'This Week' Transcript: Senators Charles Schumer and Jon Kyl

LABRADOR: No, if we have real cuts -- because what happens in Washington is that we talk about raising taxes today and then we talk about cuts 10 years from now. It happened under Reagan, it happened under Bush, and it's what's going to happen to us once again.

VAN HOLLEN: Jon, look, the president put on the table a proposal with $1.2 trillion in cuts, if you include the interest savings, and $1.2 trillion in revenue. They can't get that kind of balanced package through a very right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives. The speaker is going to have...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: ... smaller deal.

VAN HOLLEN: ... country over his Republican caucus.

KARL: Congressman Van Hollen, thank you for joining us. Congressman Labrador, thank you.

LABRADOR: Just remember that the balance was 3 to 1, and now we're talking about 1 to 1.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, no, that's not true.

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: We do have a raucous debate when it comes time to the House.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN HOLLEN: ... fact-free zone when it comes to the facts.

KARL: Still to come, this picture of president and Mrs. Obama was the most re-tweeted photo of all time. Will it be one of our powerhouse roundtable's defining moments of 2012? Stick around and find out. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): This country is hurting right now. I'm like, we need to stop worrying about politics and worry about people.

(UNKNOWN): Sit down, get in a room, and don't come out of that room until you've got this thing taken care of.

(UNKNOWN): It's absolutely ridiculous. And it (inaudible) long time ago.

(UNKNOWN): And if you have to get the job done, you need to get the job done.

(UNKNOWN): We heard the job is compromise. You have to work together to get the job done.

(UNKNOWN): I have very little faith that they're actually going to reach a deal, and that frustrates me greatly.

(UNKNOWN): If my job was to do something for four years and I couldn't do it, I'd deserve to be fired.

(UNKNOWN): The job is undone. Finish up. Let's go. We're all waiting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Welcome back. There's no shortage of anger out there at our political leaders for failing to do their job. Let's bring in our powerhouse roundtable. We have Todd Purdum, national editor of Vanity Fair; former Vermont governor and founder of Democracy for America, Howard Dean; Maggie Haberman, senior political reporter for Politico; and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, now president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable.

Thank you all for joining us. Todd, we're talking about Congress. This is a big moment for Congress, obviously. But give us the perspective from the president's point of view. How important a moment right now is this in a test for President Obama?

PURDUM: I think it's a very big moment. It sets the tone for his second term. He thinks he has the public behind him. He thinks that he campaigned on these issues and he won. The problem is, individual members of the House, who outpolled him in their districts, don't share that view. So I think the stakes are very high for him, and he has got to deliver something, too, and he knows it, and that's why he's back here, and that's why maybe something will happen in the next 24 hours.

KARL: And you've seen the polls, Governor Pawlenty, that -- I mean, by a large margin, people right now are blaming Republicans for this mess and have made it clear that if we go over the fiscal cliff, it's going to be Republicans that are going to pay the price.

PAWLENTY: Well, the polls, of course, are a reflection of a moment in time. But, you know, I had some of these issues in Minnesota. I had the first government shutdown in the history of my state. And I learned some things, Jonathan.

One is, you've got to have leverage in a negotiation. Two is, you can overplay your hand. And if you corner one group so completely and you leave them no way out, it's likely to blow up. And the third and last thing that I learned is, if you do overplay your hand, the ill will that comes from that can reside for a long time and spoil your chances to get things done down the road.

And President Obama, I think, is in a very powerful position right now. He has some leverage. But I think in the interests of the country and the interests of getting things done for the rest of his term, he should be mindful of not overplaying his hand here. He's got a good sound bite, which is raise taxes on the wealthy from his perspective, but he hasn't given the Republicans the good sound bite they need to do the deal. You need that symmetry.

KARL: But, Governor Dean, you've been out there making quite consistently that we should go over the fiscal cliff.

DEAN: Right, see, I think we're having a conversation about the short term and about politics in Washington, which has pretty much been going on in the media since the election. But long term, we have to worry about the deficit.

This is a good deficit, solid deficit reduction proposal. My great fear is that they will make a deal and they'll simply kick the can down the road, and I think that may happen. It would be too bad. The right deal is to really take a big bite out of the deficit. You go back to the Clinton tax rates and you make some significant cuts. And you cut the Defense Department, which hasn't been cut in 30 years.

KARL: Maggie, it looks like we are going to get exactly what the governor just -- I mean, assuming they get to a -- and what was your take, listening to Schumer and Kyl?

HABERMAN: Well, Schumer and Kyl, my take was that there actually has not been that much progress. My take on Labrador...

KYL: They sounded so optimistic.

HABERMAN: Well, they did, they both did, because that's where the deal is being discussed right now, is in the Senate. It was the discussion with the House members that I found much more contentious and sort of interesting about where we are, and that I think is a real concern.

I do think that some Senate Democrats and some liberal members of the House would like to see the cliff gone over. They think that is the best way to press a reset. I don't think that's where the president is; I really don't. I think that's what he's saying publicly, but I think his second track is, I need a deal for all the reasons that Todd said.

KARL: Because if we go over the fiscal cliff, and he can get -- he can blame the Republicans, and he can do the tax cuts on the rich thing, he's the president. I mean, you know, as has been said, we don't really remember who the speaker of the House was when -- when Hoover was president. I mean, you know -- I mean, ultimately, it's his economy. It's his...

PURDUM: It's his country, and it's his economy, and it's his government. But I think one of the things that's instructive is that we are now down to such a tiny prospective deal, the tough issues are not being dealt with at all, even the sequestration, which was supposed to be so horrible, these automatic cuts in defense and other programs that were supposed to be so horrible that we'd never let them happen are now almost certainly going to happen, because there's not time to deal with that in the next 24 hours. I think it's just -- it's really a sad...

DEAN: I mean, the frustrating thing for me is, isn't this what we really need to do? I think Washington is actually incapable of making a deal that's going to help the country. What we're talking about here is a deal that's going to help the politicians. It'll help the president. We're arguing it's going to help Boehner. It's going -- that is not the problem. The problem is, we have a really big deficit, that the economy is three -- is much stronger three years on down the line than it was if we can stand this.

Now, I believe also that if we go over the cliff, then the president has a lot more leverage, because then all of sudden middle-class people's taxes are going to rise, and that's going to be bad for every politician in Washington. Maybe they'll actually get something done. But I think, at this point, at this late hour, I think almost any deal they come up with is worse than going over the cliff.

KARL: And let's be honest. The deal they're talking about would effectively reduce tax rates, because it would extend some of these taxes...

DEAN: Yeah.

KARL: ... and it would increase spending, so it would do exactly the opposite.

DEAN: Exactly. It will make the deficit worse if they cut a deal.

KARL: I mean, is that where we are, Governor?

PAWLENTY: No, I mean, Jonathan, the...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: ... stuff that makes the problem worse?

PAWLENTY: I hope not. But you need leverage to get a deal done. This is a moment in time where people's backs are up against the wall. And it would -- there would be -- there was an opportunity for a big deal, but you need symmetry. If you're going to fly over the cliff, you need the tax cut -- or, excuse me, the president's argument on raising taxes, but you also need those structural spending changes to get enough Republicans to support the deal. They haven't gotten to that point. They just haven't gotten to that point.

HABERMAN: The other thing that I think is important to remember here is that, if we -- if we get a small deal -- and it really is, as Todd said, what we're talking about right now -- we're going to be back here again in a couple of weeks for a debt ceiling. And I'm not so clear on exactly who has the leverage there. Republicans think they have more leverage; Democrats, some will privately agree with that. So, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: Right, so we're going to be here in a situation where, once again, the credit of the United States is in question, we're at risk of defaulting because we've hit the debt ceiling. The president says he doesn't want to negotiate at all on this.

I'm wondering what your position on this is, Governor Pawlenty, because I remember full well what you were arguing during the Republican primaries, making the case that the Republicans should not give in and raise the debt ceiling unless they got a big price. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY: I've said all along, don't do it unless you get something really good for it. You have to draw some lines in the sand. It's also a moment where you can push people's backs against the wall and get something significant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: So you're now head of the Financial Services Roundtable. Is it still your position that Republicans should push the president against the wall and not give in on the debt ceiling?

PAWLENTY: Well, the financial services part of the economy, as well as the economy more broadly, wants to avoid the cliff. We don't want a Howard Dean scream, as the country bungee jumps into the cliff.

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN: You might need one. You might need one. I was right then, and I'm right now.

PAWLENTY: But to answer your question, seriously -- and thank you, Governor Dean, for your good sense of humor...

DEAN: Thank you, Tim.

PAWLENTY: ... you've got to have -- in moments in politics, you've got to have people get their backs up against the wall to do something big, but you don't want to overplay your hand. That's the...

KARL: But aren't Republicans playing with fire...

(CROSSTALK)

PAWLENTY: Speaker Boehner came out early, Jonathan, and said, look, I'll raise revenues and, by the way, I'll also increase the debt ceiling. In that moment, there was a signal that perhaps a bigger deal could have been done, and then it fell apart, but there was an acknowledgement that the debt ceiling would go up by Speaker Boehner. There was an acknowledgement that revenues would go up by Speaker Boehner. So the one wing of the plane you need to fly over the cliff was being constructed pretty nicely from -- on that side, but the other side, the real structural changes in entitlements, never materialized.

DEAN: You see, I think the smart thing to do here is to go over the cliff and then wrap -- then do a big deal, then wrap the debt ceiling, the cliff, the tax rates, the cuts all into one big deal. It's going to take some time, but I think you can -- if you go -- also, if you go over the cliff, you reduce the debt ceiling problem by $600 billion, so the debt ceiling gets postponed some more and that should give you enough time to do -- to do the deal. I think that's the way to go.

Obviously, you can't let us go over the cliff on the debt ceiling. That's a much more serious problem. This is really not a cliff. We call it the fiscal curb, which is really what it is.

KARL: It's not as catchy, Governor.

DEAN: I know.

KARL: But let's take a look at the larger issue here, this kind of absurdity of being here at the end of the year with this situation. Take a look -- take a listen to how President Obama put it on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is deja vu all over again. America wonders why it is that in this town for some reason you can't get stuff done in an organized timetable, why everything always has to wait until the last minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: I think the president there was speaking to virtually -- you know, for virtually everybody in the country, but I was struck, Todd, when he said this town, as if he doesn't live in this town, and actually have a pretty important address in this town.

PURDUM: Well, I mean, I think he's -- the painful lesson of his first term is that the limitations of change within Washington are pretty severe. And, you know, he's talked about that often in the campaign. And that's one of the things he learned.

So it will be interesting to see, if we do go over the cliff, whether the president can muster support among the public to say, you know, in a Howard Beale kind of moment, forget Howard Dean, we're -- we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore.

I mean, as you pointed out, a year ago we knew this, and two years ago we knew the tax cuts, so I'm not sure why we should think two months from now will be better in terms of trying to strike a deal on the debt ceiling or whatever it is.

KARL: And part of it is the incredible polarization of Congress.

PURDUM: Terrible. It's built-in, structural, built-in polarization.

KARL: Let's take a look. Nate Silver, the guru of all things numbers when it comes to politics or sports, looked at what's happened to the House of Representatives. Take a look at this, some pretty striking numbers.

We now have -- we look at swing districts. These are districts that were within 5 percent of where the national vote was in the presidential race. There used to be -- 1992 -- 103 competitive swing districts. Now there are just 35 districts out of 435 that are actually competitive.

And then what he calls landslide districts -- these are lopsided districts where there was more than 20 percent difference between the national race and what we have now -- look, the number of landslide districts has almost doubled. These members of Congress are now in a situation where they're worried about a primary and they are not concerned at all about appealing to the other party.

DEAN: It's actually a fairly simple fix, which, of course, neither the Republicans or the Democrats are going to want. You do what the voters of Florida and California did. You take redistricting out of the hands of legislators and put them in the hands of a public group, nonpartisan group. It's worked in Iowa for a long time. It had some startling results in California. And it's working in Florida. And this has been done by ballot, by citizens who are rising up against their state legislatures and saying, enough politics, stop screwing around with our government, let's do it ourselves.

HABERMAN: Well, this is what you saw with Plan B, right? I mean, essentially, this was the problem for Boehner. It's true on both sides, but this was why Boehner was unable to get the votes that he needed for an alternative plan that was purely about a P.R. gimmick, but basically his members did not want to take a vote on something that wasn't going to be real in the first place because of the fear of primary, because of threats over the Norquist pledge and the Club for Growth threatening to primary people.

So I don't see what -- I mean, I agree with you in terms of the longer-term nonpartisan redistricting, but in terms of the more immediate -- more immediate next couple of years, I'm not sure how you change it.

KARL: What does it say about Boehner's leadership? I mean, that was a pretty extraordinary moment when, even with a larger majority that he's going to have in the next Congress, he couldn't get his conference to agree on the bare minimum.

PAWLENTY: Well, I think at some level it's not just leadership, it's math. You know, in the old days, President Reagan and Tip O'Neill have a cocktail together and cut a deal that was pragmatic. You remember President Reagan said he wouldn't raise the gas tax ever. You know, his feet were in cement on that when he announced it at the microphone. He came and famously said the sound that you hear is the sound of cement cracking under my feet.

(LAUGHTER)

But back in the day, there were enough people in both parties who were kind of in-betweeners and they could -- they could accommodate a pragmatic solution. Those days appear to be numerically over for the moment, as your graph from Nate Silver just showed.

Even of the 35 swing districts, Jonathan, those 35 aren't necessarily swing members of Congress. Probably half of them are fully committed to the right or the left personally. So you have a very narrow sliver left of anybody who could be a hinge vote. Everybody is entrenched hard left, hard right, and there's very little room to maneuver in between.

KARL: And, Todd, also, you have a situation where the speaker doesn't have power because he doesn't have some of the tools that he used to have, earmarks, can't spread around extra special projects to districts.

PURDUM: Well, he can't even control his freshmen. I mean, the notion that some of these loopy freshmen go out and say things on a television program, I mean, 40 years ago, the notion -- or 50 years ago that Sam Rayburn would have had to deal with that is just inconceivable, that the breakdown in party discipline and seniority and all of those things that we, you know, like to decry as bad for democracy, it turns out in certain ways they were pretty good for democracy.

KARL: So is Boehner ultimately -- and maybe through no fault of his own style, but the kind of political situation, one of the weakest speakers of the House we have seen in modern times?

PURDUM: Well, he certainly -- in modern times. And it's interesting, because Speaker Pelosi was probably one of the strongest speakers in modern times, because she was in the same, you know, ballpark as her caucus, and Congressman Boehner is just not.

(CROSSTALK)

PAWLENTY: Can I say, though, on this point, in defense of Speaker Boehner, if you understand the dynamics of the current Republican Party and what it takes to go out publicly on the point and say, "I'm going to raise revenues, and I'm going to raise the debt ceiling," for him to do that early on in these discussions took great courage. It was a great risk for him, a huge risk. So that was...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: What have you been able to...

(CROSSTALK)

PAWLENTY: That was an exercise of bold leadership. Now, he wasn't able to deliver it in that moment, but it's very rare these days that you see a leader who's take that much risk, willing to take that much flack from his or her own party, so please don't take that as a sign of weakness. I think it's a sign of leadership.

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN: I think -- well, Tim, I think it is a sign of weakness, and I'll tell you why. He must have known that was going to happen. And what -- the difference between what he did and what Pelosi did to get the health care bill through is, Pelosi went through her caucus and broke every arm in the caucus that was giving her trouble and then made the announcement. Boehner went out and made the announcement first and then he couldn't get his people. And that's a mistake, leadership mistake.

PAWLENTY: But in that moment, you'd have to concede, Governor, she had the votes within her own party...

DEAN: I think Boehner has courage. I do think that. And I do think he could be a good speaker. He's just not tough enough.

PAWLENTY: Oh, I don't agree with that.

DEAN: Results show.

KARL: Look into the crystal ball here for the next couple of days. And we're going to get your predictions for next year, but just over the next couple of days, based on what you heard here today from the senators and then the raucous discussion with the House members, each of you, do you think that the deal is going to happen? And if it happens, is it going to pass House and Senate?

PAWLENTY: There will be a deal. I'm a little pessimistic, unfortunately, at the moment. I hope they could get over the cliff and avoid this January 1st cutoff, but if they do go over the cliff, my hope is that they can put something together as early as possible in January, but I'm a little pessimistic about whether they can get that done by December 31st midnight.

(CROSSTALK)

HABERMAN: I'm where the governor is. I mean, I think that the -- I understand that Schumer and Kyl are optimistic, but there's not much coming out of the House right now that seems positive. I do think there will be some framework.

DEAN: It's the best thing for the country to go over the cliff right now. It's not a great thing for...

KARL: But will we?

DEAN: Yeah. It's not a great thing for the country, but it's the best of all the alternatives.

KARL: Todd?

PURDUM: Well, they'll have to do something, and the market's reaction on Wednesday morning, if they haven't done anything tomorrow, may be the next wedge that will...

DEAN: It will be, although I predict ultimately that if we go over the cliff and stay over the cliff, six months from now, the Dow will be at 15,000. You know why? The biggest uncertainty in the market is not taxes and blah, blah, blah.

KARL: Size of the deficit.

DEAN: It's the size of the deficit. If you go over the cliff, you've done something for the first time really serious about the deficit. All of a sudden, the financial horizons look pretty good.

KARL: OK, now we've asked each of you to come up with your -- since this is the last show of the year -- tell me what you felt were the defining or was the defining moment of 2012. Start with you, Governor Pawlenty.

PAWLENTY: Well, for the presidential race, of course, I would say it was the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. That was a moment that changed the dynamic, changed the coverage of the race, allowed the president to elevate his presence and message and persona in the race in a way that I think cemented or solidified or at least contributed greatly to his victory.

HABERMAN: I disagree completely. I think it was the 47 percent video. When that emerged, I think that that really was what sort of calcified the image of Mitt Romney that the president's ads had been maintaining for months, and I think it was very hard, even with a poor debate performance from Obama at first, to come back from.

DEAN: In 1984, I knew Mondale was going to lose when he gave his acceptance speech and said the next president has to raise taxes. He won't tell you; I just did. This year, I believed I knew that Mitt Romney was going to lose when he said, "I will veto the DREAM Act if it gets to my desk." When he said that in the Republican debate, I knew he couldn't get to 30 percent among Latinos and I knew he was done.

PURDUM: Well, it sounds like an obvious answer, but I think President Obama's re-election will be seen by history as...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

PURDUM: I think -- I think the way that he won, the way that he won, so decisively, so clearly, and with an electorate that -- whose composition surprised the heck out of the Republicans will make his second term seen as -- he can no longer be seen as sort of a fluky creation of the wars and the Bush economy. He's actually a two-term president.

KARL: Well, I'll do a variation of that. Election night, the amazing moment when Fox News and all the other networks had called the election, and Karl Rove went on to say, "No, no, wait a minute, this is not over yet." A little reminder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROVE: We got to be careful about calling things when we have, like, 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet to count.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Now, the reason why to me that was the defining moment is because the Republicans were just shell-shocked. I mean, you guys really seemed to think you were going to win this thing.

PAWLENTY: But, Jonathan, it's one thing to score a touchdown, it's another thing to do a victory dance in the end zone.

KARL: OK.

PAWLENTY: There was a lot of data error and data bias. And I think part of it, by the way, is the commercialization of polling in a way that (inaudible) the industrialization of the use of the polling data, that biases...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: Maybe if we can just listen to Nate Silver next time and not have to bother with the election.

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: OK, very quickly, predictions for 2013. Each have one.

PAWLENTY: All right. Well, I was going to say, immigration reform is going to pass the United States Congress and be signed into law as the president. And I also say there may be the re-emergence of Arab Spring-like protests in Jordan.

HABERMAN: I think there will be progress on immigration reform, not on gun control.

DEAN: The relationship with Israel will continue to deteriorate if Netanyahu is re-elected.

PURDUM: Gridlock will persist.

KARL: OK. I think (inaudible) and my prediction, the Washington one, the Washington Nationals will win the National League pennant and...

(CROSSTALK)

KARL: ... the Cy Young Award-winner narrowly edging out his -- his -- my friend, Gio Gonzalez, beating out Stephen Strasburg for the Cy Young Award.

All right. When we return, we honor a man President Obama called an American original. Plus, with the cliff still looming, we'll ask our star financial panel the pressing question, is your money safe? We'll be right back. Thank you very much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.

This week, the Pentagon released the names of two servicemembers killed in Afghanistan.

We also want to honor this Sunday the man President George Herbert Walker Bush called a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation. General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led U.S. forces to victory in the Persian Gulf War, passed away this week at the age of 78. You can see our interview with Norman Schwarzkopf from "This Week" during the 1991 invasion of Iraq on our website at abcnews.com/thisweek.

And when we return, how concerned are Wall Street and the world markets as we count down to the cliff? The answer, when this special edition of "This Week" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: And there's fear out there that things could get a whole lot worse, as investors count down to the final trading day of the year. We're joined now by ABC's Bianna Golodryga and Leigh Gallagher of Fortune magazine.

Thank you both for joining us. Bianna, let me start with you. What happens on Wall Street the day after a deal goes down, if they don't actually make a deal?

GOLODRYGA: Well, look, Jon, I don't have a crystal ball in front of me, but we saw a 2 percent decline in the Dow last week. If we don't have a deal, I do think that we'll continue to see a drop. I don't think it will be as huge of a drop, unfortunately, to press Washington's hands the way we did in 2011 last summer and before TARP was passed, but I think that ultimately, when we do get some sort of mini-deal, we'll see a rally back up. But again, this only just buys us a few weeks, because as your panel noted, we do have that debt ceiling coming up in February.

KARL: I mean, will -- the counter is, will Wall Street reward this mini-deal? Or will it be seen as, look, this really doesn't do anything?

GOLODRYGA: You know what? I think we may have a couple of days' bounce, the market rallying back up a percentage point or two, but I think ultimately the eye is going to be in what happens in February when that debt ceiling comes up.

KARL: And, Leigh, have the markets really fully taken into the possibility that this may not happen? I get the sense that people assume, oh, they'll do this at the end, you know, deadline as it always happens, but, I mean, does the market really see a failure, a complete failure as a possibility here?

GALLAGHER: You know, not quite yet. Even though we saw this 158-point drop that Bianna mentioned on Friday, and even though markets have been pretty unsteady actually ever since Plan B failed in the House, that was really kind of the turning point where we started to see this shakiness, for the most part, stocks had been building in the fact that there probably would be a deal.

So things have changed in just the past week. And I do think we'll see some major impact on Wednesday if there is no deal, because the market hasn't fully appreciated that yet. They don't kind of understand why this is happening, as most of the rest of us don't.

GOLODRYGA: But, Leigh, don't you think the writing's sort of been on the wall the past few weeks, as well. Up until last week, the Dow was positive for the month, and now all of a sudden we've seen a five-day decline. Consumer confidence fell for -- as Jon mentioned at the top of the show -- the second time in two months, so people are starting to sense the impact -- and CEOs are, as well.

GALLAGHER: They are. And, actually, that's why I think if there is a last-minute deal, I think we will see a rebound in the market, and I think that will be pretty strong. But CEOs have been worried about this for months, if not years. I mean, this has been -- that's why we've seen this parade of basically a who's who of the Fortune 500 had been traveling down to Washington in batches since July, August, you know, they don't want this to happen.

This is -- they don't know what this means for spending cuts, for tax cuts. This means they don't know what's going to happen to the economy and what's going to happen to the market. And that means they can't plan. And these companies build in their budgets for 2013 in June and July, so in many ways, this is going to be baked into the spending we see in 2013 already.

KARL: And, Bianna, you spoke just recently with the oracle of Omaha, right? You spoke to Warren Buffett. What's his take on all of this?

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, I asked him for his take. Ever the optimist long term with regards to the U.S. economy, he gave us a statement, as well. He said the American economy has worked well since 1776, albeit with periodic and sometimes severe interruptions, and will continue to do so. Berkshire will invest a record amount again in 2013 in plants and equipment. What's right with America far overshadows what's wrong with Washington.

Now, some could argue that if we do get past this fiscal cliff and address the debt ceiling, 2013 could actually be a good year for the economy. The housing market continues to recover. We do see an energy boom, as well. But, you know, I spoke with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, as well, and I think he summed it up by saying that this really was a missed opportunity that we're seeing right here for some sort of grand bargain, for a big deal to address the debt limit here, and so far, we haven't been doing that.

KARL: And, Bianna, I would not count on these guys finally getting their act together in any significant way, even if we get a mini-deal. Thank you so much, both of you. Bianna and Leigh, thank you for joining us here on "This Week."

And finally, your voice this week. Today's question comes from Christy Miller Johnson on Facebook, who says, "My 16-year-old has a Twitter account with 34,000-plus followers. Where do you see journalism heading in 15 years? What advice to the next generation of journalists would you give?"

Well, thank you for that question, Christy. I would say that regardless of what form Americans will get their news in 15 years or 20 years, my advice to the next generation of journalists is to remember the basics: Know your history, try to get your facts straight, always strive to be fair, and don't be afraid to admit when you've made a mistake.

As for your 16-year-old's 34,000 Twitter followers, can I get a retweet?

You can follow me all week long online @jonkarl, and I'll answer some of your questions online after the show.

That's all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Thank you. Check out "World News" with David Muir tonight. George will be back to start 2013 with a big -- with a big bang Sunday right here on "This Week."

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