Meet the Press   |  July 07, 2013

What role can Bush play in an immigration deal

NBC’s Chuck Todd and a panel of experts weigh in on the role former President Bush can play in helping move the House republicans along on immigration reform.

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

>>> 1998 . chuck todd , the pure politics of immigration, i mention president bush because he'll speak out about this, he's been reluctant to do so. he'll put more pressure. a republican congressman, conservative columnist arguing the merits of this. this is a big debate in the republican party .

>> huge debate. the question is does president bush 's voice enhance the argument of sort of the business wing of the republican party , which is the ones that are pushing to get this done in a pragmatic way and those who look at this issue with hispanics and say let's just get this behind us, or does he make it worse? one of the reasons he's slowly gotten back into positive territory in his poll numbers is he's not gotten involved in politics. this is a step. something else, david, the white house have been so confident they were going to sign immigration reform this year. for the first time i'm hearing that there is some doubt seeping in, that they think maybe the house won't act. what they need is something to sort of force boehner like at the last minute bring it to the floor the same way the fiscal cliff deal happened. the problem is there is no trigger at the end of the year, there isn't this congress. i don't know how this happens at the end of this year and suddenly now the white house doesn't see a path.

>> fires all around them, no real second-term agenda when they have to deal with all these problems.

>> immigration was going to be the one thing they could have pointed to. i think that conversation with john boehner and the president, the president don't have a whole well of trust in boehner saying, you know, hang with me, i can get this done by the end of the summer . boehner still doesn't have the support and you heard what congressman labrador has been saying, they don't have a marco rubio on the house side who can try to work around this and bring it together.

>> it was supposed to be paul ryan --

>> and he's gone silent.

>> paul ryan has never been brave on the political front. always on policy but never on politics.

>> there are republican constituencies out there, the business community that are pushing for immigration reform . and you have to imagine that the house republicans, even the tea party -backed republicans are going to hear from people in their district and people for whom they raise funds.