'This Week' Game Changer: Women in Politics

ABC News' Jonathan Karl on the GOP women who took the midterms by storm, and the potential 2016 battle brewing between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
7:08 | 12/28/14

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Transcript for 'This Week' Game Changer: Women in Politics
And now a stunning year of politics at home. A year that saw republicans sweep to power, and solidify the hold on capitol hill and set the stage for a presidential campaign that's drawing in big names and big money earlier than ever. Chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl has been tracking it all. Reporter: It was obviously a big year for republicans, but 2014 was an especially big year for republican women. Thanks to all of you we are heading to Washington. And we are going to make them squeal! Reporter: Their biggest winner, Joni Ernst, the first woman elected to the senate from Iowa. The first female combat veteran elected to the senate from any state. I grew up castrating hogs. Reporter: The first to launch a campaign like this. Washington is full of big spenders. Let's make them squeal. Reporter: But Ernst wasn't the only republican women to make history. There was Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia. For the first time in the history of West Virginia we are sending a woman to the united States senate. Reporter: In Utah Mia love became the first black republican woman elected to the house of representatives. In New York, Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to congress. When the 114th congress gets seated in January, there will be a record number of women serving, 107 total, 20 in the senate and 87 in the house. Could you make the argument this was the year of the woman? Yes and no. There are more women in congress than there have been before but incrementally, the same number of women in the senate and the same number of women governors. We're seeing different kinds of women, women of color, women the color in the republican party. And we're seeing more powerful positions. Reporter: The top of the party remains almost exclusively male. They're building up a bench of leaders, understanding that maybe at the very top levels of the party it's predominantly male. They understand that they need to start cultivating new and fresh talent. Hello Iowa! Reporter: The top of the democrat party on the other hand -- I'm back! Reporter: 2014 was the year Hillary Clinton solidified her standing as the presumptive democrat presidential nominee. She launched her big book tour while supporters under the banner ready for Hillary set up a shadow campaign. We asked bill Clinton about them in Iowa. They're like energizer bunnies. They're everywhere and ready to go. They're going to be disappointed if she doesn't run. Do you think they'll be disappointed? I will be not baited. I will not. I cannot be baited. Have we ever seen such a formidable front-runner on the democratic side that was not an incumbent president or vice-president? Yes. Hillary Clinton in 2008. But this is not about nostalgia. There are other candidates out there that will pose a threat. Campaigns matter. Absolutely. But I still believe that she is the best positioned candidate in the field right now. Reporter: But for Mrs. Clinton, 2014 didn't go exactly as planned. What happened in 2008 was that Hillary's candidacy got in front of any rationale for it. The danger is that that's happening again. You hear ready for Hillary. It's like ready for what. Reporter: Her first big interview was with Diane sawyer. If I run for president, the way I think about it is the two most important questions are not will you run and can you win. Those are obviously what people will speculate about. But what's your vision for America and can you lead us there. Reporter: She seemed a little out of touch. You have no reason to remember but we came out of the the white house not only dead broke but in debt. Reporter: While it's true the Clintons left the white house in debt because of legal bills, they quickly made millions. The next day she tried to clarify her remarks on "Good morning America." I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today. It's an issue that I've worked on and cared about my entire adult life. Reporter: The next round of headlines was about her huge speaking fees. $200,000 or more for a single speech. Over the summer, Mrs. Clinton found herself at odds with president Obama on foreign policy, suggesting in an interview with the atlantic magazine that his failure to build up the Syrian opposition led to the rise of Isis. Soon she was clarifying her remarks again. We have disagreements as any partners and friends might very well have, but I'm proud that I served with him and for him. She won't be able to sit on the sidelines of national controversies if she really gets into the race and I think that will begin to erode some of that favorability she has been able to build up. She spent four and a half years off the campaign trial and I think she had to regain her political footing and I think she will start off 2015 knowing exactly where she's going and hopefully inspiring others to follow her. Reporter: She's still the no doubt about it front-runner, but her most talked about potential challenger is another woman. Elizabeth Warren is now the hottest ticket inside the democratic theater. There's no question there will be a movement to try to encourage her to run, and there will be a movement to encourage other democrats to get into the race. So this is not going to be a walk to the white house. It's going to be a very, very challenging run to the white house. I asked her if she would consider running for president two years ago. Could we see you running for president in 2016? I have five words for that. No, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not. Reporter: Her answer has changed. I am not running. She is now saying I am not running. Nobody is running right now. Right. That's just a statement of fact. She only speaks in the president tense. So what's going on? She feels an incredible vacuum inside the democratic party. I think she feels an incredible vacuum in the country. People want someone who's fresh with new ideas, who will talk about the future, fight for the middle class. Who will fight for working people. Sounding familiar. Yeah, well, you know, I think it's refreshing to have her voice not only in the leadership in the senate because she's part of the leadership now, but it's refreshing to have her voice out there in the public sphere. What would it mean to have a democratic primary where you had an all out battle and the two that were battling were women? It would be good for America. Great for the country. Remember, the United States is ranked 95th in the world -- Hillary might disagree with that by the way. We were ranked 95th in terms of female representation in office. We have a long way to go. Reporter: A long way to go but getting there. Jonathan Karl, ABC news, Washington.

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

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