'This Week' Transcript: John Brennan, Sens. Cornyn and Menendez


MENENDEZ: Christiane, we understand that people are hurting in this country. But our goal is to have them understand and channel their anger on election day against the Republican Party that brought us to the verge of economic collapse in November of 2008, when financial institutions in this country were ready to collapse.

AMANPOUR: So why hasn't the message got out better, then, for instance on precisely this issue? A recent Bloomberg poll found that most Americans think that taxes have gone up since President Obama took office; that the economy has shrunk; that TARP, the corporate bailout, won't be mostly paid back. I mean, all of those are untrue. Why is the messaging so bad?

MENENDEZ: It's true that all of those are untrue, and I think the challenge is, when you're hurting economically -- and we have gone from negative job growth to positive job growth, from negative GDP growth to positive GDP growth -- but if you're still unemployed, none of that news makes that much difference to you. And that's the challenge in this election.

Our hope and our message and the contrast is you want to give the power back to the people who got us in this mess or do you want to continue to move progress forward?

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Senator, because so many of the people we talked to say that they really want to see cooperation, bipartisanship, less of the poison, and solutions. And yet your leader, the Republican leader of the Senate, has said that if you win in November, "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." The Republican leader in the House, John Boehner, said this is not the time for compromise.

That doesn't sound like putting partisanship aside and working for the people. Is that the sum total of the policy?

CORNYN: Well, President Obama himself said Republicans have come along for the ride, but they have to sit in the back of the bus. But really what we need to be focusing on are jobs, spending and debt. That's what's created this coalition of support, disaffected Democrats, independents and Republicans that are going to sweep many Republicans into office on November 2nd.

AMANPOUR: I'll get to that specifically in a moment, but the fact that leaders of the party say that, that certainly sets the tone, doesn't it? It doesn't sound like moving forward. It sounds like another recipe for gridlock.

CORNYN: Well, I don't think gridlock is going to be acceptable when it comes to runaway spending and unsustainable debt and 9.6 percent unemployment. I agree with Bob that that's why people are reacting the way they are. I don't agree with him about accountability. The administration and Democrats, who have been in charge now in the House and Senate for four years and in the White House for two years, don't want to seem to accept any responsibility. I think that's what this election is about, is assigning responsibility, and giving Republicans a chance now to deal with the matters that concern them most.

AMANPOUR: Do you have any hope of bipartisanship? Certainly President Obama has been talking about it. Is there any hope of that coming up?

MENENDEZ: Well, I certainly hope so. You know, we--

AMANPOUR: Or is it a daydream?

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