Meet the Press viewers got to see a classic Left-Right debate Sunday.
In a discussion about which presidential candidate is the most trustworthy, New York Times columnist David Brooks surprisingly teamed up with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to school the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (video follows with NBCNews.com transcript and commentary):
MR. DAVID BROOKS (Columnist, New York Times): Well, you know, I think-- well, I first think it has been the worst campaign I’ve ever covered. And I think they’re both ending on the same note they started. Obama’s doing a negative campaign. He’s got an ad out which is called "Rember," which is about Obama-- which is about Romney, the plutocrat. It’s about the flip-flop what we’ve just heard on the stump. So it’s almost pure negativity. Romney is finishing, trying to appeal to moderates, trying to appeal to-- to women, which is a bipartisan ad which is saying, you know, I don’t care if it’s a republican idea or democratic idea, I’m going to be for that. And, you know, so he has shape shift. That’s not who he is. That’s not who his policies are. So I regard this is an ad-- as a campaign that has answered none of our fundamental issues about both these guys, how they would govern for next four years. And they are finishing as badly as they started.
MR. E.J. DIONNE (Columnist, Washington Post; Author, Our Divided Political Heart): See, I disagree with David. I think this election is a fundamental choice and I think the trust issue links closely with the economic issue. Romney is almost one as a product. It’s like if you’re selling a car--you want air-conditioning, I’ll give you air-conditioning. You want rich, Corinthian leather, remember those old ads, I’ll give you a leather. Romney is saying you want right wing in the primary, I’ll give you that. You want centrist in the election, I’ll give you that. And the auto rescue is a good example where he was clearly against it. And in the debate, trying to suggest that he was for it. And I think it’s entirely appropriate that the auto rescue has been so important to Obama running so well in Ohio, because it’s really a choice. Either government should just sit by and let the market do its thing or government can come in and correct certain market outcomes and prevent catastrophe. That is the kind of choice we face in this election.
Readers not watching the video are advised that Brooks really seemed to take issue with this and kind of got in Dionne's face a little bit:
MR. BROOKS: I mean, if-- if you want to talk about trust, what Obama is talking about on the trail, first of all, there’s no second term agenda. Second, when he goes off the record with the Des Moines register last week, he gives out a second term agenda which is nothing like what he’s been talking about on the trail.
MR. DIONNE: That’s not true. It’s not true at all.
MR. BROOKS: Okay. Wait. So let’s talk about cutting corporate tax rates, talking about weeding out immigration.
MR. DIONNE: He said that all along.
MR. BROOKS: He’s talked about immigration reform which he’s not talked about much in public.
MR. DIONNE: Yes, he has.
MR. BROOKS: And he’s talked about a grand bargain with cutting spending two dollars and fifty cents for every dollar of tax revenue. That’s a much…
MR. DIONNE: Which is his proposal he’s put on the table.
MR. BROOKS: …that-- that is not what he’s been running on.
CARLY FIORINA: But-- but I think if-- if you-- if you want to talk about being factually accurate, it is factually inaccurate to say that Governor Romney was against the rescue of the auto industry. If you read his entire op-ed, you guys are journalists I assume you believe that words are important.
MR. DIONNE: I did read his entire op-ed just this week.
MS. FIORINA: And what he says in that op-ed is that he believed that the government should have provided financial guarantees. The difference between Governor Romney’s approach and President Obama’s approach is who gets to stand first in line to get paid off.
MR. DIONNE: There was no money in the market that was going to go into the auto industry and that was a recipe...
MS. FIORINA: That’s what he said in the op-ed the government should provide guarantee.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: What-- what government-- what government-- what government…
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Okay. Hold-- hold on. Rachel, quick comment here, then I want to get back to Chuck on Ohio. Go ahead.
MS. MADDOW: What Governor Romney said was you can kiss the automotive industry good-bye if President Obama goes ahead with the auto rescue plan that he went ahead with. That saved the auto rescue, auto industry.
MR. DIONNE: Exactly.
MS. MADDOW: And that-- and-- and it-- it was a success. And Mister Romney is trying to deny the fact that he was against it and he’s trying to take some of the credit for it.
GREGORY: All right. We’re going to get…
MS. FIORINA: The company that is doing best, Ford Motor Company was not rescued.
Indeed - an inconvenient truth folks like Dionne and Maddow refuse to acknowledge or accept.
Nice job, Carly and David. Brava and bravo!