Here's a sight regulars who tune into the Sunday morning chat shows were surprised to see: Musician Will.i.am debating a Republican lawmaker on NBC's Meet the Press. The appearance drew a lot of attention in part because the program has fallen to third place in the ratings behind CBS News' Face the Nation and ABC News' This Week. Some viewers speculated about whether the branding consultant the network hired to figure out what host David Gregory is doing wrong made the suggestion.
However he got there, and seemingly out of place at the roundtable with the likes of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), NBC's Chuck Todd and the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker, the musician/philanthropist held his own.
One of the topics was why young voters who lined up so enthusiastically in 2008 and 2012 have grown apathetic and turned off by what the musician described as the political "dance" of congressional lawmakers. He cited his i.am.angel Foundation, which aims to transform lives in low-income communities "through education, inspiration and opportunity" in a discussion about the role of government and private- versus public-sector job creation.
“‘Yes, we can’ means what are you going to do, as well as, when you support Obama, are you going to dedicate yourself to finding solutions?” Will.i.am said. “So I went out there and created this program in the ghetto that I came from, that I come from. I can change that, right? I go off and raise money. I use my own money.”
“And I love that he’s doing that,” Chaffetz said. “It’s the private sector that grows the economy, that makes a difference in people’s lives. It’s not big federal government. And the disconnect, the reason that this apathy happens, is because government’s not going to come in and solve all their problems. Health care is a major issue now.”
Will.i.am asked the lawmaker why certain politicians like to push the private sector as the greatest source of job creation — except when it comes to health care. He also challenged the lawmaker on why Congress doesn't provide incentives for American companies.
Chaffetz later posted a photograph of himself with the Black Eyed Peas frontman on Facebook with the message that it was good to meet him.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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(Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)