'This Week' Transcript: Gov. Rick Perry and Stephen Colbert

COLBERT: George, again, I know that it's your job to try to get a story, but I can't tell you what I've found yet because I've just started exploring. You know, did Queen Isabella say, go to America, and then say, have you found anything? Like, I haven't even gotten on the Nina and the Pinta and the Santa Maria yet. Let me go and come back. Let me find the spice routes and then come back, please.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And come back when you find them. Mr. Colbert, thank you very much.

COLBERT: Thank you so much, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on all of the week's politics, Bain Capital, the backlash, and the big debate about free enterprise and fairness.

Why is the Hillary for veep story still going strong?

And his fairy tale season is over now, but what did the frenzy over Tim Tebow tell us about ourselves?



ROMNEY: President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whoever you can.

ROMNEY: This president is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make the federal government simpler, smaller, and smarter.

OBAMA: We shouldn't weakening oversight and accountability, we should be strengthening oversight and accountability.

ROMNEY: This president has enacted job-killing regulations. I'll eliminate them.

OBAMA: We've always come together through our government to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed.

ROMNEY: Mr. President puts his faith in government, we put our faith in the American people.


STEPHANOPOULOS: A little preview of what could be the fall campaign, now to talk about it on our roundtable. We got a great roundtable together today. Joining us from the Newseum in Washington, George Will and Cokie Roberts.

Here with us in the studio, Paul Krugman from "The New York Times" and Princeton; Peggy Noonan, "The Wall Street Journal"; ABC's Jon Karl.

And, George, let me begin with you. We want to get into that big debate on free enterprise and fairness coming up. But first, Mitt Romney in South Carolina, polls show a pretty close race, even though social conservatives are now rallying behind Rick Santorum. It seems like Romney is being helped by a split opposition.

GEORGE WILL, "THE WASHINGTON POST": He has. George, the Republicans haven't had a really protracted nominating contest since 1976, when the Reagan-Gerald Ford went all the way to the Kansas City convention.

We have had the two first nominating events in Iowa and New Hampshire, which are swing states. South Carolina is solidly Republican. Rick Perry is a veteran on this, campaigning in a state with 450,000 veterans. Newt Gingrich is from next door in Georgia. Rick Santorum is an evangelical Christian, campaigning now in a state with that 60 percent of the Republican vote.

And still, and still, it looks as though Mitt Romney may survive. And survive, he may even win, win or come in a close second. They go on right away to South -- to Florida, a very expensive state to campaign in. So it's very possible that this whole contest could be over on the 31st day of this month.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That would -- that would be incredible.

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