'This Week' Transcript: 2011 Year in Review


AMANPOUR: And, George, it's not just presidential election, obviously. A lot of Congress people are also up for election. Is there any chance that anything will get done any time this coming year? Or are we going to see what we've seen over the last 12 or so months more, which is gridlock?

WILL: Sure, because the country is divided and this representative institution represents the country's division of its mind (ph). Let's remember one thing: we always talk about people running for office.

Probably the most important man in 2012 is Justice Anthony Kennedy, the traditional swing vote, because sometime, probably by the end of June, the Supreme Court is going to rule on several aspects of the constitutionality of the president's signature achievement, ObamaCare. No matter how they rule, it will bring it back to the forefront of the argument, and that cannot help the president.

ROBERTS: Well, except that what's beginning to happen is some aspects of it that are quite popular, when you look at the polling on specifics in the bill, are taking effect. And if enough of them start to take effect and people start to like it, that could change the dynamic.


KARL: I mean, look, we -- this is a health care bill that was passed without a single Republican vote. I mean, this is...

ROBERTS: Even though it's very similar to one...


KARL: ... purely partisan vote (inaudible). And we're going to have a Supreme Court decision on this, and what's the betting it's going to be a 5-4 decision?

WILL: Pretty good.

AMANPOUR: So apart from that, what are some of the looming battles that you see ahead?

KARL: Well, we've got to -- they're -- all the battles are all stacked in the lame duck session. So whoever wins control of the presidency, whichever party gains control of the -- of the Congress is going to have to wait until they're sworn in, and watch this lame duck Congress and potentially lame duck president deal with things, like the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the looming defense cuts under the super committee's agreement; and, of course, the fact that the debt ceiling -- remember, that has to be raised again by the end of the year.

AMANPOUR: Yes. So let's go around the table, do a little bit of end-of-year and future prognostication here.

What was, George, for you, the biggest political disappointment of this year?

WILL: About 11 o'clock at night on Saturday, May 21st, I got a call from my friend, the governor of Indiana, saying that the next morning he was going to announce he -- Mitch Daniels was not going to run for president. The man best suited by experience, temperament and philosophy opted out.


ROBERTS: Well, for me, political disappointment is not, you know, partisan. It's -- as a reporter, if somebody fun doesn't run, and I have no disappointments along those lines. This has been great.

AMANPOUR: So what was the biggest surprise for you?

ROBERTS: Well, the biggest surprise has been the Republican field's up-and-down nature as we saw in Jon's piece.

AMANPOUR: Because it's not usually that way.

ROBERTS: No, it's not usually that way at all, and the -- and the fact that they still haven't settled is really quite interesting.

AMANPOUR: So what is there for you, Ed Gillespie, taking what Cokie said about the Republican Party, the biggest sort of failure of the year, would you say?

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