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Video: Aftermath of Supreme Court decision

updated 7/1/2012 1:25:27 PM ET 2012-07-01T17:25:27

GREGORY: This Morning, a special hour: America’s health care debate. The court has spoken: vindication for the president and a boost for his signature achievement.

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OBAMA SOT: Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country.

But the ruling also galvanized his GOP opponents as the court calls the individual mandate a new tax…

(Video tape)

ROMNEY SOT: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have replace President Obama."

(End of videotape)

GREGORY: But is repeal realistic? I’ll ask the House’s top Democrat Nancy Pelosi in an exclusive interview, then what does the law mean to you? The debate over its’ value now and in the future.

With us, former chair of the Democratic Part Dr. Howard Dean and the Republican governor of Louisiana, and a name mentioned as a potential Romney running mare, Bobby Jindal.

Dean and Jindal square off. Finally, the politics. Our roundtable weighs in on the fights ahead. Can the president sell health care to a still skeptical public? Can Romney lead the charge against health care? After passing an individual mandate in Massachusetts? And the legacy of Chief Justice Roberts.  With us our chief White House correspondent and political director, Chuck Todd; new co-host of Today, chief legal correspondent, Savannah Guthrie; editor of the National Review Rich Lowry; and columnist for the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson.

Interview with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

DAVID GREGORY: Leader Pelosi, welcome to Meet the Press.

NANCY PELOSI: Welcome to the Capitol.

DAVID GREGORY: Thank you for having us here.  We are in full view of the Supreme Court, which has spoken on health care.  Is the fight over?

                                  

NANCY PELOSI: Oh, as far as we're concerned, the victory is there for the American people.  If you're a person who has a child with diabetes, no longer will they be discriminated against because of a preexisting condition.  If you're a woman, no longer will you have to pay more; no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition.  If you're a senior, you pay less for your prescription drugs and nothing for a preventative check - wellness checkup. So again, and for everybody, no more lifetime limits on the coverage you receive. This and for other reasons -- if you're a young person you can be on your person, your parent's policy if you both agree to that.  And so for the American people yes, the fight is over.  Others will try to challenge, but –

DAVID GREGORY: Well, Republicans have said they won't waste any time to try to repeal this.  Is that fantasy from your point of view?

NANCY PELOSI: It's being the mouthpiece of the health insurance industry.  And we're saying let's not have them be in charge anymore.  Let the people be in charge of how they receive coverage and health care.  It's -- they'll bring it up, and when they bring it up they will ask for repeal, repeal of all the things I said that help children, help young adults, help seniors, help men or women who may have prostate cancer, breast cancer, whatever it is, any precondition.  And everybody will have lower rates, better quality care and better access.  So that's what they want to repeal, we're happy to have that debate.

DAVID GREGORY: So you don't think it's realistic -- I mean, look, you fought in the trenches to get this thing passed, it wasn't easy.  Do you think repeal is unrealistic, it --

NANCY PELOSI: Yes.

DAVID GREGORY: -- You know, from Mitt Romney, to Republican leaders, they say, "We're gonna lead the charge on this"?

NANCY PELOSI: I think that that part of it is over.  Do we always want to fight for more and better?  We want to continue to lower costs, and we built that into the health care, Affordable Care Act.  Because one of the reasons to do the bill was because the cost of health care to individuals, or families, to businesses -- no matter what their size -- to local, state and federal budgets, and to our economy.  The costs were unsustainable.  It's a competitiveness issue for business and for our economy.  So we had to take, come to a place where we lowered costs to all concerned, and that we again take it down a path where we continue to lower costs.

DAVID GREGORY: But don't you acknowledge, even if it's passed muster with the Supreme Court, there's still a lot of work to be done by this president to persuade the American people this is a good thing for them -- to in essence win the argument, which he hasn't done?

NANCY PELOSI: Well, I think that he did very well the day that the bill got the approval, so to speak, but the decision was made and announced by the Supreme Court.  But yes, it's always a conversation with the public, especially when you think that the health insurance industry spent 200 million dollars putting out negative misrepresentations about the health care bill, when it was on the floor and coming to fruition, and since. 200 million dollars.

DAVID GREGORY: But would you concede the public's not yet sold?

NANCY PELOSI: Well, 200 million dollars of negative publicity, both from the health insurance industry and anti-public -- what would you call it—anti-government ideologues who don't think there should be any public role, and yet support Medicare.  So, you know, there's some contradictions here.  But the fact is, is that yes, more needs to be done, but the most eloquent statement of all will be from the experience that people have if they have a preexisting condition in their family, if they have been subjected to lifetime limits, when they get their check in August that says you're getting a refund because your health insurance company spent more money on corporate CEO compensation and on administrative costs than it did on meeting your health care needs, those checks will go out in August.  Some people have told me they're already getting reduced rates for next year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Seniors are already paying less for prescription drugs.  They may not know it, but it's because of the Affordable Care Act, and we have to make sure they do know it.  But already the health insurance industry has collected millions of dollars to go back out there, to put themselves in charge.  And that's the fight we have.

DAVID GREGORY: To the extent that you believe and others believe the Supreme Court has conferred an extra level of legitimacy on this health care act, the reality is that the court also said that the act is in effect a tax, that the individual mandate requiring the folks who can buy insurance is a tax.  Won't that make it more difficult to sell the popularity of this program to the American people?

NANCY PELOSI: Well, who is who is the penalty on?  The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance, figuring they won't be sick and if they do, other people will have to cover it.  So these free riders, as they were identified by Governor Romney himself, he said people have the ability to pay and don't -- can't expect to be free riders. And I think that he termed it exactly right.  These free riders make health insurance for those who are taking responsibility, making it more expensive.  Personal responsibility is a principle of our country.  Conservatives claim it, progressives claim it, liberals claim it, we all claim it a--

DAVID GREGORY: But words matter of political discourse, you know that. The president was adamant saying the individual mandate is not a tax --

NANCY PELOSI: Well it’s --

DAVID GREGORY: -- When in fact his own solicitor general went into the Supreme Court and said this is constitutional under the taxing authority of Congress?

NANCY PELOSI: That's right, you said it exactly right

DAVID GREGORY: That's not how it was sold, that’s not how it was sold to the American people.

NANCY PELOSI: No, it's a penalty. No, it’s a penalty. It's a penalty that comes under the tax code, for the 1% perhaps of the population, who may decide that they're gonna be free riders.  But most people are not affected by that --

                                                                       (OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY: But it’s a new tax -- it is a new tax on the American people.

NANCY PELOSI: No, no, no, no.  It's not a tax on the American people -- a tax, it's a penalty for free riders.  But, since you're bringing up the subject it's important to know that middle income families will get about $4,000 in tax breaks, in tax credits in order to have their health insurance, to buy their health insurance. Middle income families make out very well in this, businesses get tax credits to provide health insurance for their workers.

                                  

So what we're saying is those who take responsibility get the protections of this bill.  Those who want to be free riders have to pay their -- they either have to take responsibility and buy insurance, and there are many ways for them to do it, or they get, they get a penalty.  And the penalty, yes, it is charged under the tax code.  It could come any other place, but it's under the tax code.  And the tax code is the place where the federal government has all the constitutional authority -- to act as the court said.

DAVID GREGORY: Just one more on this before I move on.  Bottom line, the president's health care reform is here to stay?

NANCY PELOSI: Absolutely, it'll only get better.  

DAVID GREGORY: And you're confident given the heavy toll that the health care fight exacted on the president, and on the party, and on the loss of control of the House, that Democrats in the House and the Senate running in tight reelection races, they are gonna full, wholeheartedly embrace health care reform and campaign on it?

NANCY PELOSI: Let me say this: I don't buy the argument you make that we lost the election because of health care.  We lost the election because of 9 and a half percent unemployment.  It would have been 15 percent had Congress and President Obama, under his leadership, passed the Recovery Act, auto rescue and other initiatives. But if you don't have a job, you don't want to hear it could be worse. And so, and then if you have a shield of 9 and a half percent unemployment, which is very hard for an incumbent to penetrate and then start -- have $200 million coming in from the health insurance industry to misrepresent the facts on the health care bill, plus, another nearly hundred--

DAVID GREGORY: You don't take any responsibility for failing –

NANCY PELOSI: No.

DAVID GREGORY: To adequately communicate to the American people what was in the health care bill? And actually win the argument?

                                                                      

NANCY PELOSI: Oh, we certainly could have done better on that. No we certainly could have done that.  But I could have left the battlefield of passing the bill and gone out and said “I have to raise a hundred million dollars”--

                                                                       (OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY: Right, and what about your point the economy -- is the president gonna lose reelection because of high unemployment?

NANCY PELOSI: I think the president's gonna be reelected and he's going to do so in a way that explains to the American people the two different paths; it's about-- it's about jobs, it's about good-paying jobs, it's about fairness and it's about --

DAVID GREGORY: Well, what's different about conditions from where we were when you, when Democrats lost the House?  Unemployment is still high, growth has not been what was expected.

NANCY PELOSI: We're on a better path now and we would have been on an even better path had the Republicans not been so obstructionist on the president's proposals for jobs.  But we have an agenda; it's as simple as ABC.  American made, make it in America, not to be protectionist but to be self-reliant.  We want to sell on the global market as well as buy. Build American infrastructure of America; it's taken so long for us to get a transportation bill, and we should be doing so much more to address the infrastructure concerns, whether it's broadband or bridges.  C, do so in a community way, where we know the role that education and public safety and all play about fairness, in our tax code and the rest.  The sense of community and shared responsibility in our country.  And I add to the ABC’s of that, a dare, a dare to reduce the role of money in campaigns, because you cannot separate the policy from the politics.  Walter Reuther said it, he said, "The breadbox and the ballot box are connected," and they are.  And so we are daring with disclose – I am Nancy Pelosi, and I support this ad -- they should disclose, too.  Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizen’s United. Reform the system to reduce the role of money and elect reformers of either party or any party to do so.

DAVID GREGORY: What has to come out of this next jobs report, after such a dismal report last month, to give the American people hope that sticking with the president is actually something that can lead to some semblance of economic recovery?

NANCY PELOSI: Well, I don’t know, I'd like it to be the best possible report, of course.  But I think it's also important for the president when he shows the two different paths to go down, that our country can go down in this regard -- that giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country, as was the case under President George W. Bush, that that did not create jobs, it just increased the deficit, it took us to the brink of a recession, and that's not the way to go.  But that's the same warmed-over stew that the Republicans are presenting now.  The president's talking about growth, he's talking about fiscal responsibility.  We need revenue, we need cuts, we need growth to create jobs.  And I have every confidence that the president out there -- oh, well he already has made a tremendous difference.  But you cannot assume that the public knows when there's this barrage of endless money.  That's why I say money has to be taken out, endless money misrepresentations on the campaign trail.

DAVID GREGORY: High drama this week with the contempt vote for the Attorney General.  You and others walked out as this vote was taking place.  You actually suggested there's some conspiracy among Republicans because he's challenging some of the Voting Rights Act laws around the country, that they went after him on the contempt vote.  What do you have to back such a charge up?

NANCY PELOSI: Oh, I don't say it's a conspiracy, I said it's self-evident that this Attorney General -- don't take it from me, you only need to look to some of the statements made by the Republicans, one in particular, about saying that he should resign from office because he has not enforced their voter suppression laws in the country. This is an ongoing theme.  And it is really unfortunate.  This is the first time in the history of our country that a cabinet officer has been held in contempt of Congress.  To do so within one week of it coming out of the committee, after the administration has cooperated in every way with them -- but there was no way that they wanted to resolve it.

The constitution tells us, and William French Smith when he was Attorney General under President Reagan spoke to this point, that the branches of government have a responsibility to resolve differences, without one having a severe upper hand in all of it.  When we had a similar situation in 2000, four and a half years ago, with Harriet Miers, to get documents regarding the firing of the U.S. attorneys at that time, you remember that?  Some of that related to voter suppression, too. But in any event, we, the committee had asked for testimony witnesses to come in.  Stonewalled, stonewalled, stonewalled -- not one scrap of paper, on Harriet Miers' request.  We came out of committee, it wasn't for over 200 days that we took it to the floor.  The chairman and I and the leadership said, “Just keep finding a way, just keep finding a way, we don't want to do this. We want the documentation, we want the record to show, but we do not want to do contempt.”

And that's when we ended up having -- over 200 days and they, and with not one paper coming to us from Harriet Miers, not one showing up at Congress, one piece of paper. They've given thousands of documents-- to the committee in order to resolve this in advance of the vote.  And then they took the vote anyway, in the committee last week, and in seven days.  There's something very wrong with that abuse of power, it's just not right.  The American people deserve better.  And the Constitution admonishes us to do better.

DAVID GREGORY: The debate will continue.  Leader, thank you.

NANCY PELOSI: Thank you, my pleasure.

DAVID GREGORY: Appreciate it.

DAVID GREGORY:

Joining me now, the former chair of the Democratic party and governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean, and the Republican governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal.  Welcome to both of you.

                                 

MALE VOICE:

Thank you.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So much to get to here.  And I want to start with you, Governor Jindal.  You heard me ask Leader Pelosi, "Is the fight over?"  She said, "Yes."  Republican attempts to repeal it are basically fantasy at this point.  But you and other Republican governors say no.  You're not going to fully implement the law, even though the Supreme Court has spoken.  Why not?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Absolutely.  Look, this election, this coming election, gives American voters a chance.  We've got two very different candidates.  President Obama's doubled down on this-- the creation of a brand new entitlement program, over $500 billion in Medicare cuts, $500 billion in tax increases, $1.7 trillion in new spending we can't afford.

We can't afford the programs we have today and he wants to create a new program.  There's never been one day a majority of the American people have wanted this.  He forced this through on a party line vote without one Republican vote in support.  So I think the voters have--

DAVID GREGORY:

Wait, governor, that's (UNINTEL) what are you not going to do?  You're--

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Well--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

--really going to not cover people who need insurance in your state even after the federal government passed this, the Congress passed it and the Supreme Court said it's constitutional?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

David, every governor's got two critical decisions to make.  One is do we set up these exchanges.  And, secondly, do we expand Medicaid.  And no, in Louisiana, we're not doing either one of those things.  I don't think it makes sense to do those.  I think it makes more sense to do everything we can to elect Mitt Romney to repeal Obamacare.

Think about adding a 16, 17 million Americans into an unreformed Medicaid program.  This is simply growing government healthcare.  You listen to the government's own experts.  They've said healthcare spending's going up.  The president promised us premiums would go down $2,500.  CMAS actually say that healthcare spending will go up 7% in 2014 as this law begins to be enacted.

The reality is they did not bend the cost curve down as the president's promised.  They did not make healthcare spending more sustainable.  We can't afford another entitlement program.  We're going to have more people in the cart rather than pulling the cart.  We're going to go the way of Europe--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

--if we don't repeal this law.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

There are a lot of facts and figures there, a lot of charges which are disputed, so I want to try to flow this down and break it down so it's understandable.  Governer Dean, on what Governor Jindal is proposing to not do, can you actually explain what the impact of that will be?

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

Sure.

DAVID GREGORY:

And how audacious you think that will--

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

Let's deal with the exchanges.  First, if you don't put in your own exchange the federal government's going to run one for you.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

The exchange is where you would actually go and buy--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

--a program.

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

To buy health insurance.  So he has a choice.  Bobby has a choice, basically, of having this done for him by the federal government or doing it himself.  So I think that's a no brainer.  But, look, in my state we have had universal healthcare for every kid under 18 for 20 years by an expansion of Medicaid.

In Louisiana, it's 48th in the country in terms of child poverty, 48th in the country in terms of premature death, 48th in the country in terms of industrial accidents and so forth.  Just by expanding Medicaid alone, by accepting the president's Medicaid expansion, 340,000 out of those 860,000 uninsured people get covered.  This is a great deal.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

And the federal government pays for it--

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

And it pays for--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

--for three years.

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

--100% of it.  Now I have some sympathy with the notion that Bobby raises that we don't want to get into this thing and soon they're going to cut it back to 90% and 70%.  But right now, for the next 10 years, this program is pretty much fully funded.  And I'll just leave this, so we're dealing with a lot of facts and figures here.

When I was running for president and campaigning in South Carolina we calculated that if the South Carolina governor at that time had done what we did in Vermont in terms of matching money for Medicaid, 20% they put up, 80% the feds put up, they would have raised their entire gross state product by 2% simply by having the same Medicaid rules that we do.

So I think this stuff about not accepting Medicaid and not accepting exchanges is crazy.  If you don't like the law, I understand.  I don't like the law all that much.  But the fact of the matter is it is the law, it will work, it's necessary and Governor Romney knows it because he did it in Massachusetts.

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

A few things real quickly.  On Medicaid expansion I think this is a great philosophical difference again being Republicans and Democrats, with Mitt Romney and President Obama.  You just heard Howard say that growing Medicaid grows your state's economy.

Look, federal dollars aren't free.  Those dollars are coming from us, from our children, our grandchildren.  We're borrowing money from China to spend on government programs we can't afford.  The best thing we can do is help people get good paying jobs instead of making them more dependent on government programs.

Every month since I've been governor our unemployment rate's been below the national and southern averages.  Under President Obama median family income's gone down $4,000.  Since I've been governor our per capita income's gone up over $2,000.  The best way to help people get better healthcare is to get them better paying jobs so they can afford healthcare.  Now, look, I do agree we need to reform the health insurance marketplace.  I do agree the status quo's not acceptable.  I just don't think this expensive, unsustainable entitlement program--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

--is the solution to our problems.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So the solution, Mitt Romney says, is repeal.  This is what he said after the court rule.

                   

(VIDEO)

MITT ROMNEY: What the Court did not do on the last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States, and that is that I will act to repeal Obamacare.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

Bottom line is easier said than done.

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

Yeah, he will do no such thing.  First of all, he's going to take healthcare away from all the seniors who got their doughnut hole closed?  He's going to take the 20--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

What does that mean, by the way?  Just for--

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

The doughnut hole was the part of Medicaid which is incredibly expensive for really sick people whose prescriptions are no longer covered because they've spent so much money.  So that really does drive seniors into poverty.  It was fixed in the bill.  And then, of course, if they repeal the bill they now throw a whole bunch of seniors into trouble again.  So then they're going to take away health insurance from kids who are 25 who can stay on their parents' policy?  I don't think they are going to do these things.

Here's the thing which drives me nuts about this debate.  Mitt Romney did this in Massachusetts.  And I'm not for the individual mandate, but he did it with an individual mandate in Massachusetts.  98% of all the people in Massachusetts are covered in their health insurance.

And all this economic stuff is hocus pocus.  Massachusetts is doing very well economically relative to other states.  So all this stuff about it's going to bankrupt the state, Mitt Romney is the one that showed this could be done for the whole country.  I don't get this at all.  Why are we having this fight?

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.  Well, I'm going to come back to the individual mandate in a second.  Pure legislative politics.  I mean a couple of points here.  You've got to have the votes in the Senate.  You've got to be able to get through the legislative grind, which is a lot easier said than done on the campaign trail than it actually is when you're in office, if you're in office.  And secondly, how realistic it is to take something away that people have already started to benefit from?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Three things.  He says repeal and replace.  Mitt Romney also says, look, pre-existing conditions, absolutely a general concern.  Wants to make sure people have continuous coverage, don't base discrimination in the insurance marketplace.  Also wants to make sure that people going in for the first time have high risk pools, re-insurance  subsidies so they can afford.  It makes no sense.

But today's insurance marketplace makes no sense where when people need help the most it's hardest to buy insurance.  So he's not saying just get rid of it and don't replace it.  And unfortunately the president, if he engaged in a serious bipartisan dialogue, could have gotten some of these reforms done.

Secondary, when you talk about how easy can you do this, the Democrats used reconciliation to get this done on a strictly pure majority vote in the Senate without needing 60 votes.  The reality is when Mitt Romney's elected he's going to have a mandate.  You're going to see not only a Republican Senate, you're going to see Democratic senators like Senator Prior and others in other swing states all of a sudden I think Mitt Romney.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Here's the issue.  As a matter of politics, you're going to go out there and make the case when back in 2006 then-Governor Romney passing healthcare in Massachusetts.  This was unearthed by the Liberal Research PAC that found his position on the individual mandate exactly what it is in this bill.  This is what he said then.

(VIDEO)

MITT ROMNEY: With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.

(END OF VIDEO)

DAVID GREGORY:

This is somebody who says, "Let's repeal a law that has the individual mandate at its core."

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Well, I think Paul Ryan made this point very well Friday.  Mitt Romney's always been against the national mandate.  He's always been against Obamacare.  Always said he wanted to repeal it.  Look, states are different.  Founding Fathers intended each state to be a laboratory of experimentation.

I come from one the most distinct cultural states in the entire country.  Mardi Gras is great for Louisiana.  May not work as well in Vermont or other states.  The reality is what works in Massachusetts may not be appropriate to another state.  Mitt Romney--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

You're really comparing Mardi Gras to universal health insurance?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

What I'm saying is every state is different.  Mitt Romney has never been for a national mandate.  It is very different for the federal government-- think of what the Supreme Court has done now.  The Founding Fathers purposely reserved powers to the state and the individuals they would not give to the federal government.

Now the court did something-- I disagreed with their ruling.  They're eroding our freedoms, but at least they're more honest than the president.  They called it what it was.  A huge tax increase.  The federal government can now tax us for inactivity to compel behavior, not primarily to collect revenue.  They can now--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

In Massachusetts there were very few people who actually had to pay.  Most people got health insurance.  That's a fact, isn't it?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

That's the whole point.  This is not about collecting revenue.  It's about changing behavior.  So, for example, the first lady is--

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So you say it's a big new tax increase.  Very few people actually had to pay a tax.

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

It's the threat of a new tax increase to change behavior.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Right.

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

So now you've got--

DAVID GREGORY:

Let me get a response on this point.

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

This is a fundamental disagreement between Republicans and Democrats, between Bobby and myself.  Let's pick on Texas, not Louisiana.  Texas has 22% of all its kids with no health insurance.  And 25% of its adults with no health insurance.  Now those aren't just Texas kids.  Those are American kids.  And I think we have an obligation to make sure our kids have health insurance.

And this deal does that.  I don't like the individual mandate either and I don't think it was necessary, but it's there.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  The Congress has spoken.  The president has spoken.  Mitt Romney has shown this could work because it did work in Massachusetts with 98% of people covered.  I don't want to live in a country where 22% of the kids who are American kids in Texas don't have health insurance.  And I think it is our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody has health insurance.  And that is what this bill does.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.  I'm out of time.  Two quick ones for you, governor.  You're on the V.P. list.  Would you like to be his running mate if he asks you?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

You and I have talked about this before.  We're not going to speculate.  I've said this for the last several weeks.  We're not speculating.  We're not commenting on that.  I'll refer all those questions to Governor Romney and his campaign.

Not disrespect to Joe Biden, nobody's going to the voting booth and voting based on who's vice president.  This is a choice between two very different visions for America.  Mitt Romney will grow the private sector, not the public sector.  I do want to say in Louisiana, 96.5% of our kids do have coverage.  One of the reasons that I do think if you leave it to states-- nobody's saying leave these kids uncovered.  We're simply saying a new government entitlement program's not the way to get this done.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Finally, in your state the Times Picayune Newspaper, newspapers under siege across the country, talking about going down and publishing only three days a week.  There's a big draft effort to reverse that.  Where do you stand?

                                 

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

Look, personally as a citizen I think it's a sad day to have this newspaper go to three days a week instead of seven days a week.  I know they're going to enhance their digital content.  I've got a lot of friends there that work at the paper.  I don't always agree with the paper and I shouldn't always agree with the paper.

I think it's important for democracy.  We've got robust news gathering organizations.  I think the daily newspaper, the printed newspaper, plays an important role in holding government accountable, uniting our people.  I think that they played such a critical role after Katrina, bringing news to people even when their presses were flooded.

I'm saddened by this development.  Even though I don't agree with their editorial positions and their reporting, I am still saddened by the fact that we're going to have a great American city without a major daily newspaper.  I don't think that's a good development for democracy.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.  We're going to leave it there.  Governors, thank you very much.

                                 

GOV. HOWARD DEAN:

Thank you.

                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

The healthcare debate will certainly continue.

DAVID GREGORY:

We're back with our political roundtable.  Joining me, NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd, editor of The National Review, Rich Lowry, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and Today Show co-host and still NBC News chief legal correspondent, Savannah Guthrie.  Welcome to all of you and Savannah, congratulations.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Thank you so much.

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

Here, here.

DAVID GREGORY:

We're so happy for you and I know that The Today Show viewers are going to embrace you so warmly.  This is just great for NBC News.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Well, thank you very much.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

You've got to be excited about it.

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

I'm very excited.  And excited to talk about the Supreme Court this morning.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

No, we're not going to move on.  We just want to talk about this.

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

We are wasting precious time we could be talking about the Supreme Court decision.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Let's actually frame this by going to our trend tracker this morning.  What's really moving online.  What people are paying attention to.  And, yeah, you guessed it, it's the future of healthcare.  Whether there's a boost for President Obama and the legacy of the chief justice.  So that's really where we start.  I thought it was funny.  There's a lot of talk about what this means politically.  Jay Leno had a little fun imagining what President Obama's real reaction was when he got the Supreme Court ruling.  Watch.

(VIDEO)

LENO: Ya know it's interesting, he didn't want to gloat. But if you watch his body language closely you can see he was feeling pretty good about it. Here he is today.

(END OF VIDEO)

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So Chuck, that had a (UNINTEL) over there?

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you know, what's funny about it is that he was watching the bank of televisions on mute, as they do in the White House.  They have a four box screen.  The three news channels on cable plus one other.  And of course the first thing he saw were the two banners on two other news channels that said the mandate had been struck down and then, literally 30 seconds later, his White House counsel comes in.  So he actually got to experience both feelings there.

It's not euphoria.  What it is is relief.  I think when you look at the drumbeat of coverage on this thing being upheld.  Imagine a world where it hadn't been.  And I tell you, it was politically something they were very concerned or very nervous about, because it suddenly would have shrunk the presidency.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Right.  So who--

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

And that is why they were-- this is relief, not euphoria.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So, Rich Lowry, more upside for the Republicans or the president?

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

Well, it's a win for the president because, as Chuck says, he mostly avoided something that would have been horrible.  Even if it was just the mandate struck down it would have been embarrassing as the president, supposed to be a student of the Constitution, misses at this major provision of his signature healthcare law is unconstitutional.  If the whole thing would have been struck down it would have been a debacle.  A year and a half spent on this and it all goes away.

I do think Republicans are energized.  I do think there's going to be an effort now, which started when the law passed, just to declare it a fait accompli.  When it passed, Democrats on the left said, "Look, it's over.  It's going to become more popular.  You guys have to get over it."  Now they're saying the same thing.

Republicans can't do that.  They shouldn't do that.  I believe if President Romney is elected with a Republican Senate and a Republican House they will be able to stymie enough of this law to basically render it inoperative.  And then it's incumbent on them to come up with something better.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So there's a question of political will, Savannah.  Is this what Republicans want to spend their time on?  You heard Governor Jindal say, "Yes."  They won't do the exchanges or Medicaid expansion.  But is this what House and Senate Republicans want to fight about?

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Well, perhaps they do.  I'm not sure the presidential campaigns want to dwell on healthcare, either the Obama campaign or the Romney campaign.  It's so fascinating because of course the legal victory went to President Obama but in some sense the political victory went to the Republicans.

Romney now has a new argument he can deploy which is that President Obama raised taxes, a national healthcare tax.  That's something we've already heard Republicans say in the wake of this decision.  So they may want to talk about it, but on the other hand I think both of the presidential campaigns recognize that the economy is the issue that voters care about and having this endless litigation-- we've already had it in the Supreme Court, but then in the public arena over healthcare, it's probably not wise for either campaign.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Eugene, can you just break down-- I mean this is Washington after all.  We talk about the legislative grind.  What would Republicans be up against to stymie the law the way that Rich says they'll try to?

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Well, they'd be up against Washington.  They'd be up against the way things work in Washington, which is through inertia.  Something gets in motion, it's very hard to stop.  It's difficult for me to imagine, for example, Republican governors telling their taxpayers, taxpayers of their state that, "Oh, there's all this federal money for Medicaid expansion.  It's your tax dollars.  They're going to other states.  They're not coming to our state.  You get none of that back."  That's not going to be a popular position.  So I think you're going to hear a lot of tough talk now.  I think you'll see less tough action when the rubber actually starts hitting the road in implementation of this law.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

So, Chuck, when I talked to White House advisors this week, campaign advisors, they said, "Look, we'll talk about healthcare.  What we want to talk about is middle class security."  And certainly healthcare is part of it, but look how much they have to do?  It's messy.  People still don't understand it and lots of it's still controversial.

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

There is.  And they're counting on two things, here.  One is the White House.  Fatigue.  They think that there is-- it brings up what savannah was just bringing up, about the re-litigation.  How many times are we going to continue to fight about healthcare?  And they think the more Republicans want to fight about healthcare, they can say, "Hey, they keep fighting about the past.  They keep fighting about the past.  Who's looking at now?"

And I think the other thing they're counting on is Mitt Romney.  Is he going to come up with a viable alternative.  And I think that's going to be the challenge.  Let's say under Rich's scenario there's a President Romney.  A 50/50 Republican Senate with Vice President, let's say Jindal today.  It's a tie-breaking vote.  Since he was here.  And a Republican House.

They're going to have to figure out how to come up with their own plan how to deal with the fact that it's going to look like the deficit goes up if they repeal it.  So they're going to have this deficit problem.  It's a lot more complicated to repeal this thing than it sounds on a campaign bumper sticker.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Yeah, Rich?

RICH LOWRY:

Well, one, I mean this law has been persistently unpopular.  It was about 32% when it passed.  Last poll before the Supreme Court decision was about 34%.  So if you're not making that an issue as a Republican I think that's malpractice.  Two, I do think Romney needs to come up with an alternative and rather than just sort of being vague and kind of dodging around, I think he should give a big healthcare policy speech in coming weeks and talk about how Republican policy can address the two--

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

But how does he--

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

--main selling points--

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

--deal with the past.  How does he deal--

MALE VOICE:

--with the--

MALE VOICE:

--wrote healthcare.

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

--the whole thing.  You want to--

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

He did this.  He tackled it like Obama.

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

He's going to get more of the uninsured under coverage.  You want to do that differently by changing the tax treatment of healthcare.  By having a deduction or a refundable credit.  You do refundable credit, you can cover tens of millions of people at a fraction of the cost with more choice and less government control.

And then people with pre-existing conditions, a lot of people are very anxious about that, obviously.  It is a problem but it affects a relatively small number of people.  And if you construct high risk pools properly and fund them properly you can take care of that problem.

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

So there you take care of the two big things without this monstrosity

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Are we going to do this in-- there's the context here.  The fiscal cliff.  Tax hikes.  Medicare, Medicaid.  Are we going to have this healthcare debate in that context?

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

I just don't think so.  Look, for the Republican base, I think they'll love it, but for independents who are going to decide this election, I think there's a been there, done that kind of feel to this whole discussion.  And I just don't think the Romney campaign, if it's smart, is going to spend a whole lot of time re-litigating healthcare in an attempt to get voters--

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

But here's where--

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--who are going to--

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

And this is where the cam--

DAVID GREGORY:

Here's where I disagree, though-- Savannah?

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Yeah, in a campaign issue, I think, David, to the extent they talk about healthcare at all they want to frame it in this larger economic note that the healthcare bill is bad policy, the Romney folks say, because it's huge expenditure.  They want to frame it in terms of the economy, not really talk about healthcare on (UNINTEL).

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

But there's a larger issue, which is what has government done?  When it bailed out the banks, the economy tanked.  What has government done to either help or make things worse?  Romney's going to make an argument that healthcare was an example of the government making things worse, not better.  And that's why we need a different choice.

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Well, that's what's so interesting about the healthcare debate.  People have these perceptions about the healthcare law.  Many, many provision.  I mean its most fundamental reforms haven't even gone into effect yet.  So has it made it better or worse?  We don't know.  Right now it's kind of a parade of horrible (?).

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

But that's another reason it's not settled.  I think it's just crazy to say this thing is totally settled and let's get over it when it hasn't even been implemented yet.

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

Yeah, we haven't moved--

MALE VOICE:

And it's still (UNINTEL PHRASE) underwater.

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

Yeah, except we haven't moved a swing vote on this.  There is this middle here, right?  It's about 20% to 25%.  We saw it in our own polling on healthcare.  And basically these are people that sit there and say, "We needed healthcare reform but I didn't like this."  So they're not read to agree--

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

That's why Romney's positive--

MALE VOICE:

--on repeal.  That's scares them.  And they're not ready to say, "I'm with the president on this."  However, I'll be interested to see if anybody moves in the next week, because I do think there is a small window here for them to move those folks.  And that'll tell me a little bit more in a week whether anybody moved.

DAVID GREGORY:

As we're back with our roundtable, who got more attention this week, President Obama and healthcare or Chief Justice John Roberts?  Here's the cover of a special edition of Time Magazine.  "Roberts Rules:  Reexamining His Legacy On The Court."  You know, Dan Vowles writes this morning the headline, "Robert's healthcare ruling sends a message to politicians."  And there was this view, Savannah, that this is a chief justice concerned about the integrity of the court.

Back in 2007 he spoke to Jeff Rosen of G.W. Law School and The Republican and The Atlantic and this is what he told Jeff back then.  "In deciding to resist the politicization of the judiciary Roberts acknowledged he set himself another daunting task, but he said he views is as also a special opportunity, especially in our intensely polarized age.  'Politics are closely divided,' he observed, 'The same with the Congress.  There ought to be some sense of stability.  If the government is not going to polarize completely it is a high priority to keep any kind of partisan divide out of the judiciary as well.'"  He sided with the liberals.  He seemed to live up to that this week.

                                                  S

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

This is a chief justice who is consumed by this concern about the credibility of the court as an institution.  He does not like those decisions that go 5-4 right down party lines because he thinks it erodes the public's confidence in the court.

And you see these tensions shot through the opinion itself.  On the one hand, yes, he saved the healthcare act.  At the end of the day it survived.  However, when you read the opinion itself it's an extremely conservative opinion in its ideology.  He rejects and rebukes the federal government for this broad view of power under the commerce clause.

And then does something that the court has never done before which is calving Congress's spending power.  Saying, "Wait a minute.  You're Medicaid conditions went so far as to be coercive on the states."  I mean this is something that has been in the doctrine in the Supreme Court cases for years.  The justices have said, "There may be a case one day when the conditions on spending got to be so much that it would be a burden and coercion on states," because they've never actually said it happened until now.  And, by the way, Chief Justice Roberts got two liberals on the court to sign on to that.  It's an extraordinary opinion.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Rich Lowry, you are not celebrating the chief justice this week with the liberals and talking about his protecting the integrity of the court.  But why is it wrong for the chief justice to have a view that in his capacity his job should be to seek to find a way to uphold laws and not strike them down?

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

Well, really the hinge of the decision is a paragraph that goes to exactly that point where he says, "It's my obligation, if it's fairly possible, to come up with a saving construction of this law."  And I think that's basically right.  And then question goes to was it fairly possible, his reading of the mandate as a tax or was it widely implausible?

And I'm in the implausible camp.  He engaged in all sorts of verbal gymnastics.  And that's why so many people right, left, in between concluded this was mostly an act of judicial statesmanship to try to preserve the integrity of the court.  I just don't think that is his most important job.

He's supposed to faithfully interpret the Constitution and not rewrite the laws.  This is the irony or perversity of this decision.  Under the guise of judicial restraint he basically rewrote the mandate and basically rewrote the Medicaid provision.  And he is not the 101st Senator.

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

That is not his job.

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Progressives have had to just get over any number of John Roberts decisions and I think conservatives have to get over this one.  They really, really do.  Let's forget all the double reverse with a twist conspiracy theories about him switching votes and what he was intend-- let's take him at his word.  He thought it was Constitutional.  He wrote it that way.  And--

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

All right.  I--

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

--full stop.

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

It was a huge week where you had sort of-- we now I know that there are two swing justices on the court.  It's Roberts and Kennedy.  Just look at the makeup of the Arizona decision which happened Monday which, by the way, might have as much political impact on the election.  Maybe more as far as President Obama's concerned.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Let me go around the table, just a few minutes left, on some of the other big stories.  And we'll put them up.  The first item is on the attack on Bain against Mitt Romney by the White House, Chuck, you looked at our poll and found net negative here for Romney?

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

Well, what's going is the Obama campaign is winning the campaign right now.  When you look at the air won in the swing states you see that their attempt to define him as two things.  One, that his business experience doesn't translate into economic growth.  That was part of their first month-long ad campaign.  And second, that business experience might be a net negative.

They're pounding him on this.  It's not just on Bain.  They were using the fact that he used similar language right before he became governor of Massachusetts and using the Massachusetts record.  The fact is the political ad campaign, the ad war, right now the Obama campaign is winning.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Next item is some of the battleground polls when we go inside the states, which are so telling.  And I'll go through them here quickly.  Look at New Hampshire, a key state here for Romney.  Actually, they're tied at this point.  You look at Michigan.  It's Obama with the edge.  The president with a four point edge there.  North Carolina, also so important.  The president has just a two point edge there.  Rich Lowry, all of these under 50%.  Just tells you how tight the race is.

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

Yeah, it's still very close.  And maybe there's been a little slippage for Romney.  Maybe those Bain ads are biting.  But FactCheck.org and The Washington Post fact checker both looked at these ads and found they're gross distortions using outsourcing as a bogeyman.  And there'll be more where that comes from.

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

A gross distortion in a negative--

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

And that's--

                                                 

CHUCK TODD:

--campaign ad?  I've never (UNINTEL) that in American politics.

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Not from Romney, for example.

                                                 

RICH LOWRY:

I think Romney has to get to more substance.  To get off his business background a little bit.  And I think their basic template in the Romney campaign is the Christie-Corzine race in '09, right?  Where Christie really didn't give any details.  His salesmanship to New Jersey voters was just, "Let me get my hands around this problem."  And then he depended on Corzine being so unpopular in New Jersey and so dissatisfied.  I don't think that's a good template for this race because Obama is not Corzine.  It's a default strategy and I don't think that's quite enough.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Final item here is the House contempt vote over the Fast and Furious controversy with the Justice Department.  The full vote in the House to hold the attorney general in contempt.  This was the reaction of Congressman Steny Hoyer leading Democrats in a shame outside the Capitol as they all walked out during the contempt vote saying, "Shame on you."  Just politically theatre, Savannah?

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

Well, let's put it s way.  Whatever legal resolution there may be it will be years down the road.  And we've seen this--

                                                 

MALE VOICE:

Shame on you.

                                                 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:

--time and time again.  So these big issues about executive privilege in the administration, asserting executive privilege and the other side saying, "No, that was over-brought," it never gets resolved on the political timeline that matters.

And I think there are some probably in the Republican party itself who think, "Is this really the highest and best use of our time?"  Some people are very animated about this issue and feel that this was the correct move for Holder to be held in contempt, but I don't know if Republicans want to focus on it.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

Just a few seconds, Gene.

                                                 

EUGENE ROBINSON:

Fast and Furious really incites passions, especially among the Republican base.  So in that sense I think politically it fires up the Republican base.  I don't think it does much else, frankly, politically.

                                                 

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.  We're going to leave it there.  Thank you all very much.  Great discussion here.

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