RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
COKIE ROBERTS: Hi, Renee.
MONTAGNE: And Donald Trump and Sarah Palin might be exciting some voters, as we've just heard. But the Republicans often nominate a presidential candidate who appears to be what you might call the next-in-line. Who would be favored if that tradition holds?
ROBERTS: Of course, his big problem is that while he was in state government in Massachusetts, the state passed a health care law that is very similar to the health care law that was passed under the Obama administration nationally. And Romney is having to deal with that, because Republicans don't like it much. But the truth is, the Republicans are not particularly thrilled with their presidential field at the moment or with any of these folks.
MONTAGNE: So what should we be looking for if there's no obvious Republican candidate at the moment, or one that the Republicans are thrilled about?
ROBERTS: So I don't think it really matters much, but it does have the Republicans grumbling because the president has now launched his own campaign, and they don't really feel like they've got somebody to argue with him.
MONTAGNE: And what about President Obama? He's been playing to the center. I'm wondering how Democrats will respond to this, and would it have any effect on him being re-nominated?
ROBERTS: So he's out there now, setting a very different tone from the tone that he had been setting here in Washington, where he was trying to talk about being a grown up and keeping the government going with Democrats and Republicans coming together. So, you know, once the campaign starts, that cooperation becomes a lot tougher.
MONTAGNE: And Cokie, as this presidential race does take shape, how will this affect what happens in Congress? There must be several directions it might go.
ROBERTS: They say not so fast, that they're not going to do that without further cuts in the budget. And, of course, the House of Representatives voted for the Republican budget last Friday, all but four Republicans voting for it. And so those fights are still going to be out there, and how the president - what the president's tone is in those fights is going to be something very interesting to watch.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Cokie Roberts, thanks very much.
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