'This Week' Transcript: Rand Paul, Rep. Mike Pence and David Stockman

AMANPOUR: We're back with our roundtable. Joining us this morning, George Will, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana -- who's retiring at the end of this Congress -- George Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress, former White House chief of staff for President Clinton and also led the transition for President Obama -- hard to believe that that was two years ago -- Matthew Dowd, former strategist for President Bush, and Amy Walter, ABC's political director. Thank you all for being here. Let me ask you all the first question, which is, is there a possibility of compromise going ahead or gridlock? George?

WILL: I think there will be gridlock, because the object is to control the presidency in our presidential system, and the presidential campaign has now begun. The first question confronting them when they come back up there in a few weeks will be extending the Bush tax cuts. The Democrats will try and decouple the question of those for under $250,000 and those over; Republicans will refuse to do that. It will either be settled now in the lame-duck session or afterwards and will be retroactive in any case.

AMANPOUR: And, John Podesta, who I wrongly called George Podesta -- I don't know what was going through my mind, I was looking at George Will...

BAYH: He's been called worse.

PODESTA: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: Gridlock or any chance of any solutions in this new Congress?

PODESTA: Well, I think you heard President Obama in the days after the election saying that he wanted to try and reach out and find a way to find some areas to compromise. And I think the Republicans now have a responsibility to come forward and be partners in governing, particularly in the House, where they're going to have to put some -- some of their own ideas on the table and not just be the party of "no." But, you know, I think we're still in a kind of poisonous political atmosphere, so I don't hold out tremendous hope to see things going forward. I think one of the early tests will be whether the Senate will take up the new START treaty, which has bipartisan support in a lame-duck session.

AMANPOUR: Well, you heard -- you heard Rand Paul say he wouldn't vote for it, because, of course, that would be coming in January. Go ahead.

DOWD: I think there is a possibility of -- of reaching compromise, whether there's a probability of it. But the interesting thing from a political standpoint, just look at the political dynamics. It is in President Obama's best interest and the people that were just elected, the Republicans' best interests, to compromise and get something done, because the country basically keeps saying over and over and over at each election, "Do something. Cooperate. Get it done." And they keep sending wake-up call after wake-up call. And if the Republicans -- new Republicans in Congress paid heed and Barack Obama paid heed, they would get something done.

BAYH: I agree with that, Christiane. The question here is whether enlightened self-interest can triumph over the ideological polarization we now have in the country.

AMANPOUR: Which you've just written about.

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