Meet the Press | January 27, 2013
>> on a couple of issues in specific areas, immigration is one, what's it going to take to get conservatives to rally around an idea that illegal immigrants who are here now can stay without having to first leave, which is something you propose, and get a pathway to citizenship? do you think that conservatives can rally around that idea and ultimately get reform passed?
>> yeah. i think there's a balance between respecting the rule of law and adhering to the reality of the day. and i think marco rubio probably touched on it. i support and agree with the principles he laid out as far as earned legalization. making sure people don't cut in line but fixing the problem. we did reform in '86 and again in '96. it's a system that's broken that needs fixing. and many of us who have been involved in this issue over the years. immigration is a good thing. that's what america is. it's a melting pot . we think this is good. we need to make sure it works. i think there are republicans and democrats, many of us are talking to each other, that can come together with a good solution to make sure that this problem is fixed. once and for all. and i think those rubio principles do a really good job of adhering to the founding principles, respecting the rule of law, and respecting those who came here for a better life .
>> and do you see that getting done this year?
>> i do. that's one of the areas where i feel that i think the president has a big speech coming up. the question that many of us are asking, republicans and democrats, is he looking to play politics or does he want to solve the problem? we don't know the answer to that yet. but i do know there are a lot of democrats in congress who once and for all want to fix this mess, broken immigration system, and many of us agree with that. hopefully we can actually get this done.
>> on gun control legislation, are there any new regulations that you could support?
>> well, i think the question of whether or not a criminal is getting a gun is a question we need to look at. that's what the background check issue is all about. and i think we need to look into making sure there aren't big loopholes where a person can illegally purchase a firearm. but i elalso think we need to look beyond recycling failed policies of the past. you and i are the same age, same age kids, same number of kids. it's our worst nightmare something like this happening. let's go beyond the debate and go deeper. what's our policy on mental illness? what's going on in our culture that produces this kind of thing? we need to have that kind of discussion and debate, and i hope we don't just skip past that and bring out political ideas that recycle failed policies of the past.
>> you seem to see a lot of division here. you think the president in some ways is trying to finish off the republican party . so i don't hear you as saying anything about more comprehensive reforms in the way you think is necessary and you blame the president for that and his mindset.
>> i decided to not comment between the election and the inauguration because i wanted to see what kind of president we were looking at here, what kind of path and trajectory he was putting his administration on. and all of the statements and all of the comments lead me to believe that he's thinking more of a political conquest than political compromise. and that's my concern. and this is why we're going to have to have a big debate this spring on how to balance the budget. about how to save us from a debt crisis. about how to grow the economy. and i think there are issues, like immigration reform , where there are democrats and republicans who want to come together to fix the problem. the question is will the president frustrate that or facilitate that. and i don't know the answer to that question.