KRUGMAN: I think that's totally unfair. I think the health care plan, the basic outlines are extremely clear. You know exactly -- there are four components and all the plans. We understand how they're all going to work. He's been quite clear, certainly his officials have been quite clear about how you're going to cut costs. He was perhaps not that good at conveying all of that in the press conference.
I mean, I liked it. I thought it was crystal clear, but that's because I've been following the subject. But you can't accuse of him having vague ideas, vague policies. This is the clearest policy initiative I've ever seen in my life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he's clear on explaining the problem. He was clear on the benefits of some of the things he was calling for, but he couldn't come down and say, "This is what I must see in the final bill." The only two red lines he drew on Wednesday night were, it's got to cost cuts and it can't increase the deficit.
KRUGMAN: There's a negotiating problem which is he can't say this is my minimum because -- but and maybe he didn't do a good job of explaining the plan, but the basics of the plan are actually extremely clear. It's not the case that this is on foreign policy. Maybe he's not explaining it as well as he should, but the policy is very well-formed.
WILL: Well Paul, by saying it's well-formed, but we're in a negotiating process, so a strategic reticence is required. And David, by saying these are terrible problems and he doesn't have answers, sounds to me like two good arguments for silence on his part. Get out of the way. The big question in the country right now really is should Brett Favre sign with the Minnesota Vikings as quarterback? And I will wager that before the week is out, the president will have weighed in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Actually, the really big question from the country and it affects all of this right now is, is this recession over or not? And the "Newsweek" cover -- "Newsweek" weighed in today. They had the cover saying the recession is over. They said be careful about what's coming next. So Paul, you're the Nobel Prize laureate in economics. In the recession over?
KRUGMAN: Probably, in a very limited sense. The numbers right now look a lot like November 2001, which is the date that retrospectively was considered to be the end of the 2001 recession. It looks like we're probably going to be positive economic growth in this current quarter. We're probably going to be seeing some rise in industrial production, so the business cycle committee. America, the official definition of a recession is it's a recession if the business cycle meeting committee is at a recession. They will probably retrospectively say that the recession ended in July.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that we're kind of growing now a little bit.
KRUGMAN: But the thing about November 2001 is although the recession officially ended then, unemployment kept rising for another year and a half. And that's what we're looking towards, most likely. We're looking towards a period when the economy is growing, there's more GDP, you wouldn't call it a recession exactly, but it's going to feel like a recession because in fact the job market is getting worse.