Roundtable II: This Week in Politics

Van Jones, Dana Perino, Cokie Roberts, Matthew Dowd, and Jonathan Karl
13:40 | 07/21/13

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Transcript for Roundtable II: This Week in Politics
Today, I am launching my candidacy for the united states senate. I'm running because I believe it is necessary for a new generation of leaders to step up to the plate. She said if I ran, she wouldn't. She announced 30 minutes after i more specifically stated my intention. I think senator enzi may be confused. Liz cheney sparking a family fight. Let's talk about that, joined by jon karl, coke yi roberts, matthew dowd, dana perino, and von jones from cnn's cross fire. I want to get to her, but let's begin with ted cruz and the rush to iowa. He and rand paul there as well. We saw the interview. Yes or no, we know they're laying a groundwork. What kind of impression did they make? Those two are going for exactly the same constituency. They're friends and allies. In many ways, rand paul made ted cruz. The non-squish. The non-squish part. Last time around, a lot of republican candidates, not many were electable. This time it's a very crowded field. And you have a much less predictable situation. Let's face it, beknew basically that mitt romney was the front runner almost the entire primary process. Now rubio, jeb bush in there, potentially chris christie, governors like john kasich, paul ryan. A much more crowded field. A much less predictable outcome. And that's fun because the republicans we normally do have a front runner and know what's going to happen. This is an interesting race. There's no one to watch in line. They usually do the line about democrats fall in love, republicans fall in line. But I think it's interesting that ted cruz seems to have just written off the hispanic vote. He's decided to oppose immigration, but he's clearly worried about the women's vote. He and rand paul have joined with senator gillibrand on the sexual assault in the military bill, and that is a funny place for him to be. Because it's basically saying take away the chain of command. And -- in opposition to most of the republican leadership. And older democrats as well. This is generational to some degree. But it's also a place where he's clearly going. You're from texas, you also worked with the senator on the bush campaign. And the first campaign in '99 and 2000. Ted cruz is a very smart guy, a very ambitious guy. I thought it was so telling in your piece, one of the most telling things that I learned about ted cruz is when he's looking at a painting of himself before the supreme court and he says I look at this painting and I'm humbled by it. It's a telling sign. I think, ted -- except maybe running for president. I think he has to be careful of as I listen to the interview is two things, first, obviously barack obama running for president, basically having not served in the u.S. Senate for three years or whatever it was, he set a standard that ironically republicans totally criticized. How can he run? He's not experienced enough. He's got to be careful about being in too much of a hurry. Sometimes being in a hurry gets you a place faster, but sometimes being in a hurry gets you in an accident. The other thing, george, i think, is he mentioned republicans win when they're run as conservatives. Actually if you think about when people win for president, what they are, they can be a certain ideology. More liberal like barack obama or conservative like george bush or ronald reagan, but they speak to the middle. I have not seen evidence he can speak to the middle of the country. You have to be able to speak to the middle of the country to get elected. You're nodding your head. I think that's probably, not probably. Ted cruz is an excellent national politician and retail politician. So that's good. Going to iowa keeps his name in the paper and keeps him with having a national profile for some big pieces of legislation coming down the pike. One of the questions I will be looking to see answered is on the fundraising piece. Can he turn that kind of national attention into something where you start to raise a lot of money? By next february, even though it feels early to talk about 2016, if you have to raise a billion dollars to run for president in 2016, you're going to have to start early and start banking that money right away. Texas is good for that. That helps. Yes. What he was trying to say, the reason he has the painting there, he knows you can give it your all, and lose 9-0 in the supreme court. That is humbling. I think that's trying to say something more. The republican side is wide open. So many people going in there. Do you think the prospect of hillary clinton with joe biden right behind her squashes all wannabes on the democratic side? I think so. I think it's more interesting to watch the republicans. I love it. I love it. Partly, their congressional strategy is gerrymander the country for the safe seats in the house -- and so did the democrats. But they have districts that don't look like america at all. For their congressional rhetoric and strategy being so hard on immigration, not really where the middle of the country is anymore, I think their congressional strategy is making it hard to run for president. And marco rubio, as long as you keep showing ted cruz, every democrat is happy. Marco rubio is the one we're most afraid of, and he's given a sharp elbow by cruz and the fellow republicans. Interesting. We have this conversation so many times in advance of the presidential race, and we say republicans are this and this, in the end, republicans want to win. They want to win the presidency back. And most of the time they nominate a conservative, but a conservative who can speak broadly and deeply to the values of the country. I'll tell you what, when you listen to ted cruz, you do not hear somebody, if you're moderate or liberal, you hear an ideologue. And I don't think that's going to work. And speaking of democrats, amy kobashar was in iowa, wasn't she? Yeah, look for her. And a lot of these democrats will start to build an organization and make the final decision on running. Meanwhile, back on the republican side, you're seeing something interesting happen in the senate on a number of issues. Even though you have the polarization. You talked about, van, in the last week we have seen bipartisan coalitions to get more of the president's appointments through. The bipartisan coalition on immigration on student loans. LED my McCain and schumer in most cases. Chuck schumer has turned out to be the bipartisan guy. On the republican side, but a lot of republicans are saying we to want get something done. That's true. I think people run to be obstructionist. I do they want good policy. The interesting thing on the student loan piece that the media blew right past, the republicans came to president obama's side and said here's the compromise, it was the left-wing democrats holding that up. Showed that president obama still has some sway with them. He had a meeting on tuesday night at the white house and told the senate democrats and said get it together and get this behind us. Guess what they did the next day? They got it done. That was telling. It was more democrats than republicans. They're in a position to retake the senate, the republicans are, a very good position. But can't run on nothing as incumbent republicans. And the country is so mad at the congress right now, and they're madder at republicans than democrats according to the polls. They really do have to have something. I disagree on part of it, I think they're both drawing districts. Drawing safe districts in california or texas. They're both working on. It's not good for the democracy of the country. The senate is different. State-wide, appeal to a broader constituency in most places, and I think cokie is right. Republicans know if they're so far out on the right, and the obstruction -- but liz cheney is not playing -- we'll get to that. Speaking of nominations, this was a complete cave in by republicans. I disagree. This was -- look -- the republicans spent two years blocking the nomination of richard cordray to run the consumer proction bureau. Therm adamant that there needed to be changes to the law and how it was put together. Harry reid promised to go nuclear, they thought he was going to do it. They wanted two of the nominees, illegal appointees, they got them pulled. It's for every compromise, define it as a loss, then you're always going to be losing in america. You can't always define a compromise as a loss. There are a few -- the white house a month ago had no -- if I said so senior white house officials you're not going to have to make a change to get cordray. But they had to pull the two nominees. That's -- I do think it's sad that we have this incredible backlog of judicial appointments. That's not moving at all. Same during the bush administration. This is worse. No, it's not. We can argue about it. But I think it's bad for the country. Let's argue. I actually want to talk about liz cheney because this whole view that obstructionism is something to move past, she said it's the height of patriotism to actually obstruct. But you see a similar dynamic, a lot of the republican establishment in the senate and the state of wyoming rising up against her. But some of that is to support enzi, they feel it was an insult to him. And he's somebody they know and like. So there's that. But also the people in wyoming, apparently, don't like it very much either with the polling data. But here's what's interesting to me. I watched liz cheney, I don't think she's big on potholes in wyoming, I don't think this is about the people of wyoming and not about the republican party that much. She's going to get a net zero increase in republicans. She's running for president. This is the cheney brand. She's running for president in 2020. The people of wyoming need to know they're being used. You were out in wyoming with her. I went to a rodeo with her when I was out there to interview her father. Don't underestimate her. This is a tough race. Enzi is not the kind of guy who she can run against and say he's lost touch with wyoming. He never went to washington. This is going to be a tough race. She made it clear, her father is not going to be out on the campaign trail with her. She wants to prove she can win on her own. That's tough. Senator enzi is not senator luger. He's the most ideological conservative senator in the senate. It's how to run from the right. He's too old, been there too long, he compromises too much, he doesn't compromise that much at all. It's about the cheney brand. The people in wyoming, I've been there a lot, I know liz, she's talented and smart and bright. But there is a sense of politeness and decorum and she jumped the line. Growing up there, so I talked to my aunt patty sue, memory lane's bowling alley in rawlings, wyoming. Wcvb wcvb wcvb wcvb she's working on all kinds of issues. It's a different approach to coming into public service. We're just about out of time, less than a minute. But didn't want to leave without remembering helen thomas. Dean of the white house press corp. For so long. Started with president kennedy. Ten presidents she was in the first row asking tough questions. Dana, you were in the same position I was in my first white house brief. She would not let me go, off the hook, I admired her tenacity and she brought the commitment to work every day. Call on her in the front row. She's the only reporter who ever earned her own name on the seat in the briefing room. You call, helen. There was something that was going to come up that you were going to be angry about or frustrated with. I only lost my temper with her once. I liked her very much. The first day I did the tv briefing, she came up and could not have been more encouraging and said I was trustworthy and i worked hard not to lose that. She was very encouraging to young women journalists and they flocked around her as a hero because she really did try to smooth it. She could be wickedly funny too. She had a great contagious laugh.

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

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