'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

KARL: This is significant. You have Republicans saying the Pentagon budget can be cut without jeopardizing national security. Not all of them. I mean, you have people like John McCain...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Lindsey Graham this week, too.

KARL: ... warning that the sky will fall, but you have a lot of Republicans, privately and publicly, saying that there is room to cut the Pentagon budget.

WALLACE: Well, as long as you don't -- as long as you hold harmless everything that deals with troop readiness, everything that deals with troops on the front lines, with military families, but there's plenty of room in the procurement budgets, in the, you know, health care system, there's plenty of room for reforms and for -- and for making these cuts.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the -- and I want to come to that in a second, but the problem will be, I think, for the White House broadly and for the -- for the country is the point that Congressman Ellison makes. You hit the sequester right now, that is going to have a real economic impact right away.

CUTTER: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think you'll hear the president most likely talk about that on Tuesday night -- it's Tuesday night. We can't have any more self-inflicted wounds on this economy. The economy is poised to take off, if we do the right things. Having massive across-the-board cuts to some critical programs -- I mean, you're talking about education, health care, things that actually we need...


CUTTER: ... cops -- to make this -- the economy grow. A couple of things. One, the president does have a plan on the table. It's the $4 trillion deficit reduction plan that's been on the table for almost two years now. It's balanced deficit reduction. We've already cut more than $2 trillion out of the budget. It's balanced revenue. It's balanced entitlement reform. That's on the table; it's been on the table.

Number two, where the country is -- the country believes we need to do something about deficit reform. But if you look at the exit polls from this last election, upwards of 60 percent people coming out voting for the president, voting generally, think that we need to reduce our deficit in a balanced way. Balanced means everybody pays their fair share.

WALLACE: But we...


CUTTER: Which means -- and that includes revenue. And right now, it's 3-1 in terms of cuts versus revenue. That's not fair.


COLE: ... politically, the Democrats are exactly where the Republicans were six weeks ago. Look, taxes were going up by law. The only question was, were you going to negotiate a good package, save as many of the Bush tax cuts as you could? We eventually got there, but we got there with no cuts from the president.

Now these cuts are coming by law. And it's law that the president signed and advocated. And he's put no real proposal on the table, with all due respect. And the reality is, the cuts are going to come. Now, we'll sit down and renegotiate where they come from. We think we can do a lot better job than across-the-board...


WALLACE: Can we just remember why these cuts...


WALLACE: ... enforcement mechanism for the balanced reduction...


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