I broadcast for D.C. today and will stay through Sunday to be on the Meet The Press panel Sunday, which will reverse roles with my standard Friday interview with MTP host Chuck Todd. Todd joins me in the second hour today to talk the big stories of the weekend:
HH: Broadcasting tonight from Washington, D.C. I flew in today, and I’m going to be on Meet the Press with my next guest on Sunday. It’s role reversal. I’m a little worried about this, because Chuck Todd has usually just answered my questions. I’ve never had to answer his. Chuck, welcome back, you’re, I hope you’re going easy on me on Sunday.
CT: Oh, well, it depends. How much information are you going to have about the Mitt Romney-Jeb Bush meeting?
HH: Well actually, nothing on that, but I hear that there were about a dozen to 18 people there today in Boston, that the meeting went five, six hours, and there’s no declaration of candidacy, yet. What are you hearing about that?
CT: Well, I know, I’ve heard that basically, that this is the meeting, though, is what I heard, that this is the big one, that this is the sort of, while he may not say what his decision is, it is being used as sort of the meeting to say okay, guys, what are we doing?
HH: Yeah, there’s not, it’s really hard to get 18 to 20 professionals in a room unless they think you’re running for president, isn’t it?
CT: Well, I think that’s right. And I’m of the theory that in an odd way, maybe part of it is, you know, and I keep going back, I think too many times, we all look at this, people that don’t ever, have never actually run for office, we all look at it too rationally. We forget sometimes, you know, this is a very personal decision. And I think Mitt Romney is a perfectionist in life. And you know, he has never failed at anything. And I think that drives him more on this than anything else. I’ve always thought that that’s what he’s sort of like, you know, he’s been so successful in his other walks of like, other parts, you know, even though he lost to Ted Kennedy, he came back and he won again. You know, he doesn’t, his history tells you don’t stop trying. So I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t run at this point.
HH: I have another question that goes back in political time. I don’t know that anyone who has ever lost in modern times, and I’m talking about the last 50 years, John Kerry wasn’t being urged to run in 2008 after he lost in 2004. John McCain wasn’t being urged to run in 2012 after he lost in 2008. Have you ever heard of someone four years after losing being urged back into the race?
CT: Al Gore was. I mean, I think it’s fair to say that there was a chunk of Democrats that wanted Gore to run again in 2004.
HH: I think that’s right.
CT: You know, so there was some of that. I mean, and I think there was equal amount of people that wanted Hillary Clinton to run in 2004, too. But I think there was some of that in 2003, at least, on behalf of Gore. Back then, you’ve got to remember what Al Gore’s standing was at that point in time. So, but you’re right. I mean, it isn’t, it doesn’t happen very often. Look, and I’ve heard part of it is that so many of his supporters, you know, they just, they were, so many of them, particularly the big money donors, they can’t accept the idea that a person with Mitt Romney’s background can’t get elected president in this country.
HH: Well, that’s, and what’s interesting to me, and by Sunday, we will both know a lot more about this, hopefully, as people chatter a little bit through the informal networks of communication. It will, he can’t wait much longer. And at the same time that he was having his meeting today…
CT: No, I agree.
HH: …Marco Rubio let it be known basically that he’s in. Didn’t, isn’t that how you read those signals today?
CT: Well, don’t forget, Marco Rubio 2016 could still be a Senate race. You know, he’s got, he’s up for reelection, too, so this to me is a very safe move for him to make, meaning you go around, you see how much, how many donors are no longer there for him because of Jeb. So to me, so this to me is a safe move. I don’t think it definitely means he’s running. But I think there was no reason for him no to do this. You know, it’s my understanding that you know, people have mistaken, Rubio and Jeb are not personally close. They’re ideologically close. You know what I mean? There’s definitely that kind of relationship. But they’re not personally very close. They’re not unfriendly. They’re friendly enough. But I think that this is s safe move for Rubio where, you know, he could still do this, decide not to do it, or frankly, there is a way that he runs a different type of campaign where he basically decides to run Mr. Positive, Mr. Issue, sort of ignore everybody, and just wait and see, and be comfortable as sort of not a top tier guy, which is okay. I think he would have been top tier without Jeb, not top tier, be sort of Mr. Issue guy, and sort of hang back.
HH: Well, fascinating. Now on Sunday, I don’t know if you’re ever going to get to the panel, because you have Denis McDonough coming in. And tonight, the big story is…
CT: We will.
HH: …the unnamed senior U.S. official saying that Bibi Netanyahu has spat in President Obama’s face, saying, “These are things you simply don’t do,” according to Haaretz. He spat in our face publicly. That’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency…
HH: And that there will be a price. That’s a heck of a setup for Sunday’s show with Denis.
CT: Can I just tell you? It’s funny you say it that way. I mean, I’m not supposed to, you know, it’s like you sit there and I’m like, I literally saw the Haaretz story, I don’t know, whatever, four or five hours ago, six or seven, and I literally take it into one of my producers, who you’ll meet, and I said well, now we’ve got something. You know, it was just sort of one of those, like look, I obviously planned on getting into the Netanyahu story with Denis anyway, but it’s like well now, there’s an easier way into this story.
HH: Oh, my gosh.
CT: I know.
HH: Have you seen, that sounds like John Kerry. I was talking with Senator Cotton in the last hour. He came by the studios. And he won’t, you know, he won’t give a wink or a nod who it is. But to my practiced ear, the entire statement sounds like Secretary of State Kerry. I can’t imagine a White House staffer doing that.
CT: See, I guess I’m on the White House staffer side. I’m of the National Security staffer side of things. But maybe, we’ll see. I mean, I think that they, they’re more likely to talk that way. I really don’t think John Kerry would talk that way to a reporter on background. I don’t. I think he’s, and look, unless he’s really tired and not thinking. That feels like a staffer. But so, we’ll see. I mean, maybe, we’ll find out which one of us is, in 15 years at the Obama Library Archives, will figure it out, right?
HH: And here’s the irony. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill when he was the secretary for the colonies, and I’m going to talk with Larry Arnn next hour about this from Hillsdale College, drew the map of the modern Middle East. And today, 50 years later, it’s all going to hell, Chuck Todd. I don’t even know if you’re going to try and cover Yemen. No one can find Yemen on a map.
CT: No, you know, it’s funny, you say try and cover. I’m actually, this has been, I’m obsessed with this. I mean, I’m sorry, look, I’m a football fan. I enjoy football. But yesterday, I was embarrassed, because I’m looking up, and all three news channels, okay, and all three major cable news channels, I have four TV’s in my office, always have three of the news channels. They’re all on Tom Brady. Yemen is actually on fire, okay? Yemen has the single most important, look, it’s the dangerous safe haven there is between Syria and Yemen, that Yemen, a very dangerous safe haven, and we’re just sitting here going, I’m just sitting there, and man, this is like this, when somebody, while Rome is burning, or while the string quartet is playing on the Titanic, we’re worried about deflated footballs when the Yemen situation is where it’s at? It was one of those, and I’m not trying to be like a news snob about this. But I’m interested in the Patriots story, too, but come on.
HH: I’m not a news snob, either. In fact, last hour, I had on the editor-in-chief of Mediaite, and I asked Andrew Kirell about Glozell, because Glozell actually asked the President a really tough question. I want to play it for the audience so they can hear Glozell’s opening question to the President. Go ahead, Duane:
Glozell: I grew up in Florida.
Glozell: And I have a lot of friends, close friends, who are Cuban-Americans.
Glozell: And I’ve heard the stories of their families escaping…
Glozell: …and some of them didn’t even make it to come to the United States for a better life…
Glozell: …to get away from the Castros.
Glozell: Okay, I mean, the guy puts (male body part) in dictatorship. So I am trying to understand…
Glozell: …how do you justify dealing with the Castros?
HH: Now Chuck Todd, I had to edit that a little bit, because this is an FCC-regulated medium that I’m on, and I can’t use all of Glozell’s language.
CT: You can’t play everything.
HH: But I have no objection to serious questions, and that was a serious question, wherever they come from.
CT: No, look, I don’t, either, and I’m not, and it’s interesting on that, and that might also be a topic for us, by the way, to have a conversation, which is sort of is this the right place for the President to be engaging people. And look, all of us are in the media business, and the news business, and we’re trying to figure out these new ways to reach out. But on the question itself, you know, we talked about this before with Cuba. The President never did a good job of acknowledging the Cuban-American community in South Florida on that day he made the announcement, because you know, I grew up in Miami, and that’s the same, it is too personal for people. And I always thought during the announcement that that was never, it was not enough hat tip to that.
HH: I didn’t know you grew up in Miami. Are you a Dolphins guy?
CT: I’m actually not. My old man was, he grew up in Iowa. And he wouldn’t let me be a Dolphins fan. He made me be a Packers fan.
HH: That’s why…
CT: He grew up in a small town, so I love my Packers. Don’t get me wrong. But yeah, no, I grew up in Miami. But again, the Dolphins, his complaint about the Dolphins is they used to steal concession money, he said, from…
HH: (laughing) Well, I will look forward to that, because when Senator Rubio comes on, he always talks Dolphins. And when Reince Priebus comes on, he always talks Packers. No one ever talks about the Browns, Chuck Todd. So if you can find a way to work that in, by the way, nice get on Kareem Abdul-Jabaar on Sunday. My son didn’t want to come with me to the studio until he heard Kareem Abdul-Jabaar was going to be there.
CT: I know. There’s going to be a lot of autograph hounds, too. But it’s, it was a provocative piece he wrote in Time, and that’s how I want to spend the conversation.
HH: That’ll be terrific. I’ll see you on Sunday, Chuck Todd, on Meet the Press.
End of interview.