While we expected our final show before the midterm elections to be all about November 2, Friday's thwarted terror plot changed the national dialogue. White House Counter-Terrorism Adviser John Brennan joined me at the top of the show this morning to give the latest in a series of developments following the attempt. He told me that, even though there are not major indicators, he has to presume there may be additional devices in other packages.
Of course, a main tenant of national security is to plan for the worst. Thankfully, no one was hurt from the explosives concealed in cargo packages but it did highlight the fact that the country is at war with al Qaeda. As Mr. Brennan put it, "I think they still are at war with us. And we are very much at war with them."
After my discussion with John Brennan, I was joined by Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine. They both kept a positive tone about Tuesday, but every major indicator gives Gov. Barbour more reason to be opptimistic than Kaine.
Former Gov. Kaine told me that Democrats are proud of their record and a majority of candidates are running on their accomplishments - including health care.
But the reality is that many Democrats have been distancing themselves from the Obama agenda - specificically health care reform. We heard in March that reform was going to get more popular as after passage, but that has not yet been the case.
As Barbour put it, "Democrats are running from Barack Obama on health care reform like scalded dogs."
Both of these two men have had a busy few weeks on the campaign trail. Barbour went on a five-day, 13-state swing through gubernatorial battlegrounds. He was joined at different times by the likes of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnel, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Tim Kaine, like Governor Barbour, has been all over the country as well; having been everywhere from Las Vegas, Nevada to Waterloo, Iowa.
We ended the show with a discussion that only Meet The Press can deliver with our political round table. Joining me was NBC's Tom Brokaw, NPR's Michele Norris, The National Journal's Charlie Cook, TIME's Mark Halperin, and NBC's Chuck Todd. After going through the latest polls with Chuck Todd, the round table discussed some of the major issues effecting campaigns today. We discussed issues like voter anger, balancing the budget, or the seemingly absent debate about the war in Afghanistan. Make sure to check out the entire discussion on our website.
And once Wednesday rolls around, talk is going to go to Election Day 2012. I asked our roundtable to weigh in on what the results Tuesday could mean for the next big race. Chuck Todd believes Wisconsin will be a GOP focus. And, the self-proclaimed "old dude," Tom Brokaw, pointed out that both Reagan and Clinton had poor approval ratings going into the midterms of their first terms, but, "Guess What? Both of them were elected by wide margins when they ran for a second term." Something to keep in mind.
Be sure to check out our Web special that will be up on our site tomorrow. We'll break down 2010's biggest races, and look ahead.
If it's Sunday, it's Meet The Press.