REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R-NY), ARMY SECRETARY NOMINEE: Nothing more than the latest in a growing line of individuals of many different backgrounds, differing political persuasions who have been provided by President Obama the chance to heed, to answer new, important, and challenging problems facing this country.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: That growing line, Matthew Dowd. Ray LaHood, Jim Leach now at the National Endowment for Humanities. Of course, Governor Huntsman is going to be ambassador to China; Arlen Specter now a Democrat. Clear strategy here by the White House. Does it have any deep impact?
DOWD: Well, it's interesting. It's a very similar strategy that George Bush tried to do, having been a Democrat and come to work for the president who was a Republican at the time.
To me, it's -- you're trying to do a couple of things at once. It feels a lot like the New York Yankees going to get a Red Sox player and then say, why don't the Red Sox like us? That's not going to happen. Republicans not going to like Barack Obama because he went and got some Republicans to side with him.
I think it's two-fold, and we'll see if he's successful. First is, it sends a signal to independent voters that here's a president that's willing to try to reach across the divide and get -- not to get Republicans, but to try to get independent voters in the country.
The second thing it is, I think it does help demonstrate that Barack Obama is interested in diversity of opinion within the decision-making process, which was a huge problem and the perception that people had of George W. Bush. He had no interest -- people thought he had no interest in getting diversity of opinion. At least, Barack Obama, by doing this, is demonstrating that he wants it.
WILL: It sends another signal. When a ranking member of a committee says I'm leaving the committee, that tells all the members of his party in Congress, he does not expect to be chairman anytime soon, that the Republicans are in the minority for the foreseeable future. And that's a very dispiriting (inaudible).
STEPHANOPOULOS: And it not only opens up a seat, Cynthia, in your state -- there are only two Republican House members left in New York state right now. I think the other thing it does is force the Republican Party into this box of being a Southern conservative party.
Look at everybody that's come out. Specter, Leach, LaHood -- Northeast, Midwest. Huntsman is from the West, but he was saying that the party had to change its message.
TUCKER: And I think that forcing out or inviting out Republican moderates is not only bad for the Republican Party, I think it's bad for the country.
I'm from the Deep South. I grew up in Alabama. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, now, and I can tell you that Republicans now run for state and local office by moving further and further to the right. There's a competition to see how far you can get to the right to appeal to the most rightward elements of the base. And I just think that is a bad thing for the party.
SHIPMAN: And, again, a brilliant strategy, I think, by the White House. It's just if you can demonstrate bipartisanship and make the Republican Party look in disarray at the same time, why not? I mean, cynically, it's just a smart move.