'This Week' Transcript: Secretaries Gates and Clinton

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.

And I'm confident that he's going nominate a highly qualified person. And I hope that there will be a smooth confirmation, because whoever the president nominates will be qualified to sit on the court. And I think it would be really reassuring for the country to see Republicans and Democrats working together to confirm a nominee as soon as possible.

TAPPER: And lastly, healthcare reform. When you look at President Obama's success that he was able to get this done. Do you think, "Oh, that's how you do it?" Or do you think that the only way he was able to do it was because you and your husband stormed the castle first. And even if it didn't work, you laid the ground work for President Obama to help to be able to succeed?

CLINTON: Jake, I don't think either of those things. I think thank goodness. Finally the United States is going to have a system that will begin to meet the needs of all of our people, reform our insurance industry which is long overdue. Begin to control costs, which is absolutely critical. And, you know, it's been a long time coming. It goes back many decades. And I think it's an extraordinary historical achievement. And I'm delighted to, you know, have -- have seen it come to pass.

TAPPER: Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, thanks so much for joining us.

GATES: Pleasure.

CLINTON: Thank you.

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