'Talk is cheap and now you have to go out there and perform': Landrieu on 2020

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the latest developments in the 2020 presidential race.
12:09 | 03/17/19

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Transcript for 'Talk is cheap and now you have to go out there and perform': Landrieu on 2020
O'rourke's campaign announcement? He has a lot of hand movement. I have never seen so much hand movement. I said, is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? Who is better Beto O'rourke or Joe Biden? Whoever it is, I'll take him on. Whoever it is, it makes no difference to me whatsoever. President trump weighing in on the 2020 democratic race. Let's talk about that with our round table joined by Chris Christie, who served on the administration of president trump, a friend of president trump. Also the Democrat Michel Andrew, author of "In the shadow of statues." We have Kaitlyn Dickerson from "The New York Times," her first appearance on "This week." Welcome. ABC news political analyst and GOP strategist Alice Stewart. Also a commentator with CNN. Matt, let me begin with you. Chris coons didn't leave much to the imagination. Biden said last night that he's in. Beto O'rourke comes in on Friday. Both white men. Beyond that, all kinds of contrasts. Oh, yeah. Between the two of them, and I think we're almost -- I hope we're almost at the point where the field is ultimately settled. I think this is going to be a fascinating race between this, and the contrast between Beto and Biden couldn't be more dramatic in where they came from, who they are and all that. But I think what's ultimately going to happen is we basically have the top two candidates for Biden and Bernie. The question is that all the other candidates have to fight over the last two or three spots of how do they get in and out of Iowa and New Hampshire. But those debates that started in June are going to be really, really important for that. They're really important for the candidates that are well known, but important for Joe Biden because Biden has to figure out, how does he present himself with all these other diverse candidates on stage? Why is he the guy? You have some experience with that in those big debates last time around. It is a challenge for the candidates, and what president trump benefitted from -- he was the front runner most of the way, but he never took many shots at his opponents on stage. You would sit there and prepare for this. You would wind up thinking, you probably had seven minutes total over a 90-minute debate to say whatever you were going to say. You were caught between, do I try to say something from a substantive perspective that has style attached to it that will get the attention of the media? Do I attack the guy who is in front and make that my play? None of them worked, okay? In our situation. I don't think they have someone like trump in this -- in this field, but none of it worked because the media, the panelists only wanted to talk to trump. They had questions that were designed to go get him. They had questions that were trying to drag some other people in, into conflict. I think the interesting thing here will be, what's your strategy if you are a second candidate? Matt is rite -- right. Everyone else is a second tier candidate other than Biden and Bernie Sanders. How do you make a difference with the electorate in June, July and August? That will increase in the polls, increase in money and increase in attention. People will be watching. We just heard Chris coons talking about how he thinks Joe Biden should handle the divide. This is a real issue inside the democratic primaries right now. All the energy on social media behind the most Progressive positions. Biden trying to hold the center and become the most electable I think that's probably true, but it's a very long race. You know, talk is cheap and now you have to go out there and perform and it's a 15-month race, and the public will expect something thoughtful and deep. Everybody better get with it and say, this is how I'm going to run the country. They're looking for experience and I think they're looking for steady, and now these candidates have to go out there and perform. He has obviously got the best position right now. Whether he holds it or not is anybody's guess. Beto also kind of came out of the senate campaign last losing to Ted Cruz. Such a phenom on social media, and learned a little bit about the challenges of stepping onto the national stage in the first couple of days. I love to see the excitement and the honeymoon phase, and let him connect with the people. We'll check in with him after 99 counties and see if he's enthusiastic. You have to jump in there and be enthusiastic. I think it's key. The governor hit on this. This is not just about who is ahead right now. It's slow and steady wins the race. Get your message out there, visit with all these counties, but the key for Democrats is not to pick the most Progressive candidate that will lead to win in the primary. They would need to pick a moderate force, like Joe Biden to win the general. They're so focused on these Progressive candidates about the green new deal and about free college for all. It's more about winning the primary and getting out there and who is going to be able to take on president trump and not be too far to the left and bring in the independents. One thing about president trump is he's so focused on his base with that veto on the disapproval with his emergency declaration on the border wall. Doubling and tripling down on holding on to those most inflamed about the issue of immigration. We'll have the see what happens with the candidates and how they decide to approach the issue because we have seen no sign president trump will stray from what has been his biggest political issue. A huge winner for him, and I think, you know, the wall -- the idea of it has been very controversial. We saw legislators try to stop it. Not just because many of them disagree with the fundamental notion that an emergency exists that could be helped by a wall, but also because of executive overreach, and then I think you see democratic candidates starting to talk about immigration. Most of them are sort of being very conservative and saying, you know, mostly we want to secure the borders. Perhaps we want to do a little bit to help people with the dreamers. We want to help children and make sure no more children die in border patrol custody. Then someone like Beto jumps in the race who in the past has been on the much more extreme end of open and inclusive immigration laws and it will be interesting to see whether he stays that way because I'm sure that president trump will continue to make this -- He has moderated on a number of positions. Yeah, he has, but I think Beto -- and I know Beto and I think he is a phenom, but I think he's going to have to figure out -- he's going to have to give some substantive speeches and it's not just a waving his arms and, you know, being in touch with people. I think the fascinating thing about Donald Trump to me strategically where he has made a strategic failure, but it may just be him, is while the Democrats are fighting and all that, you would think the right strategy would be, how do I broaden my base, and in the midst of all this, struggle over where do we want to go and what do we want to do? The president seems completely incapable of rising above 40%. He also doesn't seem fazed at all by the notion that 12 Republican senators defected. He's fazed by it. He don't like it, but, you know, he's also smart enough to know that making -- putting a bigger spotlight on it is something that's positive for him. Here's the genius of him and why it was so hard to run against him. Matt used his words. He talked about Beto O'rourke. He has to do more than labeling has arms. It's labeling. Trump labels you, and he labels you in a way that is vivid and stark and it sticks. Low energy Jeb, little Marco, lyin' Ted. Crooked Hillary. You didn't get one? I didn't get a nickname. Not yet. Listen. If it hasn't come by now, it ain't coming, buddy. No nicknames ever. There is two reasons I think for that. You know, one is that, you know, he doesn't nickname -- we talked about this before. The people who he really, really respects. You look at Pelosi. I mean, cryin' chuck Schumer has had that nickname for a long time. No nickname for Nancy Pelosi. He tweeted out, Nancy Pelosi who I refer to as Nancy. He doesn't mess with people like that, but he'll go on O'rourke and other people. That's the personal. He is doing everything he can to name the democratic party socialist. But you know he's the thing. The democratic party is likely to become a socialist party when Donald Trump learns how the tell the truth, which is never. So that's the way it's going to be. So he can take one person and talk about that, but when a guy like Joe Biden gets in the race and starts articulating a moderate position, you may see the same thing for Beto O'rourke. You're going to see a fight for the marketplace of ideas. It's not going to be that easy to do that, and it is true that the president did that during the campaign last time, but now everybody knows who he is. They know him a lot better, and so the person who is running for the leader of the democratic party. They're running to be the president of the United States and the president of all the people. Don't underestimate the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He's a dark horse to be watched in this. His background, who he is, where he has come from, he speaks six languages and all that. He is a new phenom, but he's also somebody that actually has a whole bunch of substance. Watch for the mayor. You say watch for the mayor, and I agree. And he has a lot of talent. The surprising thing here is those are all white men in a party now where a lot of the energy is wanting to get behind a woman candidate. Certainly, and we have seen great strides in the most recent election. Certainly a tremendous number of women on the democratic side in Washington, which I think is great. I expect to see a woman on the ticket. Maybe not at the top of the ticket, but maybe as vice presidential candidate, but you can run away from the socialism label. You can run away from labels, but you can't deny the fact that the democratic party is moving very, very far to the left. We're talking about the green new deal and college education and we're talking about a lot of policies that are extremely left. The cortezes of Washington and the younger generation of Democrats are causing a divide. The democratic party -- if you look at all the issues and where the public stands, the democratic party is closer to the center than the Republican party is. We'll see who the nominee is. Here's the thing. The party -- is party that does not have a president is nothing until it has a nominee, and then when it has a nominee, that nominee is everything. Right. Right? And that's what it's going to become. I think it's going to matter who winds up winning this thing and I think the difference -- talking to two phenoms this morning. Beto and mayor Pete. The differences in what I have seen so far, mayor Pete has some substance to him. Beto seems to have no substance he says, first we must fix our democracy before we can do anything else. Listen. That's fine. It will last for about an hour on the trail, and people in Iowa and New Hampshire will ask you real questions and when you can't answer them, it's going to be a problem. It's depends on who you nominate. It depends on who you nominate. Kamala Harris is performing well, and Amy, et cetera. How much further to the right could the Republican party go than it is right now? I know everybody is talking about the Democrats. When you talk about where the Republicans are, and where the proposals have been, there is a lot of room in the American political scope to talk about other issues. I want to bring that to you. What is the issue that president trump uses to move to the center? As Matt was saying, we haven't seen any major effort to try to build on his base at this point. George, I respectfully say that those labels don't matter for Donald Trump. We were wondering that the last time too, George. We were wondering that in 2016. When is he going to move to the center? When is he going to do the traditional Nixon to the right in the primary, to the center for the general? He doesn't define himself that way. People don't define him that way. They don't look at him as an ideolog. Those labels don't matter for him. It was frustrating running against him those labels don't matter. People see him -- as Mitch said. They know who he is. He's a personality. He ran as a personality and he's going to continue to run as a personality.

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

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