'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Rep. Joaquin Castro, Ana Navarro, Peggy Noonan, and Jeff Zeleny on all the week's politics.
3:00 | 03/09/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
The way the left tells it, the republican party is in a big massive civil war. It's tea party versus establishment, libertarians, versus social conservatives. Infighting, conflict, back fighting, discord. Look, I'm Irish. That's my idea of a family reunion. All in the family at CPAC there according to Paul Ryan. The roundtable is here. Texas democratic congressman Joaquin Castro, Peggy Noonan from the Wall Street journal. Jeff Zeleny and republican strategist and ABC news contributor, Ana Navarro. Welcome to all of you. And Jeff, start with you. You were there at CPAC. We heard Jon's report, his take. What's your take? Impressions? Different tone? Paul Ryan is right. There are a lot of different views. But one thing I picked up by watching his speech, he's more serious about running for president than he lets on. So that's one quick takeaway. Look, there is a healthy debate going on inside the republican party. But it's also on foreign policy. In the crisis in Russia, we have seen a huge division here. And Rand Paul, you know, he may not say his views are isolationist, but that's how a lot of republicans hear them. I was struck by how focused on foreign policy CPAC was coming at this big moment. A lot of time for comebacks and reintroductions, Chris Christie got a big applause line. We will come back to foreign policy and the splits. But Peggy Noonan, who made the biggest impression on you? What is Ted Cruz up to? It's hard to say as you look at him. Sometimes he seems to be a guy who wants to be president and putting himself forward. Sometimes he acts like a guy who, I don't want to be president. Meaning he doesn't do some standard peaceful party embracing and bringing people together. I think what he was part of the CPAC thing, Paul Ryan, with Rand Paul, what struck me so much the past week is the intellectual diversity, the diversity of stands and stances and how everybody pretty peacefully, often with good nature, was debating each other and trying to figure out the actual meaning, currently, of republicanism. You're absolutely right. Cpac is part political convention and part -- Some people are saying it's irrelevant. It's part revival, part carnival scene. But there was one of everything. It looked like the Noah's ark. One of every one in the republican party, social conservatives, libertarians, foreign policy hawks and doves. And everybody was saying their piece and got a pretty good reception. Actually to me one of the takeaways was that Ted Cruz was not the story out of this CPAC. To me the big takeaways were that Chris Christie got a very good and warm reception. Great job on his speech. Rick Perry got a comeback. Started wearing tortoise shell glasses. Why was he wearing -- Marco Rubio owns the foreign policy mantel among the new generation of republicans. Those were the big things I saw at CPAC. And representative Castro, do you think they expanded their brand? As a democrat looking there, did the republicans expand their brand? I don't think they have. And CPAC is a demonstration of the extremism. There was a very telling picture that was tweeted out of a panel about minority engagement and minority outreach and the room was literally empty. It's not like they have moved forward since 2012. I want to move to the politics of the Ukraine crisis. And you brought that up, Jeff. There is this clear division over foreign policy. I want to read something that senator Lindsey graham tweeted. He said "It started with benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression". Another said Putin came to this decision, everything Obama has been engaged in, he's a weak, indecisive leader. Pretty incredible tweets there. It is. And it signals a break that the old adage that the politics stops at the water's edge is out the window. But we did see sort of a difference in who was willing to criticize the president. I thought senator Rubio distinguished himself by saying now is not the time to criticize president Obama. You can dislike his foreign policy, but he's not why Putin is doing this. I think that's pretty much right on. Is it an appropriate time to be criticizing foreign policy? It's happened before. I have been struck, actually, when it comes to criticizing president Obama, he -- it doesn't seem to me in some respects, is acting like there's an air of crisis or urgency here. He's off for the weekend in a way that startles me in the middle of a crisis. Look, you can always criticize an American president. Particularly on this case, I suppose you can say, that Putin did not do what he did because of the American president. But Putin sometimes makes his moves when he perceives an American president to be weak. He did that in '08 at the end of the bush era when bush was weak. He's doing it as he reads Mr. Obama now. You saw from the very beginning how this was all about politics. Right away the republicans jumped on the president when this should have been a moment when the country was really rallying around the united States and coming together. And that was very strange to see. And I don't think we have seen something like it in the past. You think George W. Bush would agree with that? Not at beginning. Not when it started. You know, not -- I think there's been -- There's been plenty of criticism. I think there's a stark difference between when we are under attack and when we are a third party to an international crisis as far as criticism and some of the criticisms are very valid. There's been a lot of vacillation, lack of clear direction, blinking by this administration. Now we are where we are, and I think it's time that people get together and what the actions should be, what the sanctions need to be and where we go forward. I want to move to the obamacare delay. The latest news is president Obama now saying if you like your plan, you can keep it for two more years. Take a look at some of the headlines. So his latest delay in fully implementing the law will allow insurers to offer health plans that do not meet the minimum coverage requirements for another two years. Is this another example of the law not being ready for prime time? Hit you with that. Thank you. No, it's an acknowledgment that some folks had plans that they wanted to keep. They are not best, but it's an acknowledgment by the administration that some folks want to keep them. And some democrats are in huge trouble in senate races and hoping for relief. It's all about politics. The acknowledgment that this didn't work from the day the website was unveiled. I really think obamacare as a domestic public policy event is even huger than all of us think. It's a day-to-day story, and so you know the latest story and it is what it is. But this is a most extraordinary failure by an administration that put all of its chips on it working. And it is not. It's also significant, I think, that the president had every chance in the past year, republicans were coming to him and saying, please, hold this off. You can't cancel it, but delay it for a year, do this, do that. He would not play ball. Would have been so much better for him if he had. The only approach has been repeal. You heard if from Ted Cruz. He's essentially the leader of the tea party. It's all or nothing. If you look at the way they try to do it, it's repeal or nothing. They don't to want improve it. This last announcement about this new delay is that I think there's almost a numbing to all these delays and exceptions. I'm having a hard time keeping track of what -- What it means. Yes. What happens next? Voters will not get cancellation notices a month before the midterms. That's biggest point. It is politics. No question. Certainly politics in everything. We're in Washington, D.C. But is there still a law? Is there still an obamacare law? It's changed. There's 2,000 pages. Oh, my goodness. What the heck is it? People are benefitting from it. Thank you all.

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

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