ABC’s 'This Week' Insists GOP Shouldn’t ‘Run Against Obama’ In 2016

On Sunday, ABC’s This Week took some time away from discussing the horrific terrorist attack in France to examine the 2016 presidential landscape. The panel featured Robert Reich, liberal economist and former Labor Secretary under President Clinton, former Clinton official James Carville, and liberal GOP strategists Nicolle Wallace and Ana Navarro, all four of whom warned the GOP against running against President Obama in the 2016 election.

During the panel discussion, Nicolle Wallace warned “Republicans would be wise to make this about the future and, you know, I don't recommend that any of them run against Obama, they should run against whoever their opponent is.” 

The segment began with co-host George Stephanopoulos arguing that there’s “a lot of powerful economic progress in the last several weeks, a lot of job creation in the last year. 243,000 jobs in December, that does pose a challenge to Republicans trying to run against President Obama next time around.” 

Rather than dismiss the liberal ABC host’s premise, Wallace eagerly agreed that the economy is too strong for the GOP to try and run against President Obama’s economic record: 

Running against progress and running against good news is a loser regardless of your party so I think Republicans can take credit for maybe trying -- I saw [Mitch] McConnell was saying this week that between Election Day and now Republicans have added more certainty to the economy. It is -- you know, I don't condemn anyone that tries to spin things in their favor. I've made a career doing so but you know it's a little audacious.

Ana Navarro, the other liberal Republican on the panel, agreed with Wallace and advised the GOP to “talk to the country with an optimistic vision and message. That's what we have to offer America. The time for being the hell no party is over. That's not going to win 2016.” 

The discussion ended with Robert Reich echoing the same liberal arguments made by the so-called conservatives on the panel: 

Republicans have been running on a bad economy now for at least six years, eight years and now the economy is not bad. It is bad in terms of wages but it's going to get better and so what do they have to run on? What's the positive message here? There's no positive message. I haven't seen anything. On oil prices, oil pries are down. On the economic growth. You know, everything is basically running in the right direction now. 

See relevant transcript below. 

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos

January 11, 2014

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And there’s no question people believe the system is rigged against them, middle class people believe the system is rigged against them. But let me bring the question to you, Nicolle Wallace, that said, a lot of powerful economic progress in the last several weeks, a lot of job creation in the last year. 243,000 jobs in December, that does pose a challenge to Republicans trying to run against President Obama next time around. 

NICOLE WALLACE: Well, Republicans would be wise to make this about the future and, you know, I don't recommend that any of them run against Obama, they should run against whoever their opponent is but that's problematic for Hillary or Elizabeth Warren which sounds like you may be heading up a chairing committee for he.

But, you know, running against progress and running against good news is a loser regardless of your party so I think Republicans can take credit for maybe trying -- I saw [Mitch] McConnell was saying this week that between Election Day and now Republicans have added more certainty to the economy. It is -- you know, I don't condemn anyone that tries to spin things in their favor. I've made a career doing so but you know it's a little audacious but I think Republicans have to put forward ideas to -- 

ANA NAVARRO: I think Nicolle is absolutely right. Its time for Republicans to talk to the country with an optimistic vision and message. That's what we have to offer America. The time for being the hell no party is over. That's not going to win 2016. 

JAMES CARVILLE: Well, I thought McConnell said that and I thought it was like out of The Onion or something. Unaware -- I think that he kind of embarrassed himself and I think he knows that and we can sort of move on to the next thing here. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bob, you get the last word. 

ROBERT REICH: But it is an important question. I mean, Republicans have been running on a bad economy now for at least six years, eight years and now the economy is not bad. It is bad in terms of wages but it's going to get better and so what do they have to run on? What's the positive message here? There's no positive message. I haven't seen anything. On oil prices, oil pries are down. On the economic growth. You know, everything is basically running in the right direction now. 

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Congressional ABC This Week George Stephanopoulos Ana Navarro Nicolle Wallace Robert Reich James Carville

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