Meet the Press   |  November 10, 2013

3: Panel on the GOP, Obamacare

A Meet the Press roundtable talks about what lies ahead for the Republican Party and how the Obamacare debacle affects the administration.

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

>>> meet the press is back with our political roundtable. here this morning, mark halperin , doris kearns goodwin , donna edwards and joe scarborough . now, david gregory .

>> good morning. a lot to get to. chris christie and the future of the political party . joe, your book is coming out at an ideal time because the republican party is looking to the future. do they see chris christie in the center of it?

>> i don't know if they do or not, but this week they've been saying are we chris christie republicans or cuccinelli republicans ? we have to have both sides together. the day after the election, we were saying, who has the best foot forward ? we have to have the ted cruz wing of the party and the edwards part of the party . there is a reason they won, and there is a reason they won against michael do you caulk ukakis and that's because ted cruz was under the big tent . you're either fiscally conservative or you're a member of the tea party and you're too idealogically driven. this is not a kum ba ya talk, this is about winning. this is about how nick sabin wins football.

>> this is really the thesis of your book and we'll focus on the book in a little bit. let's broaden this out. mark halperin , this is the fight in the two wings of the republican party .

>> it's a huge fight and the parties have to sort it out. it has to be done by leaders. it can't be done by cable tv or twitter. chris christie is someone who is magical in the way politicians can be magical. people like having him on tv, he's a good talker. he won. joe said winning is what really matters. he loves to win. he's going to take over the republican association and see if he can win there. and he wants to be a leader to change the party . you can't say that about everybody else people are talking about for '16.

>> the man i just lived with, theodore roosevelt , was in a similar position. maybe a different kind of idealogy than his party at the time. through the force of his personality, he dragged the republican party to deal with the issues that were created by the industrial age . similar in a certain way to some of the traits that chris christie has. he was a fighter, he was blunt, he had energy, he had a sense of knowing how to address complex issues and make them very simple, speak softly and carry a big stick , you know, special interests . square deal . that's kind of the way you got to do it but you have to say to your own party -- he would say to the lerepublican party , if you don't come with me on these issues, the republican party is going to be dead.

>> meanwhile, congresswoman, as much as you might like these fissures in the republican party , democrats are dealing with health care and headlines that struck me over the weekend, "a white house in crisis mode but some allied prod for more action." in the column this morning he writes the following, a president famous for his unflappability, he is now struggling to square assurances that he is on top of the problems.

>> first of all, i want to throw cold water on top of the chris christie thing. he won with 80% of the vote, so i'm not really sure how much it says about what need to happen nationally. then with health care , you know, the president has admitted we got to get it right. got to get that website going, got to get people signed up and deliver health care , but you know what? republicans in congress and republican governors have to stop standing in the way, and that's what they've been doing.

>> in what way? it's --

>> not implementing medicaid, medical expansion.

>> i know the government said it wasn't kathleen sebelius ' job to make the website run right because they're not i.t. experts. you can't blame them for this botched launch. this botched launch is a self-inflicted wound by the president. it shows just how disconnected he's been, and he's undercut his best arguments for having a progressive, engaged federal government . and i think we're going to see not only is he going to continue to have i.t. problems on the website, he's also going to continue to have problems as we roll this out and we find out there are winners and losers in obama care. that's not a shock to us, but the president has been promising for four years we were going to get 31 million people on the new rolls and everyone is going to be happy.

>> we're not even 30 days into the implementation yet. i know republicans want to deep-six this thing but it's not going to happen. the president will get this right.

>> the article that talks about sticker shock , i don't think the republicans are running the editorial page of the l.a. times . you're also talking about the fact that the president made promises that ended up just not being true. that was not ted cruz 's fault.

>> what's sad to me is that for two weeks on one hand the democrats are saying, hooray, the republicans screwed up the government shutdown , right, it's good for us. now the republicans are saying, hooray, the president screwed up the rollout of obama care. the problem is people were hurt in both instances. people were hurt by the government shutdown , they're hurt by the rollout. what's happening to our country when we're cheering for the other side?

>> the problem is the president did not tell the truth.

>> here's what he told chuck todd about that broken promise, his first real apology for it.

>> i am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. we've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we're going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.

>> mark halperin , is that enough?

>> i try not to be hyperbolic and try not to judge things after 30 days . i think the president's term is in the balance here, not just fixing the website and giving people understanding of what this program is supposed to do. lower cost, expand coverage, make our health care system more rational than it was. i think the credibility of his entire presidency is on the line and the ability to work with republicans . it seems to me the president will be dealing with the republican house for the balance of his term. and if he cannot lower the temperature on health care , if he cannot find a way to work together with the other party in places on health care , i think this term is going to be very tough.

>> here's a question that i have. we're focused on the politics of it, the liability. we know there will be a big issue in 2014 . people i talk to, my viewers out there, i think, are also asking this. what happens if they don't meet the goals? what happens if the website does not get operational at some point? what happens to the ultimate goal of helping people that are supposed to be helped? is that question being answered?

>> i think that's a legitimate question, and i think what you heard from the president is him saying, number one, it was my fault and people relied on it. but number two, we have an obligation to get this right not just because of the politics but precisely because otherwise people fall through the cracks and they don't have health care . and i think he has expressed that as a legitimate concern. i think he said to us and to the american people that he wants to get this right, and you know what? in my state i know that we have to for 450,000 people who don't have health care .

>> the positive news coming out of this is the fact that we are going to have to get this right. the president is going to have to go to congress and he's going to have to work with republicans and democrats alike. the fact is, and david nations was on our show two weeks ago and he put it well. this is an overreach, he said, the president overreached not just politically but he overreached on substance as well. he tried to do too much with just democrats. we didn't even get --

>> don't you think republicans have an obligation to work with the president?

>> yes, they certainly do.

>> and they haven't been doing that.

>> i try not to be partisan, i really try not to, and ask republicans , they will tell you, a long list of republicans on capitol hill will tell you i you can -- i succeed in not being partisan. the president made a decision in 2009 he was going to ram this down the republicans ' throat. he was going to do it where he didn't get a single republican vote. he couldn't even get conservative democrats -- if you're talking about social security , ask doris will tell you this, if you're talking about medicare, if you're talking about any sweeping new plan that's going to transform things, you need both parties involved.

>> with remaining time, i want to get to something else that's come up this morning and you heard it from the secretary of state. this is news, this is developing, but a little bit of history here as we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of president kennedy . you heard secretary kerry say he does not think lee harvey oswald acted alone. this was the headline in the "new york times" after the warren report was issued, and the real focus here was that he acted alone. that was the conclusion. it was an interview initially that secretary kerry gave with my colleague tom brokaw for a documentary about the assassination. we'll play a portion of that.

>> to this day i have serious doubts that lee harvey oswald acted alone. i certainly have doubts that he was motivated by himself. i'm not sure if anybody else was involved. i don't go down that road with respect to the grassy knoll theory and all that. but i have serious questions about whether they got to the bottom of lee harvey oswald 's time and influence from cuba and russia.

>> doris? striking?

>> it is stunning, actually. the interesting thing is i think it's hard for some people to think he acted alone because you want to believe there was some more meaning to the act. when something is random like that, i think that's why so many people search for something that must have been bigger. i remember my husband was talking to bobby kennedy in 1966 , and he hardly ever said anything, my husband being richard goodwin , but all of a sudden he blurted out like senator kerry , if he didn't act alone, it was probably the mafia.

>> bobby said that.

>> bobby kennedy , yeah. that's where the conspiracy comes in, but it's fun to hear him say, without evidence. we like them to speak their minds.