'This Week' Transcript: David Plouffe and Lindsey Graham


And it is fair to say, we've achieved a significant change in the way Washington works by paying for the debt ceiling increase and not passing it onto the credit card. We have not achieved entitlement change. We have not reduced the size and scope of government. We're going in the wrong direction at a slower pace, and for a lot of people, that is not winning.

AMANPOUR: You're an internationalist. We've talked before about all sorts of things like Afghanistan and other such places.


AMANPOUR: Look, you saw the soldiers yesterday -- and I asked David Plouffe this -- I mean, desperately asking their commander, Admiral Mullen, whether they're going to get paid, and he said, "I can't tell you."

GRAHAM: Well, I can. I can tell them. Here's what -- I wish I'd have been there. I would have said, not only are you going to get paid, but Admiral Mullen said the number-one national security issue facing this country is debt. And I wish we would have followed on with what we said.

If you believe that we're so far in debt we're going to become a weak country and can't afford to defend ourselves, I would have told the Marine, you're going to get paid, but by God we're going to change the reason your children will never have the American dream. So, young man, we're going to pay you, but we're going to change Washington so your country doesn't become weak and ineffective and have more debt that your children can afford to pay. That's what I would have told the Marines.

AMANPOUR: You must also worry, given your extensive connections around the world, about the way the world is seeing this country right now. I mean...

GRAHAM: I'm not worried about democracy. Here's what I would tell...


AMANPOUR: Not democracy. About -- they say a political system gone mad.

GRAHAM: You've got people in this country who just won a big election. They weren't kidding when they said they wanted to come to Washington to change the size and scope of the government. Then you've got people who've been there forever saying, you don't understand, you don't get it.

Well, let me tell you, I do understand: 43 cents on every dollar being borrowed, we're going to become Greece in the next 15 or 20 years. Medicare and Social Security is going to fail. So what I would tell anybody around the world, thank God these new people are here, because do you want America to become Greece? Do you want our debt instruments not to be well received throughout the country? Do you want us holding our debt, never to turn around while we're in debt to $14.3 trillion? This deal -- and it is better than a lot of people thought, but is not nearly where the problem is.

AMANPOUR: All right. Senator, on that note, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And coming up, our roundtable on the emerging framework of a deal and the big question, can it hold? We'll take up where Senator Lindsey Graham just left off. The stakes couldn't be higher for this country and the Congress and the Obama presidency. Stay with us.


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