‘Meet the Press’ Transcript (8-19-12)
GREGORY: Governor McDonnell for all of the energy and the excitement on the Republican side that you have talked about you do have Republicans talking about risk, risk politically, and the fact that a Ryan budget that a lot of Republicans have been running away from, ever since he first introduced it.
GOV. MCDONNELL: Good morning, David. And good to be on with my friend, Martin. This is a serious election. And it calls for serious candidates that have real solutions. So, we are in debt 16 trillion dollars. We have a horrific economy with the president’s policies–8.3 percent unemployment, over eight percent in 42 months. It takes big ideas, and– and things that are going to take some sacrifice for a lot of people in order to get our country back on track. Paul Ryan has been honest about what it’s going to take. Medicaid is in trouble. Medicare is going to go broke in twelve years. And it takes some real changes in the spending habits of the United States of America to get our country back on track. So I think Paul Ryan’s a serious candidate with real solutions. Time for rhetoric is over. There’s plenty of rhetoric out of this administration. And now we need real answers about how to get America out of debt and back to work. And Paul Ryan’s got some good ideas on how to do it.
GREGORY: As you both know, his counterpart, the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, created one of the more emotional moments on the campaign trail this week, raised a lot of eyebrows, got a lot of back and forth going. He was talking, Tuesday, in Virginia about Romney/Ryan policies with regard to financial regulation, and this is what he said.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (Danville, VA): Romney wants to let– he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. He’s going to put you all back in chains.
GREGORY: Governor O’Malley, put you all back in chains. What was the Vice President doing there? Was he over the top?
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GOV. O’MALLEY: I think it was an indelicate play on the Republican words of shackling the economy with regulations and shackling small businesses, and so it was– it was certainly an– an indelicate choice of words.
GREGORY: He wasn’t injecting race into the campaign?
GOV. O’MALLEY: There’s not a racist bone in Joe Biden’s body. I’ll tell you the injection of race into this campaign has been coming from the false allegations, allegations that PolitiFact and others have said are totally false on a very racially– racially imbued issue of welfare reform. The false attacks on the President, I think, are– are far more out of line than the indelicate choice of words of the Vice President.
GREGORY: Governor McDonnell, your former governor in Virginia Doug Wilder had a different view. He spoke this week and took issue with the Vice President and the President, as well. This is what he said after those remarks.
FMR. GOV. DOUGLAS WILDER (D-VA): When he says they are going to put you all back in the chains, what he means, you were there. I wasn’t. And when you go back, I won’t be going with you. Biden’s remarks brought race into the campaign, and they were not necessary. Cool it. Back up. And there’s nothing wrong with saying I was wrong. I had never intended to do this. What I said was inappropriate, it was wrong. You can’t defend it.
GREGORY: Now look, the President, the Vice President have said there was no racial connotation here that he meant. This is over scrutinizing what candidates say when there are so many words that are said in this day and age on a campaign trail. How do you see it?
GOV. MCDONNELL: I– I agree with Governor Wilder. And President Obama and the gov– Vice President Biden have doubled down on those remarks. Listen, in the last couple of weeks you’ve had that incendiary and way over the top remark, you’ve had allegations about Mitt Romney not paying taxes, you’ve got a super-PAC ad that says that Mitt Romney actually killed somebody’s wife. I mean this is way over the top. Honest debates about issues, I would say, whether it’s welfare reform or other things that are based on policy, that’s fair game. We can disagree on that respectfully. But these character attacks about the other side are just horrific. But I understand it, because if you’ve got a record where you’ve got 16 trillion in debt, and no energy plan, and a jobless rate over 40– 42 months over eight percent, of course you can’t run a campaign on the issues and you’re going to have to resort to that. I think it’s way beneath the dignity of the American people. Very different than the hope and change campaign, very optimistic in 2008. Now it’s negative and divisive. And I think the more we focus on serious issues like debt and Medicare reform and these issues, it will be better for the people.