The Fine Print
Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’s confident Republicans will win the White House in 2016. And for that, he says, the GOP has President Obama to thank.
“I think President Obama will be one of the reasons,” Hatch said, when asked why he thinks the GOP will win the presidency. “I think the American people have come to the conclusion that all this liberal legislation and stuff really doesn't work.”
Though Hatch, a Utah Republican, calls Obama as a friend, he described his administration in less than friendly terms during an interview with “The Fine Print.”
“I think it's been a pitiful presidency,” Hatch said. “And a lot of it's because he doesn't seem to recognize that there are three branches of government … and that the legislative branch is the most powerful branch, that if he works with it, they have to work with him. If he really leads, we have to work with him. But he hasn't.”
Looking ahead to the next race for the presidency, Hatch said he’d like to see Mitt Romney make a third bid for the White House.
“I'd like to see him very badly run again,” Hatch said. “I think if he did decide to run, this third time, he'd win.”
While Romney has been telling Republican friends and donors that he is seriously weighing another presidential bid in 2016, Hatch also described another likely contender, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as an “outstanding man” with a “conservative record.”
Still, Hatch said he believes Bush has another liability: his last name.
“If he was Jeb Smith or Jeb Brown or whatever, that wouldn't even be a problem,” Hatch said. “I don't think he should be deprived of that opportunity because his name is Bush, nor do I think Hilary should be deprived because her husband was president and her name is Clinton.”
In the new Congress, Hatch is the longest-serving Republican, which means he also now holds the Constitutional position of Senate president pro tempore. It makes Hatch third in line to the presidency behind Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker John Boehner.
Hatch has also gained some new influence as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He said he would like to make some “long overdue” changes to the tax code, which he described as “the most miserable, wretched piece of crap I've ever seen in my life.”
Though Hatch doesn’t expect to accomplish an overhaul of the tax code anytime soon, he does expect that the 114th Congress will be more effective than the last.
It starts with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for a “responsible governing Republican majority.”
“What he wants to do is call up a bill and then allow for a reasonable amount of amendments,” Hatch said. “We shouldn't be afraid of amendments, and we shouldn't be afraid of debating. And, over the last few years, we really haven't had a chance to debate. So, the real guts of the Senate were really torn down and displayed for all to see as a dysfunctional Senate."
Though Hatch anticipates that there will still be tough debates and heated legislative battles ahead, he is hopeful that, “in the end, the adults will bring about … a compromise.”
For more of the interview with Hatch, including his memories of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and a discussion about his side job as a song-writer, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz, Ali Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Wayne Boyd, and Gale Marcus contributed to this episode.