WILL: They've been writing this story for eight months about what a problem the Tea Party is for the Republican Party. You know what the problem...
AMANPOUR: Well, Tom Ross basically told us that they lost because of that and they might lose.
WILL: On balance across the country, the Tea Party is enormous help for the Republicans. At the beginning of the year, the question was, will the Tea Party people play nicely with others and will they obey the rules of politics? Who's sort of not playing nicely? Mr. Crist starts losing the primary to a Tea Party favorite Rubio. He suddenly discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight.
Mrs. Murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers that she has a property right in her Senate seat and she's going to run as a write-in. Senator Bennett thought of that in Utah, Senator Castle in Delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. Who are the extremists?
BROWNSTEIN: Donna, I would say, look -- I mean, I think clearly this class of Republicans do not feel they are being sent here to Washington to compromise with Barack Obama or to follow the Republican leadership. So in that sense, there's going to be tension. And I quote Ken Buck in my story as saying so.
But if you look at what they are actually going to be voting on, in all likelihood, over the next two years, there is remarkable unanimity in this class. And despite all the focus on the civil war, I think that is kind of a -- what the long-range vision of what the federal government should be doing or not doing is where you will see diversity.
BROWNSTEIN: But in the near term -- in the -- in the near term, I think -- in terms -- the main thing that the Republicans, I think, are being sent here to do is to block and try to roll back whatever they can what Obama did. I think the spending thing will continue to be a challenge for them, because if you want to reduce the deficits and extend the Bush tax cuts, that does point you back toward cutting Medicare and Medicaid, which is exactly the problem they got into in '95, and they may end up in that same cul-de-sac next year.
But I actually believe there is more commonality in this class than is often assumed. And in the near term, they are going to be a very formidable and, I think, cohesive force.
WILL: And look at the not-so-near term. In the next two cycles, 2012 and 2014 combined, the Democrats are defending 43 Senate seats, Republicans 22. So the Republican wave that's now starting is just starting.
AMANPOUR: Let's turn to a real war, and that is Afghanistan and Bob Woodward's inside fly-on-the-wall look at it. Can I just ask you, yes, he is a brilliant writer, and he sells books. Why would the White House over and over again give him the keys?
DOWD: Well, I think part of it -- this happened in the Bush White House. There is this appeal about him, based on 30-something years ago and what happened with Watergate, and he has an aura about him that people think they have to talk to him if they want to be part of the history, that Bob Woodward, you've got to talk to Bob Woodward if you want to tell your narrative in history.
So they go to his house and they sit around and have sandwiches and iced tea or lemonade and they talk, because they want to be part of history.
AMANPOUR: And it turned out quite well, would you say, for the administration?