'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Cokie Roberts, Van Jones, Rick Santorum, and Greta Van Susteren on the State of the Union agenda.
3:00 | 01/26/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
Now the roundtable, former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate, Rick santorum, van Jones, co-host of CNN's cross fire. Cokie Roberts with a new book out Tuesday, founding mothers. And Greta van susteren of fox News. So jay talked about how they want to bypass congress. And they're not going to judge the success of this year by what they passed. But we see the headline this is week, and republicans are talking about moving forward on immigration reform. Can the president finally get what he's never had? A bipartisan legislative accomplishment? The budget last week that he signed. Those 1600 pages. The lights turned on. We'll take it. That's a big change. But, look, the republicans are understanding that their own self-interest means immigration reform. And the question is, can they get past these primaries, or the filing deadlines for the republican primaries, and then do an immigration bill? And they're going to discover this weekend. Do you think it happens? I think it does happen. I think it happens in pieces and you put together a different coalition on each piece. One group of congressmen voting for border security, another for legalization, another voting for Visas for high-end workers. You go bit by bit and bring it to conference with the senate. Senator santorum, you're shaking -- That's a very tall order. I have never seen that done in congress. You get these big bills and that's how these things pass. It's hard to get all the component parts together and get a consensus, particularly when you have a president who has been as vindictive as this president has been in attacking his republicans for a variety of -- on a variety of issues. But not on immigration. He's trying to get a deal. There's a difference between trying to get a deal and putting forward a compromise. The president has been pretty insistent that it's his way or the highway. But alligators, moats -- I think that's right. I think we will get something done on immigration. This president's going to start climbing out of the hole. This is not the make or break moment. But the first step in the new conversation with the American people. Here's the reality. 2014 is not about fixing stuff, it's about fixing blame. Who is responsible? Is this the obamacare economy or the obstruction economy? Republicans standing in the way of common sense stuff like immigration reform, like roads and bridges. And I think the president's got to lay out, here's some common sense stuff we can do that would make America better and challenge republicans to come along. If they don't, he gets the chance to run against an obstruction economy, not an obamacare economy. He's been doing that for three years. Exactly. The problem is blaming has not been successful. When kids do it in a schoolyard, you pull them apart. It's not the way to get accomplished. Leadership overcomes that. That's something he's not been particularly successful at doing, is leading. I realize he has a divided congress. In 2010 with the immigration speech, he had the house and the senate and did nothing on immigration. As for immigration, a grand bill, we saw what that did with the health care law. I actually think that cokie is right, and a piecemeal is much greater success. I don't think the government can do the grand things that everybody thinks. But, you know, the problem that the republicans are facing and they are very well aware of it, is somewhat of what van is saying. And the American people -- and the poll is showing this today -- are just fed up. 27% are saying re-elect my member of congress. Only 27%. So they have got to guard against a wave election where the whole attitude is just throw the bums out, nobody's getting anything done. An astounding number, only 37% trust the president to make the right decisions. But only 19% trust the republicans in congress. It was lower for democrats and even -- Something about that, the president didn't fix everything. All hi did was save the economy, all he did was save the auto industry. He got an awful will the done. Legislatively he got a lot done. And here's the reality, the republicans want to blame this president for everything. The last time I saw him at a signing ceremony, the last time he had black hair and looked like tiger woods. Okay? Now he looks like Morgan Freeman because republicans will not support him on anything. Even on their own priorities. They're responsible for his gray hair? At least in part. But look at one other number in the poll, democrat versus republican for congress, this is a real warning sign for democrats. Republicans -- statistically tied, but actually with an advantage. Senator santorum, you have seen that before. 1994. Yeah, this -- 2010. Well, look, the fact is he can't run -- jay carney tried to again bring up George bush. The problems that the president had. Nobody's buying that anymore. This is the president's economy and decision. And the fact that it's been so long between signing ceremonies tells you he can't get anything done because he doesn't cooperate. But -- He just -- he does not cooperate. Give -- look at what jay carney just said, we're willing to go and put things forward, but if you don't, we're going to take out our pen and we're going to do is ourselves. That's what he's been doing. That is not constructive. President Obama sometimes acts like he's the only one with political opposition. That's part of the game. Every politician has opposition. Look how much president Clinton got done. He had been impeached and was on trial to get thrown out. He got things done. Can't keep blaming -- Saying now this is not the most partisan time in our history. He's been going back and Reading the history and understanding that's the case. He has to learn to deal with it. The really dangerous thing, I think, for him and the democrats in this poll, and that he's going to have to think about as he makes the state of the union message, is that more people say that the republicans have the right idea about the size and role of the federal government than the democrats do. And that is the fundamental question between the two parties. All right. And we can imagine if the republicans take over the senate, van, opposition -- I mean -- A couple things we have to keep in mind here. This is a president who for all of the problems that he has right now is actually presiding over a healing economy. The economy is moving forward. People don't feel it, want more. And there are -- 74,000 jobs. He can put things forward and will in this speech that nobody can disagree with that can be

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

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