'This Week' Transcript: Sens. Leahy and Hatch

Earl Warren famously would have a law come before him and constitutionality would be challenged and he'd say, well, is the law right? Is it nice? Is it good? Interesting questions, but not judicial questions. The question is, is it constitutional? There are lots of things that aren't right that are constitutional.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He may do that. And I have to say, as someone who has been in the middle of some of these meetings to pick a justice, that is always the first inclination at the first meeting. You want something way outside of the box, something -- someone in the Earl Warren model. And then the longer the process goes on, you go back to that appeals court just about every time. It's happened, as you say, nine times in a row.

WILL: Cautionary word -- Harriet Miers was outside the box.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Outside the box as well. Let's switch subjects now...

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another fallout from the Specter switch, obviously, the question of what does this mean for the Republican Party? There's been a lot of soul searching, even though Michael Steele and others, Gwen, saying this says a lot more about Arlen Specter than it does about the Republican Party. Yet it comes at a time, according to our Washington Post/ABC News poll, that the Republican Party is at its lowest point in more than 25 years.

IFILL: I think 21 percent of people identify as Republicans anymore, which may have something to do with just sinking party identification all around. But what's interesting about this is the refreshing nature of Arlen Specter's admission.

(CROSSTALK)

IFILL: He did say at some point, well, the party left me, I didn't leave the party. But then he went on to say, I looked at my polls. A politician who admits that he reads the polls -- even the president won't do that. We know that's not true.

He's admitting that he can't win. Now, what it also raises the question of is whether it's more important that he be re-elected than that the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, however it's composed, be represented. It's been a very interesting thing, because I think the real thing you can tell about how concerned Republicans are, are people like Kay Bailey Hutchison, is not a raving liberal...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator from Texas.

IFILL: ... who says that she's worried about it. People like Lindsay Graham, senator from South Carolina, who is not a raving liberal, who says he's worried about it, he's worried about the direction of party and what this says about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you have got a whole bunch of top Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor of Virginia, coming together, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, coming together in a new group yesterday to talk about outreach for the Republican Party, rebranding the Republican Party. Here is Jeb Bush in Northern Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH: Our ideas need to be forward-looking and relevant. I just -- I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia for the good old days in the messaging, and it's great, but it doesn't draw people towards your cause.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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