'This Week' Transcript: Secretaries Gates and Clinton

Our goal remains the resumption -- the relaunch of negotiations. Both indirect -- eventually leading to direct, and that's our focus.

TAPPER: Secretary Gates, turning to Afghanistan, when you hear President Karzai refer to the 87,000 troops under your command when you -- as occupiers, and suggest that he could envision joining the Taliban, how does that affect you? Does it make your blood boil?

GATES: Well I think, you know, this is a -- a man who's first of all a political leader. He has domestic audiences as well as foreign audiences. What I can tell you is that General McChrystal continues to meet with him regularly. They have a very positive relationship. He gets very good cooperation out of President Karzai. I think that the -- the Afghans are very concerned about their sovereignty. And they are very concerned that -- that it be clear who -- who is the president of Afghanistan.

And -- and that he be treated with respect, because he is the representative of the people of Afghanistan and their sovereignty. And I think that -- I think that that kind of cooperative relationship, certainly that he has with -- I can only speak for General McChrystal's side of it. But I think General McChrystal feels that this is a man he can work easily with. And -- and he has taken him to Kandahar. He has indicated he's willing to go to Kandahar repeatedly for the Shuras as the Kandahar campaign gets underway.

So I think that the -- that the day to day working relationship, certainly on the military side, and -- and between General McChrystal and President Karzai is -- is working well. And I think -- I think we frankly have to be sensitive in our own comments about President Karzai in terms of being mindful that he is the embodiment of sovereignty for Afghanistan also in the way we treat him.

TAPPER: Secretary Gates, WikiLeaks recently released a video that showed U.S. troops killing some civilians in Iraq. I understand the fog of war, and I understand that -- that this was a very difficult situation. Does the release of that video, and the fact that that happened damage the image of the U.S. in the world?

GATES: I don't think so. They're -- they're in a combat situation. The video doesn't show the broader picture of the -- of the firing that was going on at American troops. It's obviously a hard thing to see. It's painful to see, especially when you learn after the fact what was going on. But you -- you talked about the fog of war. These people were operating in split second situations.

And, you know, we -- we've investigated it very thoroughly. And it's -- it's unfortunate. It's clearly not helpful. But by the same token, I think -- think it should not have any lasting consequences.

TAPPER: Secretary Clinton. I -- I do want to ask you a couple of domestic questions.

First of all, there was a Supreme Court opening. What advice would you give President Obama?

CLINTON: Well I think President Obama is fully aware of this great responsibility and opportunity that Justice Stevens' retirement presents him. And as a former law professor, I know he is devoted to the Constitution. And understands the critical role that the court plays in so many areas of our -- our lives as Americans.

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