Meet the Press   |  August 18, 2013

Reagan's Republicanism and the modern GOP

A Meet the Press roundtable rewinds to the era of President Ronald Reagan and compares him to personalities in the contemporary Republican Party.

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

>> here, we were looking at history this week, going back to ronald reagan , as so many republicans do, and looking at his speech at the convention, july of 1980 . and which is part of what reagan said then.

>> this convention has shown to all america a party united with positive programs for solving the nation's problems, a party ready to build a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words -- family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom .

>> chuck todd , who is the republican at this point who embodies that or embodies a newer version of it?

>> don't forget, that version of ronald reagan was a modified version, because the guy who sort of was wanting to burn down the party a little bit lost in '76, close, but very divisive when you basically had the establishment versus the conservatives, and he ran a more uniting campaign, moderated himself a little bit. look, christie on paper, as a general election candidate, you sit there and you say, okay, that's probably the best person they could do to go win a couple of purple states . like, who could go in there and win florida? who could go in there and win iowa or michigan, right? who can connect with the working-class democrats? or maybe, you know, the overweight guy from new jersey, and i mean that as -- no, it makes him seem less sterile. mitt romney was this scripted type businessman who had this regimen and he jogged every morning and chris christie seems like an every man, and particularly against a political dynasty if you're going up there. the problem is, how does he get through this primary process? because conservatives are going to argue, you know what, bush was a compromise, mccain was a compromise, romney was a compromise. we've gone with the establishment, we can keep going back, bob dole , four straight times. what's it really done for the republican party ? is it in a better place today than in the reagan era? and i think that's going to be the real fight inside the party. and chris christie has to figure out, how does he prove he's conservative enough? and it's going to be tough.