'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Gwen Ifill, Howard Dean, and Bret Stephens on "This Week."
3:00 | 11/17/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
Run down? Like you just can't win? Are you the president of the united states? Then you may be suffering from presidential depression. Ask your doctor for paxil, second-term strength. It treats a whole range of symptoms. Like benghazi, the nsa scandal, the irs scandal, the ap scandal. The petraeus scandal. That time jay-z and beyonce went to cuba and, of course, the obama care website problems. You got to love "saturday night live." The laughing roundtable joins us now. Gwen ifill, congressman adam kinzinger, bret stephens and former vermont governor howard dean, welcome to all of you. And gwen, I'm going to start with you, the reporter at the table, you have been a reporter in this city for more than years than you probably want to talk about, but covered a number of pridents, as far as weeks go, this seems a pretty bad one for president obama. It was a very -- thank you for a laugh to start it off. They're not laughing a lt the white house this week, it's been -- to have the president come out as he did, and speak basically for an hour, yeah, i was wrong and yeah, I was fumbled, was not only a bad concession for him and it was so unobamalike, their certainty, their defense in all of this, we know what's best for you but we don't know how to do it. And this is complicated. So, it was a bad, bad week. They're hoping, as you heard jon karl say, they've hit bottom and there's only one place to go and that is up. Okay, howard dean, I want to turn you and say happy 65th birthday. Oh, please. Ouch. You don't have to worry about healthcare.Gov, you qualify for medicare. Sorry on to point out that. You know how long it took me to sign up for medicare on the web? Ten minutes. They got that one down. Look, we saw this week, red-state democrats running for cover. Speaking out against the president. There are two aspects of this, we can either focus on this one, the usual washington panic, craziness, isolated from everything else that's going on in the country, or the real problem, which is they got to fix the website and they've got to fix the website. I'm not convinced. It takes twice as long and often you have to do it twice. They have to start getting people enrolled. I think they can. They may have to do it manually. What does this do for going forward for president obama, the rest of his term, and trying to get anything else through? If democrats keep thinking like that, it's going to be the greatest political gift for republicans in maybe decades. This is -- obama care is a political self-punching machine for the president. You have a november 30th deadline. There's a march 15th deadline for the end of enrollment period, where two-thirds of americans who are trying to sign up are going to discover that they don't qualify for subsidies. Then in june, we get the presumably the beginning of the employer mandate. Millions of americans are going to discover they're being shunted into part-time work or work under 30 hours precisely because of obama care, this is the kind of gift that will keep on giving for republicans at least for the next election cycle. I'm glad the governor called for public option. This shows, in my mind, this was the democrat's plan where from the very beginning, this thing is failing. This is failing much faster than they expected. The website is going to get fixed. I was in illinois talking to my friend of mine who said, I just got notice, my monthly cost is going to be the same, but my deductible is going to 6,000. He's going to use his deductible. This is happening all over the country and it's a systemic issue that goes beyond the website. And I want to stay with you for a minute here. The tables have turned pretty quickly, less than a week ago, everyone was talking about the divide in the republican party, how does that affect you personally and what do you think of that now? Has this helped? I'm not celebrating this because this hurts real americans. From a political perspective, we came out of a government shutdown, undoubtedly the republicans took the brunt of the hit. That's just from politics. We're not out there celebrating this and saying yeah. Like my buddy whose costs are going up, this is happens to millions of americans. But, in terms of republicans, we're very united on this and we have been saying for the beginning, this plan doesn't work and it's beyond the website. When the website gets fixed, I think americans will be shocked to see there's still a problem. Gwen, now the divided democrats. Republicans were hopelessly divided and democrats were hopefully united. That was driving the world in wake of the government shutdown. A month later, we now have the divided democrats. What we see around this table is an example why life is so hard at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. Democrats, the president doesn't want single-payer. Everybody knows that he made a mistake. You're in a single-payer. If you weren't in congress, you would be in a single-payer. It's very successful. I'm a single payer today. Because I'm on medicare. On the record medicare is a single-payer. What the goal of democrats in the long run -- we want health care for everyone. The white house has a goldilocks defense. Not too liberal or too conservative, we felt that we had it just right. It turns out to be right. The president essentially said that in the briefing room the other day, he can't make anyone happy right now. Which brings you back to the issue of trust. There's also an issue of competence, martha, we have had a year of fumbles by the administration -- over syria, with the irs issues, the question of the nsa, what happened to ed snowden, wiretapping the chancellor of germany. I think there's an issue of trust but there's a sense that this is a president is fundamentally disconnected from the government he's running. Until he shows that he's in charge overpromising and underdelivering, it will continue to grow. Look at 2014 then, what happens there, is this gone? Has everybody forgotten this? No, I think what happened -- I think, what gwen opened up with -- david plouffe opened up with, if you get this thing fixed by march, they'll like it. I think it will work and it did work when mitt romney did it in massachusetts. 98.5%. They won't forget it completely it doesn't seem. Any more than they forget the government shutdown. How do you justify my constituents who are calling me, a lady betsy in rockford, illinois, said her policy is being canceled and her costs are skyrocketing. How are you going to fix that these people were promised more affordable insurance, insurance for everybody. Betsy should get a tax subsidy and her actual premium will be lower. I want to turn quickly to iran, this week may be a very big week with negotiations with iran, with secretary kerry, the white house seems cautiously optimistic about this. The state department seems cautiously optimistic they can get a deal with iran. We've heard this before and nothing happened. Is it going to happen, bret, you think? Well, it's very hard to say. Everyone thought that the last deal was going to happen and it failed on french objections. Who would have thought that the french are actually quite serious about this. Even though secretary kerry said they all agreed. You're not sure that's the case. I think that's the case. It would have allowed iran to continue build a plutonium reactor. Which is the second route for them to a bomb. Should a deal be made? No, a deal should only be made if iran begins to dismantle not simply suspend or slow, but to actually dismantle their nuclear programs. You're at mile 23 of your marathon, you have been sprinting toward a nuclear weapon, but jog for a few months. It's a comprehensive plan. They say it takes about six months. Why not halt what you can? While you're trying to negotiate -- because you have more leverage. Right now, we're at a moment where we have high leverage because the sanctions are in place and the freeze on their capital reserves really hurt them. So we're going to be saying to them, we'll start relieving ourselves of our leverage piece by piece. Look, the iranians are expert negotiators. We should not imagine for one second that the state department is going to beat iran in a nuclear negotiation. But here's the larger problem for the president, the same problem we had with health care, which is the people who are abandoning him on this and critical on this, not only republicans and democrats, who are getting phone calls from benjamin netanyahu saying this is not acceptable. He'll get a lot more this week. Credibility problem. It's leverage. But it's also the fact that people sitting around that table in geneva, they're also watching what we're doing here in this country and testing the president if he's weak enough for them to get what they need. More sanctions? I think we need to. I think we're at a point of epic leverage. Iranians are hurting now. They come and say, we're hurting, we want to talk, we basically want a $20 billion cash infusion into our economy. I think we should talk to the iranians -- if we got to the table and say we want you to relieve some of the sanctions, obviously, you're not feeling the hurt and come back when you're desperate. Quickly, governor, isn't this all about wanting to negotiate with the iranians in the end? Well, let's just point out, since somebody has accused the president of incompetence, it was this president's sanctions that worked that finally slowed this program down. I'm a hard-liner on iran. I don't trust them. I'm trying to get 3,000 people who are unarmed out of iraq. Who are iranian dissidents. I don't trust the iranians at all. My view is, if we can get a deal, that would be great. It would have to be verifiable and it should include dismantling of some of their facilities. Thank you all for joining us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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