Meet the Press   |  January 26, 2014

2: Roundtable Discusses Hillary Run, Chris Christie and the Democrats

A Meet the Press roundtable reviews remarks made by Rand Paul about a run by Hillary Clinton and the potential threat that Chris Christie poses to the Democratic Party.

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

>> chuck todd is here. carolyn ryan is here. michael powell former head of the fcc, mike murphy and congress woman loretta sanchez . michael powell , a lot there with rand paul making it very clear that bill clinton is an issue in in hillary clinton 's campaign should it happen.

>> this is the week of talking about spouses, right?

>> yeah.

>> who knows what the specific issue is, but i do think spouses can play a role politically if you look at governor mcdonnell. these issues shouldn't matter. the country needs answers to critical problems including the economy and you know, the clintons certainly are an intergalactic force of fair and have a powerful people surrounding them. i don't think we should treat that machinery as invincible. in 2008 , people were sure that was an unassailable machinery and it failed and i think it's important for her to not have an air of entitlement around her potential candidacy.

>>> this is the cover story "the new york times." michael powell set it up. it's planet hillary . we'll put it up on the screen there.

>> i think he said it better than you guys.

>> how do you react when you hear what senator paul said?

>> first of all, both bill and hillary have been in the public eye for such a long time, i really do believe that that is in the past. meanwhile, hillary has proven herself over and over and over again.

>> hillary clinton won't have to answer for this.

>> no, look what hillary did. she's a great senator. she was liked by both sides. she worked hard. and she did what a new senator was supposed to do and passed laws for new york . secondly, as a secretary of state she brought diplomacy back into the arena. she did -- i works on something called the new start treaty . hillary was the one that got that going and got it done at a time when the russians weren't even allowing us to land our planes in russia.

>> here's an issue though.

>> around sanctions. that was incredibly important to get to the point where we are today. she has done a great job. and she is different than her husband. i think, by the way, her husband is a very positive in many ways.

>> but one of the issues that's raised in this piece in the "new york times" magazine is this. this may represent the times writes hillary clinton 's biggest challenge for a hypothetical 2016 campaign. how it can clinton who is 66 make american voters think about anything other than her fraught political path and present herself as someone hungry to serve rather than someone entitled to office?

>> this is a central question for her. she has this sort of dysfunctional dynastic family . but the question is,ing to what degree is she in touch with what's going on in her party now. when you think about where the excitement and energy is at the democratic base it's around be people like elizabeth warren and economic populism and elizabeth warren kind of created this prairie fire of excitement. you saw that with deblasio. the clintons have never really stood for economic populism. there are a lot of people out there, democrats, ordinary democrats angry at wall street , angry that people were not criminally prosecuted, angry with economic stagnation . these have not been central clinton issues. there's a big gulf between where she is and the party is.

>> i totally degree. i think she is perceived to be invisible, which is a terrifying place to be in early presidential politics but has three great challenges. the first challenge is that. she has an impressive story but it's kind of a backward story. and the best thing in politics is new. i think warren could give her a hell of a race in the primaries. the second problem is that story. this is like the third story we've read about potential political dysfunction. her problem is she's got a thousand generals and no sergeant. we can have 100 pages about it. that's a problem. that's been a problem before. maybe they can fix it, maybe they can't. third problem is bill. i agree she ought to be judged on her merits. but out in real voterland, it's part of the calculation in people's minds. he brings a lot of legacy to the campaign. you can't just say, i wish mitt romney tried to say bain capital is in the past. we're not going to talk about it.

>> they're going to bring everything backing

>> here's the thing. i think in a larger challenge what's going on inside her party. the larger challenge think about 2016 . we're going to have 24 straight years of polarization. bill clinton , george bush , barack obama brp promised they were the ones that were going to change washington and get us out of this gridlocked mess. we're now a generation. the voters are going to be hungry for this. are they going to say somebody with the last name of clinton is the person to break the polarization? look, i've viewed her candidacy this way. hillary could be unbeatable. clinton is a terrible idea for '16. she has to epitomize both and be more hillary than clinton . if she's hillary , she's going to be president of the united states .

>> hillary showed in the senate she could work with both sides and get things done. she showed in the state department having done there when she was so in a race against obama to go over there and to really suck it up and to get things done. i mean, american people have seen that. she is very competent. and she's probably the best thing that we have going with respect to someone who can work across the aisle.

>> her competency to me is unassailable. the issue for me is how effective she'll connect with the modern voter. after four years of being in the foreign policy apparatus, she has been away from the defining domestic issues many of which have leaped tectonically over the last couple of years, legalization of marijuana, gay marriage . there are a whole set of emerging issues that i haven't seen them associated with. their need to find connections with the voter that's about the future i think is the real challenge.

>> how do you generally sum up what's going on on the republican side ? we talked about mike huckabee and rand paul trying to bring bill clinton into that equation. what are all of -- how do all of the pieces in the republican party start to fit together here that tells you about who has an edge as you think about 2016 ?

>> yeah, i think it's challenging when you listen to some of the crazy stuff you hear coming out of some of these conferences. i think this is why i find christie a compelling figure. it's interesting in the piece last week on obama when they -- there's always the constant comparison to lyndon johnson and the need to be down and dirty, rough and capable, a technical expert in the legislative process to make change happen. the very things that get governor christie in trouble are the things that are extraordinarily appealing to the public from the perspective of maybe someone not just talking about change but has kind of the roughness and the lyndon johnson -like qualities to make it happen could be attractive.

>> at a time when everybody hates politics, he hates politics too outside washington, tell it the way it is. on the other hand, is that perceived by some people as too much and the scandal is the narrative of too much. you know, i don't think he knew. but we're going to have the mother of all investigations and he's going to be back in a strong position, not a lock by any means. he's underrated now but he'll be a player.

>> mike, you did a lot of work in new jersey though.

>> yes.

>> are you shocked that thing like this take place in is new jersey politics?

>> this is a culture of new jersey that you get the sense that he participated in.

>> which undercuts politician fighter.

>> let's back up to your questions about polarization. why was a democrat so daunted or worried about chris christie ? why did they want to see him damaged? it's because he was able to transcend party. you look at the new jersey results, he attracted people from traditionally democratic-leaning groups and registered democrats. now when you look post scandal, where is the softening of his support? it's among those groups democrats, independents.

>> i want a moment of levity. as we look at the fun we think about the past. mitt romney coming to a place with the new documentary where he also slow jammed the news with jimmy fallon .

>> better than the documentary.

>> inject health care into the fight. can we just show that clip?

>> of course the president will also be discussing his health care plan with many hoping to hear his solutions to some of the issues that have affected its rollout. such as lower than expected enrollment and employees getting dropped from their existing plans, not to mention an obamacare website that has been riddled with technical problems and glitches.

>> glitch, please.

>> that was a pretty edgy bit they did. where was that mitt romney ?

>> he's a very funny guy in real life .

>> it's a great movie.

>> you get a three-dimensional picture of him. these guys are never the character ca tour the campaign makes them on either side. the movie is a good example of how buyer beware of the narrative you're often forced by coverage.

>> bob dole in '97, that was the problem.

>> difficult politics on the family in particular on the family. i have a thick skin. i've been called everything in the book. it's my mother that you know, calls up and says, why did you not show up? i'm like mom, i have a 97% voting record. what are you talking about? so it really is the family that suffers. it's a tough thing to go through a campaign.

>> i was lucky enough as a cub reporter 1994 to cover the mitt romney , ted kennedy race and you got inside that family in a very different way and you sort of saw that droll kind of self-mocking sense of humor and that sense of perspective that's very unusual. that's the first time in that documentary where i've seen it again.

>> when i spent time with him on the campaign trail, what came through to me is how tough this was for ann romney . she had been through it before but she felt stung by this. you can't overstate how tough it is for the people who love these men and women.

>> anybody thinking about running for president, you should watch the documentary. it's more important for a candidate prospective candidate to understand.

>> romney gossip out. he loves the movie oh brower where art thou we did a rally in the campaign as kind of an homage to the movie. he's a very fun guy in real life .

>> thank you all very much. interesting discussion today. coming up, edward snowden's next move. would he make a deal with the u.s.? did he act alone. i'll go to moscow to speak with one of his legal advisors and get insight from the former head of homeland security , michael chertoff , head of the criminal coming