AMNA NAWAZ: And we turn now to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.
That is New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post.
Welcome to you both.
Good to see you.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hi, Amna.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to see you.
AMNA NAWAZ: So this week saw the end of probably the worst-kept secret in all of Washington, it's fair to say, President Biden officially announcing his reelection campaign.
We should note this comes as the latest "NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll shows his approval rating sitting at around 41 percent.
David, there was once upon a time a thing called an announcement bounce, an announce bounce, if you will.
You see your numbers go up a little bit.
Will he see that, or are these times just different now?
DAVID BROOKS: I would bet my bottom dollar we do not.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: Biden has been about 42, 41, 43 for the longest time.
And he -- to my view, he's passed a lot of legislation.
But when you look at where the polls are, just look at the raw numbers, it's sobering for anybody who's in the Biden camp.
I mean, the presidential approvals are a pretty good predictor of where the vote is going to end up.
And it's true that Barack Obama at this stage still had another four points to climb, and so he did have -- he did rise at the end of his term.
So it's possible.
But Joe Biden is just not where he should be to have an easy reelect.
And then, when you look at the head-to-head against Donald Trump, pretty much dead even.
So, for all that's happened to Donald Trump the last couple of years, he's still right there neck and neck, you would have to say.
AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, he has passed a lot of legislation.
It struck me, in that big announcement video, you don't hear a lot about it.
The very first word was freedom.
It was all about, this is a battle for the soul of the nation.
Should he be talking more about what he's gotten done?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: This is the opening video, Amna.
Do you want it to be a couple of minutes or do you want it to be an hour-long special?
(LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: He will be talking about his record down the road, but that opening video is about setting - - making the case and the rationale for the candidacy, in the same way he did four years to the day earlier.
It's about the battle for the soul of America with the tagline of, "Let's finish the job."
I mean, he started with the tiki torch guys from Charlottesville four years ago and started this time with the insurrection on January 6.
Finish the job, restore the soul of the country, and then finish the job in terms of all of the things he's trying to get done.
But to push back on what David said about polls being a predictor of what's going to happen to the president... AMNA NAWAZ: Yes.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: ... we just had, like, the ultimate poll in the midterm elections, where the president's approval rating was stuck down there in the low 40s, some in the high 30s, people predicting 60 Republican seats in the House and maybe taking over the Senate.
And none of that happened.
And I think that's because the American people were able to do a couple of things, more than a couple of things at the same time.
They don't -- they blame the president because he's the president, but they also see what the big issues are.
And I think the biggest poll -- I'm going to say it now more than a year out - - will be in November 2024.
AMNA NAWAZ: When people actually head to the voting booth.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: But back to this issue of the soul of the nation being at stake here, David, this moment we're in now is different than 2020.
The sort of imminency of this threat to democracy, the chaos of the Trump years, the thick of the COVID pandemic, we're not there anymore.
Do you think that that message still resonates with the American public?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think they will still think it's the core message.
AMNA NAWAZ: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And I love the phrasing, because the soul of America suggests that America has a morale essence, and that morale essence is under threat.
And, in my view, it's under threat from sort of an amoralistic realism, not only of Trump, but of Trumpism, and that the idea that it's a dog-eat-dog world, people are selfish, you just got to take care of yourself.
And I think that's really at the essence of a lot of the Trump philosophy and the Trump world view.
A lot of the Trump supporters I talked to even this week, it's sort of like, we can't help the Ukrainians.
We got to take care of ourselves.
And I think Biden's instinct is just very different, that we have to have -- we have to be a good country, and we have to be good in defending democracy.
We have to be good on race.
We have to good on fairness.
We have to be good to the marginalized.
And so I think there is -- unlike other presidential elections, there's really a contest between a moral vision and an amoral realism.
And so I think he's right to highlight that difference.
AMNA NAWAZ: What about the role Vice President Harris is going to play?
She featured very prominently in that video, right?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Mm-hmm.
And this is where -- to pick up, kind of to take the baton from David on this, this is where Vice President Harris is at her best.
We have seen, I think, probably two of the, darkly, best things to happen to her, the Dobbs decision, because she went right out there and started talking about freedom and liberty for women and their choices about their own health care, and then if you tie in Tennessee, meaning the killing of Tyre Nichols, where she went down and spoke at the funeral off the cuff, no notes.
But, more importantly, when she went down on a surprise trip to Nashville and met with the Tennessee 3 and then gave a barn burner of a 20-minute speech, not a campaign speech, but a speech where the subtext was the soul of America, but it was really about freedom and liberty and the ability of the American people to send people to their state legislatures in order for their voices to be heard, and that it is antidemocratic and not right to silence those voices.
You must watch that speech.
If you want to see the real, true Kamala Harris, what drives her, her values, that is it.
And so you put what David said about the president, add that to Vice President - - what I just said about Vice President Harris, and you have a formidable ticket going into 2024.
AMNA NAWAZ: It has been interesting to see.
She was tethered to the Senate for so long, having to stay close and be the tiebreaker.
We're seeing her out and about a lot more now.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right, but between being freed from having to cast a tiebreaking vote... AMNA NAWAZ: Yes.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: ... but also the pandemic.
AMNA NAWAZ: Yes.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Those two things, I think, stunted her ability to really get out there and really own the job.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, this week, we also saw a seismic shift for the most powerful conservative platform in the country.
Prime-time host Tucker Carlson was fired from FOX.
David, what does his ouster mean for the network and for those millions of folks who tuned in to watch him every night?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, FOX is an entertainment network, but it's also a company.
And executives don't like it when you annoy them over and over and over again.
And one has a sense that Tucker was sending e-mails, he was in internal fights, squabbles.
He was going further than they were comfortable with.
And there's one thing we know about FOX is, FOX is bigger than any person FOX.
And so they got rid of Bill O'Reilly.
They got rid of Megyn Kelly.
They will get rid of you if you are -- try to think you're bigger than FOX.
And so they did it.
It was a very bold move.
Their viewership has fallen in half.
And so it -- I was shocked by it.
I thought they'd never do it.
But Tucker has -- he has built, successfully built a very successful thing at doing what he does, and they decided business over pleasure.
AMNA NAWAZ: Were you shocked by the decision?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I was shocked simply because, you get to the level of Tucker Carlson or O'Reilly, you think they're untouchable, until which time the company says, you are more of a liability than we care to deal with.
What I'm wondering, though, is what impact will Tucker's firing and disappearance from FOX have on the Republican Party?
Will they stand on their own however many feet they have and start articulating a vision for their party and for the country that is independent of Tucker Carlson and FOX?
And I don't know if they even know how to do that anymore.
AMNA NAWAZ: David, does someone else just step into that role?
We have to point out that the lie of the 2020 election being stolen, all of that was -- that was -- Tucker Carlson was one of the leading voices pushing that lie, getting millions of people to believe it.
They still believe it today.
DAVID BROOKS: Right.
Tucker was following in the audience.
He was not leading the audience, in my view.
He was at The Daily Caller before FOX.
He saw what the audience wanted.
He brought that to FOX.
And he represents the -- one version of the Republican future, which is a pure populist vision.
Tucker was very against hedge funds, very against corporations, very against big tech.
He takes the social conservatism and he takes an anti-corporate populism.
And that is one version of the Republican future.
And I think that audience will be there.
And if the audience is there, well, then Tucker will be there on some other network.
And whoever steps in to be the new Tucker will probably be there too.
AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, before we go, we got a minute-and-a-half left, and I want to ask you sort of from the White House perspective on this.
We now have, when it comes to the debt ceiling debate, the opening salvo from House Republicans, their spending plan that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has wrangled his conference to get behind.
What do you make of the way President Biden is handling this, saying, no negotiations?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, I think the president is right.
Look, in a perfect world, the president presents his budget, which he actually did last month.
The speaker of the House presents his budget, which he has yet to do.
Instead, he's passed by two votes a spending plan that holds the debt ceiling hostage in order to get it done.
What should be happening is dual-track conversations, a clean debt ceiling bill, while, at the same time, the president with his budget and the speaker with the Republican Conference budget sitting at a table and hammering out all of the things that they want to do in terms of fiscal year 2024.
That's not happening.
And I think the president is right to say: Look, I'm ready to negotiate when you want to negotiate a budget, but I'm not going to negotiate over the debt ceiling.
AMNA NAWAZ: David, I know we're going to be talking about this a lot, but I have another 30 seconds or so.
Anything you would like to say on this?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
No, I think Biden was saying -- I think the Biden people thought McCarthy would never be able to do this.
He thought there will be too many Republican defectors.
McCarthy pulled it off.
It might be nice to split these into two tracks, but Republicans have leverage on the debt ceiling.
That's where you got to meet them.
AMNA NAWAZ: We will be speaking about this a lot more, I'm sure, in the weeks ahead.
David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, thank you so much.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Amna.
DAVID BROOKS: Thank you.