Ryan Doesn't Know About 2016; Feinstein Believes in Assault Ban

Paul Ryan mades his return to the Sunday talk shows on Meet the Press this morning; Dianne Feinstein spoke on the "uphill climb" her assault weapons ban bill faces; and Republicans and Democrats teased the upcoming immigration reform package.

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Paul Ryan does not know if he's running for President in 2016, so stop asking. It's "premature," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "I’ve got an important job to do," Ryan told David Gregory in his first Sunday show appearance since the election. "I represent Wisconsin, I’m chairman of the Budget Committee at a time of a fiscal crisis. I think I can do my job, representing the people I work for by focusing on that right now than focusing on these distant things." Ryan acknowledged that the Republican party is in the middle of a rebuilding period. "We have to expand our appeal to more people and show how we’ll take the country’s founding principles and apply them to the problems of the day to offer solutions to fix our problems," he said. "We have to show our ideas are better at fighting poverty. How our ideas are better at solving health care. How our ideas are better at solving the problems people are experiencing in their daily lives and that’s a challenge we have to rise to, and I think we’re up for it."

Ryan justified his silence between the end of the election and the inauguration, about three months in real time but an eternity in Washington, by saying he was waiting to see how Obama behaved immediately after being re-elected. So far Ryan is unimpressed.  He thinks Obama is more interested in "political conquest," than compromise. And, amazingly, Ryan longed for the days when staunch Republican Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House. "If we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskin Bowles chief of staff of the White House, or president of the United States, I think we would’ve fixed this fiscal mess by now," Ryan said. "That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now."

On gun rights, Ryan seemed open to reforms. He said the illegal purchase of firearms is "a question we need to look at." "We need to look into making sure there aren’t big loopholes where a person can illegally purchase a firearm," he said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein went on CBS' Face the Nation to talk about the "uphill climb" she's facing trying to pass an assault weapons ban. But she's not cynical about her chances, just realistic. "I think I can get it passed because the American people are very much for it," Feinstein said. When it comes to gun owners preaching about their rights to own guns, she only has one answer for them. "Does a child have a right to be safe in school?" she asked, referring to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. "Does a law client when he goes into a law firm have a right to believe he's safe? Does a shopper in a mall have a right to believe that she's safe? I think so... You want to talk about rights, talk about the rights of the majority, too."

Feinstein also gave Hillary Clinton an endorsement for a 2016 Presidential run during her appearance on CNN's State of the Union. "I think she's accomplished an incredible record and really has really unbridled popularity. She has a total knowledge of all of the issues. She has served in the senate. She has been first lady." But then host Candy Crowley cut her off. "You're a fan," Crowley said. "I'm a fan," Feinstein replied. "I would love it if she would run."

In other endorsement news, Newt Gingrich has taken a liking to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He had only nice things to say about the outspoken and rumored 2016 Republican candidate on Face the Nation. He thinks the rest of the party need to start listening to the young buck. "Republicans ought to listen very carefully to Marco Rubio. You can’t lose Asians, Latinos, African Americans and young people and think you’re going to be competitive," Gringrich said. That's Gingrich's advice for the next step in the Republican rebuilding process. "You have to come to grips with reality. You have to learn to communicate with young people on their terms," he said. "But you also have to understand we need to be a country of immigrants where Republicans are seen as welcoming of hardworking, confident people."

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain started preemptively making the argument for his new bipartisan immigration reform package that's going include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants during his appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous. "Well, I’ll give you a little straight talk: Look at the last election," McCain said. "We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours for a variety of reasons, and we’ve got to understand that. And second of all, we can’t go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in illegal status. We cannot forever have children who were born here, who were brought here by their parents when they were small children live in the shadows as well. I think the time is right." Sen. Bob Menendez, also on the program, thinks there's a "a glimmer of bipartisanship out there," when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform.

Speaking of Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democrat from New Jersey ducked questions about his feelings regarding Cory Booker's potential Senate run. There were some feathers rustled when Booker started openly talking about running for fellow Democrat  and Senate veteran Frank Lautenberg's seat in 2014. Menendez previously said Booker was being disrespectful considering the 89-year-old Lautenberg has not said whether he would seek reelection, but this time Menendez was tight lipped. "That election is next year, and all of the back and forth now is something I’m not focused on," Menendez said. "That’s a question for Sen. Lautenberg and Mayor Booker,"

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin also spoke about the path to citizenship coming in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform package on Fox News Sunday. "We are committed to a comprehensive approach to finally in this country have an immigration law that we can live with," Durbin said. Without going into specifics, Durbin said the package will put a "high priority on the unification of families," when it's unveiled.

Chuck Hagel's quest for Defense Secretary confirmation got two votes of approval from former high-ranking security officials on Sunday. Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and former CIA Director Michael Hayden both backed the Republican's nomination. "He was a member -- and this is not a universal condition -- he was a member that you could talk to, have an honest dialogue not necessarily disagree, but on a personal base have a candid exchange of views," Hayden said on State of the Union. "You could always speak with him. And frankly given my time in uniform, that's a tremendous attribute. So I actually think this will work out well." McChrystal was much more demure in his praise. "Of course he'll build relationships as he goes. He has already got a lot of credibility," McChrystal said. "I don't think it will be a problem.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.