'This Week' Transcript: Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann

INGRAHAM: He doesn't care about winning elections, by the way. I'm just -- I'm laughing. I don't know if I'm going to able to answer this question...

TAPPER: He's above the fray. He's above the fray.


TAPPER: So, right now -- and we're a long way away from Election Day 2012 -- but right now, President Obama has never appeared more vulnerable. His approval ratings are low. He's -- he's under 50 percent in New York state in his approval rating. Is there a way Republicans can mess this up?

INGRAHAM: Well, it's looking less and less likely that the Republicans can screw it up, which is saying quite something. But what we talked about earlier, social conservatives, traditional conservative has -- have to be very careful of the next five months. I would say before Christmas, almost, they're going to have to start centering and getting their support behind one candidate. Because last time we ended up nominating John McCain, after Fred Thompson, and then it was Romney, it was Huckabee, all these people were all, you know, throwing their votes to different people and it ended up being John McCain's election. That didn't work out so well for the Republicans.

DOWD: Even how vulnerable he is and even how the circumstances of the economy, it is very difficult -- it has been historically very difficult to beat an incumbent Democratic president. Only one Democratic president who sought re-election over the last 120 years has lost, and that was Jimmy Carter. And what it took to beat Jimmy Carter was a Ronald Reagan. I don't see Ronald Reagan yet in this field. I think the Republicans have a great opportunity to win this, though I still think there's a huge opportunity they can mess this up. They may nominate somebody as unelectable as Barack Obama, so we may have two unelectable candidates that people have to choose from, which obviously creates another scenario that could -- that another person could get in as an independent. But Republicans still have a great opportunity to mess this up.

TAPPER: So, Amy, George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004 with a 48 percent approval rating. President Obama might face the same kind of dynamic. What is his option?

WALTER: Well, the traditional rule of politics is, if you're unpopular, your goal is to make the other person even more unpopular than you are, and that's how you win. But this is why it's different this time around is that we're not in traditional times. When you see an unemployment rate at 9 percent, when you see 70 percent of the public saying we're off on the right track, those arguments just don't work as well, and especially when you're the guy who's in charge of the economy and people feel this badly about the economy to say, "Well, this guy or this woman is going to be worse than me"? That's a tough -- that's a tough place to go.

TAPPER: George, 20 seconds.

WILL: The most historic blunder this president made was his stimulus package which discredited the idea of stimulus packages by being an amalgam of all the liberal appetites stored up over 30 years. Therefore, when he says, as he did in that sound bite, we need to do this, this, and this, all the country hears is stimulus, and they say, "Been there, done that."

TAPPER: The roundtable continues in the green room at abcnews.com/thisweek. Next, a special look at a wild week in Iowa.


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