'This Week' Transcript: S&P's John Chambers, Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Jeff Sessions

PERRY: I sincerely pray that our willingness to stand in the public square, to acknowledge the God who made us will inspire others to open their minds and their hearts to his love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: George, where does this put him in the presidential stakes? And do you think he's still going to jump in?

WILL: I do. And when he jumps in, he will campaign on the theme of Texas exceptionalism. It's one of only three states that today has more jobs than it had before the recession; 37 percent of all the jobs created in this country since the recovery began, what we smilingly call the recovery, were created in Texas.

AMANPOUR: And what do you think of his move there in Houston? Do you think that was wise for a presidential candidate, potential candidate?

WILL: At this stage in the nominating process, very.

AMANPOUR: Do you?

CHAFFETZ: Yeah.

AMANPOUR: Is he a candidate you'll get behind?

CHAFFETZ: People getting closer to God and praying is a good thing. I happen to think that Mitt Romney is the more -- most formidable. He would be the best person at this -- at this job. He understands the economy, capital formation, and jobs. And that's why I support Mitt Romney.

AMANPOUR: And there will be a lot more of this conversation in the green room. The roundtable does continue there at abcnews.com/thisweek.

And still to come, the United States gradually dials up the pressure on Syria, as Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent grows increasingly brutal. My exclusive interview with America's ambassador, Robert Ford, just before he headed back to the heart of the conflict. Stay with us.

AMANPOUR: America struggles to respond to President Bashar Assad's expanding crackdown on anti-government pro-democracy dissenters. Assad is fighting to survive a protest movement which has been growing since March, and this week, his government tanks and troops essentially flattened the city of Hama, an epicenter of the protest movement.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Having banned the international press, Syrian state media ended the week by showing these images, a devastated Hama, empty streets strewn with rubble, burned buildings. Human rights activists say at least 300 people were killed in the last week alone, men, women and children.

For decades, Syria has traded on its strategic position in the Middle East. Next door to Israel, it's a key player in any peace negotiation. It's Iran's only ally in the region and a supporter of extremist groups, like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Assad is trying to avoid this fate: former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak went on trial this week, charged with ordering the shooting of anti-government demonstrators back in January. He stepped down after 18 days of protests that he had allowed to be televised around the world.

Not so Assad. A self-styled reformer, he refuses to hear his people or international condemnation. His brutal crackdown is happening behind closed doors. The foreign press is banned, and the world depends on brave Syrian civilians, using cell phones and social media, to get word of their plight out.

Into this has stepped an unlikely champion: the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.

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