Are Republicans Split on Foreign Policy?

'This Week' Powerhouse Roundtable discusses the President Obama's handling of the ISIS threat and the implications for 2016.
6:15 | 09/07/14

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Transcript for Are Republicans Split on Foreign Policy?
Knocked it off the bucket list right now. Might have been the high point of the president's week. We'll talk about what he did on the "Roundtable" now. Joined by donna Brazile, Jon Karl, Matt Bai, national correspondent for Yahoo! And bill kristol. Of the weekly standard, also an ABC news contributor. Jon, let me begin with you. You travelled with the president all week long. Seemed like the president made some progress in putting together this coalition to take on Isis. Says he'll announce the strategy this week. What steps does he need to take to finalize this? He's going to meet with congressional leadership on Tuesday. A big part is consulting with congress. He's getting heat from democrats saying he needs resolution. But not asking for the authority? It's not clear if the white house will ask for anything before making the decision on going into Syria. And you have the big speech on Wednesday. I don't expect we'll hear anything new on the speech. This is the president saying, yes, we do have a strategy. Here's what we're doing. We're building an international coalition. We're taking the fight to Isis with air strikes in Iraq. But no new effort on Syria. I'm told that decision is a ways off. Laying the ground work but not announcing. Laying the ground work for air strikes in Syria. You talk to senior military officials. They don't expect an order on that until the end of September the earliest. Bill, it doesn't seem like there's all that much daylight on the substance between the president now and his critics? Look, I think he would have huge republican support if he was more aggressive. I hope he gives a strong speech Wednesday. And most of all, I hope, and I think republicans hope, he does things. What one worries about is that he sometimes uses speeches as an excuse for avoiding action instead of the predicate for action. He's laying the predicate for taking the war to Syria. It's absolutely necessary to degrade and destroy Isis. And if he -- Even if it helps Assad? Yes. It might help him a little bit in the short term. If Isis is the threat it is and it is, we'll deal with one threat at a time. You can't degrade and destroy Isis enough without going after them in Syria. But as secretary of state Jon carry said this week, the red line, he used that term, it's a red line to not have boots on the ground. That's not serious. You can't have serious bombing campaigns without advisers in there. You can't move out ahead of time. I want to see the president say -- his deeds need to be as serious as his speech. Will he get support? Are they prepared to give him full authorization? I think some are. Many are not. Look, everybody remembers Iraq. They remember the rush to go into Iraq without an exit strategy. The president has to spell out the mission. I think everybody understands the mission. He has to spell out exactly what we hope to accomplish. Secretary Kerry has spoken with the Arab league. They'll take action. Those Arab countries, they have skin in the game. This is a medieval war that we're looking at to establish a caliphate. I had to ask bill what that meant. I'm an expert. In medieval politics. Because the truth is, the president needs to have the country behind him, whatever we decide to do. It will be tough. It will be long. It will involve American troops. It will involve the united States making sure that we can get an international coalition built so that we can solve the problem. You talked about the public. There's evidence that the public's views on foreign policy are hardening up. I was struck by a pew poll. They asked the question last year, is the U.S. Doing too little to solve the world's problems? 17% said yes. That's almost doubled. I want to take that to Matt Bai. You had Rand Paul with the libertarian bent. Now trying to say, wait, I'm not an isolationist. I want to be involved as well. It's firming thing up on the republican side. You never know what a presidential campaign is going to be about. Two years out. There are two powerful currents in American politics right now. One has been with them for awhile. It's the need for an outsider to come in and shake things up. Break the calcified dysfunction. Now you're increasingly going to have the desire for somebody who projects more stability and can rein in chaos. Overseas and in foreign policy. The successful candidate in 2016 may well be the person that can fuse those two impulses. In a way that Ronald Reagan did in 1980. Who has a single message that joins both conflicting impulses. I'll tell you. Rand Paul, it's interesting. He's saying, I'm not an isolationist. I would have acted more forcefully against Isis than president Obama. It's interesting. Back in June, he said the president would need congressional authorization before launching air strikes in Iraq. To say it was still good under the war on terror -- He would come to congress and ask it. Any guarantee that is going to pass? I think we'll have a real debate in congress on this. There's a reason the president doesn't want to go again and ask for congressional authorization. 50% of republicans would give the president the authorization. To use force. Rand Paul's impulse is always exaggerated. He's never shown much support for isolationism. Good libertarians disagree with Rand Paul. The republicans will be a hawkish party. They'll be a hawkish party in 2016. Matt writes this week that 2016 now setting up to be a foreign policy election. Does that help Hillary Clinton or hurt her? I think it helps her. Not only does she have the experience to lead on these issues. As you have seen over the last couple of weeks, she's not afraid to talk about it.

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

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