'This Week' Roundtable: President Obama's December Surprise

The "This Week" roundtable debates President Obama's latest move on Cuba and his lame duck agenda, and the response to the shooting of two NYPD officers.
7:07 | 12/21/14

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Transcript for 'This Week' Roundtable: President Obama's December Surprise
you see Cuba being at the end of the your presidency? Leslie Clark. I wanted to see if you got any clues from -- Under what conditions would you meet with president Castro? President Obama making a little history on Friday. His traditional end of year press conference. Every single reporter called on, a woman as far as we can tell. The first time that's ever happened. I'm quite sure it is. I'm sure you're right. I'm quite sure it is. Cokie, you know, that was remarkable on its own but the president had a pretty remarkable December. Six weeks after that midterm shellacking. We saw him come out the day after the midterms looking defeated. A month later, six weeks after all these executive actions on China, immigration, Cuba this week. He's in a different place. And clearly it showed. He was up, he was having some fun with the press, which is not his norm. And he was touting the successes of America, and I think that that has been something that he's been hesitant to do because there are still an awful lot of people hurting, but the employment Numbers are so much better. The stock market, of course, is booming, and I think he wants to take some credit. He's definitely tried to take the credit. Bill kristol, we did see this pattern of the president acting on his own. When he was doing it on immigration it looked like sour grapes but said I'll make an advancement for these. In Cuba faced his opposition but from republicans, but the country likely to be behind him? A lot of deference to presidents and it's not a huge -- the normalization -- yeah, it's just not dramatic enough compared to the incredible concessions we're making elsewhere. But, look, I give the president credit. He has a strong view of the world. He has a strong view of domestic policy and decided I'm liberated by the elections and advancing it as much as I can. It's up to republicans for them to stop complaining and not opposing him and lay out a vision. What is the vision? On Cuba he is going to get opposition. I think it's easier to oppose him on Cuba than it is on immigration. Immigration is self-funded by the fees. On Cuba there's a lot of the things that he's proposing that need to go through congress where he's going to have to deal with the wall that are the cuban-americans in congress because democrat, like bob Menendez or alvio Seres from new Jersey, republicans are very united in congress against this type of normalization. I also think, frankly, we got too little for this historical significant change. We got Alan gross who should have never been jailed in the first place. It looked like the swap of spies for -- Wait a minute. There was another spy -- Apparently it was a very, very useful spy. But, but can I tell you something, it looks like -- it smells like a swap and looks like a swap and it sounds like a swap. Except you can say it's a swap -- But also -- 70, 70, cokie. U.s. Fugitives of justice including a very bad person named Joanne chesmark who did something similar to what happened last night. She executed, you know, executed style murdered a New Jersey trooper who's been living freely along with over 70 other U.S. Fugitives from justice. If we had gotten some of that in exchange for normalization, I would say okay. 50 political prisoners seem to be coming out, but the other thing we've gotten is American businesses very excited about this. This is an economic boom. Yeah, you know, I'm with the president on this one because he's right. 50 years of a policy that doesn't work probably ought to be looked at and that's what he's going to do. And I think it makes a lot of sense. Has he run into the limit of what he can do on his own? It seems like he was getting a lot done before the lame duck before republicans have united opposition and control of the house and senate. Won't he have to find places where he can actually work with -- Yes, and I think my own guess is, and this is a hopeful guess, is that the republicans actually want to get something done which they haven't for four years. Mcconnell has a lot on the line here. He's now the majority leader. If they don't deliver, it's hard to make a case that you should have a republican running anything in 2016, so I actually think it is possible they will strike a very difficult bargain for both sides. And they say to me, the republican leaders, that they really do want to get something done, and they were really mad at Ted Cruz. Now, the democrats were really mad at Elizabeth Warren too, but you had -- but you really have some people there now who at least claim to be willing to get some work done. The first thing they should do is stop a horrible deal with the mullahs in Iran. They can also -- there's a lot republicans can do but a lot of what they have to do is stop and check the president of the United States. They only control congress and lay the groundwork for 2016 and 2017. If they do that for the next two years, I think whoever you nominate is toast. What people want to see is progress and can't be just stop the president -- Democrats -- They say -- Democrats fought pretty hard in 2007/2008 against George W. Bush and it didn't seem to hurt Barack Obama at all in -- In the state of the union he said he would use the power of the pen and do a lot of things through executive order. The best way republicans can stop him is by legislating and doing some things on our own. I think that's right, I agree. And I think that's where the focus should be on. You know -- Proactive things done. There's new interesting members we never talked about during the election because they didn't have any real opposition. You know, we only talk about the tight races, but you've got some people like Vince sasse from Nebraska who has come in -- you've got Shelley -- Shelley Capito Moore from West Virginia, these are people who are going to work across the aisle. And we'll see it. It will be a different senate. One place it might be needed now, and I want to close with this, this killing last night here in New York, assassination of two police officers in cold blood. Howard dean, you know, we've seen how polarized this debate could get. Could this be an opportunity to create -- It is an opportunity. First of all, I think this guy was probably crazy than he was some sort of I hate -- you know, this is revenge for something but nonetheless, this is an explosive situation, you've got a chairman or president of the police union who is a polarizing guy. You've got the mayor who said some polarizing things. They need to bring this together. I thought ray Kelly did a good job on the show earlier on. This is a big deal. You cannot have a society -- we're not going to go back to the '60s where we're having gangsters with guns running around shooting people sitting in their police cars and it's a big deal. And the president himself needs to speak out about this. Bill kristol. It's terrible what happened and I mean I hope -- I hope liberals show as much concern about officer Ramos and officer liu as they did about Mr. Garner and Mr. Martin and we'll see. I mean -- I think de Blasio said some really foolish things. I'm not blaming him obviously for the killing, but he really needs to not just say I'm now for everybody coming together. He needs to say I was wrong when I attacked the police in such a general way. These are people who protect us and here they were shot for the simple reason that they wore that uniform, and that uniform is there to protect Americans, and I think that we have to really honor that as we go into this holiday time particularly. And that will the last word today. Thank you all very much.

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

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