This Week, I asked TIME Magazine’s Joe Klein to answer five questions.
1) To what extent do you think New Jersey Gov. Christie’s decision to have lap band surgery was motivated by politics?
Joe Klein: Oh, it was absolutely motivated by politics — you simply can’t run for president and look like that. The question is whether you can run for president and talk like that.
2) Assuming Hillary Clinton runs for the White House in 2016, is she left vulnerable by events in Benghazi?
Joe Klein: The Benghazi emails aren’t evidence of a major scandal. But they are further evidence of the cloud of protective advisers that Clinton has traditionally used as body armor. Too often, the protective becomes over-protective, sometimes even paranoid. This can be a problem in a presidential campaign, especially as the public has become more aware of massaged political language and spin. The Benghazi emails are a prime example of massaging and spinning.
3) How would you grade President Obama in terms of the way he has dealt with the situation in Syria? Is the United States likely to take some sort of military action in the near future?
Joe Klein: President Obama has done the right thing in Syria. We’re at a turning point in the history of the region, when the straight line borders drawn by Europeans after World War I may be redrawn. We have a terrible history of inept military intervention in the region—we just don’t know it well enough to be sure about the unintended consequences of our actions. We should use our power to make sure the neighbors are talking to each other, try to encourage negotiations between the Syrian rebels and elements of Assad’s army that want to compromise, and to provide humanitarian aid.
4) Vice President Joe Biden is hoping immigration reform will pass by the end of the summer. Do you see that happening?
Joe Klein: If immigration reform doesn’t pass in a timely and coherent way, the Republican Party is going to suffer in 2016.
5) How do you see Anthony Weiner doing if he enters the New York mayoral race? Would he have a shot at winning?
Joe Klein: Who would have thought that a fellow with the name of Obama would have an easier shot at office than a guy named Weiner? His only shot is absolute candor. About everything—and moving into the Giuliani, Bloomberg space that seems pretty empty right now.