STEPHANOPOULOS: (Inaudible) next in line, at least.
KRUGMAN: But, you know -- and (inaudible) on these other issues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Go ahead, Cokie.
ROBERTS: Rick Perry was making a good point, though, that -- I mean,. it's obviously in his self-interest to make this point. But to get these attacks out of the way now really does help the Republican Party. Clearly, it would be a huge upset if Romney were not the nominee at this point. And these -- and these -- and this whole line of attack is certain one that the president would use against him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's no question about that, Cokie, but that's why everybody is shaking their heads -- well, almost everybody. Peggy and Paul both want in. But it does raise an important question. I want to bring in George Will first and then get Peggy and Paul here.
Do these attacks immunize Romney or infect him?
WILL: I think they do both. But they probably, on balance, immunize him more. It's been 70 years, George, since Joseph Schumpeter, a famous Austrian economist then at Harvard, put into our vocabulary the phrase "creative destruction." American people are clear that capitalism destroys jobs on occasion.
Over one 25-year period recently, it was estimated that 15 percent of all American jobs disappear every year to try to create more than that. So it's the adjective. Is it creative destruction? And in this sense, it seems to me, it's much better to have this argument now than in October. And in the South Carolina, it's extremely good for Mitt Romney to be attacked now in the vocabulary of the left.
KRUGMAN: Yes, the thing is, we're only immunizing if the thing would go away. This is not like some punitive scandal that, once everybody's heard the story, it stops being a story. The issue about jobs, about economic inequality is going to -- is going to continue to resonate.
So I think it does -- it -- actually, all it does is it gives the Democrats a chance to court Republicans, the same thing they're doing. Plus, you know, we are learning more about Mitt Romney.
This morning's "Washington Post" had a very interesting article about how Bain functioned under Romney, which said basically they were into double-crossing. Not double-crossing the poor workers, but double-crossing their partners in deals.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, the stories on Bain keep coming.
ROBERTS(?): I think there is no inoculating Romney against the Bain attacks. The potential is that they can become exhausted by September, October and November. There's no inoculating. There may be exhausting. But let me tell you what I think the threat of the Bain attacks is.
Romney has been coming forward, identifying himself as a businessman, a job creator, a man who knows how to turn around an economy, and that's a good place to be and Republicans love that person.
However, there's a strong populous streak in the Republican Party, and there's a sense that they don't like these Wall Street sharpies who, in the 1990s and in the '00s, were rapacious, greedy and bad guys. There's a difference between I'm a businessman and oh, my gosh, I was secretly a bad guy. That's the potential harm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Undoubtedly, but, you know, these attacks have been clumsy. And I am mystified as to why Romney opponents haven't done more to go after his record as governor of Massachusetts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they're starting that now. You're seeing that (inaudible).