'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Jim DeMint

This is the Republican Party's decision right now. Who are they going to put forward? Are they going to keep going with the same Bush policies that helped create the Tea Party? Or are they actually going to put forward a real conservative, real Republican candidate, and actually unite the right once and for all? That's the question.

AMANPOUR: We're going to get to President Obama in our next panel, but thank you all very much for joining us. And the roundtable will continue in the green room at abcnews.com.

We've done the politics, as I say, but up next, the policy behind the jobs plan that President Obama will outline on Thursday. Will it be enough to put America back to work? A powerhouse roundtable of economic experts weighs in next.



OBAMA: Next week, I will be laying out a series of steps that Congress can take immediately. These are bipartisan ideas that ought to be the kind of proposals that everybody can get behind, no matter what your political affiliation might be. So my hope and expectation is that we can put country before party and get something done for the American people.


AMANPOUR: That's President Obama promising a jobs plan with something for everyone. But as details of the speech leaked out, there are real questions about whether his proposals will go far enough and whether he can count on any support from Republicans in Congress.

Joining me now to discuss the scenarios, Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and he's now president of the American Action Forum; Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times; Carol Lee, who covers the White House for the Wall Street Journal; and Jared Bernstein, who stepped down as Vice President Biden's top economic adviser earlier this year and is now a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Thank you all for being here. Paul, let me go to you first. The president has a major task this week. You've got unemployment still at 9.1 and the jobs growth -- at least this last month -- zero.

KRUGMAN: Yes. And let me say, by the way, there were two numbers on Friday, jobs -- one was zero, and the other was two. Jobs growth was zero. The interest rate on 10-year government bonds was two, which is very close to a historic low.

In effect, the market is screaming at us: You idiots. You've been worrying about the wrong problem. You've been focusing on the deficit. The deficit is not our problem right now. Jobs is our problem.

And Obama has an interesting problem, because I think that -- the way I think of it is, there's three different things. There's what we should be doing. And what we should be doing is a huge public investment program. No better time to do it. Government can borrow money almost for free, lots of unemployed workers.

Then there's the -- that's not going to happen, because the second question is, what can actually pass Congress? And the answer is nothing. Nothing. If Obama were to call for endorsing motherhood, the Republicans in the House would oppose it.

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