STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): South Carolina scuffle.
ROMNEY: (inaudible), I know it's going to get tough. No one is going to be happy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The candidates go at it.
GINGRICH: His record is so much further to the left than the average voter.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So do their wealthy supporters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering begins when Mitt Romney came to town.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Our exclusive guest this morning, comedian Stephen Colbert.
COLBERT: Nation, I have a major announcement to make.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Launching a mock presidential campaign.
COLBERT: We're going to (inaudible).
STEPHANOPOULOS: To make a serious point about money and politics.
COLBERT: I love my super PAC and I love the money.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Plus, Texas Governor Rick Perry, drawing fire for his attacks on Mitt Romney.
PERRY: Companies like Bain Capital. Vulture capitalism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is helping President Obama? Can he survive South Carolina?
And our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on all of the week's politics with George Will, Cokie Roberts, Peggy Noonan, Paul Krugman and Jonathan Karl.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. A lot to cover today, as all of the Republican campaigns blanket the state of South Carolina with ads and appearances before what could be the decisive battle of this nomination fight. And their ranks may now include a fake candidate. Stephen Colbert is standing by live for an exclusive interview on what he hopes to achieve with his comic campaign. That's coming right up.
But we begin with Texas Governor Rick Perry.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Perry, thanks for joining us this morning.
PERRY: Good morning, George. How are you?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm doing well. Thank you. Less than a week to go in South Carolina, you're still lagging far behind. To borrow a metaphor from your home state, has South Carolina become your Alamo?
PERRY: I don't think so. But we get out every day and go take our message of job creation, and, you know, we're the most consistent fiscal conservative and social conservative in the race, and that's our message, both on the airwaves and out on the campaign trail. The retail politics in South Carolina has been awesome.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, Governor, that big group of social conservatives meeting in Texas yesterday, decided you're not the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. They want Rick Santorum to have that mantle. You didn't even make the final ballot.
PERRY: Well, that's what they said about Ronald Reagan as well, that, you know, he was unelectable, he was not the one that they wanted to pick. But South Carolina citizens said, you know what, he is. So we'll wait and see Saturday what the people of South Carolina say.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your message this final week?