'This Week' Transcript: Roundtable 01-02-11

But it really is up to the president. I think the president is going to have to lead in the same way that he -- he helped to lead the Congress in the lame-duck session. If he shows that he has a plan for -- for creating jobs, he has a plan for handling the deficit, he has a plan for economic growth for the country, I think the president will be able to bypass all of this chatter now that will take place within the Republican caucus.

WALTER: Well, and look at where the president is now compared to where Ronald Reagan was at this point or where Bill Clinton was at this point. He's at 47 percent job approval rating now in the latest Gallup poll. At this point, Bill Clinton was -- in his presidency, Bill Clinton was at 40 percent, Ronald Reagan was at 43 percent.

So, you know, if you're challenging -- if you're Republicans, you're going up against this president, he's certainly weakened. There's no doubt he got a shellacking. But you do have been to wary that, again, his job approval is that much higher than yours, and he has a bully pulpit.

TAPPER: Speaking of -- of the tension between Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans coming in, I want to read you this quote from an interview Boehner gave to the New Yorker magazine. He was referring to the vote to raise the ceiling on the debt limit, which is currently $14.3 trillion.

Boehner says, "This is going to be probably the first really big adult moment for the new Republican majority. You can underline adult. And for people who've never been in politics, it's going to be one of those growing moments. It's going to be difficult. I'm certainly well aware of that. But we'll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn't do it."

Speaker Boehner suggesting that if you do not vote to raise the debt ceiling, you are not being an adult. George?

WILL: I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it. The trouble is, it's suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority, because if the United States defaults on its sovereign debt, the markets -- well, it will be stimulating.

TAPPER: Well, you heard -- and you heard Austan Goolsbee earlier today talk about -- the word "insanity" was what he used to describe it.

GARRETT: Let me give a sense of the anxiety that John Boehner, the Republican leadership in the House feels about this. At orientation conferences with incoming house Republicans, both at Harvard and at Heritage Foundation, this topic came up again and again and again. No matter what the policy conversation was, they wanted to know, why do we have to increase the debt ceiling? What are the economic consequences? There was deep-seated, A, curiosity and skepticism about the need to do this.

So internally House Republicans are going to have to sit down and -- and conduct what will amount to speed education courses on this matter.

Now, two other significant things. This will be a clean vote, a visible vote that will be separate from everything else. You can't tuck it into another legislative maneuver, as Democrats did under the Gephardt rule.

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