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

CHENEY: But can I add something on this? Because I think what Al's saying is important. And what it tells you, in addition to constant presidential stewardship of this issue to make sure that the systems don't erode, we've got to have intelligence. And the way that you get intelligence about the networks in Yemen is by being able to capture senior leaders and interrogate them.

And when this president earlier this year or last year released the information about how we successfully interrogated Al Qaida leaders and when he stopped that program, he -- he has taken a tool out of our toolkit in order -- in terms of how we can get the information that we need to fight this war.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me play devil's advocate, George Will, for a minute, and just picking up on the point that Al Hunt is making. There are a couple of big, big threats out there, a biological attack, a nuclear attack by terrorism, but as Nate Silver, the pollster, points out, the chance of -- of an airline passenger being killed in a terrorist attack is 1 in 25 million and that there's about 1 in 500,000 chance each year of being struck by lightning. Are we focusing our resources in the wrong place?

WILL: Probably. And that may be part of what Al Qaida -- if we want to attribute to them more foresight than perhaps they deserve -- this may be what they're trying to do. We are clearly squandering an enormous amount of resources on what is at airports essentially security theater. It's there to keep people flying, because it keeps the country moving, but I don't know anyone who has considerable confidence in this.

One of the headlines from all this is, "Government is inefficient." No kidding.


REICH: Al Qaida has also gained a lot of standing by showing how much disarray there is in our national security system, in our intelligence system.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's -- let's switch topics back to the politics of this week, as well. We saw two key Senate retirements this week, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Byron Dorgan, North Dakota.


DODD: I'm very aware of my present political standing here at home in Connecticut. But it's equally clear that any certain prediction about an election victory or defeat nearly a year from now would be absurd.

DORGAN: I wanted to do some other things in life and -- outside of public service. And I made that decision. I feel good about it, but, again, it's no reflection on my party. It's no reflection on our government.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Hunt, to his Senate Democratic colleagues, Byron Dorgan was the surprise there. Chris Dodd's retirement actually taken as good news by a lot of Democrats because the attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, in Connecticut will -- will step in, and he's ahead right now.

But -- but -- but how serious is this problem the Democrats are facing? You talked about that -- that Massachusetts race. Is this 1994 all over again?

HUNT: Well, George, first of all, I want to give Chris Dodd great credit for not only an elegant speech, but also saying that I'm not leaving because I want to spend more time with my family, which is what most politicians do. And I think as journalists, every time a politician says that, we ought to track the next couple years...


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... actually, in this case, it might be true...

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