'This Week' Transcript: Leahy and Sessions

COOPER: I think the whole -- this whole thing about this is a referendum, and this shows a test for the Tea Party. I think that might be a little overstated, because the reality is Rand Paul, a lot of his backing comes, and a lot of his stature comes from his father. I mean, he comes from a huge political background with Ron Paul, and I think a lot of that might be about Ron Paul and not necessarily the Tea Party.

TAPPER: Ed, you're the Republican here, what's going on here?

GILLESPIE: Well, I wouldn't bet on this primary, but I would bet on the general election in Kentucky. In 2010, who -- remember the nominee that emerges from the Kentucky Republican primary is going to be the next senator from Kentucky. That's the environment that we are in today. There is clearly an anti-establishment sentiment at play, both in the, by the way, the Republican and the Democratic primaries. We see this going on in Colorado and Arkansas with Democrats, as well as in Utah, and with -- you know, if you concede that Grayson is the establishment candidate in Kentucky there.

But the fact is, at the end of the day, the only thing that's more dangerous than being an incumbent today is being a Democratic incumbent today. And that's going to be the case come November.

TAPPER: Speaking of Democratic incumbents, Glenn, you were responsible for forming a group that helped recruit the challenger that Senator Blanche Lincoln, the Democrat from Arkansas, is facing, Bill Halter. What is the dynamic there? Some people are saying this is a Democratic purge of a moderate Democrat in a state where only moderate Democrats can win?

GREENWALD: Well, that's what people always say every time there is a primary. I mean, in Connecticut, when Democratic voters decided they didn't want Joe Lieberman representing them anymore, the claim was, oh, the far left has taken over the Democratic Party.

The reality is that people in Washington, the political class, tend to be very hostile to primaries because they threaten incumbent power. The reality, though, is that it's the ultimate exercise in democracy. And the people of Arkansas should be able to decide whether they want a senator like Blanche Lincoln, who has been subservient to lobbyists and corporate interests her whole career, continuing to represent them. And I think the real issue is that the opposition that the American citizenry has in great numbers to the political class in Washington on a bipartisan basis is justifiable, given everything that the political class has done. And that ought to be the focus, is why Americans so dissatisfied with what's going on in Washington.

WILL: I think we have a recruit to the term limits movement. No, unquestionably, it seems to me, primary challenges are wholesome and healthy. I just don't see anything wrong with this. That's why you have primaries.

TAPPER: But you also think that races like the one we're seeing in Arkansas don't get as much attention by the media class, because --

WILL: It doesn't fit the narrative. The narrative is Republicans are intolerant, not least to one another, and there's a civil war in the party, et cetera, et cetera. It's going on in the Democratic Party as well, for which we have you to thank, I guess.

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