Below are some of the notable comments made Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” The Powerhouse Roundtable included Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), ABC News’ George Will, National Journal White House correspondent Major Garrett, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.
Rep. Darrell Issa
No more lies, where is the truth
ISSA: When we get lied to, when the American people get lied to, there can’t be oversight if there’s lying, and there cannot — the Supreme Court has held pretty clearly, there cannot be executive privilege over criminal cover-up or cover-up of a crime. Lying to Congress is a crime. We have every right to see documents that say, did you know, when did you know, what did you know, including even the president.
View on gun control conspiracy
ISSA: This was so flawed that you can’t believe they expected to actually get criminal prosecutions as a result of it. So the level of flaw here is huge. But here’s the real answer as to gun control. We have e-mails from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting. So chicken or egg? We don’t know which came first; we probably never will. We do know that during this — this Fast and Furious operation, there were e-mails in which they’re saying we can use this as part of additional reporting or things like assault weapons ban. So the people involved saw the benefit of what — what they were gathering. Whether or not that was their original purpose, we probably will never know.
ROSEN: Border control is a dangerous occupation. This dumb program made it more dangerous. The attorney general stepped in. They closed this program down. He has taken responsibility for it. He has apologized. He has made documents available. They have — he has testified on the Hill like something like nine times. This is just nothing more than a political witch hunt that is taking up ridiculous amounts of Republican House time, when they should be doing other things.
ROSEN: I think probably somebody like Tim Pawlenty is a good choice for him. I think you want — you want someone who is going to be experienced and not make noise. You know, when I was watching Mitt Romney on the campaign trail up in New Hampshire, I saw this nice little bromance between the two of them. They seemed to have chemistry. You know, you look at the choices. And none of them really add something to Romney. I think he does a do no harm thing, because, look, as Democrats we have enough to run against with Mitt Romney.
Rep. Xavier Becerra
BECERRA: Oversight is the Congress’s responsibility. But what we have here is overreach. This committee has had ample opportunity to get all of the information, document or testimony, that it needs to figure out what this operation was about, what went wrong, who’s at fault. Now we’re going into other things. Now this committee is trawling for all sorts of stuff during an election year. And I think George is right. After November, it’s going to disappear. It’s unfortunate, because while we should be talking about jobs, about student loan interest rates going up, about getting a transportation bill done that creates 2 million jobs, here we are, witch hunt, fishing expedition. That’s not how you spend the taxpayers’ money.
BECERRA: By not being willing to even come close to what Marco Rubio said he might be willing to on the DREAM Act. He essentially has said, it’s radioactive. I can’t even touch what Marco Rubio was going to do. And if what the president did is a baby DREAM Act, then what Marco Rubio was going to do was still, you know, in utero. And so if he couldn’t — if Mitt Romney couldn’t even come close to where Marco Rubio was, how can Marco Rubio now become his vice presidential candidate?
WILL: Mr. Holder himself has made himself obnoxious to Republicans by saying, unlike the Supreme Court, that photo I.D. laws constitute voter suppression, that is, if you have to present when you vote a photo I.D., the way you have to present a photo I.D. to get into Justice — Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department.
WILL: It’s interesting that Governor Romney, from New England, is much more severe about immigration than Reagan, McCain, or either Bush presidents were, all four of those coming from border states with more familiarity with it. So the president has a double advantage here.
GARRETT: I’ve always regarded health care, with all due respect to Mayor Bloomberg, as a 32-ounce Red Bull. It has been an energy drink for both parties. Whatever the court decides, it’s two more sips out of the 32-ounce Red Bull. It’s an energy drink that energizes all political actors on health care.
GARRETT: Mitt Romney very quickly sent out an alert, look, we have to hold our own on this. We can’t have an intra-party fight, number one. We can’t gnaw on each other’s necks about who’s more aggressive or not on immigration. Secondly, if we can’t endorse this, let us not denounce it instantly. Maybe you can raise some questions about the process, but let’s not denounce it. The metaphor I have for that is he’s trying to keep a lid on a pressure cooker, which for him and his political future is the first priority: Do no harm so you can have a secondary conversation with Latino voters. But I think for Romney, the question of this election is demographics destiny. Right now, Mitt Romney is running in the low 20s with Latinos. If he doesn’t get to 40, he doesn’t have a chance. He’s got to push up to 40. The only way to get there is economic despair or a sense that economics are so important that these other issues have to take a back seat.
NOONAN: I think that is exactly what they wanted to be talking about, economic issues, the presidential campaign right now. I think the administration made a bad mistake. I think, throughout the 15, 16 months of this investigation, they tried to stonewall Congress. They angered Congress. I think the Republican leaders were not in a hurry to get onboard this thing. They didn’t really want to push it as an issue. Eventually, they decided we’re going to have to. This actually is Congress being dissed, if you will, by the executive. I think it looks bad. I think we always — all of us in politics and journalism learn every year, stonewalling isn’t a good idea, but we keep that in our heads in the abstract. And in the particular, we stonewall. And I think that’s the mistake they made.
NOONAN: I think Joe Biden is a — a very charming, but sometimes surprising and gaffe-prone person. And I think no one has pushed at him in 3 1/2 years. And I think Rob Portman just might eviscerate him. I think that might lead to a certain sense, this growing meme out there of the administration as a house of cards. There’s something not fully stable, not fully operating, not fully right about this thing.