And so don't just think it's a high school problem, we have to deal with the teachers in the high school. We've got to work with the whole system, and that's what Grad Nation is all about. And if we don't solve this problem, America is going to be in very, very deep trouble as we try to compete in a flattening, globalized world.
TAPPER: Lastly, sir -- first of all, on this Memorial Day weekend, thank you for your service. Recently, the 1,000th U.S. servicemember killed in Afghanistan. I believe his name was Jacob Leicht. He was a Marine. There are different counts.
But Memorial Day is tomorrow, and you'll be speaking at the yearly Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. What does this day mean to you?
POWELL: It's an important day for me. It's a time when all Americans pause and pay tribute to Americans of every generation who went in harm's way and were willing to -- willing to go in harm's way and perhaps lose their life so that we could have the freedom of speech you and I are enjoying right now, so we can argue with each other as we do so vociferously in this capital and this country.
That's what democracy and freedom is all about. And it didn't just drop down on us. We fought for it. And hundreds of thousands of Americans died to protect it. And this is the day -- this is the weekend when we stop and pause and remember and thank every generation of G.I.s who sacrificed for us, and we thank their families.
And it's something we all should do, and we should do with solemnity and with praise and with the sincerest thanks.
TAPPER: Well, we thank you for your service and also for coming here today to share your views with us.
POWELL: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: The roundtable is next with George Will, Clarence Page, Matthew Dowd, and Joan Walsh. And later, the Sunday funnies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURPHY: When I served in Baghdad, my team did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay. With our military fighting two wars, why on Earth would we tell over 13,500 able-bodied Americans that their services are not needed?
PENCE: The American people don't want to see the American military used to advance a liberal political agenda.
MCKEON: Congress acting first is the equivalent of turning to our men and women in uniform and their families and saying, "Your opinions don't count."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Some sound from the floor of the House as they debated "don't ask/don't tell" and the repeal that successfully passed. And we're joined here to talk about this on our roundtable with George Will, as always, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, Matthew Dowd, former Bush adviser, and Joan Walsh of Salon.com.
And I should disclose Joan hired me for a job in 1999 at Salon.com, and so credit or blame goes to you.
WALSH: Thank you. I take all the credit.
PAGE: It's payback time.
TAPPER: That doesn't mean I'm going to be easy on you this morning.
WALSH: No, I'm sure...
TAPPER: So, George, let's start with -- with oil, with the oil spill. Is President Obama being unfairly blamed or is this just part of the job?