'This Week' Transcript: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Peter King and Sen. Carl Levin

MURRAY: We have to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. If the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire, and we'll start over next year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: Do you agree with that?

PELOSI: Well, I think she was stating a fact. If we don't have a deal by December 31st, we will go over the fiscal cliff.

RADDATZ: If you don't get a deal, are you willing to just walk away?

PELOSI: Well, the -- I want a deal. I want an agreement.

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: I know you want a deal, but would you be willing to just say, if we don't get what we want...

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: I don't think that's, in my view, as one with a seat at the table, I don't think it's my role to go to the table with a threat. I think it's my role to go to the table with some ideas, to be receptive to what we can come to agreement on. I'm not criticizing statements others make, but what I am saying is that there's too much at risk.

And even if you went over the cliff for one month and then corrected it, you would still have a loss of GDP.

RADDATZ: I think you said in September, you said categorically the country can't go over the cliff.

PELOSI: Absolutely. I completely -- look...

RADDATZ: You agree with yourself?

PELOSI: Yeah, I agree with myself. I do.

(LAUGHTER)

And I quote myself from time to time, as well. And here's the thing: We're all grownups. I mean, we talk about maturity and age. We're all grownups. We have a responsibility to the American people. The elements who are in agreement are there. Time is of the essence. The quicker we do it, the more confidence we instill, the better it is for the economy and for the American people.

RADDATZ: Just finally, you seemed genuinely taken aback and almost upset the other day in your press conference when you were asked if it was time for younger leadership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: Let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question.

(LAUGHTER)

Although it's quite offensive, but you don't realize that, I guess.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: I said I quote myself, and I do. But I do not agree with the characterization you just gave. I was amused. I was surprised at the response of my colleagues, because they just were very offended by...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Not you at all?

PELOSI: Well, for me, I laughed, because I thought, oh, they don't know what questions I have to be subjected to here all the time. For me, this is a matter of course.

But my colleagues, the women, we had 60 women gathered up there. And if you ever wanted to ask that question, you should save it for another day.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RADDATZ: Our thanks to Nancy Pelosi. And when we come back, our powerhouse roundtable, so much to talk about. They're ready to weigh in with more on the fiscal cliff, plus the widening Petraeus sex scandal, and the Middle East on the brink of war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The people made it clear what they wanted. Now let's work together. That's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.

OBAMA: I've got one mandate. I've got a mandate to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get in the middle class. That's my mandate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: President Bush in 2004 and President Obama this week with different ideas about the power of their mandates after re-election. And we'll get to that with our roundtable in a moment. We're joined, as always, by George Will, Donna Brazile, Jonathan Karl, Congressman Xavier Becerra, the vice chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Thank you all for being here. George Will, I want to start with you, and I want to start with Israel. This is a conventional war that we've been looking at in the past week.

WILL: We've come, in a sense, a full circle from the war of independence in 1948, which was one essentially with small arms by Israel, to the great tank and air battles of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Israel's enemies tried to destroy it with conventional warfare. Having failed at that, they went to terrorism, suicide bombers, and all the rest, and Israel, which before had to be on the offensive, because it had no strategic depth, went on the defense. They built a fence. The problem is you can get over a fence with rockets. And there are rockets by the tens of thousands there now.

Now, Senator Levin a moment ago praised, rightly, the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, but any missile defense system can be overwhelmed by numbers, and the danger is -- and Israel will not sit still for this -- but they will have to go in and stop the source and supply of the rockets.

RADDATZ: Speaker -- Speaker Gingrich, just a few minutes ago, Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that they are ready to escalate this. What do you see? Where do you see this going?

GINGRICH: Well, I think two things. One is, end all this talk about the peace process. You have a permanent war in the region. You have people determined to destroy Israel. They spend all the periods of non-war building up the weapons to have war, and then when they think it's appropriate, they wage war. And then they go back to saying, "Oh, no, let's talk about a peace process while we accumulate more weapons."

Second, I think the Israelis -- this is very deliberate. The Israelis have analyzed an Iranian wing of Hamas and an Egyptian wing. They are methodically destroying the Iranian wing. I think they will -- they will stop when they decide they've optimized their destruction, but they are very methodically killing people and taking out assets that relate -- these are -- these are Iranian rockets that are hitting Tel Aviv right now. They came in probably through the Sudan.

RADDATZ: Congressman Becerra, we give up on the peace process, you think?

BECERRA: No, you want to be militarily strong so you don't have to go to war. And so whether it's Israel or it's the United States, you want to always be strong. But what you want to do is get to the negotiating table, because that's where you broker the best agreement. And so I think the president has been clear, he's been forceful. America is speaking with one voice, and we have to see us get back to the negotiating table.

RADDATZ: Jon Karl, what happens if this does escalate? How should the U.S. be approaching it, in your view? How is the U.S. approaching it? Are we doing enough?

KARL: Well, what's interesting is you see absolute agreement across the board, as you always do when it comes to Israel, that Israel is -- is within its rights to defend itself, that that is what this is about. This is responding to, you know, persistence attacks on its territory with these rockets.

But the administration's also made it clear they don't want this to escalate, and that's the message they are sending, the president is sending to the Israelis.

BRAZILE: But this is a big test for President Morsi. Remember, Hamas is...

RADDATZ: The Egyptian president.

BRAZILE: ... that is correct. Hamas is a member of the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, so President Morsi has dispatched diplomats to the territory to try to de-escalate the tension. He's in touch with Turkey, the Arab League to try to get Hamas to -- to bring back. He's also signaling to Israel that he wants to protect the Palestinian population.

You know, beyond the long-term threat of Israel's security, I mean, we have to look at, can we give back to the peace process at some point? Because ultimately, that's the only way that we're going to protect Israel. And that's the only way, given the neighborhood has changed over the past few months, that we're going to see any real peace in that area.

RADDATZ: I want to switch to Benghazi now. It seems that the Republicans are still digging in their heels about Susan Rice. Where does this go?

WILL: Well, they sent out Susan Rice rather than, say, the secretary of agriculture because presumably she could be...

RADDATZ: Or certainly the secretary of state.

WILL: Well, the secretary of agriculture could read talking points prepared by the CIA. Did she mislead the country? Of course she did, in saying that this was a movie review gone bad somehow.

The question is, did she intentionally mislead? Or did someone mislead her, by -- as some people are saying -- excising crucially parts of the CIA talking points, where the CIA said extremists linked to Al Qaida, and they just became extremists?

KARL: But I've got to tell you, the CIA talking points were not edited in the sense of talking about the movie. Both the classified version we now know and the declassified version referred to demonstrations in Benghazi growing out of what happened in Cairo with the movie. How was the CIA, how was -- how were our intelligence agencies so incredibly wrong about this? I mean, it was not just Rice.

Regarding her confirmation, I can tell you that she probably almost certainly wins confirmation if the White House goes forward with this, and the White House is signaling clearly that that is where the president is heading right now, whether or not he goes through it or not.

But -- but Democrats -- and I'd be interested to hear what you say about this -- but what I'm hearing from Democrats in the Senate is they don't necessarily want this fight right, because it will be three weeks of battles over the Rice nomination focusing on Benghazi, because it will be filibustered. Not all Republicans will go along with the filibuster. The filibuster will not be successful. But this will be a battle that will consume three weeks.

BECERRA: Martha, Secretary -- Ambassador Rice communicated what she had been given to communicate by the intelligence community. Senator McCain and Senator Graham's beef is with the intelligence community, not with Ambassador Rice. If Ambassador Rice had said something other than what she was told to say by the intelligence community, they'd be attacking her for having said something other than what she was supposed to say.

RADDATZ: Is this about something more? Is this...

BECERRA: Absolutely.

RADDATZ: Is something more going on here?

BECERRA: November 6th passed, but in the eyes of some, it hasn't.

RADDATZ: The election's over.

BECERRA: In the eyes of some...

RADDATZ: And why are they digging in on this?

BECERRA: We're still in campaign mode, and that's unfortunate.

BRAZILE: Well, in the fog of war, I mean, this is -- you know, I mean, Colin Powell gave talking points, and Adlai Stevenson, during the Bay of Pigs, I mean, gave bad talking points. I mean, I think this is just the politics.

I mean, it's bizarre the way that Senator McCain just totally questioned her qualifications for a position she has not even been nominated for, and went so far as to even suggest that maybe she's not a smart person. And Ambassador Rice is a very extremely qualified, smart, dedicated public servant.

Clearly, I think the attacks are purely political. But there are all these investigations going on. Why don't we just let a lot of these investigations to conclude before we learn the lessons of four brave Americans killed in -- in Libya?

KARL: There is a larger issue: Why were they so wrong?

RADDATZ: Oh, absolutely.

KARL: Why?

RADDATZ: The intelligence is -- that issue seems to have gone away, and everybody's focusing on Susan Rice now, but I'd like...

BECERRA: So let's let the hearings tell us, rather than speculate politically.

RADDATZ: I'd like to move on to Dave Petraeus, who we've been talking...

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: Can I just...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Yeah, quickly, quickly. Yes.

GINGRICH: ... one brief point? Which is, if we didn't understand what was going on in Benghazi, a relatively open city where we actually had people, why do we think the intelligence community knows what's going on in Iran? I mean, this is a very...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Well, those questions -- yes, we've had those questions for many years, and people -- and people are asking those questions.

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: And the CIA was consistently wrong in a consistent direction about Soviet missiles, about Soviet economic growth. The record of error is...

RADDATZ: I think -- I think...

(CROSSTALK)

BECERRA: So our beef is with the intelligence community.

RADDATZ: ... we'll have questions about a lot of those.

BECERRA: Our beef is with the intelligence community, not with Susan Rice.

RADDATZ: I think we've made that pretty clear right here. I think we've made that pretty clear. Let's move on to Dave Petraeus. You know he was in these hearings. We have -- we thought this might calm down this week; it has not.

Let me start with you, Speaker Gingrich. Is it a national security risk to have your CIA director involved in an extramarital affair?

GINGRICH: Well, I think Petraeus concluded -- and I think he's probably right -- that he couldn't be effective. I mean, I think what he did is he...

RADDATZ: You don't think it was because he got caught?

GINGRICH: Well, that's what made him ineffective. I mean, I think by definition, if something had remained secret, it would have been secret. He would have had no reason to confront it.

RADDATZ: But the president actually spent 24 hours thinking about it.

GINGRICH: But I think Petraeus, in offering his resignation, was communicating that he didn't think he could lead the CIA, he didn't think he could deal with the Congress, and that he would be consumed -- you're much better off to have people saying, "Gee, he's a great patriot. Isn't it a pity he's gone?", than to have people say, "Let me focus on this, why isn't he gone?"

And I think, from his perspective, he'd have been in a very, very difficult position, if he stayed in office.

RADDATZ: Jon?

KARL: Although he -- he thought he was going to get away with it, it seems to me. I mean, he -- he acknowledged to the FBI the affair and then went to -- on a six-nation tour to the -- to the region, went to Libya, looked at his own Benghazi investigation. He didn't decide to resign until James Clapper asked him to resign.

GINGRICH: Until it became public. I mean, the FBI calls you in, "We know this, you know this, no one else knows this," you're operating on one...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Congressman Becerra, get in the middle between those guys.

BECERRA: Well, look, it -- there was a personal failing, a deep, severe personal failing. Does it break into the realm of the public world, the responsibilities that the general has?

RADDATZ: But what about judgment? What about judgment?

WILL: Well, that's surely the point.

RADDATZ: Isn't that the bottom line here, his judgment during that period?

WILL: The American people -- the American people are not Pecksniffian moralists about this. They never really gave us their affection for and job approval of Bill Clinton. This is a question of, you want your CIA director to have good judgment. He's not asking too much.

(UNKNOWN): Yes, absolutely.

WILL: And this was obviously a case of bad judgment. There's a -- but I would hope, by the way, that...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: And should it be just the CIA director? Should it be anybody? Where do you draw the line again?

WILL: Well, I don't know where you draw the line, but it starts with the CIA director, certainly.

RADDATZ: That's one of them?

WILL: This might also be a good time for the country to think about the militarization of the CIA. I'm not sure we should have military leaders leading the CIA, people in the military...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: That's been a long debate. That's why they wanted him to retire, correct?

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: I mean, they're waging the drone warfare. If the CIA is going to become increasingly a paramilitary operation, we ought to talk about that, because that's a momentous development.

BRAZILE: But just a few months ago, the Gallup poll indicated that our military was the most trusted institution in American life, so this was -- this was a huge blow, at a time when Congress is as popular as a root canal, to have another institution of government have failed so badly.

So, you know, we respect his -- his service to the country, his sense of duty, but this was a failure of judgment. And I thought his resignation had to be accepted. And I know he'll get on with his life at some point.

RADDATZ: Jon, does it harm the military, do you think?

KARL: Well, this isn't the first sex scandal to...

RADDATZ: There've been a lot of them lately. In fact, the Pentagon is investigating why there have been so many scandals lately.

KARL: Yeah. And...

RADDATZ: Is it deployments? Let me -- just quickly on that. Do you think we really do need to look at not only younger soldiers, but generals and what they've been through? Dave Petraeus has been deployed -- was deployed for six years.

KARL: I mean -- I mean, think about how much -- yeah, exactly -- how much time he has -- he's been more time deployed than he has back home. But, you know, I think you want to be very careful about making excuses.

But these -- I think the military is looking not only at this issue, but at kind of the whole culture at the upper -- at the upper ranks. I mean, the -- you know, the -- story the Washington Post has about, you know, how Gates realized that he -- he had to -- you know, living next door to Mullen. Mullen's got people making dinner for him.

RADDATZ: Can't rake his own leaves, right?

KARL: Yeah, so he's sort of blowing his leaves over to Mullen's yard, because he knew he had four people over there to deal with them anyway.

RADDATZ: Admiral Mullen, who was the chairman at the time. OK, let's -- let's go to another perhaps quite -- not quite as sexy topic, and that is the fiscal cliff. Meetings on Friday, everyone came out of those meetings and was so optimistic and thought they were so constructive. We've heard that before. What's different now?

GINGRICH: Did you look at the body language as they walked out of the White House? I have never seen a less enthusiastic, "I guess we will now go out and talk to the press. We will all be positive."

KARL: It was a "constructive meeting."

GINGRICH: It was very "constructive." Now, we have here somebody who's in the leadership, so maybe he can tell us if we should be optimistic...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Should we be -- I heard Nancy Pelosi say we should be optimistic.

BECERRA: There's reason to be constructive and optimistic, because it's simple math. We've got -- I sat on Bowles-Simpson. I sat on the super-committee. You can only come up with so many ways to deal with the deficit. It is arithmetic, and so we should be able to do this.

RADDATZ: We can talk about that simple math for a long time. Is it really just that?

BECERRA: But it's not -- well, if I could just conclude -- if the math is simple, what the problem is, is the egos and the concern about the special interests. If you can hang your egos and the special interests at the door...

RADDATZ: Those have not gone away, those egos...

(CROSSTALK)

BECERRA: They've not gone away. That's the problem.

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: But, Congressman, are Democrats going to go along with entitlement cuts? Are they going to go along with cuts to Medicare and Social Security?

BECERRA: The president was prepared to make significant changes in some of our important mandatory programs. The president and Democrats were willing in both the super-committee, in the Biden talks, in the president's grand bargain, were willing to do -- put everything on the table. It's always been that way, and that's why I say it's arithmetic. It's simple math. We can do it. December 31st should not come and go.

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Simple math? And is there a mandate? Does the president have a mandate?

BRAZILE: He has a mandate. He said -- he said he has a mandate to protect the middle class, to fight for the middle class. And I think what's important, before we start talking about entitlements, which the president has talked about before, is that the Republicans are now talking about revenue.

The question is, what Republican Party will show up, the Republican Party that still believe the Romney-Ryan math adds up or the Republican Party that understands the reality now that 60 percent of the American people, at least on Election Day, voted to put revenues on the table? That is -- that is the big question that we have to look at, as we look down the road. The president is going to play the long game. He's not going to play for a short-term deal.

RADDATZ: George?

WILL: The president denounced the House Republicans across this country as obstructionists. The country said, "We hear you," and they send them back to continue being a break on the president. And almost every member of John Boehner's caucus won his or her seat by a much bigger margin than Mr. Obama won his renewed term.

Look, the arithmetic is simple. If you cap at $25,000 the available deductions, you raise $1.2 trillion. That's a lot of money. If you cap it at $50,000, you raise about as much money as you would raise by letting the Bush tax rates expire. I don't think that's a problem.

You showed the clip a moment ago of Patty Murray saying, as a negotiating ploy, go off the cliff. Let me give you another theory. For 40 years, the Democratic Party's activist base has had two goals: substantial tax increases and substantial defense cuts. Going off the cliff implements the Democratic Party's agenda.

RADDATZ: Well, do you think it'd be so bad to go off the cliff?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it would be mildly chaotic, but...

KARL: Mildly?

(LAUGHTER)

RADDATZ: A recession?

GINGRICH: Well, it would be -- this is a gigantic country. This country can absorb lots of mistakes.

RADDATZ: A recession is mildly chaotic?

GINGRICH: We test that theory regularly in our history. I don't think you should negotiate out of fear. And I don't think you should -- you should have people say, "Oh, we have a gun at your head." The American people are faced with a flawed system. I agree with George Will.

The fact is there were two mandates, not one. There's a mandate for the president and there's a mandate for the House Republicans. And should the House Republicans consider some revenues? Maybe. But I watched Reagan get taken to the cleaners. I watched George H.W. Bush get taken to the cleaners. This idea -- give us the taxes this week, and we will presently someday eventually give you some spending cuts, is not a very appealing thing. And I would hope Republicans would be very careful about whether there are genuine reforms and entitlements.

RADDATZ: Jon Karl, you were shaking your head about it being mildly chaotic.

KARL: Well, you know, I think that what we're having now is both sides are hearing to a degree what they want to hear. So the Democrats hear the Republicans talk about revenues, and the Republicans hear the Democrats, you know, making, you know, vague statements about entitlements. But there's a lot -- there's a lot of space here. I mean, Nancy Pelosi told you directly that she would not agree to anything that did not raise rates.

RADDATZ: As a starting point, huh?

KARL: Yeah.

RADDATZ: OK, we had some controversial comments this week by Governor Mitt Romney in a conference call with donors. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: What the president -- president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and -- and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.

JINDAL: If you want voters to like you, the first thing you've got to do is to like them first. And it's certainly not helpful to tell voters that you think their votes were bought. This is completely not helpful. This is not where the Republican Party needs to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: What do you think of that? Is that where the Republican Party needs to go?

GINGRICH: I just think it's nuts. I mean -- I mean, first of all, it's insulting. This would be like Wal-Mart having a bad week and going, "The customers have really been unruly." I mean, the job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win.

RADDATZ: And how do you do that, George Will? How do you do that?

WILL: Well, you begin where Bobby Jindal was. It's been well said that you have a political problem when the voters don't like you, but you've got a real problem when the voters think you don't like them. And that is -- Mitt Romney was picking up the theme he improvidently put before the country and inadvertently with his 47 percent video during the campaign.

Get back to -- quit despising the American people, particularly because a lot of what they're despising them for are Republican policies. When Mitt Romney said, "So many Americans aren't paying taxes," yeah, because the Republicans doubled the child tax credit for conservative reasons, yes, because they expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, as Ronald Reagan did, because they thought it was an effective anti-poverty program.

RADDATZ: Congressman Becerra, let me go to you on this.

BECERRA: Yeah, it's deja vu all over again. It reinforces the 47 percent...

RADDATZ: What aren't -- what aren't Republicans doing to attract those certain members of -- of the Democrats?

BECERRA: I don't think they read the tea leaves from November the 6th, and I think they're still harkening to yesteryear. It's a new day in America, and they should be catching up.

He is the de facto leader of the party. Mitt Romney's still there. And so his comments remind folks of the 47 percent comment. And it's unfortunate for them, because they have to figure out a way to distance themselves from a guy who doesn't get it.

KARL: I have to say -- I have to say, he is not the de facto leader of the Republican Party. I think what this did is hastened Romney's departure completely from the scene. Romney has -- has -- I mean, I talk to Republicans now. They talk about how, you know, we'll never see him speak at a convention again. People are going to be going to his door, begging for his endorsement four years from now.

BECERRA: So if not, who's the leader?

KARL: That's a great question.

BECERRA: OK. Well, he's the de facto leader.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: His comments went over like a lead balloon with just about everybody...

KARL: Especially Republicans.

BRAZILE: And as we all -- especially Republicans. And I agree with my home state governor, Bobby Jindal. So -- but I have to tell you, I saw a lot of people over the last couple of days, and they kept saying, "Where's my gift?"

I mean, no one believes that we're getting gifts from the government. I was at a party last night. Everybody said, "Can you tell the president we want some gifts?" I'm like, "Yeah, he -- the gifts that he will give to the American people, it will come with an improved economy, and that's what we all want."

RADDATZ: Quickly, George?

WILL: Well, we're all getting a gift. We're getting $5 worth of government services and being charged $3 for it.

RADDATZ: And -- and -- and where does the Republican go -- Party go? Mitt Romney, do you agree, is finished?

GINGRICH: I think Romney's not -- I think...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: He's finished?

GINGRICH: ... the Republican Party has many leaders. Well, I think he's finishing himself at this rate, but I think -- I think the Republican Party has many leaders. We have a whole new generation. Bobby Jindal is a good example, Susana Martinez. You're going to see a whole wave of new people coming along, and that's good for the Republican Party.

RADDATZ: All right. Thank you. Thank you all. It was a very fun roundtable.

Don't go anywhere. We're back with a tasty debate about that beloved American treat, the Twinkie. Who's to blame for its possible demise? Don't ask Chris Christie. He wasn't having any of that debate on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: This is a set-up, man, I know it. You people are the worst. This is a set-up. I am not answering questions on Twinkies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIMMEL: Hostess, you know, the company that makes Twinkies, cupcakes, Wonder Bread, that sort of thing, is in big financial trouble right now. I don't even understand how this is possible. This country has never been fatter. How are the people who make Zingers and Sno Balls losing money?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: And we're back now with our roundtable. And as Jimmy Kimmel said, after 82 years, Hostess is shutting down, following a bankruptcy filing and a nationwide workers' strike that ended in a stalemate, so goodbye to all of this. I know you all have your -- your last cupcakes there, perhaps.

GINGRICH: That's right. We're all -- we're all prepared for a good happy...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Yes, we are. And you're -- and you're willing to talk about those cupcakes. Speaker Gingrich, what happened here?

GINGRICH: Well, my impression is that management and labor reached an impasse. The union preferred killing the company to accepting what they thought was a bad deal. And the management preferred killing the company to accepting what they thought...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Look -- look who's shaking his head. Is that any surprise?

BECERRA: I see the comings of Twinkie-gate here. You fail to adapt, you bankrupt your company, you triple your salary, as the CEO, then you blame it on the workers. I mean, what about that sign that says, "The buck stops here"? All these workers were doing what they were being told to do, and now they're being blamed for a bankruptcy. Come on. This is not the kind of leadership you want to see in corporate America. We need folks who are going to stand up and say, "We're ready to adapt." Don't blame your workers. Your workers did exactly what they were supposed to do.

RADDATZ: Take that, Speaker Gingrich, huh?

BRAZILE: Six CEOs in eight years. As of the 2004 bankruptcy, the workers took wage and benefit cuts. It wasn't enough. The CEO gave himself a 300 percent raise. Look, this is -- I feel bad for the workers. Eighteen thousand people will lose their jobs. I hope somebody will pick this up, will sell them, and that we'll continue to have this delightful treat.

GINGRICH: Can...

RADDATZ: Can we have -- can we a very quick thoughts of Twinkies in your life? Just -- not you, Jon Karl. You're too young. You're the youngest member of this roundtable. Did you like Twinkies growing up?

WILL: I liked Hostess cupcakes, but don't despair. Someone's going to buy -- someone's going to -- the brand has value. Someone will buy it.

RADDATZ: It's not the...

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: And they will go and manufacture it in a right-to-work state, where Hostess does not have to operate under 372 collective bargaining agreements.

RADDATZ: OK. OK. Quickly, just Twinkie memories.

BRAZILE: I remember when it was 25 cent a pack, when my grandmother -- it was two for five cents. It's $1.69. I would like the original Twinkie back.

RADDATZ: Twinkies...

KARL: But I just have to say very quickly, I mean, what about Wonder Bread? Wonder Bread's going, too.

RADDATZ: Yeah, that's...

KARL: And this is not just about Twinkies.

RADDATZ: You brought that with you, because you like it so much.

BECERRA: I'm a chocolate fiend. Hostess has a company in Sacramento where I was born and raised, saw it every -- almost every day of the week.

RADDATZ: Five seconds?

GINGRICH: I'm with George. Twinkie will survive in a new corporate framework.

RADDATZ: All right, thanks, all of you. Thanks. That's all we have time for with our roundtable. I'll be back in a moment with "Your Voice This Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RADDATZ: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.

This week, the Pentagon released the names of five soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

And finally, "Your Voice This Week." Today's question comes from Cheryl Robinson, who writes, "What happened in Benghazi was terribly tragic, and now we're hearing of another Middle Eastern war on the brick. Let us and you, the media, not forget about the war that our own kids are fighting for us in Afghanistan. Why is there so little coverage?"

Well, because, unfortunately, very few people feel the way you do, Cheryl. There is a war-weariness with the public, and outside of campaign season, the war is not often mentioned. The administration talks about it largely to say we are leaving, but we should all remember that nearly 70,000 Americans are still in Afghanistan, facing death and injury, and we should remember we have promised our combat troops will remain there for another two years.

That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News" with David Muir tonight. George Stephanopoulos will see you back here next week.

END

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