Cardinal Francis George
- Cardinal Francis George is the archbishop of Chicago and served as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007-2010. Cardinal George, who was at the Vatican in Rome for the conclave, called the newly elected pope “a very straightforward man” who “has a heart for the poor.” The pope’s election was “something of a surprise,” however. “There was a lot of consideration given to many different people and all of a sudden a name that everybody knew but hadn’t been right at the forefront came and we started to talk seriously.”
- Prior to Pope Francis I’s election, Cardinal George said the issue of sexual abuse by priests would be in “the minds and hearts” of many of the cardinals as they selected the next pope. “Whoever is elected pope, he governs by law not, by whim or desire … he obviously has to accept the universal code of the church, which is zero tolerance for anyone who has ever abused a minor child and therefore may not remain in public ministry in the church. That has to be accepted.”
- Cardinal George also wrote, “The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
- Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is in his sixth term in Congress, is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. House Democrats released their counter proposal to House Republicans’ budget last week, and Senate Democrats released theirs this week. Rep. Van Hollen said, budgets from both the Senate and House Democrats begin “with a balanced approach” and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget was the GOP’s “extremist position.” However, he said, “hopefully by the end of the day we will be able to bridge these differences. But it’s going to take more than finding common ground. It’s going to require compromise.”
- Rep. Van Hollen also recently attended President Obama’s lunch with Rep. Ryan. He said it was “too early to say” where there may be room for negotiations on both sides. “This was not designed to be a negotiation, it was designed to be a free exchange of ideas and I think it accomplished that.”
- Watch his latest Meet the Press appearance here.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is in his second term as House majority whip and in his fourth term in Congress. He recently said there is “no excuse” for the president not presenting his own budget. “He came to the State of the Union. He laid out to the American public what he wanted to achieve. That was doing a lot of different things financially. How can he even picture about wanting to achieve those if he didn't first put on paper what you can afford and what you can't?”
- Rep. McCarthy also called Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster last week “fantastic.” He said, “Republicans who criticized him were wrong. And this is the place that I think the Democrats were wrong that a lot of them didn't join with him.” This was “an idea of civil liberties. I think that's a core belief of Republicans, that I think if we embrace a little more of our libertarian views, we'll actually go forward.”
- He also co-wrote the book “Young Guns” with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
- Watch Rep. McCarthy’s most recent MTP appearance.
Roundtable: Walker, Matthews, Keating, Townsend, Navarro
- Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is speaking at CPAC this week. He recently said that he and other governors had turned deficits into surpluses, while Washington “had the sequester, but before that, you had the fiscal cliff, you have all these, in some ways manufactured or self-manufactured, crises out there that Congress punts down the road, they kick the can … but they don't really solve things. … I think most of us would wish people in Washington would step up and lead. That's what leaders do in times of crisis. Lead.” Watch his most recent appearance here.
- Chris Matthews is host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and the Chris Matthews Show. This week, Matthews said of Pope Francis I, “My sense is he’ll be very offbeat from what we’re used to in politics in this country. … He’s conservative on issues like marriage equality, but progressive on matters like poverty and economic justice” like “some old-style Democrats.” Matthews also wrote “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” Watch his latest MTP appearance here.
- President of the American Bankers Association Frank Keating served as the Republican governor of Oklahoma for two terms and as former CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers. He also served as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board in charge of investigating child sexual abuse in the church until 2003. He said as governor, working with the legislature “required a dialogue, a debate, and a resolution so [for President Obama] to wait until the barrel has gone over the falls, so to speak, is to wait too long. This has really surprised me the president hasn’t early on, months ago, shut the door, sat down at the table with these individuals, debated, discussed, and resolved.” Keating also wrote “George.”
- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and on the board of Catholic Democrats. She recently criticized both sides of the ideological spectrum for how they use religion. She said, “I criticize the right wing churches for shrinking God, so that they seem to care only about three issues: same sex marriage, stem cell research and abortion.” However, “I criticize the left wing for not using the religious traditions to talk about what, how our country could be better" because “every progressive movement has had a religious underpinning.” She is also the author of “Failing America’s Faithful.” Watch her most recent MTP appearance here.
- GOP strategist Ana Navarro said she supported Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) recent announcement that he supports gay marriage. Navarro said, as Republicans “we stand for family values and family unity, we stand for smaller government, we stand for not telling people who they should marry, what they should do, having government dictate private lives.” Watch her most recent Meet the Press appearance here.
Follow these guests on Twitter:
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): @kevinomccarthy
- Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): @ChrisVanHollen
- Chris Matthews: @hardball_chris
- Ana Navarro: @ananavarro