Roundtable II: Michele Bachmann to Leave Congress

Arianna Huffington, Gwen Ifill, Paul Gigot, Karl Rove, David Plouffe.
13:40 | 06/02/13

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Transcript for Roundtable II: Michele Bachmann to Leave Congress
I want to bring a voice, your voice, to the white house. Barack obama will be a one-term president. In the straw poll yesterday, you saw a big message sent to washington. I don't know how much that has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We had an earthquake. We had a hurricane. I will not seek a fifth congressional term. Rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into activities of my former presidential campaign. What an up and down for michele bachmann. Let's talk about that on the roundtable again. Arianna huffington, paul gigot, gwen ifill, david plouffe and karl rove. I guess michele bachmann never lived up to the potential of winning that iowa straw poll at the beginning of this last election cycle. By the time she got out, we called it a surprise. But it wasn't really. I think it was a surprise with the reason she gave. president to eight years, to just two terms. And therefore, she has also served eight years. She considered herself in a way, a shadow. Now, she's leaving. And the iowa straw poll is becoming more irrelevant than ever. What is interesting, is that basically, like sarah palin, michele bachmann was a colorful distraction. She didn't really do anything in the house that she cannot do outside the house. A lot of her career was based on grandstanding. She can continue doing that. Does it say anything, karl rove, about the strength of the tea party or where the tea party goes from here? It will be an opening for the tea party. Michele bachmann was the chairman of the congressional tea party caucus and in that position did nothing. And now that position is open. And someone will accept the chairmanship of it. And they may do something with it. We'll see. It guarantees that seat which was thought to be up for grabs. She barely won last time around. She ran well behind mitt romney. It's safely republican. The democrat who ran last time, announced after bachmann pulled out, he pulled out, as well. So, safe republican seat. A democrat recruitment. Democrats will miss her. Terribly. You know, it's fun having her and sarah palins of the world on the scene because they define this modern republican party. There are others to replace her. Ted cruz and others to fill the bill. That's where so much of the energy in the republican party is. What we need is the more common-sense, mainstream republicans. You're seeing some in the senate. On immigration. And the deficit and the economy, of rise up here. That's been a very insidious problem for the last two or three years, where the energy is with the bachmanns of the world. And people are afraid in the republican party to step out. You see marco rubio as a reasonable mainstream republican? About immigration. Relative to the tea party. Creating some fascinating policies. Harry reid saying he thinks it's going to be easy to get 60 votes in the senate. You have a complicated situation in the house, even though the house leaders, john boehner, paul ryan, eric cantor, all want immigration reform. It's not clear the rank and file is going to go along. I agree with that. Three votes out of committee, including orrin hatch. That's very significant. I think it will be good for republicans who favor immigration reform to get 10, 15, 20 republican votes in the senate. I don't think they're going to get there. But it would be good if they could. And that would create more momentum to get it in the house. No question. There's tension in the republican party on immigration. People leaders. Paul ryan, for example, marco rubio, who say, we need to do this for the economy. We need to do this to help entitlements because younger immigrants create more growth and are able to finance social security going down the road. We need to do this to attract the most talented people of the world. That growth wing of the party, versus those who are more law and order oriented and want to, frankly, put more guns on the border. Here's a test of the tea party. A couple years, we say the tea party's going to trm the party. It's so powerful. Karl just pointed out, it didn't become much of anything in a national settle. Michele bachmann leaving doesn't make much difference. But locally, in government -- in governors' races and state races, even in congressional races, they can still have a lot of power. But on things like immigration reform, they can drive the divisions which make -- that make progress impossible. Let's be careful about characterizing the tea party as being anti-immigrant. For example, in the house gang of eight, four republicans and four democrats, one of the republicans is raul labrador, a tea party interest, a puerto rican immigration attorney. Also there, is judge john carter of texas, who opposed immigration reform in 2006, 2007. But as a judge has come to a reason-sensible approach to get this thing done. So, you know, look. The gang of eight, I appreciate your kind comments about the tea party or marco rubio and his thoughtful leadership in the senate on immigration. You can say this at the end of the segment so they can run that. God bless senator marco rubio. But this is going to be an interesting test. Paul is absolutely right. I think -- I'm sort of a little more optimistic. I think there will be a significant number of senate republicans voting for this bill. And I think also the house will arrive at a different place, but with a comprehensive bill. And will spend the fall in serious negotiations in a conference committee. One of the complications could be health care. Could be. I do give on this particular issue, senator rubio and other republicans credit. It's not easy to put yourself out there because you're going right. I agree with paul. I think it's going to be hard. There's a huge economic message that needs to be lifted up more about allowing us to compete. We shouldn't be educating these kids here and sending them home to compete against us. They need to stay here and build businesses here, and be part of our great innovation economy. I think if it passes with the senate, it won't be 60, or 61. I THINK IT WILL GET HIGH 60s OR 70s. You have the senate ready and the president's ready to sign. I think that puts pressure on the house. The only question is, what the pathway john boehner chooses. Is he going to pass something he needs to get 150 of the members. Or let a lot of the members walk? A lot of scandal here that -- scandal? Nine democrats and nine republicans. It's what the obama administration is doing with deportation. And that's probably where karl rove will say god bless obama again because more people have been deported over the obama administration than over the whole two terms of george bush. And we've had, for example, since 2010, 200,000 parents of american citizens being deported for minor offenses. This is a real tragedy. And this is being done under george bush, democrats would have been up in arms. We're enforcing the low, taking border security seriously. There's been adjustments. The action on the d.R.E.A.M. Act, those kids should not be sent home. We need a solution. They need to be accountable, david. Right now, this goes against what the president professes to believe in. That detention and deportation is a nightmare for families. It's a bit like a gulag. Here's the problem -- you identified the problem. Can washington chew gum and walk at the same time? There's huge policy agenda items that the president wants to focus on. But scandals, disagreement, within his party, attacks from republicans, whatever you want to call it, means that these things cannot necessarily happen. If eric cantor can boast, as he did last week, he held over 100 oversight hearings in the house in may, that's what the e are focused. Are they focused on finding a middle ground on things like immigration reform? Kantor is trying to do that. Trying. But david has identified the key, strategic question for the house leadership. Are they willing to let this go through the house, passed by a majority of democrats, and sort of -- rather than go with what they call the asterisk rule? I don't think they made that decision yet. I think they may have to divide it up more piecemeal to get a rolling coalitions. Get parts of it through with majority votes. Maybe on some parts. Maybe, for example, legalization. The most republicans don't vote for it. But you can package that together, send it to the senate. And then, you can work on a deal. There's one other threat to immigration that we haven't talked about, that's the union movement. They don't want a lot more workers. They're putting enormous pressure inside the democratic party to restrict the number of visas, the number of guest workers. That's a potential problem in the house for the growth wing of the gop. Karl? The unions and the chamber of commerce, work constructively. You have labor and business agreeing on most issues. Most mainstream republicans believing this is the time. I think it comes down is john boehner -- what's the pathway? He could decide to pass this with less than a majority or close to that, to heal his party more broadly. That's a decision he's going to be faced. I think in the senate, it's not going to be easy. You're going to get a good vote in the senate. The president's willing to sign it. All of the eyes of the country will be on the house of representatives. This decision about the house leadership won't be made for a couple of months. Boehner's attitude is that the house has made a mistake in having only five people matter. The speaker, the majority leader, the majority whip, the chairman of the rules committee and the chairman of the subject matter committee. And they decide these complex pieces of legislation. He thinks that's a mistake. He wants the committee, particularly the judiciary committee, to do its work. And he wants the caucus to do its work. He's going to make that decision. And it's going to be a test of leadership at the end of the day. Let me make one other quick point. Back to gwen. This issue of immigration be settled with the administration doing less than more. The more the president intrudes into the process, more difficult it becomes to pass. That's why the democrats, led by schumer, before the president went to las vegas to make his speech about it, went to him and said, cool your jets. I want to move on. We have a few minutes left. I want to talk about the remarkable reunion this week. Chris christie and president obama, went back to the jersey shore. We showed them right there, having a good time. Christie was a much better ballplayer in this context than the president. And when you look at that -- and he's a little smaller after that surgery, yeah. Christie's thinking, first things first. Let me get re-elected governor of new jersey. Worry about president later. Well, it's pretty smart if you want to get re-elected governor of new jersey. He's running these lovely ads in new jersey, christie, the governor. I mean, what's not to like about -- up 30 points there. He's going to do fine in new jersey. And then, he will -- and he knows if he wants to run in 2016, he will cope with whoever his republican critics are when the time comes. Who is he going to run against? That's the question. Will this be a problem for chris christie? There's no down side. There's some soreness about what happened before the election in 2012. Nine days before the election. In this, I don't think there's any doubts. Christie's calculation is, if i get 58%, 60% to win in new jersey, I can point to republicans and say, you want somebody who can win in a democratic state and wrack up big numbers? I can do it. I just did it. The problem is because republicans want to win again. And bob dole says right now, the party is in need of innovation. There's a lot of that feeling in the republican party, where they articulated or not. I think christie's in a strong position to be the republican nominee. See if karl rove agrees with that. I think this is all premature. We'll have several geological ages come and go before the 2016 election. We'll all be pontificating about it. And this embrace to president obama won't matter? I think paul's right. There's a little residual from last fall. It didn't happen once. But it happened several times. And an interview with a fox reporter. Saying I'm going to be with the president when he comes to my state during a time of difficulty. Several ages will come and go. And these memories will dissipate and new memories will be created. David, you get the last word. A strong response for the governor and president coming together. Both parties to work together. They couldn't be crying out more loudly. I agree with karl. We have many lifetimes. I think the question, though, if he does run, can he get through the conservative gates of iowa and south carolina, where his numbers in those states -- the bachmann wing of the party is strong in those states. If chris christie runs, the delegate states of california, new york, new jersey, illinois, he'll have a pretty good shot. If he gets 4% in iowa and 3% in south carolina -- not going back to the straw poll. I don't care. We're not. Bachmann's resignation probably means the end of the straw poll. And everybody can cheer that. That was great, guys. Thank you very much. David plouffe is sticking around to answer your questions for our web extra. Check it out on abcnews.Com/thisweek. And when we come back,

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

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