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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  October 21, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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bridge, i was among those that marched across that bridge with president barack obama and john lewis, who was beaten that day, showing that if we can get the vote, we can put people that were denied the vote in the white house. you, no matter who you are, republican or democrat, vote about it, don't talk about it. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next saturday. up next, "meet the press" with chuck todd. this sunday all about that base. president trump campaigning for republicans. [ chanting: lock her up ] >> firing up his most loyal supporters. >> i'd heard that he body slammed a reporter. >> and making his closing argument. >> this will be the election of kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order, tax cuts, and common sense.
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>> republicans get the message. >> did you hear about this freaking caravan? >> while democrats focus on health care. >> protections for pre-existing conditions. >> pre-existing conditions. >> pre-existing conditions. >> and portray republicans as out of the mainstream. >> i drew an opponent who was way, way over there. >> two weeks ago until the midterms. joining me this morning, democratic minority whip senator dick durbin of illinois and the vice chairman of the republican senate campaign committee, tom tillis of north carolina. plus, is the republican post-kavanaugh surge real or are we just seeing a natural closing of the midterms? we have a brand-new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll out this morning with some unusual results that should make both parties a little nervous. and the man whose expletive-filled interview got him fired from the white house, former communications director anthony scaramucci joins me on what it's like to work for president trump. joining for me insight and analysis are nbc news correspondent, katy tur, "washington post" columnist, eugene rob yipson, peggy noonan,
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columnist for the "wall street journal," and david brody, chief political analyst for cbn news. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press". >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the longest-running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning and welcome to the "choose your own adventure" midterm elections. is there a democratic wave coming? we've got data to support that. as a surge of post-kavanaugh enthusiasm for republicans turned back the democrats momentum? there's data to support that. or could this be a typical midterm with democrats making just modest gains? there's data to support that, too. and we have plenty of new data this morning. here's what our brand-new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows, with just over two weeks to go until the midterms. among registered voters, democrats hold a seven-point lead in the generic ballot, 48-41. that's down significantly from the lead democrats held just a month ago pre-kavanaugh when it
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was 52-40. but wait, there's more. among likely voters, democrats' lead grows, from 50-49. it's the first time ever in our polling that our likely voter model shows a better number for the democrats than the registered voter number. normally, in midterms, republicans have the likely voter advantage. so what's different this year? it's the heightened enthusiasm for democrats among millennials, latinos, and younger women. groups that historically have had low turnout rates, but are making it into our likely voter model this year. as for president trump, he has his best numbers yet in our poll, among registered voters, 47% approve of his performance in office, while 49% disapprove. that's substantially better than his numbers last month in our poll, 44-52 approve/disapprove. but among those likely voters, 45% approve, 52% disapprove. there are a lot of questions leading up to this year's midterms. but here's what we do know. there's a higher interest in this election than any midterm
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we've ever measured. turnout will be through the roof. and the divide between men and women is growing with the democratic strength the result of unprecedented support among women. now, will it be enough to stop the republicans' post-kavanaugh bump? that's going to be the story of the next 16 days. >> democrats produce mobs, republicans produce jobs. >> president trump's closing argument is all about the base. >> democrats want to throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and ruthless gangs. >> and republican candidates are sounding more and more like mr. trump, repeating dire warnings on immigration. >> remember, it's going to be an election of the caravan. >> the caravan that's coming from central america. >> this migrant caravan. >> what about this freaking caravan? >> at times, using violent language. >> any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of -- >> i'm going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes. >> reporter: candidates are even
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recycling mr. trump's insults. >> he's a low-energy person. >> does he need some coffee? i think your teleprompters' a little too slow >> this base-first strategy banks on mr. trump's ability to bring out voters in more rural areas where he is popular. but the president's rhetoric is unlikely to help republicans in the suburban house districts, where they are already at a demographic disadvantage. and for the first time ever, in two straight nbc news/"wall street journal" polls, women favor democratic control of congress by a whopping 25 points. >> i think now we're going to hell in a hand basket. i just can't believe some of the antics that go on with the president of the united states. >> 70 of the 75 house seats the cook political report rates as competitive are held by republicans, including 25 that hillary clinton won in 2016. democrats need to flip just 23 of those 75 to win back the
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house. but the democratic enthusiasm advantage has narrowed after the kavanaugh fight. and the question is whether those fundamentals will be enough to produce not just a takeover, but a wave. >> pre-existing conditions. >> reporter: meanwhile, democrats are avoiding a broad national message, remaining laser-focused on a single issue skb . >> protections for pre-existing conditions. >> protections for pre-existing conditions. >> for pre-existing conditions. >> pre-existing health conditions. >> and with president obama largely absent from the campaign trail and house democratic leader nancy pelosi unpopular with independents, democrats running in states trump won are running away from the national party. >> are you a democrat? >> i am. >> proud democrat? >> oh, my gosh, it's hard to say proud. i don't know that -- i'm not sure that people are even proud of parties anymore. >> reporter: and even running away from democratic leaders. >> changing the players makes some sense. i think we ought to change the players. >> joining me now from chicago is the senate democratic whip,
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senator durbin. welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> good to be with you, chuck. >> i know you couldn't see that package, but you could hear it. the last voice in there was phil bredson running for that u.s. senate seat in tennessee, calling for a, quote, change of players when it comes to the democratic leadership. you're a member of this democratic leadership. when you hear that, is there going to be a change of players between yourself, senator schumer, nancy pelosi, or make your case for why it isn't necessary. >> chuck, that's tomorrow's newspaper. today's newspaper is about an election on november 6th. and let me tell you what we're doing. we're focusing on the issues that make a difference. i know that you probably had the pre-existing condition phrase in there a dozen times in that lead-in. that's because the american people put that as the highest priority. they want protection for their families. they know the republicans have voted consistently to take away that protection and file lawsuits to end it. that's why it's such an important issue, over and over again on a local basis. >> but let me go back to this
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leadership issue. you heard about the other voice in there was kirsten senema, the democratic nominee in arizona, saying, people don't like parties anymore. and obviously, both parties are unpopular in our poll right now. is that a problem for you, stloerthere are voters out there that you need to win over, who don't like the democratic party, and you have to make the case, you may not like us, but you may like the other side worse? >> i think kirsten's correct in making that assertion. but the bottom line is, we are doing well with those independent voters. take a look at what mitch mcconnell gave us this last weak. an insight into where the republicans are going if they continue to control congress. in order to deal with the deficits that they created, with the at the bill for the wealthy people and special interests, they are going to cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. those are fighting words for a lot of people, not just democrats, but independents, as well. pre-existing conditions, making
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sure that social security and medicare and medicaid are strong for years to come. that's a good basis to get a lot of people elected to congress. >> i want to play for you an ad that jackie rosen, she's the democratic nominee running in nevada, it's interesting in the message she's trying to send to nevada voters, which may surprise some viewers. take a listen. >> jackie rosen wrote legislation to improve veterans' health care and president trump signed it into law. >> jackie stood up to nancy pelosi to reform the va. >> so here's a democratic senate candidate in nevada talking about legislation that she got signed by president trump and essentially trying to distance herself from house democratic leadership nancy pelosi. what does that say about the power of the anti-trump message these days? >> i can tell you, jackie rosen, obviously knows the pulse of nevada. and she has come forward with the message that plays across the united states. agree with the president when he's right, be prepared to fight
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him, if necessary, when he's wrong. i'm working with the administration to disclose the cost of prescription drugs on the ads they put on television. secretary azar of the trump administration, whom i did not vote for in the cabinet, is working with me. i'd be glad to tell the people of illinois and anywhere that that's an important issue that we can work on together. but there are many differences, and they get down to pre-existing conditions, these basic entitlement programs, and making sure that this president has someone in congress who's going to keep an eye on him when he goes to an extreme position. >> one of the messages was jackie rosen trying to distance herself from the nancy pelosi attacks. i'm curious, if democrats ran the amount of ads republicans ran against pelosi, if they ran those same number of ads against mitch mcconnell, he'd be a pariah, too. why don't you go after republican leaders the way republicans go after democratic leaders?
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>> i don't think it's a message that really carries the day. voters are listening for both political parties to say something other than a political squabble is underway in washington. they're looking for us to address the issues that affect them and their future, the cost of prescription drugs, whether they've saved enough money for retirement, making sure that health insurance is available and affordable. these are things that drive the message home. the republicans can't win on those issues, so they get personal. >> i've talked to a lot of democratic activists this week in arizona, a lot of democratic strategists and a lot of them complained off the record about how senate democrats handled the kavanaugh situation and they're upset because it impacted those races. both races have changed post-kavanaugh. what would you do differently if you could do it again? >> chuck, that's a good question, but a tough one to answer. we are dealt cards in the senate judiciary committee that we never anticipated. the fact that would be a letter
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coming forward from dr. ford, which eventually became public, which led to a hearing, which we had not even planned, all of those things were unforeseen. this was not some the strategy that was laid out. it unfolded this way, we did the best we could under those circumstances. i still believe that we did the right thing in voting against brett kavanaugh for the supreme court. >> i want to move to the issue of the now confirmed dead journalist jamal khashoggi. the saudi government, after 17 days, now confirming that, yes, he died at the hands of some saudi intelligence agents. i've got to put up the changing story from them, though. it's amazing. it took them, for ten days, they were saying things like, we're investigating. they're looking, he left the consulate. that was one of their first explanations, saying, this idea that saudi arabia was responsible. that was baseless and false. then last week, they started working on a cover story. president trump suggested rogue killers were to blame. and then finally, they claim it was essentially an accidental death, as a result of some sort
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of brawl. is there any part of this story that you accept as credible from the saudi arabian government? >> no, and as a matter of fact, the only person on earth outside of the saudi kingdom who appears to accept it is president donald trump. here's what we ought to do and we ought to do it tomorrow morning. we ought to expel, formally expel the saudi ambassador from the united states, until there is a completion of a third party investigation into this kidnap, murder, and god knows what followed that occurred in istanbul. we should call on our allies to do the same. unless the saudi kingdom understands that civilized countries around the world are going to reject this conduct and make sure that they pay a price for it, they'll continue doing it. they have a fellow named raf badawi, a journalist that's currently in prison for criticizing the saudi regime. there's another man, walid alcare who's also facing imprisonment and torture if necessary by him unless he changes his criticism of the regime. if we want them to stop this and make it clear we don't accept it, we need to be decisive. expel that journalist, stop our
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assistance to their war in yemen, let them know they're going to pay a price. >> do you believe the crowned prince was ordered this killing? senator corker, this morning, says, he believes that the crowned prince himself ordered this. >> i believe it. five of his top personal bodyguards are among those currently accused in the 18. his personal body guards. and one of them has said public ayear ago, i don't move without an order from the executive. the crowned prince has his fingerprints all over this. and the fact that he is heading up the investigation makes it totally incredible. >> all right, senator dick durbin, i'm going to leave it there. senator, i appreciate your time and for coming on and sharing your views. >> thanks, chuck. >> joining me now the vice chair in charge of the committee getting senate chairs elected or re-elected, it's tom thihom til north carolina. let me start with the saudi arabia issue and the killing of mr. khashoggi. you probably may not have seen
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but at least heard the timeline. it took the saudis 17 days. same question that i had for senator durbin. is there any part of the saudi government's explanation that you find credible? >> no, not at this point. i agree with everything that dick durbin just said. we've got to get to the bottom of it. and saudi arabia, you do not do something of this magnitude without having clearance from the top. we need to find out who that is and hold them accountable. >> are you as convinced as senators corker and durbin are that the crowned prince himself ordered this killing? >> well, it looks like it based on the people that were involved in the actual act. i think that's why we need the help from the turkish officials to get as much information as we can, draw a conclusion, and then there has to be a consequence for it. >> what does a consequence look like? and what is the goal of the consequence? is it to get the saudis, the king, to name a new crowned prince? what would be the goal of the punishment? >> well, i think it is to hold the people accountable who committed this horrible act. and if it is the crowned prince, then i think that that is
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something that has to be explored. i don't believe that you can have someone who would authorize this sort of an act be in a position of power with a nation that's very important to us, but we have to have limits a as to how far we would go to work with them, in a very difficult, complex part of the world. and i think we have to do the investigation with the turkish officials, the saudi officials outside of the crowned prince to get to the bottom of it. >> are you at all concerned that the president seems to be maybe more patient than necessary with the saudi government? >> well, i think all you're seeing is the public response. i know that the state department and intelligence community and a number of other people are taking this seriously. we've got a lot of resources focused on it and i think the president will take the appropriate action when all the facts are in. >> can you imagine us having a relationship with the saudi government that's positive if the crowned prince is still there? >> no, i don't think so. i think if the facts lead to
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where we suspect they will, i think it will be very problematic for our relationship going forward. >> let me move to the midterms. the president says these midterms are about the following, the kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense. you're the vice chairman of the rnc. is that the best summation that you would advise republican candidates to give around the country? >> i think those are factors, but i believe historic job creation, historically low employment among latinos and african-americans, the economic performance, the work that we've done to get nato to contribute to our mutual defense. there are a lot of things that resonate with the voters. and again, i look at the topline numbers that you gave earlier in a more specific way. and how they're playing in states that we're targeting. we're looking very good in a number of other states. i fully expect we'll add to our numbers in the senate for the republicans. >> let me show you a column that conservative ramesh ponnuru
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wrote. at the end of 2017, house speaker paul ryan was pushing republicans to take up welfare reform, the trump administration talked up an infrastructure bill. the party compromised by not making a concerted effort on either. but republicans are trying to augment thaeft effort now and ty still have no agenda. what is your case for re-electing a republican in the senate going forward? >> i think you go back to the age-old questions in elections, do you feel better about your economic services today than you did two years ago? and i think the answer to that question is absolutely yes. i think most voters vote their pocketbook. i do believe that kavanaugh matter ended up increasing intensity on our side, but only slightly. we typically have greater intensity going into the off year elections, but i think this is about economic security, economic growth. those are promises that we've made and we've fulfilled. it's difficult to get some of the things done. we want to continue to work on infrastructure, but an ffa bill, the jobs, the economies, those
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sorts of things matter to the voters, and i think they're going to put us in a great position in the senate. >> one issue you didn't mention that senator durbin mentioned nonstop was health care and the issue of pre-existing conditions. in 2014, you ran, i remember covering your race down there, you ran as a replace obamacare republican. why aren't we hearing that this time around? we don't really hear about republicans talking repeal and replace. is it because of the popularity of the pre-existing condition clause? >> no, well, for one thing, it's a false narrative to say that we want to remove pre-existing conditions. i filed a bill, got several co-sponsors to try to -- in the event that a lawsuit throws out the affordable care act, we have to have a place with pre-existing conditions to land. we also have to allow young adults under the age of 26 to be on their parent's health care plan. it's a false narrative to say that republicans want to kill that. >> but in fairness, with you've had four years in the majority in the senate to come up with an alternative and two years with
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full republican control of washington. >> and i know you know how d.c. works probably better than i do. you've got to get 60 votes to make that happen. we did through reconciliation get rid of the individual mandate and take some of the underpinnings of the affordable care act out. we've got to replace it, in the same way that we've got to make sure that social security and medicare can be paid for and medicaid over time. what the democrats are not mentioning are widely publicized reports that say, if we stay on the current trajectory, we're going to have a crisis in funding in those programs. no one wants to take away medicare or social security or medicaid from people who need it, but we have to have is a sustainable solution and we need 60 votes to get that done. >> math is a funny thing here in washington. nobody seems to ever want to cite it, but we have a record-breaking deficit, a record-breaking debt every day, when you watch the debt clock, but a record-breaking deficit this year that may surpass $1 trillion annually, never mind, obviously wit
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obviously, the multiples of that in the debt. the president yesterday is talking about a new tax cut. you're talking about reforming social security and medicare. where -- how are you going to pay for this tax cut that the president is apparently proposing? >> well, we've got to make sure that it's at least supported by facts around dynamic growth. it has to pay for itself. we can't go further in debt. i voted against the spending bill, the most recent one, because it was just too much money being spent. and so we've got to -- we've got to get the american people to recognize that we have a powder keg of dynamite and a debt that's continuing to grow. we're reaching a point where our debt service could exceed our contribution or our investment in the military. we've got to make sure that the american people understand. we've got to balance our books. we've got to be on a budget, just like the american people are. >> you just said that you wanted any new tax cut to pay for itself. this current tax cut is clearly not paying for itself. the debt's increasing, not decreasing. and there's no sign it's going to decrease. >> if you take a look at the
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scoring for economic growth over time, i think that there is a way to rationalize that this tax cut will pay for itself through sustained economic growth. if we don't make the numbers, it won't. but if we do and we're already seeing it early into this cycle, i do believe we create the net increment increment incremental revenue. it's not going to be close to increasing our debt. that's where we'll have to look at tough choices so we can balance our books. >> senator thom tillis, republican from north carolina, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. >> thank you. when we come back, which is stronger, the democratic bounce or the sustained anger at president trump? the panel is next. and as we go to break, some of what i heard this week from voters on my trip out west to arizona and nevada. >> i look at the people who are doing these negative ads and then i almost, to a point, want to not vote for those people, because of the tactics that they're using. and my dad, adven. they baptized me in mud
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and christened me on rock, so i got tougher. they fostered a love of learning, so i got smarter. taught me to appreciate the finer things in life, so i became more civilized and refined. thank you, freedom and adventure, for giving me this rugged, civilized, wandering soul.
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welcome back. the panel is here. eugene robinson, peggy noonian, my friend katy tur, and david brody, chief political analyst for cbn news. welcome, all. so, trying to figure out what this poll is showing us today, in our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. and let's put it in a little bit of historical context here. presidential job approval, connected to seats lost in the first midterm. we go back. here's president trump sitting at 47%. that seems to be an improvement for him. but what would 47% job rating mean in the past when it comes to a midterm result? president obama had exactly that, a 47% job approval rating in 2010. his party lost 63 seats. bill clinton in 1994, in this same period of time in october had a 48% approval rating and lost 54 seats. so peggy noonan, should republicans feel better or worse this morning when they look at the nbc news/"wall street
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journal" poll? >> i think they should feel as confused as everybody else. the good news for republicans is only six months ago, i think we were all talking about a blue wave that we knew was coming and was going to be very significant. we're not quite talking that way anymore. it looks more interesting and complicated state by state. the continuing mystery that is not a mystery is how a president and an administration can have what is essentially peace and prosperi prosperity, or economic growth and no new wars and still be struggling to get to 50%, which in the approval polls, which if you can't is a drag on all of your people. it just is the central fact, i think, of the coming election. >> that's if you standard political gravity. and i don't think you can do that with donald trump. and i do think that there is an argument to be made for people telling pollsters one thing, but believing another thing.
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and i think that people should be wary of this going forward. it just feels a lot, and i hate to be debbie downer for democrats or for republicans or for anyone, or for the standard messaging, i should say, but this feels at like 2016. it feels a lot like how everyone was talking in 2016, the democrats are going to win, it's going to be a landslide, donald trump are going to pull down all republicans. there's no way they're ever going to win. and when you talk to people on the road, they talk about health care a lot, but they're also not necessarily talking about, when you talk to a variety of people, how much they hate donald trump. >> it's funny you bring that up. let me bring up amy walter, because you channeled her column that i wanted to use to get you guys talking. she noted the differences or similarities to 2016 and she writes, the clinton campaign led with a message that emphasized her stability and his lack of judgment and decency. that didn't work out so well, so this year they're leaving the
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debates to the cable tv panels. so these are the gaps between, on the generic ballot, between those who say the economy is number one, republicans have a 28-point advantage in the generic battle. among those, immigration is your top issue. you have a 19% advantage. those on the republican side. but look at this advantage for democrats among those who care about health care, which is, with the economy, one of the top two issues, and it's a 47% advantage. >> and that's what -- that's why democrats are going to keep talking about health care and pre-existing conditions, you're going to hear that phrase, until it's ringing in your ears. you know, there still could be a blue wave. or there might not be any wave at all. the only thing that feels like 2016 to me is the squishiness. and the big uncertainty is, for democrats to do really, really well, democratic voters have to do something that they don't usually do, which is vote in midterms. and so people who don't usually vote in midterms have to come out. for republicans to hold on, they
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actually have to do the same thing, even though republicans do vote in midterms, the trump base not made of the hard-core base, it's not the regular voters. he brought out people who don't often or usually vote, regularly vote. and they have to come out of the midterm. >> that trump base has been fired up, obviously, since the brett bounce, as we've been talking about. there's no doubt about it. anecdotally, my sources on the ground telling me all the time. for example, north carolina, a state that doesn't have a statewide election. 80 folks, after those kavanaugh hearings, 80 folks that were not registered voters went ahead and registered with republican party. it's anecdotal. the point is that that is kind of an interesting story to kind of give you a sense of that brett bounce. i'll say this. i think we put up the economy, immigration, all of these -- anger is the number one issue on both sides. and with donald trump, and i will say, that the democrats had the anti-trump venom going for them. they had the super soaker, if you will. the problem is now republicans -- the problem for democrats is that republicans
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now have their own super soaker in brett kavanaugh. and i will just say, you mentioned 2010 in 1994, what was motivating in those elections? the tea party in 2010? the contract with america in 1994, and both democrats suffered under it. this time around, you don't have that full-on hate, because you have it on both sides. and that's a big difference. >> one specific group to watch, if you remember the special election in alabama, black women voted in huge numbers. and we, just people i know down there, before that election, i just heard stuff i hadn't heard of before, in terms of organizing, activity, enthusiasm for elections. i would watch that particularly throughout the south, in a state like north carolina, south carolina, in georgia, especially, where there's a great big governance election, i would watch that group. >> you know, peggy, i want to point out one other thing. one of the missing pieces of analysis in 2016 that we didn't surface in time, that i think would have helped us understand the election better, which was,
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where people were leaning that didn't like both clinton and trump. and he won those voters 2-1. well, i wanted to put this graphic up. these are people who don't like either political party right now. in september, the split between, who did they want to be in control of congress among people who were negative on both parties was advantage democrats, but narrowly, 33/38. look at this number here in october. among those that are negative on both, it is suddenly an open break here towards the democrats. 59/17. that's what we saw with donald trump, peggy, it was narrow in september. october came and the ones that were negative on both broke heavily towards donald trump. what does that tell you? >> and now it's breaking heavily towards the democrats in general, towards that kind of thing. i don't know, exactly, what it means. my sense in this campaign, in a way to bop off something you said, katy, is that there are a lot of different local issues coming up that have something to
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do with the overall trend. i'm also wondering if issues like dick durbin mentioned, he started saying, those republicans are going to cut your social security, they're going to cut your medicare, cut your medicaid. that's something that's going to be coming up. and many people who supported donald trump were very, don't touch my social security, medicare, medicaid. so maybe a little bit of that is going on. >> ai've had anecdotal evidence from some republicans who say, they're nervous that some trump voters may vote donald trump because they trust donald trump. that's who they trust, you know, punish the republicans. >> don't really like the republican party or republican gop. >> and that's why donald trump is going out on the campaign trail and making it all about himself. that's why he's saying, i'm at the top of the ticket, even though i'm not at the top of the ticket. he's making it about trump. >> all right, guys, i have to pause it here, but we'll pick it up. when we come back, the revolving
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door in the trump west wing keeps revolving. white house council don mcgahn became the latest person to go through the door. and one man who walked through that door is here to tell us what it's like to go through the resolving door and tell us about president trump. it's anthony scaramucci, he's next. but first, here's more from my visits to arizona and nevada. >> well, i have my nephew, he's a dreamer. he feels the fear and i tell him, you know, that's what i'm here for. i'm fighting.
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welcome back. the trump administration has broken records for turnover among staffers in the west wing. just this week, white house counsel don mcgahn left his job. after months of speculation and after successfully shepherding brett kavanaugh's confirmation
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to the u.s. supreme court. already the white house is on its second chief of staff, its third national security adviser, and its fifth communications director. the person with me, most noteworthy and shortest stint in the west wick is one of those, anthony scaramucci. he's now out with a new book about his time in president trump's orbit, before he became president, "trump: the blue collar president." welcome, mr. scaramucci. >> thank you. >> so the timing of your book comes out as we got reports of a screaming match between a former boss of your, john kelly, former chief of staff with john bolton over the issue of immigration. according to our sources, it was over some comments the national security adviser made to the secretary of homeland security, a former deputy to the chief of staff. john kelly apparently walked out furious. there was rumors of potential
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resignations. how familiar was -- how familiar was that scene to you? >> was there any profanity? there could have been, right? >> possibly some profanity. >> look, the scene's not really that familiar to me. remember, my incident was on a phone line with a reporter who i shouldn't have trusted. so that's my fault and i totally own that. but i think the more relevant thing is, people are playing -- it's the nfl of verbal contact. so people are playing very hard for the president. i don't know what happened in that specific incident. but, you know, i know that the westing wing and the way the president has set up the west wing, it's tough in there for people. >> you were pretty tough on general kelly in your book. i'll put up an excerpt here. the general's style would be in direct conflict with how mr. trump has always conducted businesses. it's been over a year since john kelly has become chief of staff, but his personal insecurity has proven to be a poor match with the self-confident, gregarious
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president. >> i think that's pretty self-evident. i think even just this past week, i applaud the general's service to the country. obviously, 40 years in the u.s. marine corps, but this is a very different job. this is a civilian-based job. and i think he's tried to apply military-like management style to a group of civilians. and so that doesn't necessarily work. and by the way, you know, the president has a free-wheeling style, very different from john kelly. >> did you seem personally mistreated by john kelly? you seemed pretty mistreated by him in this book. >> he could have fired me in a different matter. i gave a tremendous amount of money to the campaign, raised a tremendous amount of money. did countless numbers of media and advocacy during the campaign. even after the president was inaugurated, there was a better way to fire him. he was trying to make a spectacle out of it and he got the spectacle he wanted. it was upsetting at the time. i write about in the book what i thought was an honest assessment
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of him. and i stand by the words in the book. >> should the president even have a chief of staff given the way he likes to work? >> yeah, i think he needs a chief of staff, but he needs a chief of staff that really likes him and gets his personality. >> you don't think john kelly likes the president? >> do you? >> i don't know him personally and i don't want to -- >> i travel around the country and ask people that rhetorical question. it doesn't come across like he does. by the way, the bob woodward book, i don't know, he seems like a pretty accurate journalist to me. so i don't like john kelly calling the president the things that he's called him. i think it's wrong. and so for me, i have no problem standing up for myself or telling you what i think about john kelly or the situation with the president. having said that, i applaud the guy's surface, but it's not just me, chuck. he hurt morale inside the place and he's hurt the president. he has hissy fits. he left last week after the report that he had with ambassador bolton. that's his personality.
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the good news is, i'm being vindicated by that, because he's demonstrating his personality now the way he really is. >> i'm curious, interacted can president trump. as candidate trump, you weren't quite onboard with him. i think you were formally with scott walker. toyed with going with jeb bush. what finally convinced you that donald trump had what it took that scott walker didn't? >> i actually relate this in the book. i met with the president the day after "the apprentice" finale. we sat in his office and we were joking about him running for president. i didn't believe him at the time and i was already hooked into scott walker. but what i like about the president, he's a very loyal guy. when i explained to him that my loyalties were to scott walker and jeb bush, he then said, okay, well, after i clean their clocks, will you come work for me? and i said, absolutely. so after the south carolina primary, i went to the president's office with senator scott brown, a friend of mine from tuf's. so we went up there together and had a great conversation and
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began building the blocks for the financing operation. and when he brought in steven, steven mnuchin, things really started to kick in. >> you know, watching a bunch of democrats thinking about trying to run against president trump in 2020, and we've seen different potential candidates try to go after him in different ways. michael avenatti, i think someone has been trying to put the two of you together for some sort of talk show. he's been trying to go at him directly. elizabeth warren responded to some of the criticism, the crazy nickname stuff more formally. what is the best way to go after president trump? what advice would you give a democrat on how do you go after his insults? >> look, as you know, i really care for the president. and i'm a big supporter, so i don't like giving them advice. but i think the big mistake they're all making is they go right into the trump insect twitter light. so the minute he shoots at them, they cannot help themselves and they drive themselves right into that light and they get vaporized by him. the incident with senator warren, she should really read my book so she can understand
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how the president -- you have to think about the miracle of what he did. he hijacked the republican party to get their nomination and hijacked the base of the other republican and moved it over to the republican party. and i try to write about that in the book. because i have an experience as a kid who grew up in a blue collar neighborhood, in a blue collar family, and i think i've seen the whole bandwidth of this stuff. but my recommendation to people is don't engage him in that area, because you're going to lose. he's just way more talented than you in that area. >> before i let you go, you said you and your team from sky bridge capital, you're still going to go to the saudi arabia finance capital. >> yeah. >> is that still your final answer? why? >> listen, sky bridge is not a political organization. i -- >> why give any american credibility to them right now? >> well, i'm not really trying to give them credibility. remember, i have a ton of business saudi arabia unrelated to the government. i have a kuwaiti resident that services sky bridge out of the region and i'm a pretty big delegator. and i let those guys make the decision on whether or not to go
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or not. he's visiting with people not related to the government. those meetings were already scheduled. he suggested to me as the managing partner of sky bridge to let minimum him go. >> so you're comfortable still? >> i'm comfortable with him going. i'm not comfortable with what happened or what the saudi government did to the journalist. i'm not comfortable with that at all. >> anthony scaramucci, got to leave it there. the book, "the blue collar president." good luck on the tour. >> thank you. when we come back, who do you hold responsible for dividing america and what can we do to fix about it? >> be bipartisan. stop being simp, don't look at the party.
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welcome back. data download time. there's some good news in our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. americans agree on at least one thing. the bad news, they agree on how divided we are. a whopping 80% of respondents think the country is divided. somehow, there are 19% that claim we're united. and you can see the divisions across all facets of american life. democrats and republicans, clinton voters, trump voters. folks who live in urban, suburban, and rural areas. in all of these groups, at least 70% think the country is mainly or totally divided. and if we're just talking about political divisions between democrats and republicans, 90% see this as a serious problem facing this country. only 10% think it is not a serious problem. but where there is disagreement, it's about who's to blame for this division. among those who strongly approve of president trump, they place most of the blame for the
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country's divisions, not surprisingly, on the democratic party and liberals. they also lay blame at barack obama, godlessness, and even a few people cite president trump. on the other side of this coin, those who strongly disapprove of this president blame none other than the president himself followed closely by the republican party. but even those with neutral feelings about president trump's job performance, they still blame him for the country's divisions, followed closely by the democratic party and liberals. and they throw us in the media in as well. look, it is not breaking news that the country is divided. but after being out on the road this week, i felt there is a sense of exhaustion and anxiety over this division and this poll proves it. and until voters punish politicians for creating these divides, right now, there's no seven-day for them to lead by example. when we come back, end game and why democrats hope history repeats itself. idn't fit right. they were too loose. it's getting in the way of our camping trips. but with a range of sizes,
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♪ back now with "end game" and a fitting, i think, coda to the divide segment i just had. one thing we agree upon in this country is that we're so divided. we've had a couple of mob scenes where democrats -- where leaders of the democrats and of the republicans were both publicly harassed. here's a scene with house democratic leader nancy pelosi in miami earlier this week.
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>> [ bleep ]. get the [ bleep ] out of here. >> hurry up. >> dade county republican party chairman apologized for the treatment of that. meanwhile, mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader, tmz posted this video from friday night in a restaurant in louisville. he is getting harassed. take a listen. >> why don't you get out of here? why don't you leave our entire country alone. >> [ inaudible ]. >> peggy noonan, each party and i've watched them and it really disgusts me. they try to weaponize these on the other side saying what an angry mob saying is on the left or these angry people on the right. we have angry people left and right. this isn't made up. it's ugly. it's bad. and i think leaders of both parties need to accept that. >> somebody's got to calm it
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down. we've got two weeks to go. people are on edge. they're fighting the fact that we live in the media world that we live in means everything is taped so everybody can see it and everybody can get a little bit madder. but i think somebody has to come forward. maybe a group of people, and so you know what, everybody, calm down. >> normally that would be the -- >> this is a democracy. >> normally that would be the fleft united states but he's bragging about body slamming reporters. >> he could be one of many voices. >> the president does it, obviously, and it works with his base, but at the same time, look on the other side. eric holder, kick them. nancy pelosi, collateral damage. >> where did this all start? you have to acknowledge that the heating up of the rhetoric and the anger and the punch him in the face and the body slam them, that started when donald trump started campaigning and suddenly he moved the conversation down lowered the bar.
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>> we're 16 days away from an election that a lot of people care intensely about. this will calm down. it will calm down after the election. >> i'm not sure. >> i'm not sure either. >> this is -- we're coming up to a really important election. and our constitution guarantees people the right to -- >> protest. speak. >> and to tell our officials what they think of them. >> radicalism is encouraged, though. >> it's encouraged in every facet. you get on social media. all you see is this person is evil. that person is the devil. thank you so much for hitting back at that person. you see it in every aspect of the discussion on social media, even when we do interviews. you and i have talked about this with either person, either side of the political spectrum. you'll have raw story coming out and saying chuck todd slams down -- >> or katy tur rips apart why. it's the way we talk about things and the way things are described that's dwividing the
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country. >> the voter is responsible for this. how they get their information. they go into cocoons on both sides. >> can i tell you also, too many people are living just for politics. they see themselves as political beings. they go forward into the world with political anger. we are narrowing what we are. americans used to think of themselves as religious beings, people who loved a team. this and that. it's now like i'm about politics and i'm going to get in your face. it's wicked, and it's not going to help us. >> politicians have failed for so long, for decades and decked a -- decades. along comes president trump. when you go after 30, 40 years of this, you'll have issues of where we are today. >> final word, gene. >> 16 days. this is a really big election. everybody who has all this energy, go and vote. vote. don't scream vote. don't harass vote.
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that should be our new mantra. thank you all, by the way. you guys were disagreeing without being disagreeable. we can set a great example for america. that's all we have for today. thank you for watching. we'll be back next week because if it's sunday, and it's the week before the election, you know it's "meet the press." with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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