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updated 1/26/2014 12:13:39 PM ET 2014-01-26T17:13:39

“MEET THE PRESS WITH DAVID GREGORY”

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January 26, 2014

DAVID GREGORY:

Good Sunday morning.  Big week coming up here in Washington, one of those moments when the president has a huge audience and a chance to speak directly to that audience with his State of the Union address.  My big question through all of this is how much political clout does he actually have left?  The outspoken Republican Senator Rand Paul is here this morning, he'll talk to me about it.

And, speaking of Republican politics, there's been a lot of discomfort this week about some comments made by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee over what he describes as his war for women.  We'll talk about it.  The future of Democratic politics seems to be all about Hillary Clinton.  There's a new provocative New York Times Magazine article out this morning.  It's asking whether she can be seen as the candidate of the future and not the past.

First, however, a little bit of the news.  The latest this morning on that deadly shooting at a shopping mall near Baltimore.  Police are still trying to determine the motive as a man carrying a shotgun opened fire at a mall in Columbia, Maryland, yesterday.  He killed two employees of a skate shop and then himself.  Panicked shoppers ran for cover.  Police say the gunman was also carrying explosives.

The roundtable is here with me this morning.  NBC's Chuck Todd; former head of the Federal Communications Commission under President Bush, Michael Powell; our friend from the west, Republican strategist Mike Murphy is here; California Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez as well.  And we welcome, for the first time, from The New York Times, the new Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan.  Great to have you here.

CAROLYN RYAN:

Thank you.

DAVID GREGORY:

You were installed in November, you've been covering politics a long time.  So, you know, Chuck Todd, what a difference a year makes.  We talk about this awful incident in Columbia.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

DAVID GREGORY:

A year ago at the State of the Union, it was all about gun control.  It's going to be a different story this year, right?

CHUCK TODD:

It is, and I think that the key word that the White House is trying to put out there is opportunity, right, which is actually a word borrowed from the Clinton years.  It used to be an obsession, particularly in the second term of Bill Clinton.

But it's interesting.  You know, The New York Times this morning previews the State of the Union and says it's going to be a modest State of the Union, which is exactly what the White House fears people are going to view the State of Union as, is that this is a modest moment.  They see it actually as their last State of the Union that can have an impact.

You know, when you look at the next two, right, 2015 and 2016, we're going to be in the middle of a presidential campaign.  Everybody's going to be looking ahead.  They know-- believe that this State of the Union is sort of their last one to get something done.  It is modest as far as what they're going to ask Congress to do, but they know that this is maybe their last opportunity to have an impact.

DAVID GREGORY:

So what do we think?  How much persuasive power does he have left?

MIKE MURPHY:

Well, I agree with Chuck, I think this is kind of like the shot clock.  This is the last one.  And I think there's probably been a lot of quiet tension there over the last month or two, as they plan this, between the political hacks who are very worried about the midterm elections.

President's numbers are low.  Democrat control of the Senate's very much in jeopardy.  Harry Reid's probably going crazy every day on the phone, "Give me wedge issues.  Attack.  Use the State of the Union as a political cudgel on the Republican."

And then you've got the president who's thinking, "It would be nice to have some legacy other than my rather disappointing outcome with Obamacare."  And there are some openings to the Republicans, maybe legal status, things like that that could be very big.  So I'm going to be interested to watch the speech and see how they thread that needle.  I'm expecting, when in doubt, politics will win and the president will be in campaign mode.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

Oh, I don't think so at all.  I think the president has every single day of his presidency to look forward to.  I remember when I was the national chair for the Democratic Party under Clinton and the Gore political season going on, and President Clinton was working so hard.  And I know because we were out there and we were with the people, and I said to him, "Don't you ever get tired?"  Because he'd work till 4:00, 5:00 in the morning campaigning and doing other things.  And he said, "Loretta, I'm going to sleep the day after I leave the presidency."

DAVID GREGPRY:

Yeah, I don't know if that's--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

And he was just bubbly--

DAVID GREGORY:

--President Obama though, right?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

--energized.  There was work to be done.  And I still think-- when I look at immigration reform, which I believe we will see something happen this year, at least an effort to try to move it forward on the floor, we've got the small things, the debt ceiling that we've got to get passed right now.  We've got tax reform.  I know that my Michigan colleague, the chair of the Ways and Means, David Camp, is anxious to do this.  Baucus is anxious to do this.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

Let me interject--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

--get this done.

DAVID GREGORY:

But pure politics here:  This is also a chance for him to say, "This is what Democrats are for (you know, income inequality, raising the minimum wage) and we're much different than the Republicans."  He's going to be thinking about helping Democrats.

CAROLYN RYAN:

Absolutely.  He's thinking about the Senate midterms.  You know, the outcome of those races is far more important than the speech.  But just to take a little bit of issue with the idea that-- the question is does obvious still really command the stage?  And you have at least some people in the political world, including in his own party, who seem to be moving beyond the Obama era.

You have this kind of remarkable stampede of people who are signing up to be part of the 2016 Hillary Clinton election campaign, and the president has three years left.  So the question is, is he still relevant?  Can he command the stage?  Can he move the country?

DAVID GREGORY:

We'll hear from all of you more as we move forward, but I want to turn now to Kentucky's Republican Senator, Senator Rand Paul, who joins me now.  Senator, welcome.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Glad to be with you.

DAVID GREGORY:

Let me pick up on this point.  You have questioned the president's moral leadership at points along the way.  Is there an area where you feel you can work in common cause with him this year?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Well, you know, I think the thing we make the mistake of up there is we try to agree to too much.  I'm the first to acknowledge the president and I don't agree on every issue, but if you took ten issues I think there are two or three that we agree on, and we agree firmly on, and why don't we go after the issues that we agree on?

It's like immigration reform, for example.  We don't agree on the whole comprehensive package with the Democrats, but I'll bet you about half of it we agree on.  And the question is are we willing to narrow our focus and go after things that we can agree to, and get them done, or are we going to stay so polarized that we always have to have our way or the highway?  So I think there is a way to pass legislation.

When I was at the White House a couple of weeks ago, I said to the president, "I want to increase infrastructure spending, and I know you do.  Let's let companies bring back their profit from overseas at 5% and put it all in infrastructure."  And I've been talking with Senator Durbin, others in the Senate on the Democrat side.  I think we could agree to that tomorrow, but we have to go ahead and just narrow the focus and not say, "Oh, we're going to do overall tax reform," because we don't agree on overall tax reform.

DAVID GREGORY:

The future of the Republican Party and, frankly, your place in it is a big story.  Just this morning, the front page of The New York Times has this headline:  "Rand Paul's Mixed Inheritance:  Senator Looks to Move Libertarianism from the Fringe to the Mainstream."  How big of a hurdle is this for you, if you're going to run for president?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Well, you know, I think there always are perceptions of what is extreme versus what is mainstream.  I've always said that, you know, spending what comes in, balancing your budget, is actually the very reasonable sort of proposal, and spending $1 trillion you don't have is an extreme proposal.

So, really, it's a matter of getting our message out.  But I think it's also-- you know, we've been talking a lot about poverty.  It's about debating not who wants to cure poverty (Republicans want to help people who are unemployed, we want to help people get jobs) but it's about what policies work.

And the reason we don't think government grants work, we spent $1 trillion in the stimulus and they said it was $400,000 per job, because you give it to the wrong people.  Nine out of ten businesses fail so if government picks who they're going to give the money to, to create jobs, nine out of ten times they're wrong and they pick the wrong person.

So what I would do, and what I have asked with my economic freedom zones, is dramatically lower taxes but don't pick who you give it to.  Give it to the businesses that are already started and that consumers have already voted for.  But that's different than what we've been doing in the war on poverty for 50 years.

DAVID GREGORY:

But it's interesting, the role of government, you've often referred to the tyranny of the federal government.  So, again, it comes down to mainstream versus extreme.  Fellow Republican, and maybe he's one that will run against you for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz has described your strident libertarianism of your father as an issue that will always be a shadow over anything you try to do.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

You know, I think one of the things-- and, you know, don't be trashing my dad too much.  That's my dad, you know?  But the thing is I would say that my dad was extraordinary in Washington in being genuine, being really liked by people on both sides, being close to people from the conservative wing of the party but also very close to the Congressional Black Caucus as well.

He went to Berkeley and had 7,000 kids on their feet.  He went to Liberty University and had 7,000 conservative Christian kids on their feet.  So that's a rare figure in politics.  And I would say I'm proud of my dad.  And what I would say I'm trying to do is to try to bring that message to an even bigger crowd.

DAVID GREGORY:

But, Senator, do you think that--

SEN. RAND PAUL:

You know, so I think there's a lot to be said for it.

DAVID GREGORY:

Is the federal government guilty of tyranny?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Well, you know, Montesquieu talked again when the executive branch tries to assume the legislative powers, that that's a form of tyranny.  So, yeah, there are times when we lose our checks and balances, when government grows, and when government's not obeying the rule of law, that that is a form of tyranny.  Tyranny is a strong word, but it makes people sit up and take notice.  But I would say that there are times when we are going beyond what we should be doing, when we're exceeding the restraint of the Constitution, that there is a form of tyranny.  And we need to be aware of that.

DAVID GREGORY:

But it's interesting, and the issue of Edward Snowden has been very much in the news this week with calls potentially for a deal with the United States government, you've called him a hero.  You've said that perhaps he would face penalties that would be too harsh and that's why he's not returning.  The Wall Street Journal editorial--

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Actually…

DAVID GREGORY:

Go ahead.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

I was just going to say that's not exactly what I've said.  I've said that I have sort of mixed feelings.  I think he's brought forward something, and I think his motives are noble in the sense that I think he believed that government was doing something unconstitutional and he was bringing this information forward.  And I don't think we'd have any of this debate over the N.S.A. had he not done it.

But I've also said what he did was against the law, and that we do have to have laws to protect national secrets.  You know, captains in the military, sergeants in the military, we do have to obey orders and we can't reveal secrets.  So, having said that he shouldn't be punished, I've just said that the death penalty is excessive, life imprisonment is excessive, and that he has brought forward a very important debate and--

DAVID GREGORY:

So what would you call on the attorney general--

SEN. RAND PAUL:

--of worth.

DAVID GREGORY:

What would you call on the attorney general and the president to do in terms of fashioning some kind of plea with him?  What would be appropriate?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

I'm not sure what the answer is.  I've been responding not so much in a legal fashion, but I'm responding to some I think overheated rhetoric by people saying, "Let's string him up, let's shoot him, he's a traitor," this and that.  I don't assign bad motives to Snowden.  I think his motives were good.  And I'm not sure he did the right thing or did it in the right way.

But I also don't assign bad motives to James Clapper, but James Clapper did break the law.  And he has exposed himself to five years in prison for perjury.  So you can't have it both ways.  You can't say, "Oh, we're going to throw the book at Snowden, and we're going to ignore perjury to Congress by James Clapper."  I think they both-- if you want to apply the law, the law has to be applied equally.

DAVID GREGORY:

What about your colleagues, the chairs of the intelligence committees, namely Mike Rogers in the House, strongly suggesting that Snowden (on this program last week) was a spy for the Russians, that he had help from the Russians?  That he went into the open arms of the Russians to seek refuge there?  How do you react to that?  Do you think that's fair?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

You know, I don't have details to know, you know, what the situation is there.  I think it's complicated the way history will treat him, because it's a little hard to be over there in Russia talking about privacy and the Bill of Rights in a country that has persecuted journalists and doesn't really have the same degree of freedom that we have in our country.  So it has complicated it.  But I don't know what he has released, and exactly what they're referring to.

DAVID GREGORY:

Let me ask you more about some of the debates within the Republican Party.  Former candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, got in some hot water this week with comments he made, I'll play a portion of it, as he talked about a war for women.  Here's what he said.

MIKE HUCKABEE:

The Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.  Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.

DAVID GREGORY:

Is this helpful?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Well, you know, I think we have a lot of debates in Washington that get dumbed down and are used for political purposes.  This whole sort of war on women thing, I'm scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won.  You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful.

I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85% of the young people there are women.  In law school, 60% are women; in med school, 55%.  My younger sister's an ob-gyn with six kids and doing great.  You know, I don't see so much that women are downtrodden; I see women rising up and doing great things.  And, in fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women really are out-competing the men in our world.

DAVID GREGORY:

My question, about whether you think it's appropriate for the party, key figures in the party, to be talking about women, women's health, women's bodies, and the role of the federal government related to those things?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

I try never to have discussions of anatomy unless I'm at a medical conference.  But what I would say is that we didn't start this sort of I think glossy and sometimes dumbed-down debate about, you know, there being a war on women.  I think the facts show that women are doing very well, have come a long way.

And, you know, like I say, I have a lot of successful women in my family and I don't hear them saying, "Oh, woe is me.  This terrible, you know, misogynist world."  They look out and they're conquering the world.  The women in my family are doing great, and that's what I see in all the statistics coming out.  I have, you know, young women in my office that are the leading intellectual lights of our office.

So I don't really see this, that there's some sort of war that's, you know, keeping women down.  I see women doing great and I think we should extol that success and not dumb it down into a political campaign that somehow one party doesn't like women or that.  And that I think that's what's happened.  It's all been for political purposes.

DAVID GREGORY:

Elsewhere in Republican politics, Chris Christie of course in New Jersey is facing troubles over the bridge scandal there, and you've had your own feud with him.  Here's a little bit of tape that brings people up to date on that.

(BEGIN TAPE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE:

This strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now, and making big headlines, I think is a very dangerous thought.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

If he cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn't be in this, "Gimme, gimme, gimme.  Gimme all the money you have in Washington."

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE:

Maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork barrel spending that he brings home to Kentucky, but I doubt he would because most Washington politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so that they can get reelected.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

This is the king of bacon talking about bacon.

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

I understand you two have been working through some of your feud, but my question for you is do you think that Chris Christie could get the Republican nomination?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

You know, I think that's yet to be determined.  The nomination goes through some very conservative primaries.  I think there's room for more moderate Republicans in the party, and I really am a believer that we should have an expansive and diverse party ideologically, and diverse in many ways.

But the primary's a very conservative process.  And my understanding is that it will be more difficult for a moderate to make it through because we truly are fiscal conservatives in our party.  We don't want to spend money we don't have.  If we are going to spend something on-- such as Sandy, which is I think something the country was going to take a responsibility in, we think we should pay for it.

You know, I offered an amendment on Sandy to take the money from foreign aid and say, "Look, if we're going to repair bridges in New Jersey, I'm fine with that.  And if we're going to repair houses and roads, let's take it from repairing roads in Pakistan," because there's a limited amount of money.  And actually, really, we're borrowing about $1 million a minute, a lot of it from China and Japan.  I don't think we should do that.  And we need to set priorities and say if we going to help New Jersey, it ought to be paid for.

But that's why I think that there was a debate over him sort of lecturing Congress and saying, "Gimme, gimme, gimme all this money," and all I was asking for, and many other Republicans were asking for, is that it ought to be paid for through spending cuts in overseas spending.

DAVID GREGORY:

Final political question for you.  Whoever the Republican nominee is, there's a good chance, as we look at it now, that one candidate on the Democratic side who'll have a lot of momentum, whether she gets the nomination or not we don't know, is Hillary Clinton.  And an interesting profile in Vogue magazine, including this analysis.

"While her husband jokes," meaning you, "that his gut feeling is that Hillary Clinton will not run for president is good a thing since all the polls show her trouncing any opponent, Kelley, the wife of Senator Rand Paul practically cuts him off to say that, 'Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his return to the White House, even as first spouse.  I would say his behavior was predatory, offensive to women,' she tells me."  Are these issues something that you really think will be fair game and an appropriate part of a campaign, should she be the nominee?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Well, you know, I mean, the Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women.  One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office.

And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this.  He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office.  There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.

This isn't having an affair.  I mean, this isn't me saying, "Oh, he's had an affair, we shouldn't talk to him."  Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office?  I mean, really.  And then they have the gall to stand up and say, "Republicans are having a war on women"?  So, yes, I think it's a factor.  Now, it's not Hillary's fault.  And, I mean--

DAVID GREGORY:

But it should be an issue--

SEN. RAND PAUL:

--but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history.

DAVID GREGORY:

Right, but is it something that Hillary Clinton should be judged on if she were a candidate in 2016?

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Yeah-- no, I'm not saying that.  This is with regard to the Clintons, and sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other.  But I would say that, with regard to his place in history, that it certainly is a discussion.  And I think in my state, you know, people tend to sort of frown upon that.  You know, if there were someone in my community who did that, they would be socially-- we would dissociate from somebody who would take advantage of a young women in the workplace.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, Senator Rand Paul, a lot of ground covered, a lot of ground still to cover, and we hope to have you back.  Senator, thank you as always.

SEN. RAND PAUL:

Thank you.

DAVID GREGORY:

I want to turn now to the majority leader in the Senate, Democrat from Illinois, Dick Durbin.  Senator Durbin, welcome back.  I certainly want to talk about the State of the Union, but I don't want to let that go.  As a Democrat, somebody who was squarely behind President Obama when he ran, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, are these issues about the former president relevant to her?  Is it an appropriate area of scrutiny, I think, in a 2016 campaign?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Listen, David, Hillary Clinton has established her own reputation, her own name, and her own basis for running for president, should she choose to do it.  And the issues that were raised by my colleague, Senator Paul, have been litigated in the public square for over a decade.  For goodness sakes, let's judge Hillary Clinton based on her talents and her vision of America, should she choose to run for president.

DAVID GREGORY:

Hard to separate one from the other, he just said.

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, I think you've got to be honest about it, though.  I mean, there are people who believe that, though he may have done the wrong thing, he paid a heavy price for it in terms of the impeachment trial and beyond.  And, you know, there was an organization created called MoveOn.org, and the reason was the American people said, "We get it.  It was wrong.  Now let's move on.  Let's talk about the future.  What are we going to do about the future of America?"  And if the Republicans, like my friend, and he is my friend, Senator Paul, want to dwell on these chapters in the past, I don't think it's going to have much resonance.

DAVID GREGORY:

I want to ask you about the N.S.A.  What, firstly, should happen to Edward Snowden?  What would you call on the attorney general to do, to get Snowden back to the United States and perhaps do a deal with him?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, I think Snowden has to answer for having violated some of the most basic laws in our country, and endangering lives, and costing this country billions of dollars.  Now, that's a fact.  Did he also bring out in the public eye a lot of programs that we had been talking about in Congress in the most veiled terms?  Now do we know much more about them?  Are we debating them?  It's true.

But don't overlook the fact that this man was entrusted with an awesome responsibility, and trusted with the most serious information.  I don't know why, incidentally, when I look at his background, how he got this information.  But he had it.  And he took a vow, an oath that he would not disclose it because he knew it would make America more vulnerable to attack, and he did it anyway.  That's a fact, and you can't overlook that.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right.  But on this program last week, the chairman of the House intelligence committee suggested that he is a spy for the Russians.  Is there any evidence to corroborate that, to validate making that kind of charge?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

I haven't seen any.

DAVID GREGORY:

Do you think there's an effort on the part of some lawmakers to try to smear him publicly?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, I can't say that because Mr. Rogers is the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee and yet a person I have a respect for.  I think he's professional, a former F.B.I. agent.  I take what he says very seriously.  I have not seen any evidence to suggest what he said.

DAVID GREGORY:

The future of spying in America is going to be something that Congress is going to take up, how much authority these intelligence agencies should have.  Do you think that these programs that allow the government to collect this bulk meta data, should they be here to stay?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, we have to change these programs.  The president challenged us to do it.  I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about this program, but only in the most circumspect way.  I couldn't be specific.  I couldn't tell the details that we now know.  But the fact is we have to change that.

If we have a suspicion of a person, an area called 312 in Chicago, connected with terrorism, we don't need to collect all of the phone records of every person living in the 312 area code.  That's just unacceptable, and the government shouldn't hold that information.  The president has challenged Congress and the attorney general to come up with an alternative to keep us safe, but to not create an opportunity for the government to overreach.

DAVID GREGORY:

Accountability time for President Obama.  Tough year in 2013.  At the State of the Union last year, what were the big issues?  It was gun control, immigration, raising the minimum wage; didn't get any of those.  What's different this year?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, I think and I hope that what we saw with the budget agreement at the very end of last year and the beginning of this year is an indication of a new bipartisan spirit.  We certainly need it on Capitol Hill.  Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin, Patty Murray, our Democratic Senate budget committee chair, sat down and hammered out a budget, and then Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Rogers sat down and put together the spending bill.

This was an amazing breakthrough, we haven't done this for years.  And at one point, Speaker Boehner had to stand up to his Tea Party Republicans and say, "I know it's bipartisan, I know it's a compromise; we're going forward."  If continues in that spirit, maybe we'll get a farm bill, after waiting on the House for two years.

DAVID GREGORY:

Do you get an increase in the debt ceiling without a fight?

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Well, I'm not going to speak for the Republican Party.  The president's position's clear:  We should not play Russian roulette with America's economy.  We shouldn't jeopardize its economic growth and kill off jobs because of another political squabble.

We went through a 16-day government shutdown because Senator Cruz and a lot of rightwing Republicans thought that was a good thing to do.  It was a disaster.  And I hope they don't repeat it again when it come to this debt ceiling.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, Senator Durbin, we'll be watching Tuesday night.  Thank you so much for your time.

SEN. DICK DURBIN:

Thanks, David.

DAVID GREGORY:

Coming up here, if you haven't noticed, there's a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton this morning.  Our roundtable weighs in on what The New York Times is calling Planet Hillary.  Plus, Edward Snowden.  The U.S. says it may be willing to make a deal, so is Snowden ready to talk?  We go live to Moscow to speak to one of his top advisors.  And tennis legend Billie Jean King is a trailblazer once again as she heads to the winter Olympics in Sochi.  Our Harry Smith with a revealing profile.

BILLIE JEAN KING (ON TAPE):

It's horrible to be outed, first of all.  Of course, I was so publicly outed.  I lost all my endorsements in 24 hours.  It's not a good feeling.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

We are back.  A lot to talk about with the roundtable.  Chuck Todd is here; Carolyn Ryan, bureau chief for The New York Times here in Washington; Michael Powell, former head of the F.C.C. under President Bush; Mike Murphy, Republican strategist; and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.  Welcome once again.  Michael Powell, wow, a lot there with Rand Paul making it very clear that Bill Clinton is an issue in Hillary Clinton's campaign, should it happen.

MICHAEL POWELL:

It's fascinating to me because this is the week of talking about spouses, right?

DAVID GREGORY:

Yes.

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL POWELL:

Who knows what the specific issue is, but I do think prominent spouses can play a role politically if you look at the problems that Governor McDonnell has as a consequence of actions of his wife.  But the reality is these issues shouldn't matter.  The country needs answers to really critical problems, including the economy.

And, you know, the Clintons certainly are an intergalactic force of nature, and have a huge constellation of powerful people surrounding them.  But I don't think we should treat that machinery as invincible.  I mean, we saw that in 2008 when people were sure that was an unassailable machinery, and it broke and it failed.  And I think it's important for her not to have an air of inevitability or entitlement around her potential candidacy.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

-- This is the cover story of The New York Times.  And Michael Powell just set it up, it's Planet Hillary.  We'll put it up on the screen here.

CHUCK TODD:

I think he set it up better than you guys.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

How do you react when you hear what Senator Paul said?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

Well, first of all, both Bill and Hillary have been in the public eye for such a long time, I really do believe that that is in the past.  Meanwhile, Hillary has proven herself over and over--

DAVID GREGORY:

Right.  But do you think have an--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

--and over again.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

--Hillary Clinton would have to answer for this?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

No.  Look what Hillary did.  She was a great senator.  I mean, she really was loved by both sides.  She worked hard.  And she did what a new senator was supposed to do, and she passed a lot of stuff for New York.

Secondly, as a secretary of State, I mean, she brought diplomacy back into the arena.  I worked on something called the New Start Treaty.  I mean, Hillary was really the one that got that going and got it done at a time when the Russians weren't even allowing us to land our planes in Russia.

DAVID GREGORY:

Here's an issue though--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

And Iran sanctions.  I mean, that was incredibly important, to get to the point where we are today.

DAVID GREGORY:

But--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

She has done a great job.  And she's different than her husband.  And I think, by the way, her husband is a very positive, in many ways.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, but one of the issues that's raised in this piece in The New York TimesMagazine is this.  "This may represent," the Times writes, "Hillary Clinton's biggest challenge for a hypothetical 2016 campaign:  How can Clinton, who is 66, make American voters think about something other than her fraught personal and political past?  How can she present herself as someone hungry to serve rather than as someone entitled to office?"

CAROLYN RYAN:

This is a central question for her.  She has this sort of dysfunctional dynastic family.  But the question is to what degree is she really in touch with what's going on in her party now?  When you think about where the excitement and energy is of the Democratic base, it's around people like Elizabeth Warren, and economic populism.  And Elizabeth Warren kind of created this prairie fire of excitement.  You saw that with de Blasio.

And the Clintons have never really stood for economic populism.  There's a lot people out there, Democrats, ordinary Democrats, angry at Wall Street, angry that people were not criminally prosecuted, angry with economic stagnation, and these have not been central Clinton issues.  So there's a big gulf between where she is and where the party is.

MIKE MURPHY:

I totally agree.  I think she is perceived to be invincible, which is a terrifying place to be in early presidential politics, but she has three great challenges.  The first challenge is that.  She has an impressive story, but it's kind of a backward story.  And the best thing in politics is new.  I think Elizabeth Warren could give her a hell of a race in the primaries.

The second problem she has is that story.  This is like the third story we've read about potential campaign dysfunction; it's like the court of the Ottoman Turk in there.  The problem is she's got a thousand generals and no sergeants.  And now we can read 100 pages about it.  That's a problem.  And that's been a problem for her before.  Maybe they can fix it, maybe they can't.

Third problem's Bill.  I agree that she ought to be judged on her own merits.  But out in real voter land, it's part of the calculation in people's mind.  He brings a lot to the campaign, he also brings a lot of legacy to the campaign.  And you can't just say-- I wish Mitt Romney had tried to say, "Well, Bain Capital's in the past so we're not going to talk about it."

DAVID GREGORY:

Yes.  It--

MIKE MURPHY:

It doesn't work that way in presidential politics.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

We're going to bring everything back--

(OVERTALK)

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

--disagree with you.

CHUCK TODD:

There's a larger-- but here's the thing.  I think on the larger challenge, what's going on inside her party, the larger challenge is think about 2016.  We're now going to have 24 straight years of political polarization.  Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, all at some point in their initial presidential campaigns promised that they were the ones that were going to change Washington.  They were the ones that were going to get us out of this gridlocked mess.

We're now a generation.  So the voters are going to be hungry for this.  Are they going to say somebody with the last name of Clinton is the person to break the polarization?  I don't know.  I mean, look, I've always viewed her candidacy this way:  Hillary could be unbeatable; Clinton is a terrible idea for '16.  And she has to epitomize both--

(OVERTALK)

MALE VOICE (UNIDENTIFIED):

--and she needs to be more Hillary than Clinton.  If she's Clinton, she's going to have a harder time winning.  If she's Hillary, she's going to be president of the United States.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

Look, Hillary showed in the Senate that she could work with both sides and she could get things done.  Hillary showed in the State Department, having gone there when she was in a race against Obama, to go over there and to really suck it up and to get things done.  I mean, the American people have seen that.  She is very competent, and she's probably the best thing that we have going with respect to someone who can work across the aisle.

MICHAEL POWELL:

Her competency, to me, is unassailable.  The issue for me is how effective she'll connect with the modern voter.  After four years of being in the foreign policy apparatus, she really has been away from kind of the defining domestic issues, many of which have leaped tectonically over the last couple of years.  Non-white influence in political activity, legalization of marijuana, gay marriage.  I mean, there are a whole set of emerging issues that I really haven't seen them associated with.  And they'll need to find connections with a voter that's about the future, I think is the real challenge.

DAVID GREGORY:

Well, how do you generally sum up what's going on on the Republican side?  I mean, we've talked about Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul talking about a war on women and trying to bring Bill Clinton into that equation.  But how do all of the pieces in the Republican Party start to fit together here, that tells you about who has an edge, as you think about 2016?

MICHAEL POWELL:

You know, I think it's challenging when you listen to some of the crazy stuff you hear coming out of some of these conferences.  But I think this is why I find Christie a compelling figure because I think-- you know, it's interesting.  In the piece last week on Obama, there's always this constant comparison to Lyndon Johnson and the need to be down and dirty, rough and capable, a technical expert in the legislative process to make change happen.

I think the very things that get Governor Christie in trouble I think are the things that are extraordinarily important to the public from the perspective.  And maybe someone who's not just talking about change but has kind of the roughness and the Lyndon Johnson-like qualities to make it happen could be very attractive.

MIKE MURPHY:

You know, Christie's great strength is, at a time when everybody hates politics, he has a persona of hating politics too.  Outside Washington, tell it the way it is.  On the other hand, is that perceived by some people as too much?  And the scandal is the narrative of too much.

But, you know, I don't think he knew, but we're going to have the mother of all investigations.  And it's either going to clear him and he's going to be back in a strong position-- not a lock by any means.  He was overrated before; he's underrated now.  But he'll be a player.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

Mike, you did a lot of work in New Jersey though.

MIKE MURPHY:

Yes.

DAVID GREGORY:

Are you shocked that things like this took place--

MIKE MURPHY:

Yes, dirty politics--

DAVID GREGORY:

--in New Jersey politics?

MIKE MURPHY:

--in New Jersey?

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

My point is that this is a culture of New Jersey that you get the sense that he participated in.

MIKE MURPHY:

Yes, which undercuts "politician fighter."

DAVID GREGORY:

Right.

CAROLYN RYAN:

But let's back up to your question about polarization because why were the Democrats so daunted or worried about Chris Christie?  You know, why did they want to see him damaged?  It's because he was able to transcend party.  You know, you look at the New Jersey results, he attracted people from traditionally Democratic-leaning groups, and registered Democrats.  Now when you look post-scandal, where is the softening of his support?  It's among those groups.

DAVID GREGORY:

Yes.  I got--

CAROLYN RYAN:

Democrats, Independents.

DAVID GREGORY:

I also just want a moment of levity here, which is as we look at the future we also think about the past, and Mitt Romney coming to a place with that new documentary where he also slow-jammed the news--

MICHAEL POWELL:

Yes.

DAVID GREGORY:

--with Jimmy Fallon.

CHUCK TODD:

And that's better than the documentary.

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY:

And, found a way to inject health care into the fight.  Can we just show that clip?

(BEGIN TAPE)

MITT ROMNEY:

(APPLAUSE) Of course, the president will also be discussing his health care plan with many hoping to hear his solutions to some of the issues that have affected its rollout, such as lower than expected enrollment and employees getting dropped from their existing plans, not to mention an Obamacare website that has been riddled with technical problems and glitches.

JIMMY FALLON

Mmm, mmm, mmm.  Glitch please.

(LAUGHTER)

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY:

That was a pretty edgy bit that they did and, you know, you go, "Hey, where was that Mitt Romney," right?

MIKE MURPHY:

He is a very funny guy in real life, and I encourage people to see the Netflix--

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

It's a great movie.

MIKE MURPHY:

--because you get a three-dimensional picture of him.  And my note to everybody in politics as a voter is these guys are never the caricature the campaign makes them, on either side.  And the Netflix movie's a good example of how, you know, buyer beware of the narrative you're often forced by our--

(OVERTALK)

MIKE MURPHY:

--campaign coverage--

CHUCK TODD:

Bob Dole in '97.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

That was the problem.  1997, Bob Dole.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

It also shows how difficult politics really is--

CAROLYN RYAN:

Absolutely.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ:

--on the family, in particular on the family.  I mean, you know, I have a thick skin.  I've been called everything in the book.  And it's my mother that calls up and says, "Why did you not show up to vote?  Come on."  "Mom, I have a 97% voting record.  What are you talking about?"  You know?  So it really is the family that suffers.  It's a tough thing to go through a campaign.

CAROLYN RYAN:

I was lucky enough, as a cub reporter, 1994, to cover the Mitt Romney/Ted Kennedy race.  And you got inside that family in a very different way, and you sort of saw that droll, kind of self-mocking sense of humor and that sense of perspective that's very unusual.  And that's the first time, in that documentary, where I've seen it again.

DAVID GREGORY:

And, you know, when I spent time with Romney on the campaign trail, what really came through to me is how tough this was for Ann Romney.  She'd been through it before, but she really felt stung by this.  And I think you're exactly right, you can't overstate how tough it is for the people who love these men and women who are running, that have to go through it.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, anybody who's watching, who's thinking about running for president, if you really are, if you’re Rand Paul, I think you should watch the documentary.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

I think it's more important for a candidate, prospective candidate, to understand what they're about to go through.

MIKE MURPHY:

A little Romney gossip out, because I ran his governor's race.  He loves the movie Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? so much we actually did a boom rally in the real campaign, just as kind of an inside homage to the movie.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right--

MIKE MURPHY:

He's a very fun guy in real life.

DAVID GREGORY:

Thank you all very much.  Interesting discussion today, thanks so much.  Coming up here, Edward Snowden's next move:  Would he make a deal with the U.S.?  Did he act alone?  I'm going to go to Moscow to speak with one of his legal advisors, and I'll also get insights from the former head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.  He was also head of the criminal division for the Justice Department.  That's coming up after this short break.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

Coming up here, what's in store for Edward Snowden?  We go live to Moscow.  Up next, after this brief break.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

We're back.  Now to the debate over Edward Snowden.  Attorney General Eric Holder now says he'd be willing to discuss a deal for him to return to the United States, but no clemency.  So is Snowden willing to talk?  I'm joined from Moscow now by one of Snowden's legal advisors, Jesselyn Radack.  She's the national security and human rights director of the Government Accountability Project.

And with me here is the former head of U.S. Homeland Security as well, and former head of the criminal division of the Justice Department under President Bush, Michael Chertoff, who I'll speak to in just a moment.  Let me start with Miss Radack.  Welcome to Meet the Press.  We've got a bit of a delay on the satellite, so let me get right to it.  I want to play a bit of Eric Holder's interview on MSNBC and get your reaction to it.  Listen.

ERIC HOLDER (ON TAPE):

The notion of clemency, a simple, you know, no harm/no foul.  I think that would be going too far.  But in the resolution of this matter, with an acceptance of responsibility, you know, we would always, you know, engage in those kinds of conversations.

DAVID GREGORY:

So, Miss Radack, what about Mr. Snowden?  Does he want to enter into those conversations?

JESSELYN RADACK:

Sure.  We're always glad to entertain conversations, and we're glad that Holder made that statement.  It's a little disheartening that he seemed to take clemency and amnesty off the table, which are two of the negotiating points.  But, again, none of us have been contacted yet about restarting negotiations.

And also, I think that no harm/no foul is not apt.  I mean, there has been plenty of suffering on the part of Edward Snowden.  He's been punished quite a bit already.  And, while we are glad to dialogue and negotiate, he's not going to come back and face an espionage prosecution.

DAVID GREGORY:

What's the punishment that he's endured?

JESSELYN RADACK:

He's endured to basically give up his entire life and be rendered stateless by the United States government, revoking his passport while he was here in Russia.  He has been granted political asylum by four different countries because they all found that he had a valid fear of political persecution, based on the very Espionage Act charges that he's facing in the U.S.

DAVID GREGORY:

On this program, as you know, last week the head of the intelligence committee, Mike Rogers, suggested that he had help from the Russians, might even be a Russian spy.  How does he respond to that?  And does he think that's part of some effort to smear him?

JESSELYN RADACK:

It's obviously part of a smear effort.  It shows to me that the government is getting really desperate.  The evidence against N.S.A. continues to mount, most recently with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board which echoed a federal judge and the White House's own internal recommendations that the surveillance program is illegal and ineffective.

And so then, this spy allegation resurrected itself again and, unfortunately, Diane Feinstein and Mike Rogers had a platform to smear the whistleblower with baseless innuendo without a scintilla of evidence to back up their allegations.

Moreover, Mr. Snowden publicly chatted with the U.S. this week to deny being a spy.  But if people don't want to take my word for it, or Mr. Snowden's word for it, you can ask the F.B.I. which decided and still believes that he acted alone.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, Jesselyn Radack in Moscow for us today.  Thank you very much for being here, I appreciate your time. Michael Chertoff, who's here as well, former head of Homeland Security and also head of the criminal division under President Bush, which is particularly relevant here, so it's good to see you.  Welcome back.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Good to be back.

DAVID GREGORY:

So how would you handle this question?  You heard the attorney general.  What do you do to get Edward Snowden back?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, you know, we have done deals in the past with spies, but they've always been a deal where you take a very heavy prison sentence.  When I was head of the criminal division, we made a deal with Robert Hanssen.  He agreed to give us everything he had given the Russians, but what we did is we put him in prison for life instead of the death--

DAVID GREGORY:

Is it--

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

--penalty.

DAVID GREGORY:

--irresponsible to call him a spy?  Is there any evidence to back that up?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

You know, I think that legitimate questions have been raised.  Now, I don't know what the facts will show.  But if you look at his behavior, the fact that he systematically went and collected information about a wide range of programs, techniques that are used to penetrate for intelligence collection, and then he goes to Russia of all places, it certainly raises legitimate questions.

Who benefited from this?  How did he know where to go?  How did he know to go to Hawaii to find a place there was vulnerability?  How did he know where to look?  All of these I think are things which, as Chairman Rogers said, we're going to explore.

DAVID GREGORY:

He's been punished enough is essentially what his legal advisor is saying.  I mean, there's a lot of sympathy for Snowden and there's a lot of hatred for Snowden.  That will be viewed different ways.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, I think that's preposterous.  He is the one who fled; he left at the point at which he announced what he had done.  So he took himself out of the country, he exiled himself.  He then went to Russia.  He is now regaling the world with interviews and other kinds of public relations things.  As far as I can tell, I haven't seen any evidence he's incarcerated.  And they keep saying, "Well, we're going to give him asylum as long as he wants."  So this is not a person who's being punished.  He has a spotlight, and he's using it.

DAVID GREGORY:

Is there any reason for him to come back to the U.S. and think that, A) he can get a fair trial, or that there's the potential for a reduced sentence that makes sense?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, I think he can certainly get a fair trial.  Now, the question is, is he going to get a trial in which he gets convicted, and I think there's a high likelihood he will.  If he decides he wants to come back, if he decides he wants to tell the U.S. government everything that he stole, which is important, he might be able to bargain for some kind of a reduced sentence.  But, again, going back to the Hanssen case, I don't think we're talking about amnesty.  We'd be talking about maybe life in prison, maybe 30 years, maybe 25 years, but not something that would be a slap on the wrist.

DAVID GREGORY:

The Sochi Olympics.  You know this well.  Look, at a time when the Russian leader is seeking to embarrass the United States with Edward Snowden, there's a real question about whether the Russians can secure these games.  If you're head of Homeland Security right now in the United States, what are you worried about?  What are you thinking about?  What do you want to know?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, what I'd like to do is have a letter of cooperation with the Russians that allow us to give them the benefit of our intelligence and our capabilities, but also have visibility to what they're doing.  That's what we did in 2008 with the Chinese in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

DAVID GREGORY:

Do we have that here?  Do you think we have that cooperation?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, according to what has been reported, there is some cooperation but perhaps not quite as much as we would like.  I don't know that they've fully invited us in or accepted our offer to give them a lot of assistance.  Now, we have warships offshore in case there needs to be an evacuation.  I would hope there is a plan in place with the Russians if, God forbid, we needed to do it, to be able to take people out.

DAVID GREGORY:

When you talk about counter-terror, you talk about making targets "hard," hard to attack.  This is a pretty hard target, is it not?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

Well, the core event probably is a pretty hard target.  They've got a lot of troops there and they've got a lot of capability.  But, as we saw today in Maryland, you have soft targets at the periphery, restaurants, hotels.  And depending on how far you want to extend the perimeter out, you can even talk about Moscow as being a target.

DAVID GREGORY:

Back home and that mall shooting.  Does there have to be a national effort to harden these soft targets, schools, malls, places where these attackers know they can really get a lot of coverage and a lot of acclaim for these kinds of attacks?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF:

I think there has to be planning and preparation, and part of what that means is training people about what to do when there is an event.  Now, one of the things that happened here and also happened I think in other occasions is there was a swift response.  And that mitigates the damage.  That's very important.

In schools, for example, people have to know how to shelter in place.  Teachers have to have clear instructions about how to protect kids.  You can't make it a fortress, but you can do things that will minimize the threat and mitigate the amount of damage.

DAVID GREGORY:

All right, Mike Chertoff, thank you, as always, for your perspective on a wide range of matters here this morning. When we come back, switch gears a little bit as we're still talking about the Olympics, tennis legend Billie Jean King, our Harry Smith has a revealing profile.  The triumphs, her tough times, and the statement that she is making as she heads to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

Here now, some of this week’s images to remember.

(“IMAGES TO REMEMBER” SEGMENT)

DAVID GREGORY:

Hockey at Dodger Stadium

CHUCK TODD:

I meant to watch it last night--

DAVID GREGORY:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

--fell asleep.  NBC Sports Network, by the way, plug, plug.

DAVID GREGORY:

This week's images to remember.  Coming up next, our own Harry Smith with a special look at tennis legend Billie Jean King.  Coming up after this break.

***Commercial Break***

DAVID GREGORY:

With a little less than two weeks go before the winter Olympics in Sochi, we wanted to bring you the inspiring story of Billie Jean King.  Breaking barriers has always been a part of the legendary athlete's life.  Well, she's now headed to Sochi as a member of the presidential delegation to the Opening Ceremonies.  Our Harry Smith has this revealing profile.

(BEGIN PKG)                               

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

Billie Jean King knew she wanted to change things from the time she was a kid.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

When I was 12, I had an epiphany about tennis that everybody wore white clothes, white shoes.  They played with white balls.  And everybody who played was white.  And so I asked myself, "Where is everybody else?"  And that started me thinking about just our tiny universe of our sport, my sport.  But I also knew I was going to dedicate the rest of my life to equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

First, she spearheaded the formation of the women's pro tour which fought for better prize money, better venues, better everything.  Back then, that made her a rabble-rouser.

BILLIE JEAN KING (ON TAPE):

I don't believe it.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

We had a dream.  And now the players today are living the dream, and that's what we wanted.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

When Billie played Bobby Riggs in the battle of the sexes in 1973, America was in a heated argument about the Equal Rights Amendment.  The match was a spectacular combination of hype and hope.  Could a woman really beat a man?  She did, quite handily.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

The women?  Oh, they go, "I went out and asked for a raise the next day," because their self-esteem went up.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

In 1981, King was outed by her former lover and assistant.  It cost her everything.

BILLIE JEAN KING (ON TAPE):

I feel I've always tried to be honest.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

It's horrible to be outed, first of all.  Of course, I was so publicly outed.  I lost all my endorsements in 24 hours.  It's not a good feeling.  And yet, that process started me getting to my truth, which was huge.  So it does-- in the end, it sets you free.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

That freedom has contributed to the enormous impact she's had on sports and equal rights.  King was awarded the Medal of Freedom.  She's an icon, a pioneer.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

I don't really think about it that much, unless someone like you, Harry, asks me the questions.  When I wake up, I'm really happy that I've got another opportunity today to go out and, "Let's go for it," you know?

HARRY SMITH:

You're all fired up here.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

Yeah, I am totally--

HARRY SMITH:

Yes.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

--fired-- it's all your fault.  You get me fired up, Harry.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

King is definitely fired up.  To be in the U.S. Olympic delegation, along with other openly gay athletes, Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow.  They head to Sochi soon in a Russia that is anything but friendly to diversity.

HARRY SMITH:

Is there a message inherent in that?

BILLIE JEAN KING:

Sure.  Visually, there's a message.  Just showing up, there's a message.  When you see us stand there and you know we're openly gay.  But more importantly, we're athletes.  We are athletes.

HARRY SMITH:

Do you have security concerns about going there?

BILLIE JEAN KING:

No, I think there'll be ample security for us.  And I think we need to be alert.  I've thought about that.  I mean, I get a little stressed out if I start thinking about it.  But you have to-- I have to go.

HARRY SMITH:

You've seen so much dramatic change in your lifetime.  Will there ever be a woman president?

BILLIE JEAN KING:

From your lips to God's ears, please, Harry.  Before I'm out of here, please, we have to have a woman president.

HARRY SMITH:

Will there ever be an openly gay president?

BILLIE JEAN KING:

Not in my lifetime, but I think there will be someday.

HARRY SMITH (NARRATION):

King thinks there are still plenty of fields that need leveling, like equal pay, or even representation in Congress.  And she feels it's better to try than to stand by.

BILLIE JEAN KING:

There's two ways to look at risk.  Not to do it sometimes is a bigger risk than to do it.  And I'd rather take the risk.  If it can help change things and help move us all forward, great.  That's what I want.  And you just learn to stay true to yourself is what you do.  And then when you stay true to yourself, you'll make it.  I'll make it.

(END PKG)

DAVID GREGORY:

Billie Jean King.  That is all for today, we'll be back next week.  Tune in Tuesday night right here for NBC's coverage of the president's State of the Union address.  If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

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    Police were seen escorting students from Marysville-Pilchuck High School, near Seattle, which was in lockdown.

    10/24/2014 6:33:28 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T18:33:28
  1. Alex Wong / Getty Images

    ‘Fortunate and blessed’: Ebola-infected nurse Nina Pham to go home

    10/24/2014 3:05:30 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T15:05:30
  1. John Bazemore / AP file

    There goes 'Honey Boo Boo': TLC cancels reality series amid scandal

    10/24/2014 4:38:39 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T16:38:39
  1. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

    8 things we learned about the latest Duggar pregnancy

    10/24/2014 5:14:25 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T17:14:25
  1. Courtesy of Sidne Hirsch

    How a pair of glittery blue stilettos helped her kick cancer's butt

    10/24/2014 6:17:42 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T18:17:42