'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, David Plouffe, and Bill Kristol debate all the week's politics.
3:00 | 03/30/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
What we're going to do, hold this healthcare.gov sign, and give you pharrell's hat. And an cigarette to vape on. All right? They are going to eat this up. I don't think we should do this. And it's. Three, two, one. Okay. Got it. Saturday night live having fun with the push for obamacare. The white house is touting a surge in enrollments, but does that mean the plan will succeed? The roundtable weighs in after this from Jeff Zeleny. Reporter: From the courts to the campaign trail. Obamacare -- Obamacare -- Obamacare -- Reporter: One word is driving the political debate. The final day to enroll is coming up tomorrow. There is no delay beyond March 31st. Reporter: Well, not exactly. The Obama administration's now saying you can ignore tomorrow's deadline if you've had trouble signing up and need more time to buy insurance. That decision reignited republican outrage. What the hell is this, a joke? It's basically become the legal equivalent of Swiss cheese. Reporter: Putting democrats back on the defensive. You have been critical of the Obama administration's rollout. Why is this latest extension not the same thing? The rollout was bad, but look at what's happened since that. We have millions of people who have signed up. Millions. Reporter: The administration says at least 6 million people have already signed up. 1 million short of the original goal. All this adding fresh fuel to a fight already shaping the midterm elections. I'll help repeal obamacare. Reporter: For "This week," Jeff Zeleny, ABC news, the capital. And the roundtable, Matthew dowd, David Plouffe, president Obama's campaign manager, and Chris Christie, -- bill kristol, editor of the weekly standard, and democratic strategist, donna Brazile. And Matthew, Jeff Zeleny says the white house announces over 6 million. I saw this morning it could be approaching closer to 7 million by the deadline tomorrow. Is this a sign of success? Well, there is some sign of success. For everybody that's criticized it, there are people getting access and benefitting. But I think the question is, first of all, the political idea about this is it's now become detached from the president. Even if this succeeds, I think the president's job approval has now become more attached to the economy and less attached to obamacare. But the question becomes, republicans and some democrats asked, at what cost are these successes -- do we have these successes? Five years from now, the projections are that health care will still be rise, the cost of health care, and probably 30 million people without access. David Plouffe, what's the answer? The law's working. And this is a seminal achievement. If you count people going directly to private insurance companies, medicaid, children's health care, tens of millions of more have security. And the politics are tough. They will always be tough. I think they'll get better over time. The law is working. And the republican playbook of repeal obamacare gets tough as more and more people get health care. And I think smart republicans understand that. Is that true? No actual democratic senator says what David Plouffe is saying. They want to fix obamacare. The republican house won't do that? The democrat senate won't. The Obama administration resisted every attempt for minor fixes in obamacare except for the ones they wanted. The democratic senators know it's a big problem. But I agree, republicans -- and I have looked at a lot of polling over the last week or two on this. Private polling, good polling. If republicans say get rid of it and let democrats have the keep it and fix it position, then it's 50/50. But democrats get it, if republicans say replace and repeal, we can't just throw people out. We are going to give you tax credits, take care of pre-existing conditions as part of the repeal, that becomes popular. I think the republicans are going to have a hard time trying to find their voice and get a message on repeal or replace at this juncture. And for democrats who I think are running in these so-called tough states, they're going to have a tough time running from so-called affordable health care for all people. I think the real problem right now, George, is in these states where the republican governors are still holding up medicaid expansion. And soon enough there are going to be questions, why are you keeping people from getting the health care they need to save their lives and save the state money? That's the real conversation. No question that the democrats at the retail level want to pivot back to the economy. They don't to want explain all of the so-called republican talking points, but they're not going to be able to run away from this issue. Bill Clinton says democrats shouldn't run away from obamacare. The 2014 election, if you look at the fundamentals of the election, it's not going to be about obamacare. There's flaws and successes. I think everybody can debate that. I think republicans have made a mistake by not acknowledging some success. They're not asking the right questions. The right question is at cost. I agree, they should be coming. A plan. But anybody can have success with billions and billions of dollars in this. But 2014 is about the direction of the country, the economy, and how people feel in their lives. It's not about obamacare. I agree. In 2014, it's about the atmospherics. It's about where the contests are held. Democrats playing a lot of away game in the senate. And with Mitt Romney, you can have an argument about health care, there are things we should fix, but you're going to have seniors pay more for prescription drugs, kick people off the health care plan, millions of people off the health care plan. That is not a winning message. Democrats need to be more aggressive selling the positive parts. Not just the people already covered. The people who have coverage are saving money. But most of it hadn't gone into effect when you defeated Mitt Romney. Now it has. Seniors are seeing cuts in medicare advantage that were hypothetical. I'm happy to have a referendum on obamacare. And I think it will be. I debris with Matthew on that. I think it will be and be good for republicans. And move on to Chris Christie. Had the internal report. Saw the author of the report clearing him of wrong doing. And back on political offense, speaking to Diane sawyer about whether or not this whole matter has hurt his political prospects. I am a passionate, loving, caring, direct, truth-teller. That's who I am. And for some people, they love it. And I tell you, when I travel around New Jersey, most people that's the thing they love the most. And what about Iowa? I think they love me in Iowa too, Diane. I've been there a lot. I think they love me there too. I know that caught your eye, bill kristol. Really check of how much of a difference this has made. He said he's going to make the difference next year. It's not held him back, he's learned, could make a stronger candidate. As a fellow compassionate loving, truth-teller -- Loved in Iowa? In Iowa and a lot of other places. Maybe that's not the best way to approach your problem. I'm struck by this, talking to some republicans over the last week or two, this has hurt Chris Christie. There's no question. Doesn't mean he can't be a strong presidential candidate. But the momentum he had two or three months ago, looked like the consensus choice of the establishment republicans, a lot of the republican donor S. That has, I think, he's lost a lot of that. Jeb bush, everyone's now -- talk to the average republican donor on the establishment side, much more of the talk is about Jeb bush and people are worried about Christie. I want to get into that. The "Washington post" had a front page story. The gop elite hoping to lure Jeb bush. Many, if not most 2012 of Mitt Romney donors are reaching out to bush and his confidants with requests to meet. 30 senior republicans included. And the vast majority of the top 100 donors would back bush in a competitive nomination fight. A lot of momentum here. A sign of two things. First of all, the identity of Christie's fall. If he hadn't fallen, there wouldn't be the outreach to Jeb bush in the midst of this. The other thing is the republicans are so disorganized in their nominee, they're not used to that, they're looking for the safe pick. Jeb did a very good job as governor, he's a safe pick. But to me, do we to want set the race up in 2016 where 340 million Americans live where it's Clinton versus bush? I think people are just tired of that. We have to have other candidates without those last names. That may be. But you are seeing a lot of momentum behind both candidates. David Plouffe? And the republican nominating process, but my amateur view is that the elites are gravitating to bush. He's not fatally wounded, but hurt. But that's not the voters in Iowa and South Carolina. I think at the end of the day, there's a lane for Christie or bush. They'll probably end up facing off against a more conservative candidate. I think they have the advantage in the republican primaries in 2016. Nodding your head, but to back up the idea that the republicans are looking for the mainstream candidate. Shell -- Sheldon Adelson, one of the richest men in America. And Chris Christie, he delivered $93 million to super PACS last year. Probably spent a lot more on the side. This is a danger to democrats, isn't it? He put a lot of money behind a lot of losing candidates. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, et cetera. He's looking for a winner. That's why the doors are open to Jeb bush. The real energy on the republican side, I only know this because I travel in some tea party circles, is Rand Paul. He's the talk of the town. He's the one going on campuses out west at Uc Berkeley, visiting historical black colleges and universities. Trying to open up a dialogue within the republican party. Nobody wants to talk about him. But he has a network. It's in all 50 states. That's the game changer. Every republican going out and talking to Sheldon Adelson this week was taking jabs at Rand Paul. Yeah, I think ultimately message trumps money. Or money follows message. Rand Paul, I don't agree that he'll be the nominee, but he has a real message that he pushed wherever he is. I think you have to keep your eye on Rand Paul. He's very energetic. He has a bunch of energy behind him. One of the only candidates where younger voters are enthusiastic about. But what bill said, I think it's ridiculous that the candidates for president are trumping out to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of a billionaire casino owner and they think that's somehow going help them get elected president. Money is going to help them -- Money matters, but what is your message and vision as a country? Much better off spending time back where they live instead of flying to Las Vegas. Figure out the vision and the message and how to convey to the American public. Final question I want to get to is this question of NSA reforms. The president said that the bulk phone data would not be held by the government. It would stay with the telephone companies absent a specific request from the government. Some of the dangers that people hypothesized when it came to bulk data, there were clear safe gards against. But I recognize people were afraid of what might happen in the future with that bulk data. This proposal that's been presented to me would eliminate that concern. Donna Brazile, the president answering the critics. But this mend it don't end it enough to save the program? I don't think so, George. First of all, I'm glad that the president is ending the program. It was set to expire on Friday this past week. He's asking for a 90-day extension. The aclu said fine, but there are still other reforms that need to be taken. There are, of course, proposals on capitol hill that would not just end it, but end it completely so the phone companies will not have to compare and hold on to this data as well. Could be headed this way, couldn't it? I watched this with incredulousness. First of all, trust a government that didn't tell us what was going on for years and years and how many records they were accessing and what they were looking at in the American public? And now we're supposed to trust the federal government led by the president of the united States who says here's what we're not going to do anymore? The country is so fed up. They don't trust anyone in Washington telling them what they are or are not doing. This is a smart accomodation. We still need access to this. You and I, and bill had security clearance. You see the intelligence reports. This is the fundamental first priority of any chief executive. Allows the administration, any administration, if they have reason of concern, to access this information through court order. It's a smart adjustment not to have the government hold it anymore. But the phone companies have to have it, and the government has to have quick access. Congress has to act and it will be interesting to see. Will they act? There's a good bipartisan proposal by the chairman and ranking member of the house intelligence committee to try to protect the country. People should go back before they pop off on the NSA and read the 9/11 report. Connect the dots.

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

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