'This Week' Transcript: Axelrod

The president says things like, "Well, we should have a bigger stimulus, but we can't get it politically, so there you go." They want to see him actually affirmatively make the case for it. Put your money where your mouth is. If you really believe that these more liberal, more aggressive solutions are going to work, then make the actual case.

So then by playing this kind of partisan game, you know, heightening the partisan conflict, you're actually keeping your people on side in that kind of a way without actually delivering on the policies, the bold policies that a lot of folks on the left expected.

TAPPER: And speaking of bold policies, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at the White House this week. George, you were -- were not with us last Sunday, an anomaly, because you were in Israel and you met with Netanyahu.

You -- you saw the meeting on Tuesday from Israel. Was anything accomplished?

WILL: No, and here's why: 19 years ago, 1991, in Madrid, direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis, big breakthrough. You know what we're trying to get 19 years later? Direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The Palestinians are holding out hoping that American pressure will be put on Israel to make concessions that they should be trying to get at the negotiating table, which makes me think that, once again, the peace process itself is the biggest impediment to peace.

We're constantly lecturing the Israelis, for whom getting up in the morning and getting on a bus can be a risk, that they ought to take a risk for peace. The Israelis say, we withdrew from Gaza. What did it get us? Hamas took over. We now have a terrorist state in Gaza armed with all kinds of rockets. We withdrew from southern Lebanon. Now we have Hezbollah dominating that with 65,000 short-range rockets and now scuds coming from Syria that can hit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Now the question is, what do you do with the West Bank? What has changed in 19 years are certain facts on the ground, facts that you can see by literally driving around Jerusalem, enormous set of new flourishing suburban areas that no conceivable Israeli government is going to hand over that territory to any Palestinian state.

TAPPER: Ruth, there was a lot of pageantry this week with President Obama -- the last time Netanyahu was here, there was not even a photograph released or a photograph permitted by the press corps. This time, the press corps was allowed inside the Oval Office. There was this long extended handshake. President Obama walked Netanyahu to his car, told him, "Be well."

MARCUS: I think he fluffed some pillows.

TAPPER: Almost. There was -- it was very demonstrative. But what's the substance here, beyond this reaffirmation of friendship?

MARCUS: Well, the reaffirmation of friendship is itself important. What we saw on Tuesday was a recognition by both the Israelis and the United States that this is a relationship that's too big to fail. It is not in anybody's interest to have the kind of bickering, hostility, dissing, whatever, that we have seen at various points earlier on in this administration. It was not working for either side.

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