'This Week' Transcript: Disaster in the Pacific

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WILL: ... who would -- who would -- says, "I don't believe it's a good idea to give arms and military support to people we don't know." All the insurgents have in common is they hate Gadhafi. Some of them probably hate each other. And what happens if they topple him and the people who topple Gadhafi turn on one another? What then are our responsibilities?

TAPPER: So -- so why -- why do we hear this -- this -- for want of a better term, drumbeat for action? Why do we constantly hear this now in the media and on Capitol Hill, we need to do more, we need to do more?

ROBERTS: Because Gadhafi's a bad guy. And he's been a bad guy for a long time. And the idea of getting him out of there is very appealing. And -- and it's in the context of what's going on in the rest of North Africa.

And so this sort of romantic notion of sweeping out the bad guys and bringing in democracy is wonderful, except we don't have any clue whether that's going to happen.

BRAZILE: We've frozen his assets, so long term it will make it even harder, if he retains power, to enforce anything beyond what he's doing now, which is killing his own people. But, you know, I think our focus on Libya is -- is -- is a distraction from where our focus should be, which is Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and other parts of...

ROBERTS: Bahrain.

BRAZILE: ... right, other parts of the Middle East that might be imploding at this moment.

TAPPER: All right. Much more on our roundtable coming up. On Capitol Hill, the budget battle hits a boiling point. And in New Hampshire, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann fires off the gaffe heard 'round the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANCHIN: Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations, our president, has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for? How does that make sense?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: A rare rebuke of President Obama from a member of his own party. New West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin saying it's time for the White House to show leadership on the budget.

This week, the president told Congress he's had enough of the temporary budget extensions, it's time to get down to brass tacks. But as our senior political correspondent Jon Karl learned, roping in the spending spree will not be easy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL (voice-over): Here's an unlikely front in the budget wars: the cowboy poetry festival in Elko, Nevada. The Senate majority leader is accusing Republicans of trying to kill it by slashing funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

(UNKNOWN): As I fly out on the morning, before the bird, before the dawn...

REID: National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a Cowboy Poetry Festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.

KARL (on-screen): Why are you trying to kill the Cowboy Poetry Festival?

COBURN: Isn't that wonderful, that at a time when we're borrowing $3.5 billion a day, and our -- our future is bleak, that we're going to defend something that is not something we have to do?

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