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

WILL: But, Bob, back here at home, there's excess capacity throughout the economy, excess capacity on offices, malls, hotels, cargo ships, five million empty apartments right now. Franklin Roosevelt said when he was frustrated by the persistence of the depression that capital had gone on strike, which it had done, for the reasons Liz is talking about, uncertainty. People don't know what energy costs are going to be. They don't know what the EPA is going to do about carbon emissions, carbon dioxide. Health care costs are uncertain. Now there's talk about a value-added tax. And interest rates, one thing we know for sure, because they're zero...


WILL: ... change for the adverse.

REICH: But, you know, there's always going to be uncertainty. In fact, this kind of economy generates uncertainty even as -- even if nothing else was done. The most important thing government can do is stimulate the economy. And right now, you have Republicans who are sounding like Herbert Hoover, who are saying, "Don't do anything. Just allow the economy to do what it's going to do on its own." The economy's not going to do anything on its own.

CHENEY: But -- but the most important thing government can do is provide the incentives that the private sector needs to actually create these jobs. And what you're seeing is a private sector that is unwilling, for very good reasons, to step up and -- and -- and add new employees because of the costs that are likely to be involved...


STEPHANOPOULOS: And they are worried about health care. Let's get to that right now. The House and Senate negotiations began this week. And the president lost a big ally in health care. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had been supportive of health care reform, not this week in his State of the State.


SCHWARZENEGGER: California's congressional delegation should either vote against this bill -- it is a disaster for California -- or get in there and fight for the same sweetheart deal that Senator Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker State, because he...


... because that senator got for the cornhusker state the corn, and we got the husk.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Al, Senator Nelson now says he wants everyone, every state to get that exemption, and I know that most Democrats still believe this is a foregone conclusion, this is going to pass. But are they overly optimistic? Is this bill in any -- any real danger?

HUNT: Well, if the Republicans should pull an upset in Massachusetts in about...




HUNT: ... race for Ted Kennedy's seat, it's dead. I think that's -- that's unlikely. So, George, overly optimistic? I don't know. I think it's more likely they'll get it, because I think, whatever the problems of this bill -- and I'm talking only in political terms now -- not doing it would be worse than Clinton in 1993-1994, because they -- they've taken difficult votes, they've gone to the mountaintop, and then to say, "We failed," would be a disaster for them.

So I think it's likely they'll get it. And then the key question, again, in a political context will be how they frame it, and -- because right now, the Republicans are winning that debate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Judy, this tax issue the president is going to have to solve.

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