Meet the Press   |  December 15, 2013

Panel reflects on Obama's tough year

The roundtable discusses the tough year President Obama has had in the first year of his second term

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

>> katherine, you brought up the disa affectife disaffection that the president's supporters have of him. our poll showed job approval at a disappointing state. 54% disapproved about the obama presidency. he is at his moment here in the second term. how does he get out of it?

>> he's got to show leadership. that's the one thing he seems most reluctant to do. i always come back -- when these conversations come up, i always go back to this conversation i had with president george w. bush toward the end of his administration. and he said, you know, i have done the unpopular things, the hard things, talking about the patriots act and other things that were so unpopular at the time. the nex president is going to be glad i did it because he's going to need it. some of the policies we dislike so much, and certainly this falls in this category, may ultimately be necessary, but he's got to be the one that makes the case, and it's got to be made not only forcefully but with a true understanding of how americans respond to these intrusions upon their privacy. and obamacare, i don't think, is going to get more popular, frankly.

>> i'm not a believer in such a thing as a second term curse, but i believe it's a problem when your second term implements problems in the first. there are going to be new obamacare deadlines that we're coming up against regularly. if the story doesn't get better, not just the technology, but the story of whether people are losing their doctors, whether their out-of-pocket costs are going up, it's very interesting to see how he turns these numbers around. it isn't that other second term presidents haven't turned around in the past, bush did and president clinton did, but his are now the worst ever.

>> if you're out there and you don't think anything of congress, you don't think washington works, you got obamacare, you don't know what the future is of that, and then if the economy is bad, it's hard for obama to assert a legacy that's very positive.

>> it seems very hard right now, but there has been a lot of presidents that have low approval ratings , but the reality is he's still the president. we're in a situation where the president is not running for reelection and he's dealing with a lot of actors inside and outside of congress who will act on their own interests. so when they see cooperating with the president as something that might be in their interest, they're going to act and he's going to have opportunity to get things done. it's not impossible there could be, for example, immigration legislation to sign. his approval may not make much difference in this one way or another. it also may not happen.

>> i've been told the speaker of the house will push on immigration, governor, next year, even though there are some who think it may be better for the party to wait until 2015 when you need it for the 2016 cycle politically, but there's never going to be a better time to do it, you may as well try next year.

>> right, and i think republicans will be in deep trouble with hispanic voters unless they get away from this piecemeal approach in the house. i'm going to be an optimist here. i think this budget deal is a turning point. d disaffection shown by these party leaders. i think with obamacare, some of the glitches getting fixed, the potential immigration deal, possibly something on the debt limit, the president scores on a deal with iran, although i'm skeptical about it, i think he could turn things around. with podesta in the white house , i keep coming back to him, because i served when he was chief of staff. he makes things happen. talking to the president as a grown-up, i think, is what is needed, expanding his base of advisers.