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

TAPPER: Well, I've heard two arguments from Republicans this week. One is, why is Obama getting the credit for the Iraq withdrawal, given that this was a status-of-forces agreement as negotiated by President Bush? Why is Obama getting credit for what Bush did?

And then the other argument, which is, boy, it's so weak what Obama's doing, abiding by what Bush negotiated. And they both seem rather incoherent when you put them -- when you combine them.

The same with Libya. I've heard people fault -- Republicans fault President Obama for being weak on Libya, getting involved too late, following the internationalist perspective. And then, in the middle of the campaign, when it didn't look like it was going so well, there was a lot of criticism about the fact that he was -- the -- the quagmire that the U.S. was being bogged down in. And I just feel like the Republicans need to come up with a more coherent criticism against the president.

WILL: They need to answer three questions. How many troops, for how long, for what purpose? And I don't think they can answer any of the three questions.

DOWD: Well, I think -- the Republicans I think have made a series of mistakes over the last three weeks in how they've responded. I think they have a tin ear to where the American public is. They had a tin ear on Wall Street. They should have adopted sort of the anti-Wall Street message and made it Main Street against Wall Street. They should have basically totally congratulated him on the Libya, because Barack Obama -- this was his deal, and he got it done. And, three, two-thirds of the American public want the troops out of Iraq, don't believe it's made the country safer, and the Republicans ought to say, "Job well done. Let's focus on the country." That's where I think the Republicans are off.

AMANPOUR: Let's talk about tin ear or not. I'm going to bring in Frank Luntz, who's a Republican pollster. And I want to ask you about -- you were watching the debate in Las Vegas, and particularly the sort of fights element between Romney and Perry. What did the people who you were watching it with, what did they think about that development?

LUNTZ: They thought it looked more like Jerry Springer than it did a presidential campaign. And I need you to compare this to 2008. When it was Obama versus Clinton, the two of them were so careful about what they said that if either of them started to -- to be in any way negative, you saw that the media shut them down, that their grassroots shut them down. Nobody wanted them to attack each other.

Now, in 2011, it seems like the media is pushing the Republicans to attack each other, and they're very glad to do it. There's a message in here. When Rick Perry started to go after Mitt Romney in his very first debate, he was at 28 percent in the polls. Now he's down to 12 percent.

There's a lesson. He has a great record to defend in Texas, but he doesn't know how to do it. Republicans and particularly independents don't want to see these candidates going at each other. They want to know what they're for, not what they're against.

AMANPOUR: So, George, did Rick Perry, despite those risks that Frank articulates, did he bring himself up to par where he needed to be in this new debate?

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