economy as unemployment climbs over
10 percent, its highest level since 1983. What did the election say about
the mood of the country? What will it all mean for the president and his
party in the midterm race next year? We'll ask the chairman of the
Republican Governors Association, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi,
and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Ed
Rendell of Pennsylvania.

Then, the president's performance one year after the election. The
economy, health care, two wars and the promise to change Washington; what
has Mr. Obama accomplished? Joining us, New York Times columnist David
Brooks, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and
Republican strategist Ed Gillespie.

Plus, our MEET THE PRESS Minute. Twenty years ago this week, the Berlin
Wall is torn down. Tom Brokaw is the only journalist from a major news
organization to broadcast those world-changing events live. Today he
joins us from the very spot where the wall once stood.

MR. DAVID MR. GREGORY: But first, 13 dead and more than 30 injured after Army
psychiatrist Major Nadal Malik Hasan opens fire at Fort Hood Army post.
The New York Times reports this morning that investigators have
tentatively concluded that the shooting rampage was not part of a
terrorist plot. Here this morning to talk about how this tragedy is
affecting our troops, we're joined by the highest-ranking officer in the
U.S. Army, the Chief of Staff General George Casey.

General, welcome to MEET THE PRESS.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY: Thank you, David.

MR. GREGORY: I want to express my condolences for our fallen troops and their
families this morning.

GEN. CASEY: Thank you very much.

MR. GREGORY: I want to ask you about the investigation, though I know that
you can't say very much. The key piece, as The New York Times is
reporting this morning, was Major Hasan acting alone or was this part of
a larger plot?

GEN. CASEY: I, I can't discuss, as you, as you said, I can't discuss the
ongoing investigation or the suspect's possible motivations. The--there
was a briefing by the investigators yesterday, and I think you'll
see--you'll continue to see updates on the investigation as we, as we go
forward. And I--although they have concluded to this point that he was
the only one involved, when investigations like this start, they can go
anywhere.

MR. GREGORY: There were warning signs about Major Hasan along the way, and
some of the reporting is bearing this out. Also from The New York Times
reporting this morning, I want to put something up on the screen for our
viewers and you to see. "Investigators, working with behavioral experts,
suggested that he might have long suffered from emotional problems that
were exacerbated by the tensions of his work with veterans of the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan who returned home with serious psychiatric problems.
They said his counseling activities with the veterans appear to have
further fueled his anger and hardened his increasingly militant views as
he was seeming to move toward more extreme religious beliefs, all of
which boiled over as he faced being shipped overseas, an assignment he
bitterly opposed." How did the Army miss this?

GEN. CASEY: I, I, I, I don't want to say that we missed it. I, I think
we, we're starting to see anecdotes like this come out, and we're
encouraging all of our soldiers and leaders that have information about
the suspect to give that information to the Criminal Investigation
Division and to the, the FBI. I'll tell you, I, I worry a little bit
about speculation like this based on anecdotes. There's professional
investigators looking at this. They've got over 170 interviews now and,
and they'll look at all this and they'll help us form a judgment. But
right now it's way too soon to be drawing any conclusions about what
happened or what his motivations were.

MR. GREGORY: All right. So in other words, the idea that he had hardened
political or religious views against the United States, against our wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan, those are not true? Those are not conclusions
that should be drawn?

GEN. CASEY: As, as I said, you--that's anecdotal evidence. I think those
things will be confirmed or denied over the course of the investigation.

MR. GREGORY: Did he express concerns, though--you say that there--you don't
think signs were missed. He wanted to be discharged from the Army, he had
a poor evaluation from Walter Reed. There were signs that this was
somebody who was disaffected. And as a psychiatrist, there are too few of
those, he was not let out.

GEN. CASEY: The--all those things could add up to a conclusion by the
investigators that, that we should have seen something. Now, I will tell
you that, that we will take a hard look at ourselves as an Army, because
we want to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. And, and
it's our ethos here to, to look hard at things, ask ourselves the hard
questions and then adapt and adjust based on that.

MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you...

GEN. CASEY: But it's just too early right now, David.

MR. GREGORY: ...let me ask you the larger question about how the military is
handling this mounting toll on our troops of multiple deployments, combat
deployments and, and what the psychological toll is. Bob Herbert, in his
column in The New York Times, put it this way: "We can't continue sending
service members into combat for three tours, four tours, five tours and
more without paying a horrendous price in terms of the psychological
well-being of the troops and their families, and the overall readiness of
the armed forces to protection the nation." He also points out that the
secretary of defense talked about that stigma associated with
psychological problems that our troops have.

GEN. CASEY: Mm-hmm. This is something we, we are keenly aware of, and
then--and you have heard me talk about the Army being out of balance for
two and a half years. And, and we have been working very hard to bring
ourselves back in balance. And balance being a point where the soldiers
are deploying at sustainable rates. We've made progress toward that, but
we have, we have--still have a way to go. We've also worked very, very
hard to enhance what we're doing to--for the mental fitness of the force.
We started in 2007 with a major stigma reduction program that, frankly,
has resulted in about a 40 percent increase in soldiers willing to come
forward saying they have some symptoms of post-traumatic stress. We are
going very hard after our suicide rate. As you know, last year we
exceeded the civilian rate for the first time. We, we've, we've
contracted a $5 million, a $5 million study with the National Institute
of Health to look hard at our suicides, and this is something that is not
only going to help the Army, it's, it's going to help the country. And
most recently we've instituted a program called Comprehensive Soldier
Fitness, where we intend to give our soldiers the skills to build the
resilience to deal with some of the challenges that they're facing.

MR. GREGORY: What about your concerns about backlash against our Muslim
soldiers who are in the Army, as a result of this incident?

GEN. CASEY: Yeah. I think those concerns are real and I, and I will tell
you, David, that they're, they're fueled partially, at least, by the
speculation about--based on anecdotal evidence that people are
presenting. I think we have to be very careful with that. Our diversity
not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific
as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's
worse.

MR. GREGORY: Do you have any reason to believe that having Muslims in the
Army puts them in a very difficult position and makes the more conflicted
fighting a war against Muslims in Afghanistan or Iraq?

GEN. CASEY: I think that's something that they have to look at on an
individual basis. But I think we as an Army have to be broad enough to
bring in people from all walks of life.

MR. GREGORY: Before you go this morning, there are reports about the
president narrowing down a choice, about 34,000 additional troops for
Afghanistan. Can you say if he's moving in that direction?

GEN. CASEY: I, I can't. Those--we'll have some discussions with him I
think over the course of the next weeks, and he'll make his decision, and
then I'll give him my best professional advice.

MR. GREGORY: Are you a proponent of additional forces?

GEN. CASEY: I, I believe that we need to put additional forces into
Afghanistan to give General McChrystal the ability to both dampen the
successes of the Taliban while we train the Afghan security forces.

MR. GREGORY: And the 40,000 you think is appropriate, that level?

GEN. CASEY: I'm not going to comment on any specific number.

MR. GREGORY: All right. General, again, our thoughts and prayers with the
fallen and their families...

GEN. CASEY: Thank you very much, David. I appreciate it.

MR. GREGORY: ...at Fort Hood. Thank you very much for being here.

MR. DAVID MR. GREGORY: Want to turn now to another big story, and that is the
sweeping healthcare bill that has passed the House of Representatives. It
passed late last night by a vote of 220-215, with 39 Democrats voting
against the measure and one Republican voting for it.

(Videotape, November 7, 2009)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The bill is passed.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: That victory represents a hard-fought victory for the president,
who made a personal appeal to House Democrats at the Capitol yesterday
afternoon.

We are joined here now by two governors on the front lines of this
political debate, Republican governor of Mississippi and the chair of the
Republican Governors Association, Haley Barbour; and Democratic Governor
of Pennsylvania, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Ed
Rendell.

Welcome, both of you, back to MEET THE PRESS.

GOV. ED RENDELL (D-PA): David.

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R-MS): (Unintelligible)

MR. GREGORY: Good to have you here. Let's talk about this news. Governor
Barbour, I'll start with you. The House has passed healthcare reform. Is
the president over the hump on this now? Will he get overall, sweeping
reform?

GOV. BARBOUR: Oh, I doubt it. I think that the closeness of the vote in
the House, the fact that the leadership had to break arms and still lost
almost 40 Democrats argues what real trouble they're going to have in the
Senate.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Rendell, to that point, one Republican. It can't make
the White House very happy this morning that they don't have much of a
centrist coalition on which to build healthcare reform.

GOV. RENDELL: Sure, it can't, but I think that's something we've just got
to look beyond. This country needs healthcare reform. Everybody agrees on
that. The things that are agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats, 80
percent of the bill, we're going to get those in a healthcare bill that's
going to pass the Senate, it's going to--it's passed the House already.
The conference committee will iron out some of the problems and it'll be
a huge step forward for Americans.

MR. GREGORY: What...

GOV. RENDELL: Not just Americans who don't have health care, David, but
Americans who do have it and are worried that if they change jobs and
they have a pre-existing illness they won't be able to get health care.

MR. GREGORY: But look at the Senate. You had said this week, talking about it
after the election this Tuesday, it's going to be harder to be a
conservative, moderate Democrats, the so-called Blue Dogs, to support
something that's broad and visionary. We see--we've seen what's happened
in the House. On the Senate side, there's more conservative Democrats.
Are they going to feel like this is a safe vote cast in favor of
healthcare reform?

GOV. RENDELL: Yeah. I think if you look at the polls--I saw an
interesting poll in Arkansas. The public option is supported 57 to 23 by
the citizens of Arkansas. Now, I know Senator Lincoln has a tough vote to
weigh. I think there'll be a compromise on public option, maybe a
phase-in or a trigger, or maybe the opt-in or opt-out. But I think we're
going to get basic health care, because we need it. There are people all
over this country who have health care, who are afraid they're going to
lose it.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Barbour, is it a problem politically for Republicans to
be the party of no on this legislation, given what's happened now in the
House? Is there a danger that Republicans aren't getting on board with
something that could be more popular down the road?

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, I think first of all, most people in America don't
want this, so to be the people that defeat it will be popular. But Ed
said something very important. Sixty, 80 percent of the things that we
talk about in health care could've passed the House last night 400 to 20.
But instead the Democrat leadership chose not to stop there, but to try
to cram down the country's throat a government-run healthcare system that
GAO--I mean, CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, says is going to drive
up health insurance premiums. The American people thought the idea here
was we were trying to get control of the costs. Five hundred billion
dollar cuts in Medicare. States like Mississippi and Pennsylvania are
going to be forced to raise our taxes, because part of the cost of this
is being dumped on us. There are lots of things in here that most
Americans don't want, I don't believe the Senate will pass. But yeah, we
could have a very good healthcare reform bill that would pass
overwhelmingly, but about 10 things in here wouldn't be included.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Rendell, if you talk in terms of what health care
means--if premiums do go up, if the middle class does feel a tax hike
with a, an individual mandate, you've got to buy insurance if that's held
up--is this going to be healthcare reform that delivers to--for the
middle class?

GOV. RENDELL: Sure it is. David, look, most people in the middle class do
have health care and the mandate's not going to affect them. Small
businesses are exempted from any of the mandates on business itself.
Look, there's no perfect bill out there, but this bill is what we need.
The problem with what Haley says is, yes, we could pass a healthcare bill
that 80 percent--we agree on 80 percent of the things, but it wouldn't
increase access for Americans, it wouldn't solve some of the basic
problems of health security. That has to be done in this country and it
has to be done now, and people understand that. Is--are there ways to do
it that limit the things that Haley talks about? Absolutely. I'd like to
see more cost controls in the bill. We've cut costs in Pennsylvania,
Mississippi's cut costs, states have cut costs. We can do this, but we've
got to pass a bill.

MR. GREGORY: All right, let me talk about the political landscape here that
is affected by health care, is affected by the jobs numbers, which we'll
get to in just a moment. First of all, what happened this week, different
views among Democrats, and we'll play some of them. This is the House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(Videotape, November 4,2009)

REP. PELOSI: From my perspective, we won last night.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: Senator Mark Warner had a different view. "We got walloped," he
said. How about former Senator Bob Kerrey? He said, "Every Democrat who
is up in either 2010 or 2012 knows that last night was big. ... The
electorate appears restless and angry." And Tennessee Democrat
Congressman Jim Cooper said it's "a wake-up call for Congress. A tidal
wave could be coming." Governor Barbour, is this a revival for the GOP?

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, it was a great night for Republicans. I think we
should've go on and say what David Broder said in The Washington Post,
that the research showed the polling--the more people were concerned
about losing their job or trying to find a job, the more heavily they
voted Republican; even more than independents, who voted 2-to-1 for the
Republicans, people who had jobs and the economy on their mind. And
that's what the American people want. You see Democratic congressmen like
the--Jim Cooper from Tennessee, Michael Michaud from up in, up in Maine.
The American people want Congress focused on jobs; instead, they see
Congress focused on a healthcare reform bill that's going to drive up
taxes for small businesses, the biggest employers in the country. NFIB,
the spokesman for small business, say it'll cost $1.6 million jobs. No
wonder people are mad that they're out here passing a healthcare reform
bill like this when what the public want is job creation. Bob McDonnell
won in Virginia because he talked about jobs, economic growth, taxes and
spending.

MR. GREGORY: If this wasn't, as the White House claimed--they said it was not
a referendum on President Obama, it does say something about the mood in
the country, Governor.

GOV. RENDELL: Well, there's no question, there's an anti-incumbent mood
in the country. I'm happy I wasn't running this year, I don't know about
Haley. But it's an anti-incumbent, and that's natural. When things are
bad, incumbents are held responsible for them. But it wasn't about
President Obama. Look at the Virginia exit poll, David; 24 percent said
they came out to vote against President Obama, 20 percent said they came
out to vote for him, but 60 percent, almost 60 percent, said they voted on
state issues. Governors' elections are about leadership. That's how
people make their decisions. Congressional elections reflect more what's
going on in Washington. And then the one big one, the one mega one, Democrats
won a seat that they haven't held in 100 years. So I'm not sure you can
draw any conclusions, but I am sure of one thing: a year in politics is
light years, is light years.

MR. GREGORY: And, and, and when we talk about coalitions or the, the mood of
voters, that can change. But for the moment those independent voters,
which were so important for President Obama, to the Democrats, are saying
something pretty loudly. This was The Washington Times reporting on the
results on Wednesday: "Independents fuel GOP victories." Look at our own
polling and look at how the independent sentiment has changed for
President Obama. Back in March he had approval of 58 percent, now it's
41; disapproval up to 52 percent. And Politico reported something that
was interesting on Thursday about, again, the sentiment of independents:
"Many Democratic politicians and operatives publicly and privately say
Obama's `big bang' strategy--trying to move several major policy
initiatives in his first year--has also caused independent voters to
question whether he is sufficiently focused on their primary concern,
reviving the stagnant economy." Is he going too fast when you've got 10.2
percent unemployment?

GOV. RENDELL: Well, it's interesting; even in Virginia, where we lost the
election big, his favorable rating was 57 percent. At the same time...

MR. GREGORY: But it's a different question of whether he's taking on too
much.

GOV. RENDELL: Is he taking on too much? He's taken on too much, David,
because there are crises. He inherited these crises. He didn't go looking
to take on these problems.

MR. GREGORY: But you think he should slow down.

GOV. RENDELL: No. I...

MR. GREGORY: You said that.

GOV. RENDELL: I think we should focus on the economy.

MR. GREGORY: Right.

GOV. RENDELL: And we can focus on the economy. I think the stimulus is
working. It's working in Pennsylvania, it's working in many states around
the country. I think we ought to up front transportation spending,
because infrastructure has the biggest return and that's a Republican and
Democrat issue that we agree on.

MR. GREGORY: Right.

GOV. RENDELL: Infrastructure produces construction jobs.

MR. GREGORY: You've got 7,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania because of the
stimulus. Is that enough?

GOV. RENDELL: And, and, and plenty of retained jobs that we would've
lost. We have $2.6 billion of federal money in our budget. Without that
money, teachers, policemen, municipal workers, county workers all
would've lost their jobs.

MR. GREGORY: But if you say focus on the economy, does that mean you think he
should avoid taking on some other issues?

GOV. RENDELL: I think we should emphasize infrastructure through a
speeded up transportation bill. Infrastructure produces construction
jobs, manufacturing jobs. That's exactly what this country needs. I think
the president's thinking about that.

MR. GREGORY: Governor Barbour:

GOV. BARBOUR: David, we shouldn't confuse the president being personally
unpopular. Americans want our presidents to succeed; and particularly the
first time we ever elect an African-American president, I think there's
great sentiment in favor of him. It's his policies that are unpopular.
His policies about energy policy is very unpopular. His policy about
healthcare policy is very unpopular. People think Washington's spending
money could give drunken sailors a bad name. I mean, what they're seeing
here is you can't spend yourself rich. Americans know that. But the
government keeps spending and spending and spending. And instead of
focusing on jobs, like Congressman Gerry Connolly from--new Democrat from
Virginia said, they see focus on health care, focus on energy.

MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you about New York 23, the upstate race where a
Democrat won after there was this internecine warfare among Republicans.
Is the view of the Republican Party that moderates need not apply? That's
a position taken by David Axelrod in the White House and others.

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, look at the New Jersey governor's race, where we had
a conservative Republican mayor run against a moderate Republican, Chris
Christie. Chris Christie is a moderate, was attacked as being a moderate,
quote/unquote. He got 94 percent of the Republican vote on Tuesday. In
New York, instead of having a primary and letting the voters decide, a
handful of county chairmen picked, picked a candidate by a vote of
7-to-4. Now, how do you expect a district with 45,000 more Republicans
than Democrats to stand for that? They should have had a primary, and
it'd have been just like Chris Christie in New Jersey; if the moderate
won the primary, Republicans would have saluted and voted for him 95
percent.

MR. GREGORY: Sarah Palin got involved in that race, she endorsed the
independent conservative. What role does she play right now in the
Republican Party?

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, she doesn't play any official role in the Republican
Party, but a lot of people care about her, a lot of people are fond of
her and she's like a lot of other politicians who are very well-regarded
in our party.

MR. GREGORY: What, what do you think of her?

GOV. BARBOUR: I like her.

MR. GREGORY: Is she...

GOV. BARBOUR: Don't always agree with her. But, you know, my wife doesn't
always agree with me, either.

MR. GREGORY: But is she, does she an important Republican leader, in your
book?

GOV. BARBOUR: Oh, I think she is. I think she's got something to offer.
One of the great things...

MR. GREGORY: Right. Do you think she could be president?

GOV. BARBOUR: One of the great things about when your party's out of
power, you don't have a spokesman.

MR. GREGORY: Right.

GOV. BARBOUR: You have a lot of--I don't want to say let a thousand
flowers bloom, but you have a lot of different people, and that's healthy
for your party.

MR. GREGORY: Do you, do you...

GOV. BARBOUR: The Democrats do that when they're out.

MR. GREGORY: But does she--do you think she speaks for the party?

GOV. BARBOUR: I think she speaks for herself, just like I speak for
myself.

MR. GREGORY: Do you think she could be president?

GOV. BARBOUR: Look, it's a long way away from there. Every time, every
time people ask me about president, I remind them, David, any
Republican who cares about the future of our country needs to be focused
on the elections of 2010. Those are the elections that matter. We'll
worry about president after 2010.

MR. GREGORY: What about, what about you?

GOV. RENDELL: David...

MR. GREGORY: Would you like to run for--in 2012?

GOV. BARBOUR: I would like for us to win in 2010.

MR. GREGORY: And then you'll consider it.

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, I don't have any plans to, but I wouldn't consider it
until the elections of 2010 are over.

GOV. RENDELL: David, I want to say one thing. Haley said that his wife
doesn't agree with him all the time. But I, I know his wife, and he
agrees with her all the time.

MR. GREGORY: Yeah. I want, I want to get to a couple of other issues before
we run out of time. Jobs, the unemployment rate at 10.2 percent. Governor
Rendell, can there be economic recovery while there is
dudget--double-digit unemployment?

GOV. RENDELL: Full economic recovery, no. But it's interesting to note
that the GDP increased by 3.5 percent after four quarters of going down.
In Pennsylvania we're started to see a little bit of an uptick in jobs
being created now, more jobs being created than jobs lost, and that
hasn't happened for over a year. So I think there is going to be an
economic recovery, I think we're in the midst of it. Jobs, as you know,
David, is the last thing to recover. But interestingly, before you make
any conclusions about 2010, tell me what the job picture is going to be.
If the job picture turns over the last spring or summer, I think 2010's
going to be a wholly different result.

MR. GREGORY: If it's double-digit unemployment?

GOV. RENDELL: It would be difficult...

MR. GREGORY: Difficult. Yeah.

GOV. RENDELL: ...difficult for incumbents. Difficult for Republican
incumbent governors, difficult for Republican incumbent senators as well
as Democrats.

MR. GREGORY: Is there a message? If you look back at 1983, as I looked, and
the peak of unemployment at 10, 10.4 percent in January, by July of that
year it comes down to single digits; within a year it's down, I think,
almost 2, 3 full points. What are the differences between Reagan's
leadership on the economy and what you're seeing out of President Obama
so far?

GOV. BARBOUR: What you see today is that Wall Street is doing great and
there's never been a bigger disconnect between Wall Street and Main
Street. All this money that the government gave the big financial
institutions, they're not lending down to middle sized and small
businesses. They're trading. They're buying assets and selling assets and
making huge profits. We're not seeing any positive effect. I don't know
about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where
we haven't been hit nearly as hard by this recession, it started for us
later, we don't see how our economy can grow when you have--employment's
going down, people can't borrow money against their, their house equity
anymore, credit card debt is shrinking because the rates are going up and
the, and the standards are tightening. Now, how do we have a, a, a
recovery when 71 percent of the economy is led by consumers who have
fewer jobs, lower income, less credit? That's what bothers me. Yet some
people think as long as Wall Street's doing well, well, small business is
where the jobs in America are created, not Wall Street.

MR. GREGORY: The question, Governor Rendell, should there be a second
stimulus pursued by this administration?

GOV. RENDELL: Well, first, I agree with Haley. I think one of the
mistakes made first by the Bush administration and, and went along with
by us, is that we should have required those banks to lend out a certain
percent of the TARP money that went into them, that was given to them.
And that's the reason we don't have enough credit. It's starting to come
back. Should there be a second stimulus? I don't think we need a second
stimulus. I would like to see our transportation infrastructure
spending...

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

GOV. RENDELL: ...which is the best job producer, I would like to see that
front-loaded and start in January or February of this year.

MR. GREGORY: What grade would you give the president on the economy, on his
handling of the economy?

GOV. RENDELL: On the economy? I'd give him a solid B because of the
stimulus. The stimulus is starting to work state by state, and you can
see it, David, with the projects, the people on the jobs and the orders
coming into factories. Factory after factory in Pennsylvania tells me
they're bringing workers back to work because the orders that are coming
in from stimulus.

MR. GREGORY: Let me get you both to comment on some news that was made here
this morning. You heard General Casey saying that he thinks there ought
to be more troops committed to the war in Afghanistan. This is a major
leadership test for the president, a question of policy. Governor
Barbour, react to, to that news. Here you have the chief of staff of the
Army, former commander of our forces in Iraq saying more troops are
needed here. Some additional pressure, I think, on the president to move.

GOV. BARBOUR: David, I don't think that's news. I think everybody in the
country knows we need additional troops. And I will tell you now, for
myself and I think a lot of Republicans, if the president will stand up,
make the tough decision to send more troops, Republicans like me will
stand up and say the president's doing the right thing. He doesn't have
to worry about Republicans trying to politic this. If he stands up and
does the right thing that the military's asked for, we will say good for
you, Mr. President.

MR. GREGORY: And if he doesn't? Are you saying the opposite is true, that
it'll become a political issue?

GOV. BARBOUR: It shouldn't become a political issue.

MR. GREGORY: At all? Even if he doesn't?

GOV. BARBOUR: I don't think it should become a political issue.

MR. GREGORY: Because implicit in that is if he doesn't do the right thing it
will be.

GOV. BARBOUR: I'm one of those who believes in foreign policy, that politics ought to stop at the border's edge. And I've always believed
that. I believed it when I was in Ronald Reagan's White House and I
believe it no matter who the president is. Now, when the presidential
comes--presidential campaign comes; but right now, if the president does
the right thing here, I'm going to applaud him. If he doesn't, I'm not
going to criticize him.

GOV. RENDELL: Well, one of the biggest problems, and I think you touched
on it in your discussion with General Casey, is our troops are tired and
worn out. Pennsylvania National Guard, most of our guardsmen have been to
either Iraq and Afghanistan, over 85 percent, and many of them have gone
three or four times and they're wasted. And where are we going to find
these troops? That's what I want somebody to tell me. Where are we going
to be able to keep our troops in Iraq, keep our troops in Afghanistan?
Who's going to do it? Where are the troops going to come from?

MR. GREGORY: We are going to leave it there. Governors, thank you very much.
Much more debate on this ahead.

Up next, one year since he was elected, how is President Obama doing? Our
roundtable weighs in on the news this morning: David Brooks, E.J. Dionne,
Rachel Maddow and Ed Gillespie. Plus, Tom Brokaw live from Berlin in our
MEET THE PRESS Minute commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of
the Berlin Wall, only here on MEET THE PRESS.

(Announcements)

MR. GREGORY: Our political roundtable takes a look at the Obama
administration one year after the election, after this brief commercial
break.

MR. DAVID MR. GREGORY: We're back now, joined by our roundtable: Republican
strategist Ed Gillespie, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, David Brooks of The New
York Times and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post.

Welcome to all of you. There's a lot of news here this morning, David
Brooks, including from General Casey on the program; he is for additional
troops being sent. This comes at a sensitive time, the president meeting
again with his national security team, I'm told this morning, next
Wednesday on this. He has got to be very close to a decision now, some
reporting that he will go for something on the order of 30-plus-thousand
troops.

MR. DAVID BROOKS: I do--I don't know that, but I do know the president is
wondering who the partner is, you know. The--I think they're--the
thinking is within the administration that the coin strategy, this
counterinsurgency strategy, is a good thing, but what is the government
we're dealing with? And so the question is do we scale back, do we go
minimalist, do we go maximalist? And I was struck by what Casey said,
because he sort of signaled the maximalist camp, which is where a lot of
people in the Pentagon is. I'm not quite sure the president's quite there
yet.

MR. GREGORY: Interesting, Rachel Maddow, too; you heard from Governor Barbour
saying from a political point of view Republicans will back the president
if, in his words, stands up and does the right thing, commits more
troops. But I thought--well, he said that they wouldn't make it a
political issue if he did not do that. Are you so sure?

MS. RACHEL MADDOW: No. I, I think that--I don't think there's a magic
number or a magic answer from the president that will insulate him from
Republican criticism on this. I think that they should expect that as
politicized his national security and the wars have been, that's
been--the Republicans see that has been an effective issue for them
electorally and I don't think they'll back off no matter what he does.

MR. GREGORY: Ed Gillespie, there's been some in the Republican Party who have
said, including the former vice president--you served President
Bush--that the president's taking too long with this decision, that he's
dithering. Yet you well remember that when it came to debating the surge,
the president took a good long time about surging up forces in Iraq.

MR. ED GILLESPIE: He did take a while to make that decision. He made the
right decision there. I think that it's--I hope that President Obama does
do the right decision. Haley's right; if he does so, I think Republicans
will stand strong in support of him. If he doesn't, I, I don't think that
Republicans will play politics with that decision. But I, I think if
that--if he makes the wrong decision and we see that we're not successful
in the theater that he himself said is critically important to our
national security, there will be a political price to pay as we all--as
we saw for President Bush in 2006 in Iraq.

MR. GREGORY: Right. E.J.?

MR. E.J. DIONNE: You know, Trudy Rubin, a very good columnist for the
Philadelphia Inquirer, argued this week that we don't need just an
Afghanistan strategy, we need a Karzai strategy. And this has become
very, very tricky; because of the election, the fact that a lot of
Afghans don't seem to have confidence in him, the need to really have him
stop supporting some of these corrupt folks that he's put in place. So I
think that creates a big problem for President Obama. And I noted that
the general this morning didn't say a number of troops...

MR. GREGORY: Right.

MR. DIONNE: ...he just said more troops, and that gives the president a
lot of room.

MR. GREGORY: Right. And we know that the--that range goes all the way up to
80,000 in terms of some of the recommendations.

Let's turn to the other big news story this morning, and that is the
passage of healthcare reform in the House. This is undeniably a big
victory for the president. How much momentum does it create going into
the Senate?

MS. MADDOW: I think that the, the, the big, the big issue obviously is
that the House got it done, in the big--in the broadest possible terms. I
do think that going ahead, looking toward the Senate, there is a bit of a
poison pill in there for progressives and liberals, especially if they're
counting on there being a big electoral boon to Democrats...

MR. GREGORY: Right.

MS. MADDOW: ...from having passed this. And that's that abortion
provision, the Stupak amendment, is going to be really...

MR. GREGORY: Which doesn't allow money for abortions except in the cases of
rape and incest, right?

MS. MADDOW: It's, it's the biggest restriction on abortion funding since
the Hyde Amendment. It's the biggest restriction on abortion access in
this country in, in, in a generation. And if, if it took a Democratic
president, 60 percent majorities in the House and Senate of Democrats in
order to get that, I think you can expect Democratic women to sit on
their hands at least if not revolt if that doesn't get taken out in
conference.

MR. GREGORY: Ed, what is the balancing act now? You've got one Republican who
votes for this in the House, you got 39 Democrats who vote against it.
There's not as much room on the Senate side in the Democratic caucus for
the president.

MR. GILLESPIE: There's not. And I, I really think it's going to be very
difficult for the Senate to move a bill of this magnitude, with this many
mandates in it. There's, you know, at last count, 3,425 instances of the
worse--use of the word "shall" in this bill. And I think the fact
is--the, the case I thought was interesting that President Obama made to
his fellow Democrats in the House, which is "you're damned if you do or
you're damned if you don't, so let's be damned if we do." And I think
that there is a real political price to pay, and I don't think Democratic
senators are going to be willing to pay that price the way the Democratic
House was.

MR. GREGORY: Well, what about Republicans, though? Is there going to be a
price to pay for Republicans not being on board if, as former President
Clinton says, this only gets more popular if it gets passed?

MR. BROOKS: You know, all evidence of healthcare reform in many countries
and in many places tells you the same thing: once it's passed, it becomes
sacred. People like it. So the Democrats will probably do well. The
second lesson is it's unaffordable. The big story of healthcare reform
is, to me, we have tax revenues for the past decades of 18 percent of
GDP. That's just the level. We've had spending of about 20 percent. After
all we've been through in the past year and after healthcare reform, it's
going to go up to 25 percent. We'll just have this gigantic gap between
25 spending, 18 revenue. How you fill that gap is going to be the major
political issue. And whether Republicans or Democrats have the better
answer, this will be part of the problem, this healthcare bill.

MR. DIONNE: Yeah. First of all, this healthcare bill is paid for. There
are taxes in here, which the Republicans attack the bill for, so they
have the guts to pay for the thing they're passing. I agree with David
that once you pass something like this, the voters like it. I went back
and looked at what Ronald Reagan said about Medicare, and he said it
would mean socialized medicine, the government would tell doctors where
they could move and soon they'd tell your son where he could work. That
was Ronald Reagan in 1961, I believe. Then I--then Ronald Reagan, when he
was president, did not cut Medicare. I am sure that in 20 years, may he
live a long time, Ed Gillespie will be on a show like this and be saying,
"Of course the Republicans won't cut this program" that they're now
calling Pelosi care or Obamacare, because people are going to be
grateful that they have healthcare security.

MR. GREGORY: Ed, would you ever say a thing like that?

MR. GILLESPIE: I'd be surprised. I hope I live a long life, too, but I'm
not sure I'd ever live that long.

MR. DIONNE: I'm wishing you well, Ed.

MR. GILLESPIE: The, the fact is that I think you're going to see over
time tens of millions of people who have private insurance today who've
shifted into a public program. They're not going to appreciate that.
Those tax increases fall disproportionately on small business owners, and
I think that's going to have a damaging impact on the economy. And the
taxes kick in long before the, the actual program takes effect, which is
2013, and I think that's going to be a problem as well, so.

MS. MADDOW: But...

MR. DIONNE: Two quick--go ahead.

MS. MADDOW: I was just--the...

MR. GILLESPIE: The Medicare cuts are a problem as well, let me just say.

MS. MADDOW: The idea that it would be fiscally responsible to either
follow the, the House Republicans' proposal or to do nothing I think is a
problem. The idea that this is the fiscally irresponsible choice. When
you look at the arc of spending that we have been enduring on health care
right now, both at the public level and in terms of just what American
families pay, we've got to do something to bring that under control.

MR. DIONNE: Well, the...

MS. MADDOW: So to the extent that this is going to actually cut the
deficit, to the extent that this is designed to bring health costs down,
we've got to do something. And I think people who vote against it are
going to regret it.

MR. DIONNE: And 98 percent of small businesses are exempt from the taxes
in this bill. This is a millionaire's tax, basically, the biggest tax in
this bill. And that the other thing is there are a lot of benefits in
this bill that kick in right away. There's a fund for people who have
pre-existing conditions to get coverage right away. There are a lot of
other provisions; no more recisions, so you can't discover that, "Gee,
I'm not covered after all." They were smart enough to put a lot of things
that kick in as soon as the bill is passed.

MR. BROOKS: Rachel's right that doing nothing is not fiscally
responsible. But doing something that adds onto our current system
without fundamentally changing our current system is fiscally insane. The
idea that this is paid for is a political mirage. That tax surcharge on
millionaires, that's dead, that's going nowhere in the Senate. The idea
that we're going to cut $400 or $500 billion in waste, fraud and abuse
from Medicare, that's historically unsupportable. We will never make
those cuts, we're never going to pull the plug on granny, all this stuff.
It--most healthcare experts think that this fundamentally does not change
the problem with healthcare system, which is the fee-for-service system
which has been driving up costs for decade after decade.

MR. GREGORY: Let me move on to talk about politics. And because it's so
heavily impacted by the healthcare debate, also by jobs, which I'll get
to in just a minute, but let's talk about what happened this week and the
results of this election. One thing that, that struck me was something
that you mentioned in your column, E.J., and that is on terms of what
happened, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg saying this: "There are two
things happening. One is fear. The other is punishment. Voters fear for
themselves and their families, and they want to punish anyone who got
them into this condition." The change election of 2008 seems to be the
change election of 2009.

MR. DIONNE: Well, I think you've got to divide these elections in two.
You've got the governors' races and you've got the congressional races.
There were two House races, including that one in the 23rd district where
the right-wing candidate lost. Democrats held those seats. And the
Republicans keep losing these special House elections; so if they're in
such great shape, why are they losing those House elections? If this were
a pure anti-government mood, there were two tax limitation referenda on
the ballot in Maine and Washington state that were overwhelmingly
rejected. So if there's a big anti-government mood, why didn't one of
those pass? New Jersey and Virginia are warnings, particularly to
incumbent governors on the ballot next year. I think New Jersey was a
very personal thing about Corzine. It's amazing, given his low popularity
ratings, that he got as many votes as he did. Virginia is, I think, the
one which has substantive lessons. The Obama constituency was asleep; the
electorate that voted on Election Day favored John McCain by eight points
in a state that Barack Obama carried by seven points. If Democrats can't
turn out those folks who supported Obama, particularly the young, they
are in trouble.

MR. GREGORY: And, Ed Gillespie, you have so much experience in Virginia
politics. Is the lesson for Republicans nationally, is the model for
elections Bob McDonnell, the, the, the elected governor now, because you
had a social conservative running as not quite a moderate, but certainly
a more pragmatic, middle of the road candidate than a social
conservative? Is that the lesson?

MR. GILLESPIE: Really, what Bob McDonnell did--in full disclosure, I
volunteered as general chairman of his campaign--is he translated
conservative principles into practical policies and then talked about how
they improved quality of life for Virginians. It was a very smart model.
I hope that Republicans across the country take a look at that, do
idea-driven campaigns and appeal to those centrist voters in the middle.

MS. MADDOW: Ed...

MR. GILLESPIE: Independents voted overwhelmingly for both Bob McDonnell
and Chris Christie. That is the warning sign for Democrats, by the way.

MS. MADDOW: I think that if, if Republicans could choose to have anything
to extrapolate from the, from the Bob McDonnell race, it would be to have
as an opponent Creigh Deeds. If they could pick anything that they
wanted. I mean, Creigh Deeds was a, was a marketably ineffective
Democratic candidate, essentially running away from the president,
running from everything popular in the Democratic agenda and doing it in
a stylistically poor way. So I'm sure he's a very nice guy; he was a very
bad candidate.

MR. GILLESPIE: Mm-hmm.

MS. MADDOW: And Bob McDonnell, I think, benefited as much from that as he
did from his own record.

MR. GREGORY: Let me just get your thoughts on the election.

MR. BROOKS: We saw the same trends in New Jersey and Virginia and Nassau
County, Westchester County and Pennsylvania, across the country, and
those trends were these: One, liberals stayed home because they think
Obama's going too slow. But more importantly, independents switched
parties. The independents took a look at the Republicans in 2008 and
said--looked at Katrina, thought, "These guys can't run anything. I'll
try the Democrats." They took a look at the Democrats right now, too much
spending, a little nervous making because of all the activist government,
they shifted back. And we know that because for the past four months
there's been a whole series of polls, and the polls have said the same
thing, there's been a shift towards the right. Is government getting too
big? Is spending too big? Are labor's too--are labor unions too powerful?
There's been a noticeable shift in poll after poll. There's sort of a
retraction caused by anxiety because of perceived activism in Washington.

MR. GREGORY: Let...

MR. DIONNE: I don't think it's a shift towards the right. I think there
is great concern about 10.2 percent unemployment.

MR. GREGORY: Right.

MR. DIONNE: Which is what Senator Lautenberg was talking about.

MR. GREGORY: Let me just...

MR. GILLESPIE: And concern that the Democratic policies
aren't, aren't addressing it, that the policies of this administration,
this Congress are not making it better.

MR. GREGORY: Let me just pick up E.J.'s point. E.J. always leads us to the
next discussion point, which is job--which is his official role here on
the program. Let's look at 10.2 percent unemployment for October. Here's
the trend line since the inauguration, and we can show it to our viewers
here to see where it was on Inauguration Day: 7.2 percent, 10.2 percent
now. It's up 42 percent. David Axelrod was on this program touting the
effect of the stimulus, $800 billion, and whether it would prevent this
spike in unemployment. This is what he said back in February.

(Videotape, February 15, 2009)

MR. GREGORY: Will this stimulus pan--plan prevent unemployment from reaching
10 percent, do you think?

MR. DAVID AXELROD: Well, that's our hope. That's our hope. There's no
doubt that without it that's what--that's where we were looking,
double-digit unemployment. And that's what we're trying to forestall. We
want to turn this thing around, and we think that this will, will happen.
That's why the president had such a sense of urgency of acting now.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: The bottom line, Rachel Maddow, is what went wrong?

MS. MADDOW: Well, or what could have gone more wrong?

MR. GREGORY: Right.

MS. MADDOW: I mean, I'm sure is the way that they would put it.
Obviously, job numbers are the holy grail for the next election, as the
governors who were just on previously were, were articulating. And if--I,
I think that whatever Democrats do, they're going to be accused of
overspending. No matter what they do, if they don't spend another dime
between now and 2010, they're going to be accused of it. And so if
they're getting shy about the second stimulus, it's not going to make
conservatives back off and say, "Oh, Democrats are the party of fiscal
moderation." They're going to get slammed as overspenders anyway, and
their choice is whether they're going to do it with intractable
double-digit unemployment and a, and a, and an appearance that they're
not doing enough to stop it, or whether they're going to be aggressive.
And they need to not be shy about a second stimulus.

MR. GREGORY: See, and, and on that point, that is what I think is such a big
issue right now, which is--and Marc Ambinder refers to this--which is
Republicans have a, have a strong message in these--in this election,
which is less government, less spending; as opposed to Democrats, who
want to spend their way further, expand government to get out of the
recession. It seems to me Democrats have to own the idea of big
government as the solution at this point. There is no alternative for
Democrats at this point.

MR. BROOKS: Oh, I hope so. But let me tell you, there--40 percent of
Americans call themselves conservative, 40 percent call themselves
moderates and 20 percent call yourself liberal. So if you want that 20
percent, fine, be the party of big government. But I'd try to be a lot
more subtle about it, the way Barack Obama was. What have we learned
about the stimulus? We've learned that government spending does save jobs
in education and in state employment. That stuff has worked. What have we
learned that doesn't work so far, which is trying to create a multiplier
effect, trying to gin up private investment and spending. Because you can
pump a lot of money into that sector, but if people are nervous they just
won't invest and create jobs. So that part of the stimulus does not seem
to have worked, and we ought to learn that lesson.

MR. DIONNE: The problem is the stimulus was too small, and they
compromised it down and so you had less effect. I mean, the fact is these
numbers would be a lot worse without the stimulus. But for politicians,
the slogan "Vote for us, things could be a whole lot worse" is not a very
good slogan at election time. And I think that Democrats have to say
straight up, "Hey, wait a minute. Yes, government does good things."

MR. GREGORY: Right.

MR. DIONNE: I think that vote last night on health care was their bet
that in the end voters would say, "We don't like government in the
abstract"...

MR. GREGORY: OK.

MR. DIONNE: ..."but we want help on health care."

MR. GREGORY: Ed, you have about 10 seconds for a final thought.

MR. GILLESPIE: All right. When they passed this, they said, "We have to
pass this now or unemployment will get above 8 percent. We have to stop
that."

MR. GREGORY: The stimulus, you're talking about.

MR. GILLESPIE: It's at 10.2--the stimulus--and we've lost 3 million jobs
since, and they're talking about doing more of the same. This healthcare
bill is going to stifle job creation, what they're talking about on cap
and tax and on other issues going to stifle job creation. This--that's
part of the problem, this administration's policies.

MR. GREGORY: There's more to do, but we have to leave it there. Thanks to all
of you. We will continue our discussion with E.J. and David and ask them
some questions about current events; also, how they develop their columns
each week. That's our MEET THE PRESS Take Two Web extra. It's up this
afternoon. Plus, look for updates from me throughout the week; it's on
our Web site, mtp.msnbc.com.

Up next, 20 years ago this week the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Tom
Brokaw was there live and joins us this morning from that very same spot.
Plus, our MEET THE PRESS Minute from 1989, the former chancellor of West
Germany shared his feelings on that momentous day, after this brief
station break.

MR. DAVID MR. GREGORY: We're back. Twenty years ago this week the Berlin
Wall, long a concrete symbol of the political divide between East and
West, comes tumbling down. Built at the height of the Cold War in 1961,
this physical symbol of the Iron Curtain would no longer divide communism
and democracy. That same week the former chancellor of West Germany
Helmut Schmidt appears on a special edition of MEET THE PRESS.

(Videotape, November 12, 1989)

MR. GARRICK UTLEY: Hello again from Berlin. On MEET THE PRESS today,
Berlin and Germany and Europe.

As we watch what's happening here, do you see it as the historic change
which could remake the face of Europe?

MR. HELMUT SCHMIDT: You could really say that Europe is changing and it
will certainly deserve, also, and necessitate, also, a change in the
attitudes of the West, Western Europe as well as the United States.

MR. UTLEY: Herr Schmidt, may I ask you not as a former chancellor of West
Germany, not as a former ministry of defense, but as a German, how have
you personally reacted to the events of these last days?

MR. SCHMIDT: Well, it was a great joy. I might you tell you that I was in
the GDR for two days just at the eve of all these events, and I felt a
great joy in my heart and I think most Germans did.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: As the wall falls, one journalist broadcast live from the scene
of this world-changing event, NBC's own Tom Brokaw.

(Videotape, November 7, 2009)

MR. TOM BROKAW: The West German police have moved in here suggesting that
they move back, saying that the situation is already complicated enough.
But it doesn't seem to make any difference. The people are here to
celebrate freedom.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: And we go live now to Tom at that very same stot where, spot
where he stood 20 years ago.

Tom, it's, it's very good to see you. And talk a little bit, if you
would, briefly, about the spontaneity of that night.

MR. BROKAW: Well, the events just unfolded completely beyond our control.
I had come here two days earlier to report on the turmoil on the eastern
side, not having any idea that the wall would come down. And then the
announcement was made on that afternoon by Gunter Schabowski, a
propaganda chief from the East. Inadvertently, I had an exclusive
interview with him immediately afterwards in which he confirmed it. By
the time I got here to the Brandenburg Gate that night around midnight,
West German students had clambered atop the wall, urging the students
from the East to join them. The East German police tried to hose them
off. That didn't work. And after we'd been here about an hour, the first
East German student hopped up on the wall in a kind of Peter Pan-like
fashion. He was absolutely startled about where he found himself, and I
think he was probably a little worried he'd be shot. But then everybody
grabbed him and hugged him, and began cheering and dancing. And that, of
course, was the spirit of the evening that went on into the wee hours.
And it was about, oh, 1 or 2 in the morning when they began to get out
the hammers and the chisels and get the pickaxes and began taking the
wall down physical. David, it's something I'll never forget.

MR. GREGORY: The legacy of that night, of that event, Tom, is complicated. It
is--there's lots of levels to it. But how do you think about it today?

MR. BROKAW: Well, I think it was more complicated than anyone ever
anticipated that it could be. First of all, there was a question of
whether Germany should be unified. After all, the West had fought against
Germany in two world wars during the 20th century. There was a lot of
opposition. But George Bush 41 stood with Helmut Kohl and thought the
country should be unified. There was great fear it would become a
superpower again. Quite the opposite has happened. It's still a very
powerful part of Europe, of course, but it's much less interested in
military adventures than it is in repairing its economy and healing the
wounds of all those years of a divided country. Now, that's a process
that is still going on here, and we'll be talking about that a lot in the
next couple of days as well.

MR. GREGORY: You talked in the last couple of days with the former president
of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, and you asked him how he views new
concerns about Russia, about Russia's posture in the world and some of
its actions. Let's listen to a portion of the interview.

(Videotape)

MR. MIKHAIL GORBACHEV: (Through translator) I remember how after the end
of the Cold War, after the normalization of our relations, after we
started down the path of reducing nuclear weapons, there was a kind of
euphoria in Russia toward America, a euphoric attitude. But then we saw
that America forgot about its partner. And even when our life was very
difficult, during the difficult times, American avoided giving real
assistance to Russia. And it was then that people understood that the
U.S. government actually liked the situation of Russia being immersed in
all kinds of problems for as long a time as possible.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: Tom, what strikes me about that is that the Russians, he says,
expected partnership; the U.S., he believes, celebrated victory.

MR. BROKAW: Well, I have a high regard for Mikhail Gorbachev. We've known
each other for more than 20 years now. But he's being more than a little
disingenuous there. The United States sent billions of dollars into
Russia and sent its very best experts over there to help them create a
market economy. So much of that money went into private bank accounts of
the oligarchs and the apparatchiks who still had their hands on the
levers of power in Russia; the money simply disappeared in many
instances. I don't think we were at all prepared for how unprepared
Russia would be to create a market economy. Someone said to me here in
the last couple of days, the communists always had a plan for how they
would take over the West; the West didn't have a plan for how it would
take over the communist empire once it fell down. I think that's a pretty
good summary.

MR. GREGORY: Quickly, Tom, as a journalist there are few occasions when you
can witness and report on something that you know is world-changing
instantly. That had to be you--feeling you had 20 years ago.

MR. BROKAW: As I stood here getting ready to go on the air and saying to
the control room in New York, "There is no script, I'm going to have to
ad-lib my way through it because it's utter chaos and it's changing
constantly," I thought about that old line from the astronauts just
before liftoff: "Don't screw it up." Although I think they used another
phrase. But that's literally what went through my mind. And I'm, I'm also
a child of the Cold War, so I, I wanted to put it in context about how
important this was. I said at one point, I always thought that 1968 would
be the, the most important and profound year in my journalistic career.

MR. GREGORY: Yeah,

MR. BROKAW: But here was 1989, David.

MR. GREGORY: Tom Brokaw, thank you very much.

MR. BROKAW: OK.

MR. GREGORY: And we'll be right back.

MR. DAVID MR. GREGORY: And before we go this morning, MEET THE PRESS
celebrates 62 years on the air this week. You can go to our Web site for
a special slide show we think you'll enjoy, a look back at the longest
running program in television history. How about that? All at
mtp.msnbc.com.

That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's MEET
THE PRESS.

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  1. Getty Images; TODAY

    Natalie celebrates Boston Marathon triumphs; Willie rings in Earth Day

    4/22/2014 8:39:34 PM +00:00 2014-04-22T20:39:34
  1. Danh Tang via Facebook; David Ab

    'Incredible': Runners with dwarfism on return to Boston Marathon

    4/22/2014 8:52:13 PM +00:00 2014-04-22T20:52:13
  1. Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    Girl power: Drew Barrymore welcomes her second daughter

    4/22/2014 9:35:41 PM +00:00 2014-04-22T21:35:41
  1. Mat Hayward / Getty Images Contributor

    Snoop Dogg loves Brian Williams' rap of 'Gin and Juice'

    4/22/2014 8:15:04 PM +00:00 2014-04-22T20:15:04
  1. Mysterious spike: More babies born with rare defect

    Seven cases of a rare fatal birth defect were reported in a remote region of Washington state in 2013, making it the fourth consecutive year that rates have more than tripled the national average, health officials said Tuesday.

    4/22/2014 8:27:33 PM +00:00 2014-04-22T20:27:33