'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

AMANPOUR: Let's move on to another issue, which was and has been a big issue this week, and that's the debate over 14th Amendment. We just saw clips from various political leaders talking about potentially having hearings on changing the Constitution.

Michael, you have written about this, and I think you were very shocked that this is coming out of the Republicans right now.

GERSON: Not just the Republicans, but you have Lindsey Graham, who has really been the voice of humanity (ph) and reform in immigration reform, and John McCain, who has changed his views in a very tough primary in this case. So the biggest defenders of the essentially pro-immigrant message in the Republican Party are turning for political reasons. That shows how powerful it is within the party, which I think it's bad in the long term for the Republican Party.

On this issue in particular, it's terrible policy. I mean, I think few constitutional scholars will disagree with that, but it's terrible politics for the Republican Party. Not in this election, but really decades down the road, appealing to the, you know, largest growing group of voters in America.

AMANPOUR: And just so that we're clear, just describe for us exactly what the 14th Amendment was. It was to protect the children of African-American slaves who were born here.

PACKER: It made them citizens. It gave them equal rights and due process under the Constitution. It's foundational. I mean, you could argue that along with the free expression amendments of the Bill of Rights, it's the most important constitutional amendment there is, and for the constitutionalist party, a party who has really become captive to a movement that wants to go back to a minimal reading of the Constitution and for government to do very little else, it's very strange that they should be tinkering with a sacred constitutional amendment.

HARRIS: Also, Christiane, I would say it undercuts Republicans' own message. They said look, Arizona needed to act, right now, because there's a tangible problem right now and the federal government wasn't acting. Talking about the 14th Amendment is not serious politics. I mean, it would take years for a constitutional amendment to get passed. I mean, it's truly 100 percent symbolic politics.

(CROSSTALK)

TETT: ... quick fix sound byte politics and this culture of hate, and this, you know, scape-goating that's going on right now.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's show some pictures. Actually, I wanted to ask you because there's a European connection to all of this as well. There has been protests in France, and President Sarkozy, who likes to call himself Sarko the American, has come out with some rather terrifying ideas about sending back foreign-born citizens if they're convicted of any crimes, about putting all sorts of anti-Muslim cultural crimes that he would use as a basis for sending them back.

TETT: You only have to go back to the era of the great crash, the Great Depression, to see what happens when you have a period of profound ...economic dislocation and pain, and people start putting up barriers and pointing the fingers. And there's a risk that is now the era we're entering.

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