'This Week' Transcript: EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Joe Biden

STEPHANOPOULOS: And their answer, though, is still, we're not -- what we want to focus on are the next items coming up on our agenda that Cynthia mentioned.

Health care, clearly number one -- and you're getting back to that this week; the climate change bill, even though there are concerns, Tony, about the deficit, and even though they're getting hammered from the left, people calling him to again go for more stimulus now.

BLANKLEY: Well, it's interesting because they clearly want to -- the president wants to advance his domestic agenda on health and energy. And he's going to be judged, I think, without doubt, on whether the public's satisfied with how he dealt with the economy.

And so, I think he runs a risk. Now, he may win it all. But he runs a risk. Now, as far as the vice president's statement that they were underestimated, I'm puzzled by that. Because, if you remember, President Obama was talking about the economy being in such a bad situation, it might never recover. And then he was urged by friends, "Don't be quite so negative," and he started becoming a bit more positive.

STEPHANOPOULOS: To give us some hope.

BLANKLEY: So I think that they were seized early on, and correctly so, at the dire condition of the economy. So I rather doubt that they really were surprised that the economy's bad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, he got a little bit more help, this week, with his agenda, potentially more help. Al Franken finally made the senator, 60th senator for the Democrats, in the Senate, right now, from Minnesota. Here's Al Franken.


SENATOR-ELECT AL FRANKEN, D-MINN.: The way I see it, I'm not going to Washington to be the 60th Democratic senator. I'm going to Washington to be the second senator from the state of Minnesota. And that's how I'm going to do this job.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course, George Will, Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican Party says, "OK, you've 60 votes now in the Senate. You own everything. It's your burden. It's your show. Go to it."

WILL: That's true. They have custody of the whole country. And they have no excuses. They do have Arlen Specter. So subtract one. Because he's -- he is, to say no more, unreliable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, unreliable, except that Arlen Specter now has a primary challenge, Congressman Joe Sestak, of Pennsylvania. And that can concentrate someone's mind. He's already come out and said, pretty much, I'm going to be for health care.

But, Matthew Dowd, there are a fair amount of Democrats who don't necessarily want to be that 60th vote on a lot of these issues.

DOWD: Well, to me, it's interesting. I think, when I reflect back on the Bush administration, when you take a look at it, in 2002, when the Republicans took the Senate over. And they had the Senate, and then the House and the White House.

To me, that was the beginning of the end of Bush's sort of style of "I want to be bipartisan." At that point, he no longer needed to be. He didn't have to talk to Democrats. He didn't have to reach across the aisle and all that.

As soon as they took the Senate, it was like, we can do this all on our own. And to me, that's the most problematic thing. If Barack Obama thinks, OK, I got the votes now; I can just jam through any policies I want, I think, in the end, that is not going to benefit him.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...