'This Week' Transcript: Sen. John McCain

I must say, Ambassador Haqqani, the focus on counterterrorism really does put the relationship between U.S. and Pakistan as a key variable here, because if that's not going well, counterterrorism efforts will really be hurt.

HAQQANI: Absolutely.

CHENEY: The counterterrorism efforts are critically important, but I think that if you talk -- as I know you do -- to the generals on the ground, they would say the counterinsurgency efforts themselves must also continue. And I think that's the concern, that if we pull back, you know, 10,000 troops, the counterinsurgency efforts -- which, in fact, have been quite successful, and now they will move into the east -- will suffer significantly.

AMANPOUR: We can see the battle lines being drawn between those two policies, as well. Thank you all for being with us.

And up next, the politics of war in the presidential campaign. Our roundtable weighs in on the newly dovish Republican candidates.

And later, President Obama, in a Father's Day exclusive with ABC's Robin Roberts. Tips from the parent-in-chief on raising teenage daughters in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I have men with guns that surround them often. And a great incentive for running for re-election is that it means they never get in a car with a boy who had a beer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: Just two days ago on "Fox News Sunday," Pawlenty jacked Mitt Romney right in the health care plan.

PAWLENTY: President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare.

COLBERT: Obamneycare is perfect. It's the Brangelina of political attacks. So the Minnesota governor was totally primed and ready when John King lobbed him a softball...

KING: If it was Obamneycare on "Fox News Sunday," why is it not Obamneycare standing here with the governor right there?

PAWLENTY: It -- President Obama is -- is the person who I quoted in saying he looked to Massachusetts for designing his program.

COLBERT: Forget Obamneycare. I want to know how Minnesota's health plan keeps Tim Pawlenty alive without a spine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Steven Colbert on Tim Pawlenty's debate performance. The former Minnesota governor wiped out in the first major showdown, so say many of the pundits of campaign 2012. The question now is, can he pick himself back up?

Joining me now, our powerhouse roundtable, ABC's George Will, Jacob Weisberg of Slate magazine, Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for George W. Bush, and ABC political director Amy Walter.

Thank you all for being here. Let me go straight to you, because you are a big supporter of Pawlenty. We talked about it last week. And I want to know, is this fair, all this dumping on him? Can he recover from him? Is it just -- kind of a bump in the road, so to speak, on the way to the candidacy?

WILL: Well, I'm a supporter of Pawlenty in that I think he's one of the plausible presidents that they could nominate. One debate neither makes nor breaks a campaign, but he has to sorry a problem. On the one hand, he's behind, so he must attack. On the other hand, his virtue, his strength is that he's seen as a temperate, nice, Upper Midwestern mainstream conservative. And those -- so his tactics and his strategy are in conflict here.

AMANPOUR: Right. And I was just reading that, that there is this sort of conflict. Should he be precisely that, the sensible, or the attack dog? You think that he doesn't -- he's really had a problem in this debate?

DOWD: Yeah, but part of the thing is, is that -- one from the things in political campaigns is you have to be authentic and genuine, so he has -- starts this very personalized attack towards Mitt Romney and then shows up and he's with him in person and then backs off of it. Their campaign is -- and he knows it was a problem, which is why he tried to address it in the days after, which I don't think he addressed very well.

I don't think it's a death knell for a campaign, but when you start off that low in the polls and you have to do everything right -- basically, Tim Pawlenty to win the nomination has to just do about -- just about everything right.

This was a problem, when you show up for the first time and you're ready to sort of engage at a high level and you pull back, and George is right. You want to preserve authenticity, but it was a problem for him, and he can't make many more of these mistakes or he'll be done.

WALTER: Yeah, and this is the real problem for Tim Pawlenty, is finding that niche. He wants to be the consensus conservative, but there already is a consensus conservative. That's Mitt Romney. So to be the alternative, he has to be the combative conservative or the controversial conservative. And he's not that person. And that person is Michele Bachmann right now.

AMANPOUR: Well, it looks like, perhaps, Michele Bachmann was the breakout. That's what, again, lots of people are saying after looking at that debate. Do you agree?

WEISBERG: She had a good performance. I mean, in a way, she's a like a Sarah Palin who makes sense when she speaks. You know, she doesn't think everything revolves around her. She doesn't think reality is like an elitist plot against her. And to be frank, she doesn't lie reflectively the way Sarah Palin does. So if there's room for one of them in the race, it certainly looks like it would be Bachmann now on the far right, rather than Palin.

DOWD: I don't think Sarah Palin -- I don't think either one of them would consider that a compliment, comparing one to the other on this situation. But I think Michele Bachmann, she had a great night. She came from nowhere. But I think this process is such a long process. She has been prone to make some mistakes. She does speak to a grassroots part of the party. But she's going to be affected if the governor of Texas -- Michele Bachmann more than anybody else I think will be affected if the governor of Texas gets in this race.

WALTER: You know who she reminds me, though, of, is she's sort of the Howard Dean of this election. She's coming in and talking to that grassroots base that nobody else is doing right now. You can see her getting to that place in Iowa, and then you're right. She has to see if she can have that...

(CROSSTALK)

WILL: But at this stage, also, in the process, biography is a good bit of what this is about. And her biography is terrific, the 23 foster children, the 5 children. She's walked the walk, and it resonates.

AMANPOUR: Well, George, let's leap to the governor of Texas, who brought down the house at the Republican gathering in Louisiana. Let's just look at what he said and the reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: And our loudest opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let's quit trying to curry favor with them.

(APPLAUSE)

Let's stop this American downward spiral.

(APPLAUSE)

We're doing this. And it's happening because of too much spending, too much interfering, and too much apologizing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So is he going to come in (inaudible) and what niche does he fill?

WILL: I think he will come in. He'll fill the niche of those who think there's something deeply flawed about this array of candidates, although I'm not sure how many people really -- I'm not sure whether more people feel that way this year than do normally. But he's -- he's friendly both to the Tea Party and to the social conservatives. They're not at all the same constituency, and he bridges that gap well.

WEISBERG: But are we really going to have an election about abortion, with all that's going on now with the economy, around the world? I mean, it just seems like a kind of throwback. You have all of this skirmishing on the right of the Republican Party, and all of these people trying to win over the base vote. Meanwhile, who is Barack Obama afraid of running against? I think he'd be most afraid of running against a Jon Huntsman or a Mitt Romney. He'd love to run against Michele Bachmann or a Sarah Palin.

AMANPOUR: So let's answer...

DOWD: I just think the governor of Texas -- I live in Austin. I've known Rick Perry for 25 years. I knew Rick Perry when both of us were Democrats, when he filed as a Democrat. I took his filing as a Democrat as a state representative.

I think -- while it may be true that there's not an appetite for a lot of social conservative issue, I think he best touches those issues quickly. He has got the best rhetoric anti-Washington. He was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool. And he ran a race in Texas against a very popular incumbent Republican senator and beat her badly with an anti-Washington race.

I think he is best positioned to run against Washington and run against the problems up here more than anybody else. Whether he not -- whether or not he gets through the process or not -- he's never been through that vetting process -- I think he's best positioned right now to do that.

AMANPOUR: A couple of question. How cool is the Tea Party still? Do they still have the fervor that propelled them to the 2010 midterm victories? Is that going to last now? Or is -- is it being tempered?

WALTER: Well, I think that clearly the Tea Party element -- whatever we're going to call this -- does have an influence in the -- in the primary process. And the reality -- I think this is where Rick Perry fits in, which is he speaks very well to that audience, which is true. He can do the rabble-rousing. He can do the anti-Washington thing. But he also has a record in Texas that's about creating jobs and the economy.

And that is -- I've talked to people who are around sort of the Romney and Pawlenty camps -- who say, you know, this is what primary voters are looking for, primary voters. They want to marry the rock star, Tea Party person with the establishment, somebody who can talk the language of this election, which is the economy, and that's where Rick Perry can...

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: So you brought up Jon Huntsman. Let's just take a look at some of the videos that he's been putting out in anticipation of his announcement, which is coming up on Tuesday. So there's the motor bike, there's the great outdoors, there's the wilderness. What do you make of that?

WEISBERG: Well, I think it's a little bit of scene creation, to be a man of the people. He's very wealthy. He's a Mormon. He's originally from Utah, so he's trying to downplay the things that might be distancing in a Republican primary and play up the things that make him resonate with ordinary people.

But I think the thing that Huntsman has going for him, really, is his expertise about the country that's going to have the biggest impact on America's economic future, namely China. You know, Huntsman speaks not one, but two Chinese dialects. He's just came back as ambassador. And, of course, in a Republican primary, everyone says, oh, how terrible, he worked for Obama. I think he can say plausibly, he didn't work for Obama, he worked for the United States of America.

AMANPOUR: Leading to that, the whole idea of foreign policy, you saw what happened on the stage in New Hampshire. The Republicans, who the world sort of knows as traditional defense, national security hogs, practically all the candidates there were talking about pulling back from all their overseas commitments. George, this is a big change -- whether you're a war-lover or not, this is a big change for the party, particularly for presidential candidates.

WILL: The United States -- the United States is engaged in hostilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, the tribal region of Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya. That's five wars. How many do these people want? With regard to Libya, did Libya attack us? No. Was it about to attack us? No. Were we obliged by a treaty to get engaged in a civil war, in a tribal society? No. Were Americans endangered? No. Find me a reason for this.

AMANPOUR: Well, the reason is the humanitarian reason.

WILL: Well, to say that people are isolationists, akin to those who didn't want to resist Hitler and the empire of Japan, because they don't want to prolong the folly of the involvement in Libya is preposterous. When Ronald Reagan, much quoted, saint of the Republican Party, made a mistake, as he did in Lebanon, he quickly liquidated it.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that this real admonition from John McCain to his fellow Republicans on this very issue, is -- how is it going to play in the Republican race?

WALTER: Well, you know, Romney and the rest of the Republicans actually have the polling on their side in this case, even among Republicans. So in a ABC-Washington Post poll, we asked the question, should the U.S. withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan? Seventy-three percent of all Americans said yes, including 59 percent of Republicans.

The tension part -- and this goes back to your question of the Tea Party versus the conservative -- the other conservative wing of the party -- Tea Party supporters, identifiers, 63 percent said let's pull out troops. Only 40 percent -- 48 percent, excuse me, of conservative, self-identified conservatives agreed with that.

DOWD: But part of the thing -- I think part of the thing is that -- Amy's right that there is a political problem here, and the candidates understand it, but there's also a budget problem here. When they sit there and talk about cutting the budget, cutting the budget, cutting the budget, and they -- they can't say, "Oh, by the way, let's stay in these five whatever we're calling wars, conflicts, whatever, that are spending billions and billions of dollars a month." That's the problem.

So pulling back the troops -- and it's not long ago when George Bush ran for president when he talked about we don't want to nation-build, we don't want to get in wars of our own choice, we don't want to do that, and then it became part of the Republican Party. They're just actually going back to where it was about 10 years ago.

WILL: We...

AMANPOUR: Last word?

WILL: We were engaged in World War II for 1,346 days. We had reached that point in Afghanistan on June 14, 2005, six years ago. We've been engaged in Afghanistan now twice as long, more than twice as long as we were in the Second World War. And to say that this is somehow disproportionate is not isolationism.

AMANPOUR: This is going to be a debate that rages as we go forth, particularly about the number of troops that are going to be withdrawn. And the roundtable will continue in the green room at abcnews.com/thisweek.

And still to come, the Sunday funnies and our very special Father's Day interview with President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Perfect day on Father's Day is just spending time with them. Malia and Sasha are the perfect age, you know, 13, 10. They're their own people, but they still actually want to spend time with you. You know, and that may not last that many more years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And now the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: According to a poll, over 50 percent of viewers thought that Mitt Romney won this week's presidential debate. They thought Mitt Romney won, yeah. Romney credits the win to his preparation, his grasp of the issues, and the good people at Mattel who built him.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): Republicans, if they play this right, they could run Lassie and win.

COLBERT: Yes, even Lassie could beat Obama. Of course, she'd never get the Republican nomination. Helping Timmy out of that well is socialism.

LENO: In more serious news, two U.S. F-15 fighter jets had to intercept a small civilian plane that flew towards Camp David while President Obama was there, pretty scary. Turns out it was just someone completely lost, no idea where they were heading. So apparently the pilot must have been one of President Obama's economic advisers...

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: Just no idea, just flying every which way, no idea where he's going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: And when we return, the president is the commander-in-chief, but his most important job may be dad to two daughters. An ABC News exclusive with President Obama, coming up next.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: Happy Father's Day, Mr. President. The question I have for you, Mr. President, is what more can we do as a government, but more importantly as a people to bring the presence of fathers into the lives of children?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: That was retired general, former Secretary of State Colin Powell with a question for President Obama this Father's Day. The president, of course, barely knew his own father. Barack Obama, Sr., was largely absent from his son's life.

And ABC's Robin Roberts spoke with the commander-in-chief about what that experience taught him, and she joins us now.

Robin, those lessons haven't just influenced the president decision as a father, but to Colin Powell's point, have they also shaped some of his administration's policies?

ROBERTS: That's a good point. And, yes, they have, Christiane. You know, President Obama knows firsthand the challenges one can face growing up without a father in the home and so has established many fatherhood initiatives, including this year's program, which is called Strong Father, Strong Families.

And the president really has sparked a national conversation, a dialogue about fatherhood and taking personal responsibilities. So I had a chance this week to go to the White House and sit down with the dad-in-chief.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: Perfect day on Father's Day is just spending time with them. The great thing -- and some of this is Malia and Sasha are the perfect age, you know, 13, 10, where, you know, they are interesting and funny, and they're their own people, but they still actually want to spend time with you. You know, and that may not last that many more years.

And so now, as president, I have this huge advantage. I live over the store. At 6:30, no matter how busy I am, unless there was an actual national emergency, at 6:30, I'm up and I'm having dinner with the kids. And we're sitting around that dinner table. And so for an hour to an hour-and-a-half, my only focus is them.

ROBERTS: You are about to hit the teenage years.

OBAMA: Oh, yeah.

ROBERTS: Are you ready? Are you prepared for what's about to come?

OBAMA: I could not ask for better kids, and so I'm not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four or five years. But I understand, you know, that, you know, teenagehood is complicated.

I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them, often. And a great incentive for running for re-election is that it means they never get in a car with a boy who had a bear. And that's a pretty good thing. So there are certain elements of these teenage years in which I will have some relief. And that means I'm going to be working hard on that re-election campaign.

ROBERTS: Do you approach parenthood differently because you've had this different background?

OBAMA: You know, a lot of my parenting skills come from thinking about, you know, what would my mom do in this situation? But, obviously, it's a little different for me not having had a father. You know, some of that stuff I had to learn on my own.

The one thing that my mother taught me, but I think is just as applicable as a father, is a combination of complete and total affection and devotion to that child, but also structure and limits and understanding that your child isn't your friend, at least when they're young. You're the parent. And so you've got to set limits for them.

ROBERTS: Were you aware as a child on Father's Day, "I don't have a father, he's not here"?

OBAMA: The fact that certain interests that I have, in basketball or jazz music, came from a one-month visit that I had from my father. You know, he gave me my first basketball. And it wasn't until I was in my 20s, and I thought back, "You know, no wonder I've been -- that's part of why I've been playing basketball this whole time," was it was that one signal of something that he had given me.

He took me to a Dave Brubeck concert, and suddenly, you know, shortly thereafter, magically, surprisingly enough, I was interested in jazz. And -- but as a kid, you don't make that connection. You think that, you know, you've thought of this all yourself. So -- so that absence, obviously, was -- was profound. But at the time, when I was young, I didn't think about it a lot.

On Father's day, it's not so much me thinking about the past, and it's more thinking about the present, and thinking about now. And there are times where I'll walk into the room, with Michelle and the girls are setting there, and they start laughing, and they start teasing me, and Michelle loves to jump in on that. And I'll be able to pull out of that moment for a second and say, "OK, this is really good. You know, this is -- this is important." And you sort of take a snapshot of that moment. And you say, you know, at the end of your life, when you think back as to what was worth it, this will be one of the things that's worth it.

ROBERTS: Happy Father's Day.

OBAMA: Thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Thank you, sir.

OBAMA: That's great.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Robin, so many funny and touchy reflections from the president there, but he really does seem, for obvious reasons, to really focus so much more on this day as a parent than as a son.

ROBERTS: He really does, Christiane. And we had a little 11-year-old boy pose a question to the president. And the question was, "Mr. President, do you miss your father on Father's Day?" And president Obama was like, "No, I don't," and that he, as he said, he focuses on today, and that is being a father to Sasha and Malia.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, Robin. Thanks for joining us.

ROBERTS: Anytime.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we will be back with "In Memoriam."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And now, "In Memoriam."

We remember all of those who died in war this week. The Pentagon released the names of 11 soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: That's our program for today. And for all of us here in Washington, thank you for watching. You can follow me all week on Twitter, Facebook, and at abcnews.com. And be sure to watch "World News" with David Muir later tonight.

And we leave you with images of some dads and their children enjoy themselves here in Washington. Happy Father's Day, and we hope to see you next week.

END

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