'This Week' Transcript: Former President Bill Clinton

TAPPER: George, do you think that the politics -- and I know you said that Republicans need to articulate their case better -- but the Democrats who say that the politics are on their side as opposed to in the health care reform battle, don't they have a point? Isn't the public just see Republicans as obstructing laws and the public just wants more laws on this?

WILL: I think that's right. And that's why what Al talks about -- Senator Corker of Tennessee, a first-term senator, has been very active in this with Senator Warner across the aisle, a Democrat from Virginia. And I think, at the end of the day, there's going to be a bill with 70 votes.

TAPPER: OK, moving to a different topic, there was a breaking story in the New York Times today about the defense secretary, Robert Gates, sending a memo to President Obama's national security adviser, Jim Jones, and basically, the memo said, "Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon -- fuel, designs and detonators -- but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon."

"The memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran's power if it decided to produce a weapon and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported."

Basically, Gates is sounding an alarm: We do not have a long- term strategy for how to deal with Iran. George?

WILL: Our strategy is to hope that something that does not exist will do something unprecedented. What does not exist is the international community about which we talk, which does -- it's a fiction, a rhetorical bewitcher of our intelligence.

What it is supposed to do, this non-existent thing, is come up with sanctions that bite, that are going to change history and make nations come to heel. I don't know when that has ever happened before.

Furthermore, as you point out, it's not even clear what we are saying is unacceptable. Is it unacceptable for them to test a nuclear weapon? What if they come a screwdriver turn away from assembling a weapon, as some other nations in the world probably are? So there's a complete lack of clarity and realism.

TAPPER: Donna, when President Obama took office, one of the things he had campaigned on was engaging with countries like Iran. Hasn't this policy not worked?

BRAZILE: Well, you know, I think the president continues to try to reach out through third parties and others to get Tehran to pay attention, but Tehran has its own agenda. And you saw it during the nuclear summit, that the president sat down with the leader of China to try to get China once again back at the negotiating table, because that's the key to opposing tough sanctions, what they call one of the big options and the last of many other options.

But this week, the House and Senate will sit down to try to strengthen that bill that they've put together that will impose even more tougher sanctions on Iran.

I think, at the end of the day, the administration has to lay it all out on the table. They said they would do it in January. It's now April. I don't believe, you know, much activity has gone on. And this memo is a reminder that Iran is proceeding to form that bomb.


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