President Obama: Americans Want 'New Car Smell' in 2016 Campaign

On "This Week," the president discusses whether Hillary Clinton will distance herself from the Obama White House, and his role in the 2016 presidential race.
2:49 | 11/23/14

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Transcript for President Obama: Americans Want 'New Car Smell' in 2016 Campaign
And we get to the race now to replace president Obama. Jim Webb became the first official candidate from either party this week launching his long shot bid for the democratic nomination. And while Hillary Clinton has not announced her supporters gathered this weekend to support her for another run. I asked the president to weigh in. How is this going to work over the next couple of years? Your relationship with the secretary as it certainly appears she is planning on running for president. Will you coordinate, does she have your blessing to separate when she needs to? She hasn't announced. I don't want to jump the gun. I can tell you a couple things, number one she was an outstanding secretary of state. Number two, she's a friend. Do you still talk pretty regularly? We do. Number three, I think she and a number of other possible democratic candidates would be terrific presidents. A number of other? And I am very interested in making sure that I've got a democratic successor so I'm going to do everything I can obviously to make sure that whoever the nominee is is successful. If she decides to run, I think she will be a formidable candidate, I think she'd be a great president, and she's not going to agree with me on everything. And, you know, one of the benefits of running for president is you can stake out your own positions and have a clean slate, a fresh start. When you've been president for six years, you know, you've got some Dings and -- You don't mind a few more if that's what it takes? You know, I think the American people are going to want that new car smell. You know, they want to drive something off the lot that doesn't have as much mileage as me. I wonder how that's going to make you feel though as this campaign is going on. You think you'll be itching to get back out there or glad to let someone else? I tell you, when I think about the next two years, I just want to every single day be making this government work a little bit better for ordinary folks. If I'm able to do that over the next two years, then not only will I be serving the American people well, I think I will be serving a potential successor well. They're probably not going to be looking at me to campaign too much. One of the things about our society which is great is that we don't have real long memories and, yeah, we get impatient for the next thing and -- It's worked for you before. It's worked for me before and, you know, I think at the end of two years, if they want me to do some selective things, I'll be happy to do them, but I suspect that folks will be ready to see me go off to the next thing. And we're back now with the roundtable. So, James Carville, we saw the president try to take a few Dings. How does Hillary get that fresh, new car smell? That's a very good question, disclosure, I'm a big supporter of hers. I spoke at events this weekend, so let's go in. It is difficult, and let me just -- there's too much talk about inevitability and everything else. I think she'll be a nominee. I want to make a point here. And she has a plan, and Mike Tyson once said, everybody got a plan to get hit in the mouth and you run for president and anybody that has and, Dr. Carson, I guarantee you this, it's not when, it's how many times. You cannot run for president without things going wrong. And I think she understands that and she knows that going in. But this kind of inevitability that it's going to be easy and all that, that's foolishness. She's got this tricky act, Matthew dowd, of trying to figure out a way to stay close to the president but also establish some distance at exactly the same time. Well, the biggest problem she faces was the interview you just conducted, which is the president, the incumbent president of the United States and Barack Obama, if his job approval number is sitting in the low 40s at the end of 2016, it's very difficult for any democrat, especially Hillary Clinton, to win a race. Nobody has ever done that. Nobody has won three terms in a row where the incumbent party president's job approval is under 50%. Secondly, I think the other huge problem she has besides the president of the United States is that the country wants somebody that's anti-washington and anti-wall street. They want somebody coming it from both. They don't think Washington is working and Wall Street is totally out of control and nobody's reined it in, where Elizabeth Warren is. Hillary Clinton problematically represents both of those. How could she be anti-wall street? How could Hillary be anti-wall street? Well, let me just step back for a moment because I think the country, Hillary Clinton, the democratic party would be well served by a vigorous primary debating the big issues and if you have people in there like James Webb or Bernie sanders who is thinking hard about running, maybe Elizabeth Warren though she said she won't, you could drive Hillary Clinton to saying you can't be captive of wall Street. She's not but she is tethered to Wall Street and it is part of the problem where she is part of a politics of the past which may be tough for her to mark a new course but the most important thing, George, this country deserves a primary. The inevitability factor should not be part of our democracy and -- No matter whether they deserve it or not they're going to get one. Somebody's going to run -- Jim Webb is already looking -- Dr. Carson, as James said, you're looking at the possibility of running for president, close to a decision? Every day I would get closer because I'm going to make a decision by may the 1st. By may. You have a little bit of time. Make the 30-second case against Hillary. Well, I don't want to make it specifically about Hillary. I want to make it about those who want the United States to be a country where the government conforms to the will of the people versus those who want the people to conform to the will of the government and that's the big divide that we have right now. That's what the people are talking about. That's what they talked about a couple of weeks ago in the election. They are saying isn't this our country? Isn't it for, of and by the people? This is what we need to be talking about. I don't care if it's a democrat or republican. That's who needs to be up front. I hope Dr. Carson runs because I think we'd be behooved in this country by anybody participating in the process. The problem is, good people have stepped back that are smart and haven't tried to serve and I think it would be benefit whether or not I agree with you on the issues. I think the interesting thing about the republican party is, they would be benefited by an outsider coming in, whether it's someone like Dr. Carson or a governor outside of Washington, D.C. The thing about the republican party, everybody says they're going to nominate the most conservative party. They haven't since Goldwater in 1964. They nominate the person most electable and satisfies conservatives. And that never -- I think -- I hope Dr. Carson runs. I think -- I agree with Matt. An anti-establishment candidate, however, I think you're way overreading the results of that election. When you look at the issues that won around the country and that map was very conservative, it was an older, more affluent whiter crowd and it wasn't the emerging majority, young people minorities, single women and I think you see a country that is waiting for something different. They want a government that works for them. They don't want a rigged system that works for the corporations or the very wealthy and they want to be part of a recovery that they hear a lot about, but they don't feel they're part of. I don't think it's overread at all. I'm in four or five states a week. I've been for the last year and a half, and I predicted a long time ago what the results for the election would be because I'm hearing what the people are saying. I should say we have this Facebook senti-meter. Dr. Carson doing well in Iowa up there with Rubio and Christie. On positive interactions in Iowa. Everything to support that an off-year election means something in the next presidential cycle but evidence. All evidence is from '94 to '96, from 2010 to 2012. All evidence is that it doesn't matter. It's a different kind of an event. Now, I think that when secretary Clinton runs, she's going to run on her own agenda and think there's going to be a lot -- I think she's going to take this thing very seriously, is going to run very hard and I think -- Where does she break for president Obama? Where does she break from president Obama? I think she'll say he's done remarkable things as president but the one thing we haven't do -- the great unfinished work for this nation, how do we build a middle class and that was the one thing that I want to do. That is the great issue that the United States is faced with is we have lost our essence because we're becoming too separated by income and everything else. I think that's her message and she can be as critical as she wants about that. The problem with Hillary Clinton is she can't just do something symbolically or hang a green Christmas tree in the car and get the new car smell. She has to get a new car and right now the car she's driving in is old. Everybody is talking about rebuilding the middle class but do you have the courage to walk the walk because there are policies that Hillary Clinton's not going to touch. Whether it's trade policy, whether it's taking on the big banks, whether it's real prosperity and -- How does she break with president Obama? You for where I think she breaks and we haven't talked much about this, Jim Webb could drive into the primary. Foreign policy. She attacked the president for saying stupid stuff ain't a doctrine. Well, you know what, not doing stupid stuff in international relations is a doctrine in my review because this country is way overstretched and I think the beltway elite is totally out of sync with the American people in terms of America's role in the world. Americans don't want America to be the global policeman. They want to be secure. But I think Hillary Clinton is -- I think the beltway liber liberals -- and I believe this, and I really respect you and I like your magazine, there's not much appetite in the democratic party around the country for somebody other than Hillary Clinton. This is something that they -- It's true and it's going to help -- Again, I go -- I agree with you. You go watch it. The republicans will need all the help they want to win a presidential race. Everything helps republicans. If you listen to them, Obama helps republicans. Hillary is going to help republicans. The sun coming up helps republicans. Why don't they want some elections? That's going to have to be

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

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