TAPPER: John, I want to put up a graphic here. It shows public debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product, in Greece, it's 113.4 percent. In the United States, 52.9 percent. That's still a lot, and that's only public debt. That's not including some of the shenanigans that our government -- some of the chicanery and shell game that we have going on with the Social Security trust fund and such.
How -- how important is it for the American people to pay attention to what's going on in Greece because we're going to be facing that same problem some day soon?
PODESTA: Well, I think there are two issues, and they're related. One is the one that George raised, which is Greece is linked into a system that could in the very near term affect our growth. And the most important we need to do right now is to continue the job numbers that came out on Friday, the pace of expansion of the U.S. economy. That's the most important factor that's going to get our deficits down and get our debt under control.
But over the long term, we -- there's a structural deficit. When I -- when you put that chart up on the board, 52 percent, it reminded me that when I left the White House, it was 32 percent, 33 percent, I think.
I think that there was a lot of structural deficit built in, in the 1980s. The absence of regulation -- we talked about the expansion of government, the absence of government, the absence of regulation in the financial sector led to a great collapse and -- and a response to create demand in the economy, to put people back to work.
But over time, we've got to get that deficit down. We've got to get the -- and I think that the administration is going to be challenged by this, and I think that's why Secretary Gates' speech yesterday talking about the need to even restrain the growth of military spending and use those savings to support the force structure that's necessary is -- was quite a significant speech, and probably didn't get as much attention as it deserved.
TAPPER: We only have a couple more minutes, but I want to turn to some big breaking news from yesterday, which was in Utah. Incumbent Senator Bob Bennett lost his party's primary. Here's Senator Bennett reacting to the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: The political atmosphere, obviously, has been toxic. And it's very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment. Looking back on them, with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn't have cast any of them any differently, even if I had known at the time they were going to cost me my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Shelby, what's going on? This guy's a pretty legitimate conservative. I mean, I know he's done some things that have angered the right, but he's not a liberal.
STEELE: That's right. No, he's a sort of classic, down-the-line conservative. But I think that -- and there's some anti-incumbent sentiment here -- but I think the Tea Party and conservatives generally at this point are looking for conservatives who are anti-Obama, in that this has a -- this is really as much a reaction to Obama and -- and the kinds of expansion of government and so forth that he's -- that he has embarked on, as -- as -- I think it's more that than a fight among conservatives, and that Bennett is sort of, in a sense, a casualty of Obama.