STEPHANOPOULOS: They probably would have preferred it didn't get out, but some things are hard to control.
ROBERTS: But the -- well, except you know, some White Houses do a much better job of that than others. And what we're learning about this White House is that they are not able to keep these things quiet. DOWD: At some point -- at some point, he has to win something. ROBERTS: That's right.
DOWD: And accomplish something. And the economy has failed. We've lost three million jobs in the first eight months of this administration, in spite of $800 billion stimulus package.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There are a lot of independent analysts who say it would have been a lot worse. DOWD: That's arguing a negative, and no person that's unemployed out there, that can't find a job, sits there and says, "Oh, I'm benefited, because my next-door neighbor didn't lose my -- lose their job, but I still don't have a job."
He hasn't done -- he hasn't, obviously, accomplished health-care reform. The Afghanistan situation has only gotten worse since he's been president of the United States. And so all of these things, he has to -- whether or not he's truly a leader that people respond to, he has to accomplish something. (CROSSTALK)
ROBERTS: The advantage to that -- the advantage to that is that everybody now knows that he has to accomplish something. And that means that the Democrats in Congress will give him a health-care bill, because it is so important. He has raised the stakes for accomplishing something. VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes.
ROBERTS: They cannot defeat it now.
WILL: We're talking about the wrong numbers. The numbers are bad. The September jobs numbers were worse than August. Fourteen states now have double-digit unemployment. Look at the Cash for Clunkers, what we now know about that. General Motors shares -- sales down 45 percent. Chrysler, 42 percent. Ford...
ROBERTS: Ford, just 5 percent.
WILL: Ford is fine, because people know it's a patriotic duty to support the last non-government automotive company. But that's another matter.
The interesting thing is all we did with Cash for Clunkers was cannibalize future sales. And what is about to happen now? How many of you know we're about to have a dollars for dishwashers? You're laughing.
ROBERTS: I know.
WILL: This is federal policy. Beginning very soon, at the states' discretion, there's $300 million to subsidize, again, cannibalize future sales of, appliances. (CROSSTALK)
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think -- I think Matt made the wrong point. And in the absence of this weak stimulus program, the economic situation would be much worse. But where the political will is lacking in this town is for a targeted jobs creation program. Former treasury secretary Robert Reich has spoken very clearly: we are fixed in this city on debt. This is a fetishism about debt. What we need to fix on is the human...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not just the city; it's the country.
VANDEN HEUVEL: In the country, but, at a time when government, when private businesses and spending, when consumers aren't buying, when exports aren't working, government is the last resort. We need to spend to stand to rebuild this country... ROBERTS: But it's not like...