'This Week' Transcript: Christina Romer, George Will, Liz Cheney, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff and Robert Reich

REICH: The stakes are so high here for the -- for the Democrats that putting quite aside the merits -- and I think it's a good bill overall -- that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel are at this moment greasing the skids. I mean, there are going to be difficult issues, like the tax -- the excise tax, issues having to do with Medicaid and so forth, but they're going to be finalized. The package is going to go through quickly. It's going to be there by the State of the Union.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's take a break here. We're going to be back with more roundtable in just a minute. And later, the Sunday funnies.


O'BRIEN: Britain did pass information on to U.S. authorities about the attempted underwear bomber, but the U.S. disregarded it. Yeah, in part, that's because the British intelligence referred to him as a "bloke with boomsy-woomsy in his knickers."




QUESTION: In view of the fact we're taking a propaganda lambasting around the world, why is it not useful, sir, for us to explore with you the real facts behind this or our motivations?

KENNEDY: There's an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan. I have said that as much as I feel can be usefully said by me in regard to the events of the past few days, further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility, because I'm the responsible officer of the government.


STEPHANOPOULOS: "I am the responsible officer of this government." President Kennedy, after his early intelligence failure, the Bay of Pigs, President Obama echoing that a bit this week when he said, "The buck stops here."

Let's talk about the political fallout on our roundtable. I'm joined again by George Will, Liz Cheney, Bob Reich, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff.

And -- and, George, did the president, with the press conference, releasing this declassified report on Thursday, put this behind him?

WILL: I don't think it's behind him yet, but I think he began to dig out of the hole he dug for himself with his first statement, which was that this was an isolated extremist, which seems to cast this problem of terrorism as a problem of neurotic individuals, rather than conspiratorial groups arming, training and directing, as Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula did with this man.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That was the big problem here, Al Hunt. There were streams of intelligence from the National Security Agency for months saying a Nigerian was likely -- was likely on a plot and -- and his father goes into the CIA station, the embassy in London, and the dots are never connected.

HUNT: Yes, the -- there was clearly a breakdown, and I think they've acknowledged that now and, hopefully, corrected it. It's tougher than it looks, though. There are 550,000 people on the watch list. There are 4,000 on the no-fly list. There ought to be more on the no-fly list, including this man. But how you get there is -- is tougher.

You have an intercept, and some guy is talking about, you know, the U.S. is the great Satan, we ought to do something about that. You know, there are an awful lot of people around the world who say things like that. There are -- you look at some -- some guy goes to jihadist Web sites. There are lots that do that. So how do you make that connection? They botched this one up, no question.

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