Transcript: White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe

WILL: He will not. How many times and how many ways does the man have to say no before we quit running around in circles in this town because someone purporting to be a journalist purports to have known something? He has said over and over again he won't, and he won't.

AMANPOUR: So what is it, then, Amy? What is it? Is it -- is it -- is it a desperate disappointment with a current crop? Because clearly, the donors, people who want him to come in are raising the bar here or raising the tone.

WALTER: Well, listen, going back to what George said and watching Rick Perry this weekend, it's clear that Rick Perry is Exhibit A for why you can't wait until the last minute to get into a presidential contest. And if the Chris Christie people who are begging him to get in watched what happened at the debate, watched what's happening with the follow-up, this should be a flashing red light, warning, warning, getting in, in October, it's not a good idea.

AMANPOUR: OK, so, let us -- you talk about the debate. You're talking about these warnings lights. Let's put up some of the sounds that came out of that debate, some of what he said and some of what Mitt Romney said in response.


PERRY: If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there, by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.

ROMNEY: If you're opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn't mean that you don't have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.


AMANPOUR: So, Mary, this goes to the heart of one of the big issues in the Republican sort of campaign right now. How much does that hurt Rick Perry, what he said about being heartless if you don't provide tuition for children of the illegal...

MATALIN: That was not his finest moment, but the dynamic of the Republican primary has not changed. It's still a Romney and anti-Romney. Romney still has the same job, defeat the anti-Romney and to assuage conservatives, which is why they're an anti-Romney hole (ph) in the first place.

Rick Perry is not the best debater. He's jujitsuing that weakness, that deficit. He's got to say, "I may have the worst debate record, but I have the best jobs record." And he has to reject the premise that debate performance is dispositive, either as the route to victory or in the office.

If you're a president, you're called on to decide, not to debate. And he's going to do that. He has other ways to communicate which are superior to the other candidates. He can rock a room. You just saw him doing that. He has plenty of money to get spots out. So he's -- you know, three out of the four of things that you need to do to win a primary, he's a superior candidate.

BRAZILE: Perry has damaged himself, but it's still early. This is a marathon. There are plenty of debates where he can hone in his skills. His organizational powers are questionable, now that he's lost a straw poll to businessman Herman Cain.

But I still believe this is Perry's race to lose, in large part because the conservatives are looking for somebody who's electable. He has regional advantage, unlike Mitt Romney, and he's still able to draw upon some of the money that's out there from conservatives. I still believe Republicans are on a shopping spree. And ultimately, Chris Christie will not get into the race and they'll have to decide which among the second-tier candidates they might elevate.

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