'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

TETT: And what's fascinating is that so much of America in the last few decades has been about trying to focus on growing the pie, not worrying about how it is divided up. Because if you keep growing the pie, through innovation, through private-sector enterprise, then you don't have to worry about social equity and things like that. But if we are entering a period when the pie is stagnant, the question is going to be very political (ph), how do you divide that pie up?

AMANPOUR: And political, what is this going to do for these upcoming elections?

HARRIS: I think the larger sort of anemic state of the economy almost makes the traditional things that political reporters obsess about -- what is the message, what is the campaign strategy, where are they going to put the resources, almost makes them all irrelevant. An unemployment rate nearly 10 percent is the dominant fact. And the fact that there don't seem to be good policy remedies out there, and the Obama administration does indeed seem at somewhat loose ends as to what its next step is, that just makes it a very, very tough climate, and really makes all the other kind of tactical questions almost irrelevant.

TETT: And poisonous as well. I mean, you really are starting to see the beginnings of a sort of a culture of hate, of finger-pointing, of scape-goating, and that could fuel the way for some very nasty, very negative politics going forward.

AMANPOUR: And is it going to, you know, obviously the Obama administration wants to use the word choice coming up to this election, there is a choice between what we're doing and what the previous administration did. How is that going to play out? Because obviously a lot of the structural issues right now started in the previous administration?

GERSON: I think some of that is true. But the reality is that the decisions that are made by current job creators about whether to invest in plants and equipment are decisions that are made about current events, not about two years ago. And right now, entrepreneurs see endless deficits and likely much higher taxes. A pretty hostile environment for investment in America. That is going to have to be turned around. You can't create jobs at a level we need in this economy without about a 4 percent growth rate, which is twice what we have now. And you know, politicians are going to have to step forward and say, how are we going to get growth?

PACKER: I would add that it's been a somewhat one-sided ideological argument. The Republican Party has been united, vociferous and simple and clear in its message about what they don't want. And yet the Obama administration has been I think almost reluctant to say what they do want and what principles underlie it. They don't like to argue philosophically, unlike, say, Reagan, whom Obama has said good things about in the past. And that's left them exposed to the ideological arguments of the other side without being able to tell the country, here are the principles and the values and the reasons why the stimulus bill, the health care bill, the financial reform bill were all essential to correcting the failed philosophy of the last administration. They don't like to talk that way. And I'd say it's left them exposed in the fall elections.

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