'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Jim DeMint

GERSON: Well, I think that there's a serious amount of discontent with the field. I don't think Republicans regard this as a strong field. So there is still talk of people getting in the race, not just Palin, but last week, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was in Chicago, had two meetings with serious Republican groups from the Midwest.

AMANPOUR: Even though he's said no, no, no, no, no?

GERSON: He's actively, I think, considering getting in this race, which would throw things open once more. But the desire for that to happen, for people like Paul Ryan, who are pushing this to happen, it shows that they're not happy with the current field. They think that it needs to be filled out in important ways. But I don't know if that's going to happen, but the desire for many Republicans to expand this field shows that they're not content with the field.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let's play something that Sarah Palin said at her rally in -- yesterday when she was out talking. Let's see what she said about this race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: The challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with, because it's not enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So, Jon, conventional wisdom is that maybe she's left it too long, but you're hearing different, right? Do you think she's going to jump in?

KARL: I think it is more likely that she jumps in than most of us have thought for a long time. We really don't know.

But I will tell you this: For months and months and months, it has been accurate to say that Sarah Palin has been teasing publicly, but has done nothing behind the scenes to prepare for an actual presidential run. I do not believe that is still the case. I think that she is -- she is laying the groundwork to decide, yes.

AMANPOUR: Where do you see that?

KARL: I -- I -- I think that she's beginning to look at what she would have to do to staff up the campaign. I think she's looking at what she'd have to do to actually establish a campaign organization, which she has done absolutely nothing until now.

AMANPOUR: So would that bring you great hope if she jumps in? I mean, look at her negatives. They're very, very high.

LOESCH: I think that she does have a little bit to overcome, in terms of -- I know that there was the Fox News poll which came out, and there was also an independent study which was done in conjunction with that, that also looked at Republican voters to see who they would or would not choose.

I think -- but we're still -- I mean, we're still really early on into this race, so anything is possible. I mean, and when I say anything is possible, I mean, when you look at the polls right now, the last poll that was released showed generic Republican candidate was beating this president in the polls.

KARL: That's who they should nominate.

LOESCH: So I think that we do -- I think that we do have a strong field. I do really think that we do have a strong field. But whether or not we're going to end up with someone that is speaking to the base -- because I think not only is this election going to be a referendum on Obama's first term, but this is also going to be a referendum on the Republican Party.

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