'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable II

Cokie Roberts, Van Jones, Rick Santorum, Greta Van Susteren, and Matt Bai on the McDonnell scandal and Chris Christie's future.
3:00 | 01/26/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable II
Back with the roundtable and our special guest. Another seat at the table, Matt Bai. Political columnist for Yahoo! News who's column debuted this week with an exclusive interview with Chris Christie. But first, a stunning fall at another former republican govern drch -- governor. Bob Mcdonnell kited this week for violating federal corruption laws. Allegations they traded political favors and access for gifts and loans from a supporter. Including a $20,000 shopping spree, a Rolex watch, use of a ferrari, and even paying for their daughter's wedding. This week the former governor defended himself and pleaded not guilty. I will use every available resource and advocate that I have for as long as it takes to fight and prevail against these false allegations and the unjust overreach of the federal government. Okay, he may or may not be guilty. He'll have his day in court. But how in this day and age does a political leader think he can get away with accepting gifts like that from a supporter? You read that and think it's toast. It's horrible, ferrari, Rolex. You just hate the former first family of Virginia. But here's the tip, we read in the Washington post, they were offered one felony to get rid of the 28 counts indictment. And if he accepted one felony, 14 counts of hers would walk away, and 13 of his. That's the most fantastic plea offer ever. He turned it down. The only reason a prosecutor gives you that fantastic deal, especially in Virginia, is it's a weak case. The quid pro quo is weak. Otherwise never a deal like that. I have to ask you, senator santorum. You served in congress, in the senate. Did you have people coming up offering you this kind of stuff? What would you do if somebody offered you a little spin in the ferrari? No. Actually no. You're insulted. I'm stumped. I don't think how you think you could take any of this. Even if there is no quid pro quo. Even if it's the law in Virginia, you can accept gifts. And that's okay. But it's not okay. That's a different issue. That's the ethics and disgusting and gross. But whether he goes to prison. The senator is making an important point. It's not okay. In congress when he was there, they changed the rules on all of this because people would say in congress, he's my friend taking me to dinner. Then they would say would you take him to dinner? That's what friends do, they go back and forth. No, actually, it's all one-sided. When you said that to the member of congress, they got it right away and changed the rules to make it against the ethics rules. It's a bigger problem for republicans and a bigger problem for the country. When the shutdown was going on, all you heard was, well, we may have wacko birds in the republican party in congress, but look at our great governors. Now the governors, Chris Christie not worried -- You're not going to compare to bob Mcdonnell, are you? Let me make my point. Yes, I actually am. I am, I am. You have Mcdonnell who's under criminal indictment, and a criminal investigation under Chris Christie. The republican party has a problem. Look at what's going on. Some of the leading stars. Mcdonnell was a leading light to be a presidential candidate. He might be in prison. Chris Christie has to worry more about the court of law than the court of public opinion. And the republican party has a challenge. I think you're right. Dan's right because -- I don't think -- It rattles the republican party and a distraction. It actually hurts -- When Matt Bai is the one guy who sat down with Chris Christie. Only one to do so. Only national reporter since that press conference, the famous press conference. What's your take? You know, I think, looking at 2016, I asked him specifically about 2016. And he said, I reminded him, he said he wasn't ready when we talked about it in 2011. He's readier. How can that be? In a week where your poll Numbers are plummeting and this controversy. He said something interesting. For all the reasons I've had an awful week and it's all over the news and it's been the lead story everywhere, I have more time -- I have the luxury of time in making a decision about 2016. And what he means by that, he's a well enough known national figure, the cable news networks are going to carry his state of the state address -- Doesn't he think this hurt him? He's learned lessons, but wasn't sure what they were. He's too smart to know it hasn't hurt him. He's smart enough to know we don't know what revelations are coming. It's contingent on what there is in the investigations. These poll Numbers are very early. Four things -- He's got four things to do at the same time. He has to be born on krypton to do all four well. He's got to run the state of new Jersey, run the republican governors' association, and run for president and deal with these investigations. You have to be born on kripton -- The bigger problem for the republicans is libido. Mike Huckabee talking about women easterly bedoe and birth control and that's -- On 2016, I have to show you this poll. It's a little ridiculous this far out. But take a look at the leaders here. 13, 13, 12, 11%. This is the first time that we've had a republican nomination contest where there is absolutely nobody that can lay claim to the title front runner. Rick santorum may try right now. But I mean -- Someone did win 11 states in the last primary electric cycle. And, look, I think that's a good thing. We're -- you know, we have on the other side, the anointed candidate. And that's going to be a problem for them in the long-term. I guarantee you that's going to be a problem. Talking about that. Hillary Clinton. There's a focus on her, and it'll be death by a thousand cuts over the next three years. On the republican side, the democrats have a big disadvantage. They have no one to shoot their guns at. They'll shoot at Chris Christie for now. But I'm someone who in July of 2011, there were six leaders in Iowa between July of 2011 and January of 2012. That's -- that's not a bad thing for the republican party. Sort this out -- You think the primaries you went through was a good thing for your party last time? It was good for our party. It would have been better -- Trying to avoid the result -- but, no, it's not a bad thing. Senator, I disagree with you. When it comes to the democrats and Hillary Clinton right now, you're seeing some very interesting dynamics. First of all, the new establishment, the Obama establishment, priorities usa moved into the Hillary Clinton camp. You have the old establishment, new establishment united. Opens up the door for populist. Here's what's going to happen to you guys. Whoever gets your nomination is going to have to run against four of us, hilly Clinton, bill Clinton, Obama and Michelle Obama. All right. That's also a lot of targets. We have two cover stories on Hillary Clinton this week, including this creepy one in the New York times magazine showing planet Hillary. Cokie can the democrats avoid a primary? Is that really -- we have never seen this happen before. No, there will be a primary. But that might be a big benefit to her if she can do very well in primaries and show that she is a winner. But, you know, I'm not 100% sure that Hillary Clinton is going to run. I think she's not 100% sure that she's going to run. It'll be interesting to see if somebody who is young with new ideas and all of that can rise up. I don't know who that will be. It's O'Malley. I'm not convinced that Hillary lease going to run either. I'm not convinced at all. How convinced we were in 2008 she was going to win. And look at the poll Numbers, and how dissatisfied people are. I think that the old guard, the regulars -- I will say, and I'm not big on predictions, she can not clear the field and she can not run with just token opposition. Everything we know about modern politics and the modern presidential process flies in the face. We don't live in that world. Just being the front runner -- Governor shh swi or shh wiser is coming on strong. Just putting together the new establishment and old establishment only is half the party. The other is looking for a populist, a dark horse. I put my money on governor Schweitzer. Democrat running against president Obama's record. Conservative on some issues. And coming up, the men and

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

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