'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

PACKER: Those are the big, big bills that get public attention, but daily life in the Senate, even on health care for example -- there was one moment in December when it was coming up for a vote, and in order to delay it as close as possible to Christmas, just to be a pain, the Republicans decided to filibuster a military spending bill -- imagine, during two wars, military spending was going to be held up in the Senate. And one Republican in particular, Thad Cochran, who didn't want to filibuster it because he wanted the money to go out, finally had to cave in because his leadership told him, we need your vote for the filibuster. That's daily life in the Senate, where senators aren't even really thinking and acting on their own.

AMANPOUR: You quoted a lot of senators as sort of bemoaning glorious yesteryear where everybody was congenial and collegial and eating and drinking and basically doing deals together. This is what Senator Mitch McConnell said in response to your article.


MCCONNELL: I don't see the same, David, Senate, that this New Yorker author sees. Some of my best friends are Democrats. Chris Dodd, Harry Reid. I don't think we have a collegiality problem. What we are in the middle of is a great debate about the future of the country.


AMANPOUR: Last word to all of you.

HARRIS: He said "that New Yorker author" as though he was taking out the trash.


HARRIS: I mean, it was a great portrait of how sullen, snarling the Senate is.

AMANPOUR: Is it about a huge debate over the future of the country?

GERSON: I think we're having a major debate about the role and size of government, and the Senate is going to reflect that.

TETT: And it's not just about the future of the country. It's about whether the government that has the machinery in place to actually solve the most pressing problems, be that unemployment or Iraq.

PACKER: Like Wall Street, our political institutions are decadent and it's because of failure of elites to restrain themselves and behave in a larger interest.

AMANPOUR: And we'll continue this discussion and the roundtable in the green room on abcnews.com/this week, where you can also find our fact checks in conjunction with PolitiFact.

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