'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

As of right now, Barack Obama could not get re-elected, if the election was held today, based on his approval ratings and based on history. And so Republicans have all those problems? Democrats have a bigger set of problems, because they own the levers -- they own the levers of power in a town in a time when people are fed up with it.

REICH: I don't -- I don't think that's -- that's right. If -- if the Republicans have an alternative, whether it be health care or the economy, and Americans really understood that there was an alternative, and the Republicans were articulate about advancing that alternative, maybe you would be right, but there -- we've -- I don't remember a Republican Party that was just as consistently negative about everything.

The public knows that there are deep problems that have to be faced, and the Republicans are...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: ... you're shaking your head that the Republican Party -- you don't buy that they are perceived as negative about everything?

WILL: I would set up Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's roadmap for tax reform, job growth, and entitlement reform...

TAPPER: You embrace that more than John Boehner does, though...

WILL: Well, that -- that could well be. I'm right, and he's wrong. But...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: ... against all the so-called ideas, these recycled Great Society, New Deal ideas, of which my friend, Bob, is so enamored.

TAPPER: I just want to change to one topic, and it's a -- it's a -- it's a, I will admit, a rather uncomfortable topic on this Easter day, but we have two Catholic roundtablers here from opposing points of view politically, and I want to talk about the fact that the Vatican is having some serious trouble right now on this Easter Sunday. A cardinal today diminished the criticism -- disputed the criticism against Pope -- the pope, saying it was gossip.

Matt and Karen, I'd like to get your thoughts on this. Karen, where is the disconnect between Rome and American Catholics in the pews today?

FINNEY: Yes. You know, Rome is doing what it has done for centuries, and that is, it's protecting itself. And I think the disconnect is that, in Rome, the Vatican is treating this as a crisis for the institution and not a crisis for the faithful.

You know, the mission of the church is to serve the faithful and to serve the innocent, not to leave children to be preyed upon by sexual predators, and that is essentially what is happening. That's what happened in the United States. Now we're learning that it is a much bigger problem.

And so I think this is a very -- I will be going to church after the show today, and I go to church with a very heavy heart. This is a real crisis of faith for many of us who are questioning, what is the mission of the church if we can't protect children from within our midst?

For American Catholics, look, the Catholic Church in America has a very different political reality to deal with than the Vatican does, and so what I think you've seen this past week in some of their statements is, they're kind of trying to figure out how to deal with their political reality in the United States, recognizing that they can't quite totally come out against the pope in Rome.

You know, the Catholic Church in this country has wielded a lot of power. And now that American Catholics are having this crisis of faith, that is a real challenge to the power of the church.

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