'This Week' Transcript: 2011 Year in Review

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ROBERTS: Yes, they do care about conservative credentials, and obviously those are being attacked. But they just can't get themselves around to Mitt Romney. I mean, he just doesn't get over 23 percent. I mean, 77 percent keep saying no.

AMANPOUR: And you mentioned in your report that the Tea Party, that resurgence, it -- or surge of the Tea Party over the last year and a half, is this part of the problem, this sort of battle between the establishment Republican Party and the insurgent Tea Party?

KARL: Well, George will tell us there is no Republican establishment. But I will tell you this...

ROBERTS: Call them office holders.

KARL: ... that the -- that the Tea Party, you know, takeover of Congress has utterly transformed the Republican Party, and it's fascinating. This is a movement that helped fueled the election win in 2010 for Republicans. It was basically a reaction against Obama and Pelosi.

But the effect it has had is to transform the Republican Party and tie -- if you want to call them the establishment or not, to tie the leadership of this party in Congress in knots.

AMANPOUR: So, Ed, has their power peaked? Do you think they're on the wane? Where do you see this insurgent force that we've seen play out?

GILLESPIE: Well, I think they're still very strong, and I'm happy about it. You know, the notion in Washington, D.C., among some of the elite that the Tea Party are a problem for the Republican Party has been pretty laughable. The fact is that -- and, look, I'm someone who's been in the Republican Party trenches for years, and my mentality is...

(CROSSTALK)

GILLESPIE: -- but I've also -- my view of the Tea Party folks is where you been? We're thrilled to have you here. This is the fight we've been fighting. Let's go.

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: You also see some backlash in various stage elections and other such things.

ROBERTS: But you can't see a real backlash because of the way congressional lines are drawn, the district lines are drawn. If they were running against Democrats, they would have a problem, perhaps. But they're not. They're running, you know, in very, very safe districts. And so the only problem they would ever have is if a Republican challenged them from the Right, and that's not going to happen.

GILLESPIE: That's true. Democrats, too, (inaudible)...

ROBERTS: Oh, I agree completely.

GILLESPIE: ... their biggest fear is being challenged from the left.

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: So let's talk about that. President Obama obviously seeing quite a lot of his core supporters disappointed with him. There is this bad economy. What happens? How does he turn that around, do you think, in the 12 months or so -- not quite -- until the next election?

ROBERTS: He scares them to death about the other guy, and that's what he's in the process of doing right now.

AMANPOUR: Is that a winning strategy?

ROBERTS: Well, it can be. I mean, look, the way people vote for president is they sit there and say, who do I trust more to do what I think is right in the next four years, whatever issue comes up? And do I at least trust this guy more than the other guy? And if he says you can't trust the other guy enough, the people believe it, that could help.

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