KRUGMAN: If I can just -- I talk a little bit to the people. It's not necessarily that they think that Romney will be the nominee, though they think he will be, but they think they can beat any of the others easily.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's what I was going to ask you, Matt, because now all the talk this week certainly has been about Newt Gingrich. He's made this surge. We've got all sorts of reports coming out of Iowa, home of the first caucus, about how people are giving a sort of serious second look, precisely because of the way some of the others are imploding.
DOWD: Yeah, that's the interesting thing about this race. For the last six months, it's been the Romney primary, the establishment Romney primary versus the non-Romney establishment primary. And the non-Romney establishment primary is a much bigger pool of voters than the Romney, which is why he's been stuck at 25 percent, so we've had these series of candidates. We've had Romney stable, not rising, and a series of candidates, from Michele Bachmann rise and fall, Rick Perry, rise and fall, Herman Cain, rise and fall, and now Newt Gingrich.
Now, does he have an expiration date that's the same level as the other candidates? And is he going to go because of these problems? I don't know. It reminds me of the college football season actually right now, where you have LSU at the top. Alabama loses, Oklahoma State comes up. Oklahoma State loses, Oregon comes up. Oregon loses, and so we are sitting in this plateau. Will somebody who represents the non-Romney have enough stick-to-itiveness to stay around and be able to win the Iowa caucus? That's the question.
KRUGMAN: I have a structural hypothesis there. You have a Republican ideology which Mitt Romney obviously doesn't believe in. He just oozes insincerity. That's just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there's a question here. Maybe -- my hypothesis is maybe this is an ideology only fools and clowns can actually believe in. And that's the Republican problem.
AMANPOUR: George, fools and clowns?
WILL: No, I think that's not uncharacteristically severe on Paul's part. First, let me make my, I guess, weekly disclosure, that Mrs. Will is advising the Perry campaign. But with regard to Gingrich, Gingrich is an amazingly efficient candidacy in that it embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington. He's the classic rental politician. People think his problem is his colorful personal life. He's going to hope people concentrate on that, rather than on, for example, ethanol. Al Gore has recanted ethanol, not -- Newt Gingrich has served the ethanol lobby. Industrial policy of the sort that got us Solyndra, he's all for it. Freddie Mac, he says, hired him as a historian. He's not a historian. Hire Sean Wilentz, hire Gordon Wood if you want a historian.
AMANPOUR: Let's put up what he said about -- about Freddie Mac and these so-called consultancy fees. Well, in fact, it looks like I'm going to read it. He says, "I will cheerfully answer"...
WILL: That's another one.
AMANPOUR: "I will cheerfully answer every single question that they ask, and at the end of it, you'll be relatively convinced, I believe, that I did no lobbying of any kind, I did no influence-peddling of any kind." Is that damage control going to work?