'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, David Plouffe, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger on the Chris Christie bridge scandal.
3:00 | 01/12/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
But first chris christie's troubles were easy pickings for late night comics. One thing he said did seem a little bit fishy to me. I was blind-sided yesterday morning. I was done with my workout. He could have said he was on his roof putting ribbons on unicorns. Would be more believable. Some they this could ruin his chances of being elected president in 2016. While hillary clinton said party! Clearly somebody is getting thrown under the bus here. Fortunately for them the bus isn't moving, it's stuck in terrible, terrible traffic. Okay, the roundtable is now ready to go. Former white house senior adviser and abc contributor david plouffe, illinois republican congressman, adam kinzinger, matthew dowd and democratic strategist donna brazile. Welcome to you all. Matthew, I want to start with you if you can stop laughing. Let's talk about the way the republicans approach this. We have heard, from lindsey graham, the drudge report, rush limbaugh. I want to read from the washington post -- the coming gop campaign is likely to be neither tidy or predictable. A power struggle is underway between the establishment and the insurgent wings, meaning the business elite and the poplist tea party factions. What do you see as the fallout for the republicans from chris christie? What happens? That's why the importance has been raised so much, because this is uncharted territory for republicans. They normally are lined up behind a dominant candidate that has the money, is going to be the nominee. It's been that way for 50, 60, 70 years. Now in a nominating process that the republicans are faced with without a leading candidate. But the only pre-season favorite in all of this was chris christie. The pre-season favorite that could bridge the divide, work in the opposing parts of the republican party, and attract moderates. And they were so -- but we're in this uncharted territory. He was the lighthouse that everybody could go to a safe hasher -- harbor to. That's a question mark now. And right now among republicans, there is a search. They have a tremendous opportunity, martha. This is an election where republicans, if you look at historical patterns should win the presidency in 2016. If you look at historical patterns. But they don't have a candidate and a message that matches up well right now. One that was just injured -- yes. What do democrats think? Well, first of all, he was winning the invisible primary because there was no one else visible. Chris christie sort of popped on the national stage after hurricane sandy. He was the fix-it governor who didn't mind embracing president obama. He was taking care of the people. Telling teachers to sit down, shut up, and this controversy erupts. His brand is tarnished. He's in a no-win position. And the republicans have to go back to the drawing board to find someone like him to run in 2016. Here's why, he won in a landslide in a blue state, picked up women, picked up half the hispanic vote, one-third of the democratic vote. He was raising money, and now people will continue to raise questions as to whether or not he knew. And if -- I mean, I still can't believe that some woman on his staff, a deputy chief of staff or some man or whoever was the only person involved in shutting down a huge bridge. This is not the mississippi river bridge, this is the george washington bridge. And donna, that take us to the staff. You worked in the white house for many, many years, I assume you're trying to please your boss. I assume you're trying to read your boss's mind. And you look at chris christie saying, I can't believe it happened. I just can't believe it happened. I think that -- and I think his performance this week shows some of the great appeal he has. He got away with this, I have 60,000 people working with me. These people are close to him, the campaign manager, deputy chief of staff. Every decision you made, you did with the thought of what would my boss think about this. Ran anything important by him now. He wouldn't be so strong if he knew. It's very tortuous for them. He's on a high wire if anything comes out. There's a lesson. You're the governor of new jersey. There's no tv stations in new jersey. The scrutiny that he was under is nothing like he is under now. Not many people can survive. If he can get through this and the story holds up, he might be better. It's a lesson learned early. I think there's a lot more shoes to drop here. They might not get to his closet, so to speak. But these investigations but the news media and the doj and in new jersey are going to turn up a lot more here. I want to add to that quickly, and keep in mind, if he knew, we're going to find out. Right? It's not my position to find out. But I think he took the bull by the horns, held people accountable, fired people. And a big deference than the administration handled a lot of things that have happened, irs, benghazi, you can keep your health insurance if you want it. Nobody's been fired over that. And what we're seeing is a big difference. If he comes out of this untarnished personally, this may set him up for 2016. I want to move on just quickly. Big story this week that went away pretty quickly, and that's the publication of the book by robert gates. The defense secretary. The first defense secretary in history to write about a sitting president. But he also wrote about a couple of other people, speaking of 2016. He said about joe biden and hillary clinton -- first of all, joe biden, I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades. On hillary, hillary told the president that her opposition to the 2007 surge in iraq had been political because she was facing him in the iowa primary. That offended secretary gates enormously. Pretty strong accusation. What does this do for the race for biden and clinton? If you read the book in its entirety. I've read only exerts. I've read most of it. All right. He makes good policy statements that he agreed with the president on. In fact, he agreed with the vice president on the policy in libya. And agreed with clinton on some things. He makes a lot of personal statements about these individuals, but you know what i didn't find in the excerpts? I didn't find any insight into national security. Some of the toughest decisions. This guy served at a time when we were embroiled in two wars, from 2006 to 2011. And to come out with a book with petty, vindictive things. It's a long book. Change the race at all? I'm not a fan of these books. I am a fan of books that add value to the history. I think the tell-all books that come out in the midst of the administration, and people have a total right to do these books. I don't think it's helpful for books in the midst of a presidency. Write it afterwards. But he didn't add much value. He said hillary can be political at times and made decisions. Wow, that's breaking -- go very quickly around. And we're going to come back. Very quickly, hillary clinton, chris christie the front-runners a year from now? Sure but, you know, there's basically ally 50 lifetimes between now and then. Everything is going to change. I think jeb bush too. The more he's out, people will like him. I predict a year from now, we will be talking about another candidate who's lit the fire in

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

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