'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Jim DeMint

Speeches, we've found, are not very similar to the actual legislation. So I'm pretty frustrated with the speech idea. And, frankly, the things that have been leaking out of the White House, none of them are like what I've been hearing from businesses all over the country. You know, extending unemployment, cutting payroll taxes, offering tax credits when you hire someone, I haven't heard one business say things like this.

What they want is some certainty. They want the regulators off their back. They want the National Labor Relations Board to stop pushing the union agenda and try to help companies that create jobs.

So I don't think the president is going to come out with things that are really going to create jobs. I'm afraid it's just pandering to his base.

But if he'll send a written proposal, I'll give it every chance, in -- but I'm not interested in his speech right now. And as the Congressional Budget Office said, we can't score a speech. We can't tell him what it's going to cost or what it's going to do.

AMANPOUR: Senator DeMint, thank you so much for joining us from South Carolina.

AMANPOUR: And we'll certainly be watching his candidate forum tomorrow. And so, no doubt, will our roundtable. With me today, Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a columnist for the Washington Post; Clarence Page, who writes a column for the Chicago Tribune; Dana Loesch, editor at BigJournalism.com and a founder of the St. Louis Tea Party; and ABC's senior political correspondent Jon Karl.

Jon, let me turn to you first. You know, tried to get some sort of determination out of Senator DeMint, but keeping his powder dry. Given that, what do Governor Perry and Governor Romney have to do to break out of the current situation?

KARL: Well, frankly, you've seen the polls that show that Perry has just shot to the top. We don't know how real this is. This is the month we'll find out whether or not he is truly the front-runner.

We have three debates over the next three weeks. Perry has taken off because he's got this record as the jobs governor in Texas and he speaks the Tea Party language, but there is the biggest oppo file on Rick Perry than of all the other candidates. He's got the longest record. You alluded to his book. He's got the most that can be attacked. We'll see over the next three weeks whether or not he can survive it.

AMANPOUR: Well, you just alluded to polls. Let me just put them up. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Rick Perry six points ahead of Mitt Romney. The CNN poll shows an even wider gap.

Michael, good news for Rick Perry, but the Republican establishment, as Jon alluded to, because of all that oppo, must be quite worried about it.

GERSON: No, I think there are some worries. This is a remarkable rise. He has gotten support not just from the Tea Party, but actually from a lot of establishment Republicans in these polls.

But they're just getting to know him. The Tea Party people could have questions of their own. He supported TARP. You mentioned some of these other issues. And the establishment is already having questions about his book and other things, with views that seem odd or extreme. He opposes the direct election of senators, apparently, which is, you know, a interesting position to take.

KARL: Big populist issue, yes.


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