Chuck Todd opened his first “Meet the Press,” surrounded by the press. At a new desk, with Todd at its center, NBC’s political director introduced those around him: MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Nia Malika Henderson of the “Washington Post,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and waiting in the wings, BuzzFeed’s John Stanton and Amy Walter, formerly of ABC News, now with the Cook Political Report.
Said Todd: “Obviously it’s a pretty big honor for me to be sitting in this chair as the 12th moderator of this program following in the footsteps of the likes of Martha Rountree, Lawrence Spivak, Tim Russert and, of course, David Gregory.”
“As you can see, we’re making a few changes around here. As I like to say, we’re living in a house as we remodel it, so the program in this studio will continue to evolve over the coming months.”
Todd began the show with his one-on-one with Pres. Obama on the issue of ISIS. He then got reaction from his guests. The second segment included Todd’s Obama interview as it pertained to domestic issues, and again, analysis from the press, including Walter and Stanton, who, like Todd, sports facial hair: “because we didn’t have enough goatees,” Todd joked.
The next block included a new segment called “Who needs Washington?” Kevin Tibbles reported on how Oklahoma City is just one city moving forward without much help from Washington, DC, followed by in-studio interviews with the mayors of Oklahoma City, Tacoma and Pittsburgh — a republican, an independent and a democrat, respectively.
In following segments, Todd homed in on some close midterm election races, then more of his interview with the president, including Todd asking the president if he could have that moment, where he commented on the death of journalist James Foley, then went to play a round of golf. “It is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere. Part of what I would love is a vacation from the press,” said the president. “I promise you that in two and a half years,” said Todd. Then more discussion with his guests on the importance of optics, then Todd ended the show with another new segment: “What everyone in Washington knows, but is afraid to say,” focusing on Hillary Clinton and whether she’ll run for president. Scarborough still isn’t convinced she’ll run.
Following the signature sign-off, the credits rolled and Todd got a round of applause from the press. If this first episode is any indication, they will be playing a key role on a program that will again be emblematic of its title.