Sept. 7: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Tom Friedman - Meet the Press | NBC News
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program broadcast on NBC. . Russert signed off each edition by saying, "That's all for today. By , Meet the Press was the highest-rated program among the Sunday It was also reported on December 1, , that the December 7 broadcast would be. 'Meet the Press' transcript for Sept. 7, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Tom Friedman . Offscreen Voice: What brought you out here today?. Meet the Press Sept 7 Interview of Obama – Truth or False From Sunday's Televised 'Meet the Press' Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag. Read the transcript for yourself. Evil has already been defeated and as of today you and the Democrats have chosen which.
This could possibly be our next President. I, for one, am speechless. Truth is the only thing that matters to me. I can safely say there are not many out there who dislike the policies of Obama more than myself. If you read my latest blog I go so far as to call his policies evil, hells agenda. I truly believe evil resides in the White House of this I am convinced. After thorough research I have come to the conclusion that this email pertaining to Obama and the flag is false at best and a lie at worst.
There is absolutely no proof that he ever made such statements. In fact the proof is to the contrary. You can see for yourself by going to the archives of Meet The Press for September 7th Joe Biden was a guest that day and he never mentions the flag at all.
Read the transcript for yourself. In fact I did extensive research and I came up with absolutely NO evidence that Obama ever made any such comments.
So where did this email originate? It turns out it was originally written by a conservative blogger named John Semmens of Arizona in Now I know this email was forwarded to me innocently and with good intent.
But one major problem among many with the Internet is many people take statements and read blogs and emails and in many cases take it as gospel truth. But my thirst for truth commands and demands me to research everything and I mean everything that comes my way even if it means coming to the aid of and defending the enemy.
The Sword of Truth will topple Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately propaganda like this only aids the enemy. Obama and his kind are fighting the army of The Lord God most High. We're going to have to make hard choices. Like the ones that you're making right now in your state capitals, we're going to have to make in Washington.
And we are not, as a nation, going to be able to just keep on printing money; so, at some point, we're also going to have to make some long-term decisions in terms of fiscal responsibility and not all of those choices are going to be popular.
On this program about a year ago, you said that being a president is 90 percent circumstances and about 10 percent agenda.
The circumstances now are, as you say, very unpopular in terms of the decisions that have to be made. Which are the most unpopular ones that the country's going to have to deal with? Well, fortunately, as tough as times are right now--and things are going to get worse before they get better--there is a convergence between circumstances and agenda. The key for us is making sure that we jump-start that economy in a way that doesn't just deal with the short term, doesn't just create jobs immediately, but also puts us on a glide path for long-term, sustainable economic growth.
And that's why I spoke in my radio address on Saturday about the importance of investing in the largest infrastructure program--in roads and bridges and, and other traditional infrastructure--since the building of the federal highway system in the s; rebuilding our schools and making sure that they're energy efficient; making sure that we're investing in electronic medical records and other technologies that can drive down health care costs.
All those things are not only immediate--part of an immediate stimulus package to the economy, but they're also down payments on the kind of long-term, sustainable growth that we need. To give an indication of how quickly things change now, at warp speed, when you and I last saw each other, six weeks ago, I think it was, in Nashville, when I asked you your priorities, you said health care, energy and education would be your top three priorities.
You didn't anticipate at that time that you would have to outline this kind of a stimulus program. The real question in the stimulus program that you have just described and as you shared with, with the American audience in your radio address is how quickly will it mean jobs out there across America and how much is it going to cost and who's going to pay for it?
Well, I think we can get a lot of work done fast. When I met with the governors, all of them have projects that are shovel ready, that are going to require us to get the money out the door, but they've already lined up the projects and they can make them work. And now, we're going to have to prioritize it and do it not in the old traditional politics first wave.
What we need to do is examine what are the projects where we're going to get the most bang for the buck, how are we going to make sure taxpayers are protected. You know, the days of just pork coming out of Congress as a strategy, those days are over. How much it's going to cost? My economic team is examining that right now. And one of the things I'm very pleased with is how fast we've gotten a first-rate economic team in place, the fastest in modern history.
They are busy working, crunching the numbers, looking at the macro-economic data to make a determination as to what the size and the scope of the economic recovery plan needs to be. But it is going to be substantial. One last point I want to make on this is that we are inheriting an enormous budget deficit.
You know, some estimates over a trillion dollars. That's before we do anything. And so we understand that we've got to provide a, a, a blood infusion into the patient right now to make sure that the patient is stabilized, and, and that means that we, we can't worry short term about the deficit. We've got to make sure that the economic stimulus plan is large enough to get the economy moving. One of the great concerns in this country, of course, is additional job loss, which would be considerable if the Big Three in the auto industry in this country--GM, Ford and Chrysler--were to go down.
That drama has been playing out in Washington and across America. Do you think the Big Three deserve to survive? They have not managed that industry the way they should have, and I've been a strong critic of the auto industry's failure to adapt to changing times--building small cars and energy efficient cars that are going to adapt to a new market.
But what I've also said is, is that the auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing. It is a huge employer across many states. Millions of people, directly or indirectly, are reliant on that industry, and so I don't think it's an option to simply allow it to collapse.
What we have to do is to provide them with assistance, but that assistance is conditioned on them making significant adjustments. They're going to have to restructure, and all their stakeholders are going to have to restructure. Labor, management, shareholders, creditors--everybody's going to recognize that they have--they do not have a sustainable business model right now. And if they expect taxpayers to help in that adjustment process, then they can't keep on putting off the kinds of changes that they, frankly, should have made 20 or 30 years ago.
If, if they want to survive, then they better start building a fuel-efficient car. And if they want to survive, they, they've got to recognize that the auto market is not going to be as large as some of their rosy scenarios that they've put forward over the last several years.
It's pretty clear that the Democrats are going to try to get them a bridge loan to get through the short term, but it's the long term that is the larger question here. A number of people--Paul Ingrassia, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from The Wall Street Journal has said we ought to have a government-structured bankruptcy and maybe even an automobile czar of some kind.
Does that kind of plan have any appeal for you? Well, there are a lot of discussions taking place right now between members of Congress, the Bush administration. I've had my team have conversations with these folks to see how can you keep the automakers' feet to the fire in making the changes that are necessary. But understand, these aren't ordinary times. You know, some people have said let's just send them through a bankruptcy process. Well, even as large a company as GM, in ordinary times, might be able to go through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, restructure, and still keep their business operations going.
When you are seeing this kind of collapse at the same time as you've got the financial system as shaky as, as it is, that means that we're going to have to figure out ways to put the pressure on the way a bankruptcy court would, demand accountability, demand serious changes.
But do so in a way that it allows them to keep the factory doors open. And, you know, right now there's a number of discussions about how to do that, and I hope that we're going to see some short-term progress in the next few days. My economic team is focused on what we expect to inherit on January 20th, and we'll have some very specific plans in terms of how to move that forward. But help me out here. Are you looking at the possibility of some kind of a government structure that runs that reorganization?
I--we don't want government to run companies. Generally, government historically hasn't done that very well. Not to run the companies but Well, what, what we do need is, if taxpayer money is at stake, which it appears may be the case, we want to make sure that it is conditioned on a auto industry emerging at the end of the process that actually works, that actually functions. The last thing I want to see happen is for the auto industry to disappear.
But I'm also concerned that we don't put 10 or 20 or 30 or whatever billion dollars into an industry, and then, six months to a year later, they come back hat in hand and say, "Give me more. They're going through extraordinarily difficult times right now, and they want to see the kind of accountability that, that, that, unfortunately, we haven't always seen coming out of Washington. But under that organization or any reorganization that you settle on Here's what I'll, I'll say, that it may not be the same for all the, all the companies, but what I think we have to put an end to is the head-in-the-sand approach to the auto industry that has been prevalent for decades now.
I think, in fairness, you have seen some progress made incrementally in many of these companies. You know, they have been building better cars now than they were 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. They are making some investments in the kind of green technologies and, and the new batteries that would allow us to create plug-in hybrids. What we haven't seen is a sense of urgency and the willingness to make tough decisions.
And what we still see are executive compensation packages for the auto industry that are out of line compared to their competitors, their Japanese competitors who are doing a lot better. Now, it's not unique to the auto industry. We have seen that across the board. Certainly, we saw it on Wall Street. Figure out ways in which workers maybe have to take a haircut, but they can still keep their jobs, they can still keep their health care and they can still stay in their homes.
That kind of notion of shared benefits and burdens is something that I think has been lost for too long, and it's something that I'd like to see restored. Let's talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industry. As soon as gas prices began to drop, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again, to SUVs and the big gas consumers.
We're not going to have gasoline that you can just fill up your tank for 20 bucks anymore. Well, keep, keep in mind what's happening in--to families all across America.
Yes, gas prices have gone down. But, in the meantime, maybe somebody in the family's lost their job. In the meantime, their housing values have plummeted. In the meantime, maybe their hours have been cut back. Or if they're a small-business owner, their sales have gone down 50, 60, 70 percent.
So putting additional burdens on American families right now, I think, is a mistake. What we have to do long term is make sure that we have an energy strategy that focuses on fuel-efficient cars, that focuses on providing incentives for fuel-efficient cars.
Same applies to buildings. We have a enormously inefficient building stock, and we can save huge amounts of energy costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by simple things like weatherization and changing the lighting in, in major buildings. That's going to be part of our economic recovery plan. It actually allows us to spend some money, put some people to work right away, but it also creates a long-term, sustainable energy future.
And I think making some of those investments in ensuring that we change our auto fleet over the next several years, that's going to be important as well.
The other big financial storm that continues to build out there, of course, are mortgages. You said recently that is an area of particular concern to you.
Barack Obama On Meet the Press Sept. 7, 2008?
The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke, said recently that something that--needs to be done urgently. During the course of the campaign, you suggested a three-month moratorium. Is that still part of the policy that you would like to have begun when you become president of the United States? And what else needs to be done to do something about mortgages?
Well, I, I'm having my team examine all the options that are out there. I'm disappointed that we haven't seen quicker movement on this issue by the administration. And we have said publicly and privately that we want to see a package that helps homeowners not just because it's good for that particular homeowner, it's good for the community. When you have foreclosures, property values decline and you get a downward spiral all across America.
It's also good for the financial system because keep in mind how this financial system became so precarious in the first place. You, you had a huge amount of debt, a huge amount of other people's money that was being lent, and speculation was taking place on--based on these home mortgages. And if we can strengthen those assets, then that will strengthen the financial system as a whole.
So I think a moratorium on foreclosures remains an important tool, an important option. I think we also should be working to figure out how we can get banks and homeowners to renegotiate the terms of their mortgages so that they are sustainable. The vast majority of people who are at threat of foreclosure are still making monthly payments, they want to stay in their homes, they want to stay in their communities, but the strains are enormous.
And if we can relieve some of that stress, long term it's going to be better for the banks, it's going to be certainly better for the community, it's going to be better for our economy as a whole.
This is going to be a top priority of my administration. Have you personally conveyed your disappointment to the administration or had your economic advisers get in touch with Hank Paulson and say, "Why aren't you doing more about mortgages? We, we have specifically said that, moving forward, we have to have a housing component to any actions that we take.
If we are only dealing with Wall Street and we're not dealing with Main Street, then we're only handling one-half of the problem. And finally, what about those homeowners out there who are struggling to do the responsible thing, to pay their mortgages? And now they look across the street and the neighbor may be getting bailed out.
So they feel they're the victim of a double whammy. They're paying their taxes to bail out the guy across the street and struggling to pay their mortgages. Why wouldn't they just take a walk on their mortgage and say, "I want in on that"? Well, look, that, that's one of the tricky things that we've got to figure out how to structure.Full Toomey: 'Senators Need To Step Up' After Mattis Resignation - Meet The Press - NBC News
We don't want what you just described, a moral hazard problem where you have incentive to act irresponsibly. But, you know, if my neighbor's house is on fire, even if they were smoking in the bedroom or leaving the stove on, right now my main incentive is to put out that fire so that it doesn't spread to my house.
And I think most people recognize that even if there were some poor decisions made by home buyers, that right now our biggest incentive is to make sure that the housing market is strengthened.
I do think that we have to put in place a set of rules of the road, some financial regulations that prevent the kind of speculation and leveraging, that we saw, in the future.
Advertise And so, as part of our economic recovery package, what you will see coming out of my administration right at the center is a strong set of new financial regulations in which banks, ratings agencies, mortgage brokers, a whole bunch of folks start having to be much more accountable and behave much more responsibly because we can't put ourselves--we, we can't create the kind of systemic risks that we're creating right now, particularly because everything is so interdependent.
We've got to have transparency, openness, fair dealing in our financial markets. And that's an area where I think, over the last eight years, we've fallen short. President-elect, we're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk about taxes, the fallout from Mumbai, obviously, Iraq and Afghanistan.
More of our exclusive interview yesterday in Chicago with President-elect Barack Obama after this brief station break. We're back with President-elect Obama.
We want to talk about taxes. That was a central piece of your campaign. Here's what you had to say. We need to roll back the Bush-McCain tax cuts and invest in things like health care that are really important.
Instead of giving tax breaks to the wealthy, who don't need them and weren't even asking for them, we should be putting a middle class tax cut into the pockets of working families.
Have the economic conditions changed what you hoped to do about taxes? Is that your plan? Well, understand what my original tax plan was. It was a net tax cut. Ninety-five percent of working families would get tax relief. To help pay for that, people like you and me, Tom, who make more than a quarter million dollars a year, would play--pay slightly more. We'd essentially go back to the tax rates that existed back in the s.
My economic team right now is examining do we repeal that through legislation?
Meet the Press - Obama & Flag - Sept 7th True or False?
Do we let it lapse so that when the Bush tax cuts expire they're not renewed when it comes to wealthiest Americans? And we don't yet know what the best approach is going to be, but the overall thrust is going to be that 95 percent of working families are going to get a tax cut, and the wealthiest Americans, who disproportionately benefited not only from tax cuts from the Bush administration but also disproportionately benefited when it comes to corporate profits and where the gains and productivity were going, they are going to give up a little bit more.
And it turns out that But right away or ? Well, as I said, my economic team's taking a look at this right now. But, but I think the important principle--because sometimes when we start talking about taxes and I say I want a more balanced tax code, people think, well, you know, that's class warfare. It, it turns out that our economy grows best when the benefits of the economy are most widely spread.
And that has been true historically. And, you know, the real aberration has been over the last 10, 15 years in which you've seen a huge shift in terms of resources to the wealthiest and the vast majority of Americans taking home less and less. Their incomes, their wages have flatlined at a time that costs of everything have gone up, and we've actually become a more productive society. So what we want to do is actually go back to what has been the traditional pattern.
We have a broad-based middle class, economic growth from the bottom up. That, I think, will be the recipe for everybody doing better over the long term. Your vice president, Joe Biden, said during the course of this campaign it would be patriotic for the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
In this economy, does he still believe that?