A Republican Senate leader on Thursday said “about a dozen” GOP candidates could beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances Trump pick for EPA No. 2 | Pruitt questions ‘assumptions’ on climate | Dems want Pruitt recused from climate rule review Senate panel advances Trump pick for No. 2 official at EPA MORE (Wyo.), the No. 4-ranked Republican in the upper chamber, expressed a lot of confidence in what is sure to be a crowded GOP field.

During an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program, Barrasso pointed out that there are GOP senators, governors and others who are considering running for president. The 61-year-old lawmaker indicated foreign policy will be a leading issue in 2016, which he said would be an advantage for the GOP.

Barrasso said it’s unlikely he will endorse a candidate in the GOP presidential primary.

The two-term senator was more cautious on the 2014 election. Asked what are the chances the GOP will take back the Senate, Barrasso replied, “It’s much too early to tell.”

The map for Republicans has expanded, and the “opportunities are there” for the GOP to pick up the six seats they need to flip the Senate, Barrasso said. Yet, the election is still a ways off, he added.

Bergdahl prisoner swap 

Barrasso strongly criticized the Obama administration’s recent trade of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders that were released from the Guantánamo Bay military facility. He ripped the administration for not notifying Congress beforehand, as is required by a law that Obama signed.

“The White House didn’t really think it through,” he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said impeachment should be on the table if Obama makes another similar deal.

Barrasso wouldn’t go that far, but said, “The administration needs to follow the law.”


Barrasso said the nation’s immigration reform laws need to be reformed, but indicated that a GOP-led Senate wouldn’t pass a comprehensive bill.

A “piece by piece” approach to immigration is preferable, Barrasso said.

The Barrasso interview will air Sunday on C-SPAN at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.