Meet the Press   |  March 31, 2013

Immigration bill on Obama agenda: Is it sincere?

A Meet the Press panel of experts discusses the immigration overhaul pending in the Senate and what it means for both the White House and the GOP.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> have two key members of the so-called bipartisan gang of eight, senators working on a compromise immigration proposal. word coming this weekend that an agreement is near. we'll ask senators schumer and flake about that. first, i want to go around quickly with our first of two political roundtables to frame what's at stake in these debates. joining us the former senior adviser to president barack obama , david axelrod . former congressman and chairman of the national republican campaign committee, former virginia james davis , peggy noonan of the washington street journal. welcome all. we'll talk about two hours of show into one hour. david axelrod on immigration, a lot of republicans don't believe the president wants to sign immigration bill this year. they believe he wants the politics, he wants the political issue because it's been so successful for democrats.

>> i understand their paranoia because it was a terribly difficult issue for them and continues to be. he wants this accomplishment. this is a legacy item for him. there is no doubt in my mind he wants to pass comprehensive immigration reform .

>> tom davis , can republicans even start talking to hispanics on other issues if this issue isn't put behind them no matter how it turns 0 out?

>> first of all, they'll get a vote. you may get like we did it in 2006 , a house version and senate version. at that point everybody will have their talking points . the answer is, sure. i think the conversation will continue and i think you'll have a good republican midterm.

>> you know, peggy, what's been interesting about this week is all of the big polarizing issues of the last two generations cult culturally all popped up in one week, and one had had to do with the supreme court with gay marriage , with abortion. this culture war normally when it comes back is helpful for republicans. is it good for the conservative movement to have these issues out there?

>> i don't know. i think all of these cultural issues as i guess we call them have been major issues in america for almost half a century really. the abortion argument was going on 50 years ago. roe came 40 years ago. it is hard to resolve these issues because they're not just cultural issues. they are moral issues and americans feel differently about them. i think one way or another they'll probably be bubbling out there for a long time, and it's not the worst thing.

>> so maybe a resolution in the law but not in the way people feel. is it also a sign the economy is coming back?

>> it usually is, isn't it, when people can think about other things other than jobs. but, you know, i think some of these cultural issues are being resolved. gay marriage before the supreme court , obviously a hot button issue. but you look at the polls and you see 58% and our poll, "the washington post " poll, in favor of it. 80% of adults under 30. that sounds like a decision