Rick Perry Tells Chuck Todd He Will 'Not Be Invited' to Moderate Presidential Debate

During the Republican Governors Association conference on Wednesday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd spent more than half of an hour-long panel discussion grilling several GOP governors on illegal immigration and President Obama's upcoming executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. The Republicans pushed back hard against the NBC host.  

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called him out: "We have an hour. We've now spent 30 minutes talking about the President breaking the law tomorrow....I'd like to talk about energy, I'd like to talk about education." Minutes later, after Todd continued to harp on the issue, Texas Governor Rick Perry remarked: "Here's what I'm thinking: You will probably not be invited to do a moderation for a presidential debate." That prompted laughter and applause from the audience.

Ohio Governor John Kasich added: "One of my friends said, 'Why would they have Chuck Todd and not George Will? I mean, what's the story with this?'"

(h/t TVNewser)

Here is a transcript of Todd's immigration questions during the November 19 event:

CHUCK TODD: We're going to go for about an hour. And I figure we're going to kick off with just talking about some issues of the day. And I hear there's some news that might be made on immigration. And I want to start first with – three of our five governors here have all served in Congress. And so, Governor Kasich, let me start with you. You're close with Speaker Boehner, you've served in Congress. How should congressional leadership respond to the President's action that he is going to announce tomorrow night? How should – what would you advise congressional leadership to respond?


TODD: Governor Pence, you were in House leadership at one time. There's lots of stuff that's being talked about. Power of the purse, you've said that. Power of the purse could set up a showdown that could make for some ugly politics. Is that where you're head is at?


TODD: Governor Jindal, the third member – third governor up here who has Washington experience. I know you have to hide that these days. But would you – would the congressional Republicans be in a better negotiating position had House Republicans passed something last year? You know, started this incremental – and that's what the White House says, "Hey, we have waited and waited and waited for the House to do anything. There's nothing that they've done on this issue."


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL [R-LA]: I think the President's the one that bears responsibility. I think he sets a dangerous-

TODD: You don't think the House Republicans have any responsibility here for not passing anything in the nearly two years that they had the Senate bill?


TODD: Now Governor Perry, with what it appears the President's going to announce is basically somewhat codifying via an executive order the reality that's already there. We're not deporting these folks. There seems to be consensus that nobody wants to break up families. So these are parents of people that are legally here. Aren't we sort of arguing over something nobody was ever going to – nobody was ever gonna enforce anyway?

GOV. RICK PERRY [R-TX]: No. And let me address your question about the Republicans in Congress...

TODD: Yes, please do.

PERRY: ...from my perspective. Is one of the reasons they didn't do that is the American people are not for it. So what you're going to see is this president is gonna take this action, supposedly, tomorrow that is unconstitutional, in his own words.

TODD: We don't know if it's unconstitutional yet.

PERRY: In his own words he said a year ago that this was not legal for him to do. Now he did say that. Whether it's statutorily or Constitutionally, I'll let the lawyers hash that out. But what he admitted that he couldn't do what he's going to do tomorrow.


TODD: Governor Walker, you haven't spoken on this yet. I guess I go to – I want to pick up on something Governor Perry said about – he talked about a singular stand-alone bill on border security. Where is it? I mean, the House Republicans could put something up. I'm just saying the conversation could be a lot different right now if there was a bill that the House Republicans passed on border security. I am right?


TODD: Do any of the other of you on this topic, do you think you should go to the – that congressional leadership should go to the brink? Governor Kasich is saying let cooler heads prevail. There's other talk. Do you force – do you engage in the budgetary aspect and force a shutdown? Does anybody here think that should be done?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER [R-WI]: Well, Chuck, I wouldn't push a shutdown. I think you go to court.

TODD: You would go to the courts, you wouldn't do this legislatively?

WALKER: I'd go to the courts because I think there's a pretty compelling argument. I mean, Rick, you alluded to that.

TODD: Who's the aggrieved party in this, by the way? Because I assume there is going to be a court challenge. But I'm curious, who is the aggrieved party that would file this?

WALKER: Well, I think the American people.


TODD: Let's go back to immigration. I mean, wouldn't we be having a different conversation if the House had passed something? Governor Walker.

WALKER: No, again-

TODD: I mean, don't you think if they had passed something on immigration? Some form of a bill that maybe he didn't like but there was something there to begin with.

WALKER: No, this has always been a political tool for this president. If he was serious about it, several mentioned this before, he would have dealt with it when he had the House and the Senate. This has been a political tool for this president all along. He brings it out when it comes up to time to get him elected or someone else elected, when he thinks it serves him well.

TODD: Do you view it as a problem?

WALKER: What's that?

TODD: Is immigration a problem? It sounds like you don't view it as a problem though.

WALKER: No, absolutely. But I'm saying-

TODD: Because I would argue politics have been played on immigration on both sides, a lot. Let's not pretend it's not....You don't feel like immigration's a big issue?


TODD: Let me just say, one of my pet peeves is I hear "secure the border." Give me a metric that tells you. What's the metric?

PERRY: Well, you come to the border, I'll show you.

TODD: No, but what's the metric?

PERRY: You're going to give me the same answer the President is.

TODD: But what's the metric? What is it?


TODD: Do you think we're will eventually going to have to have, with the 11 million or 12 million that are here, right? We know the issue. So do you think that eventually – can any of you eventually support some form of a path to citizenship for them? Because one of the things, it does – if you say they pay a fine and back taxes and get in the back of the line in fifteen years, is there an eventual path to citizenship for these folks, do you think? Or no?


JINDAL: We have an hour. We've now spent thirty minutes talking about the President breaking the law tomorrow. Scott's tried, I've tried. I'd like to talk about energy, I'd like to talk about education. I'd like to talk about-

TODD: This is not an insignificant issue.

JINDAL: It is significant, but Scott's right. The American people on election day said we're tired of the government running our lives, were tired of 2% growth, we're tired of a foreign policy where we don't stand with Israel, we're tried of weakness that's allowed Russia to go in – Putin to go into the Ukraine. Look, I think everybody here is pretty much in agreement, we need to secure the border. The President's not serious about it and needs to follow the law. I think it'd be good if we also spent some time talking about how do we become energy independent, how do we reform our education system.  

TODD: Governor, I'm going to get to these issues, but I hear you. Path to citizenship, eventually is there one for these folks or no?

JINDAL: Alright, look, if – we can keep talking about this, but-

TODD: You don't have to take a long time to answer.

JINDAL: Well, you've asked it five times. I'll answer it quickly, but I've got to answer it five different ways.


TODD: Alright, can I get a path to citizenship? Is there a eventually going to have to be one?

JINDAL: Man, you're stubborn, you stick to that bone.


TODD: Anybody, path to citizenship, is there eventually – Governor Kasich, is there going to have to be one?


PERRY: Here's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking you're probably not going to get invited to do a moderation for a presidential debate.


TODD: Okay. I think we're being – last time I checked, immigration's not an insignificant issue.

PERRY: I understand that.

GOV. JOHN KASICH [R-OH]: One of my friends said, 'Why would they have Chuck Todd and not George Will? I mean, what's the story with this?


— Kyle Drennen is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.