Sen. Elect Cory Gardner: GOP Has to 'Show That We Can Govern'

Senator-elect Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, on the Republican takeover of Congress, and the "This Week" powerhouse roundtable on what Washington can get done under GOP control.
8:38 | 11/09/14

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Transcript for Sen. Elect Cory Gardner: GOP Has to 'Show That We Can Govern'
As republicans in Colorado, we've gotten used to the saying, wait until the next election. Well, I've got news for you, that next election, it finally happened. And that is the new republican senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner riding a big smile and a skillful campaign to a big win in that battleground state that president Obama won twice, the senator-elect joins us from Colorado this morning. Senator, thank you for joining us this morning. So give me a headline sentence. What was the message the voters were sending Tuesday night? That what's happening in Washington, D.C. Isn't working. It's not as much about republicans and democrats as much as the fact of the direction. The policies of Washington aren't working for the people of this state or this country. How do you fix it coming right out of the box? You have to fix it right out of the box, I believe by working together republicans and democrats putting ideas forward on the president's desk, ideas that the broad majority of American people support and showing that we can govern. Republicans show that we can govern maturely, that we can govern with competence and if we do that in two years from now we'll have a good result again with our nominee. If we don't, we'll see the same results two years from now but in a different direction. Does that include repealing obamacare or going for something the president can sign first? Well, I do think we need to repeal and replace obamacare but the president named Obama is not going to repeal a bill named obamacare. And so let's put on his desk things like repealing the medical device tax, making sure that we can repeal the iPad board, things that have bipartisan support and restore the 40-hour workweek and these have bipartisan support and it shows that we are serious about our intention to govern. Does that mean things like shutting down the government off the table? The government shutdown is a bad idea anytime anywhere. And we saw the president, we know there's going to be a showdown coming on immigration as well and the president reiterating he's prepared to go it alone to provide more protections for undocumented immigrants. What does that mean for cooperation and how will republicans in the senate and the house respond? You know, I hope that the immigration reform effort by the house and the senate will gain speed and momentum. I've supported immigration reform and believe we need to go there, but the question is this, will the president do the right thing? And I think the president will do the right thing when it comes to immigration reform and that is working with the house and the senate instead of going around the house and senate. So you don't believe it when he says he'll issue that executive order? Well, again, I hope the president does the right thing. I haven't seen the executive order. I don't know what it's going to do but I hope the president and encourage the president to do the right thing and that is to work with the house and the senate on a solution because whatever the executive order is, if he does, indeed, do that will not be the kind of changes and reforms that we need to the overall immigration system, so let's do the right thing, let's work together. Finally, senator, you won in a state as I said president Obama won twice. What's the memo you're going to write to the republican candidate in 2016 to say, this is how you win in Colorado? That you have to have an optimistic message. You have to have a vision for the state, the country, that people are drawn to. We talked about growing the economy. We talked about energy Independence but more than anything in this rocky mountain state people want to be able to look their eyes up to the great rocky mountain horizon and recognize the fact we have an ever hopeful state and that's the kind of message we had to capture to make sure people were proud again and to make sure that we can build toward a government we can be proud of. Congratulations, senator. We'll talk to you again soon. Thank you very much. Relentlessly optimistic, Cory Gardner right there. Greta van susteren, he set a standard and said republicans in the next years have to show they can govern. Can speaker Boehner, Mitch Mcconnell do it? Well, they've got -- they said they're going to do it so they better do it. The interesting issue what they passed, will it when it goes to the president will it be so untenable to the president he vetoes it and creates bigger problems? Both sides have an opportunity now, the president does and so do the republicans, you know, we've heard a lot of campaign happy talk, well, now we want to see some product. Some happy talk, John heilemann, and we saw tough talk from the president and the white house defying even some of their own advisers and former advisers going forward, they say, with this executive order before even giving the congress to pass immigration reform. Ó, instance on the notion that they have let Latino voters down by delaying thus far and need to do something to make -- to solidify the connection of hispanic voters, the most important voting bloc going forward in 2016, to keep them locked into the democratic coalition. I guess their calculation even if republicans say there will be spillover on other issues is that that really wouldn't help the gop so they are Mott going to do it. No, of course not. Look, the republicans have an opportunity tomorrow to pass an immigration bill. I mean there's a bill sitting on the docket now from the senate, 68-32. When the republicans, their message in 2010 was give us the house and we will fix the economy. We gave them the house and they practically did nothing. Now they say we have both the house and the senate and will work with the president on certain issues. I don't think it's going to happen. You can't deny the fact that senator harry Reid pocket vetoed everything that came from the house, even if it was a bad bill from the house, if he passed one and sent it to conference both sides could have worked it out -- Or tested that proposition. One difficulty for John Boehner he has a much bigger majority right now but also brought in many more conservative tea party members. Absolutely, and I think if you actually look at that Colorado race, it doesn't answer these questions about immigration because Udall -- Udall decided not to draw a contrast on that issue. Gardner who opposed it then muddied the issue and Udall decided it wasn't the terrain he wanted to fight on so it's really hard to tell coming out of that race and that state that has such a big hispanic population where it's so important, it kind of remains an open question. Mark, I know one of the ways you put it and a good way to look at it is respect speaker Boehner and leader Mcconnell willing to take risks? What are they willing to risk? They're going to have to take some risks, risks of dealing with the president, risk of being the party who are for fundamental restructuring of entitlement programs, the risk of trying to pass immigration reform for the good of their 2016 nominee and standing up to talk radio. There are a ton of things they can do. They are unified. Not known as bold risk takers who go out in public and throw down the gauntlet. They will have to if they want to do what's good for the country. One risk is really obvious risk right now. You've seen the last five days as Mcconnell and Boehner have been talking about, some degree of compromise and hear the base and the republican -- the right -- the right most quadrants of talk radio already braying at the notion that do not do deals with Barack Obama, do not legislation. This is not what the election is about, it's about saying no to Barack Obama and repealing and investigating and so on. That voice -- those voices already very, very loud right now. At 14% of public approval I doubt very seriously the republicans are going to do anything that will further damage their brand. They don't try to make some inroads and try to move more toward the middle and hopefully to try to get better position for 2016. Make the president look unreasonable. 123w4r biggest thing of the week, Mitch Mcconnell who is underrated took off the table shutdown, took off the table playing with the debt ceiling. Didn't have much of an uproar in response, at least not yet. And uproar is minor and these new members like Cory Gardner who you talked to all are going to be part in -- in the senate at least will be part of what do we do that's reasonable for the party image and to try to make deals. You just saw Cory Gardner. He took government shutdown off the table as well and didn't dig in hard on obamacare but, donna Brazile, we have some history here with comebacks. You saw bill Clinton come back from impeachment and strike deals with the republican majority in his final two years. What is the comeback strategy now for Barack Obama? Well, look, pass the bourbon, he said. Back to the bourbon again. Back to the bourbon again. You know, we keep hearing about trade. We keep hearing about tax reform. We keep hearing about another so-called grand bargain. I don't think just finding ways to appease republicans will -- is enough for president Obama. Part of the drop-off in democratic support and the president's support comes from his own base. They want to see action on the economy. They want jobs, they want the president to deal with issues that impact the middle class. If he fails to do that, he might get a little love from the republicans but not enough. Unclear if he can do that, Ben smith, final 30 seconds. You saw a different model from Ronald Reagan. He went to all foreign policy in his final two years after apologizing for iran-contra. That doesn't look like fertile ground for president Obama. You know, I think was to everybody's surprise day one involve himself personally on foreign policy and gotten burned there repeatedly and in some ways I think spent a lot of that capital that other presidents have saved for those last two years. See if he gets an Iran deal but doing exactly the opposite of what he wanted to do on Iraq. Coming up another quick break.

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

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