MIW Students often say that their fondest memories from Washington are about opportunities not available in Ann Arbor.  Through a very lucky connection, Junior Mark Chou (MIW Fall 2011) and colleagues at the Washington Center were invited to attend a taping on Sunday, November 20, 2011 of NBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory featuring special guests Senator John Kerry and Senator John Kyl.  The two senators were members of the congressional Super Committee assigned the task of forging a deficit reduction deal.  Later, Mr. Gregory hosted a round table discussion with:

Eugene Robinson (journalist, Washington Post),
Dee Dee Myers
(former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton),
Mike Murphy
(Republican political consultant),
Ed Gillespie (Republican strategist and former Counselor to President George W. Bush). 

This taping occurred right before the Super Committee announced that it had not accomplished its task, and the frustration was apparent in the senators’ interactions.  Mark notes that “while the two senators were taped separately and did not engage in direct debate, each attacked the other side during the interview, stating that their opponent did not seek compromise.  After the interview, Mark was able to chat with Senator Kerry and describes him as a friendly, outgoing, and humorous person. 

During the round table discussion, members of the panel discussed the upcoming 2012 elections, the “Occupy” protests that have swept over the country, and Americans’ growing frustration with DC.  Mark spoke with one of the interns working at Meet the Press who wakes up at 3 am every morning in order to get to the studio in time to prepare for the program.  He observed that the feeling on set was relaxed and calm and the crew was professional and hard-working. 

Mark and the others were introduced to Mr. Gregory, whom they thanked for the opportunity to attend the special taping.  Mr. Gregory asked their opinions about Meet the Press, and Mark observed  that the program has changed the way in which people view politics and shaped how politicians deliver their message.  According to Mark, Meet the Press has spurred the public’s growing interest in politics and spawned other similar programs.  The crew deserves the high-ratings and praise it earns each week.”

Mark is back in Ann Arbor for winter term.  He worked as a Policy and Advocacy Intern at the Center for American Progress this past fall.  Mark, a Political Science major with a minor in Writing, thought that spending a semester in Washington would be a good way to supplement his education and see the government in action.  Until graduation in 2013, Mark plans to follow up his internship with community organizing work in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas with an emphasis on helping underserved areas get registered to vote. 

Click here for a link to a broadcast of the taped session.