'This Week' Transcript: Secretary Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain

LUNTZ: Well, remember that the average voter's about two weeks behind the Washington news cycle. So even though the media's turned more negative on Cain, what I'm still hearing out in the field is very positive. And what they credit, even though they may -- they're not always sure about the details about 9-9-9, is that they're frustrated with the tax code. They don't like the IRS. And they want to send Washington a message, which is why any candidate that comes up with a bold plan on taxes is going to see some level of approval, at least initially.

BRAZILE: I think Cain is the quintessential outsider. He's a nice guy. He reminds me of one of my uncles that you pretty much -- you like, but you don't want them to come out of the house, because the more exposure he receives, the more scrutiny, I think he becomes tongue-twisted and tongue-tied.

Look at the abortion issue, where first he said, well, you know, I shouldn't get involved with that, politicians shouldn't get involved with that. Basically, he was giving the pro-choice line, which of course I support. No one should make these personal decisions but the individual.

But now he's back to, "Oh, no, I'm for life at conception." So I think Cain is -- is not just the flavor of the month. I agree with him. I think he's going -- he's going to present a real problem for Mitt Romney, who is struggling, I think, to gain some traction.

DOWD: And Cain's rise had nothing to do with 9-9-9 plan. Cain's rise has to do with the attributes that the Republicans like in him. He's an outsider. He's a businessman. He's likable. And he seems to enjoy the fight. All of those things aren't -- nobody else has. That's why he's rising.

I think he has a huge forgiveness factor among the Republican electorate, and he's going to be able to trip himself up a number of times.

AMANPOUR: Really? Even in this day and age?

DOWD: Even (inaudible) because I think they say an outsider can make mistakes. He'll hit a tipping point, if he keeps at up, at some point, but right now, they're going to forgive him because he's an outsider.

TAPPER: And these mistakes, also, these are mistakes that -- Dan Quayle made this mistake. John McCain made this mistake about abortion when confronted with, well, what would you do if your daughter or your granddaughter had this situation. And both Quayle and McCain -- and now Cain -- say, well, it would be up to the individual. You know, I don't approve, but, you know, the woman in the family should make their mind up for themselves.


WILL: ... exactly right about the rise of Cain. It has a lot to do with Romney. He is rising as more and more Republicans come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor running on competence, not ideology.

AMANPOUR: What is all this doing for President Obama, as they watch this infighting and what Frank has been telling us?

TAPPER: Well, they're -- they're campaigning against Mitt Romney. I mean, they've already started. David Axelrod, the Democratic third-party groups, they're focused on Mitt Romney. They think ultimately Romney is going to be the nominee. And that's where they're targeting their energy.

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