'This Week' Transcript: Former President Bill Clinton

And the argument is that that makes us look weak. I think it's the -- it may be -- they may decide it's more important to have clarity. And to do something that will be an action forcing event to put them back to the table.

And if he decides to do it, I will support it. And I think if he decides to do it, he should acknowledge that they may come up with a deal that's slightly different than the one he proposes. But we need to do something to deprive both sides of any excuse not to engage in serious negotiations.

Look at the ramifications of this. Half of the energy coming out of all this organization and money-raising for terror comes out of the allegations around the unresolved Palestinian issue. If there were a Palestinian state working in partnership, with the policies Mr. Fayyad's following on the West Bank, it would be a whole different world.

All the Arabs would identify with Israel. They'd have a political and economic partnership. The whole economic basis in the Middle East would shift from oil to ideas. Look at what the Saudi Arabians are doing -- building six new towns. The -- the UAE wins the international competition for the clean energy agency. And they're going to build a carbon neutral city in the UAE. And nobody thinks about this.

Dubai is the only country with huge amounts of imported workers that's actually passed legislation to give these immigrant workers a better deal in the Middle East. And they've got women in the government. They have a joint public-private decision making process. Nobody knows anything about it. Why? Because of the Palestinian-Israeli thing.

How could the Syrians stay out there alone cooperating with the Iranians and letting Hezbollah people travel through Syria and doing all the things they do. If they were at peace with the Palestinians, they would have to come along with the rest of the Arab states. There would be a peace between Israel and Syria. This is a huge deal.

So the fact that the president is putting new energy into this, taking personal responsibility for it, and trying to get them back to the table, that's the most important thing. If this is the tactic he decides to adopt, I will strongly support it.

TAPPER: When you were watching healthcare reform finally pass after having tried it yourself, did you -- did you see it as something like, "I'm glad we stormed the castle in '93-'94, because that paved the way for this?"

CLINTON: Absolutely. You know, before I did it President Nixon had tried, President Truman had tried. President Johnson who had the biggest congressional majority didn't even try for universal healthcare. He did two important things -- Medicare and Medicaid. But he thought even with that Congress he couldn't get it.

We were the first administration that ever got a bill out of committee. We got two or three bills out of committee. And once I saw William Kristol's memo to Bob Dole, I realized we never had a chance. Because we couldn't pass it without five or six Republicans. They -- they -- I had an obstacle President Obama didn't have. They had an absolute, clear filibuster number. That is, they had 45 Republican senators. They could have lost four and still defeated me.

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