'This Week' Transcript: Former President Bill Clinton

TAPPER: President Clinton told me he's feeling great. Just a few months ago, he had two stents in his heart. That has not slowed him down at all. Coming up next, as you can see, our roundtable is here with their reaction to the interview, George Will, Kimberley Strassel, Al Hunt, and Donna Brazile. And debate and analysis of the week's politics after the break. And later, the Sunday funnies.


TAPPER: And we're joined by our roundtable, as always. That was a little clip of Stephen Colbert the other night. We have with us George Will, Kim Strassel, Al Hunt, and Donna Brazile.

Now, let's start with the Clinton interview we just had. George, President Clinton seemed to be strongly suggesting to President Obama it was time to look outside the judiciary for a Supreme Court justice. Is that good advice?

WILL: Well, it's traditional advice, because in the 19th century, people with political, elective experience were quite normal on the court. In the last century, a president of the United States, Taft, was chief justice, followed by governor of California and proposal candidate Charles Evans Hughes. Felix Frankfurter was a professor of law at Harvard. William Douglas, who was the longest- serving justice in American history, was chairman of the SEC. Hugo Black was an Alabama local official, then a senator from Alabama. And then Warren was governor of California, and that was the problem. Because Warren seemed to be excessively activist and to more political than judicial reasoning, Eisenhower threw up his hands and said, from now on, we're going to have judges. The last two people appointed without judicial experience were Rehnquist and Powell.

TAPPER: Kim, the interview started, we were talking with President Clinton about his comments that he made about public officials, public figures needing to watch their tone, that words have consequences. A lot of people on the right and a lot of people in the tea party movement took offense, thinking that he was besmirching them, tying them in with the Tim McVeighs of the world. Did they have a point?

STRASSEL: Well, I think that there was definitely something in his words that suggested -- just kind of roll along (ph) with this idea that the tea party crowd is this uneducated rabble, quick to be violent and go out there. I mean, I think what really bothers the tea party is this -- it's there's sort of a double-standard right now in comments like this.

If you go back, I don't remember -- I mean, correct me if I'm wrong -- I don't remember Bill Clinton going back and saying, when all the antiwar protests were going on, when Code Pink was running into congressional hearings saying, whoa, you know, we all need to be very careful about what we say, it was viewed as public discourse and good.

And so I think that that's what they look at. It seems somewhat convenient that now that there's a Democratic majority which has -- putting forward the policies that people are unhappy about, now we all have to be careful about what we talk about.

TAPPER: Donna?

BRAZILE: Well, I think the president is right, and he struck the right tone in saying it, because he also talked about the teachers group or the person in Bergen County who made a vile threat against the governor of New Jersey.

TAPPER: A union -- a union official.

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