'This Week' Transcript: Sens Lieberman, Conrad and Hutchison

This president, I think, has finally learned that he is not going to be judged on a number of liberal or progressive legislative accomplishments, which he had a ton, more than any president in recent memory. He had health care. He had a number of things on investment packages. He had all that. And his numbers didn't move; they actually fell.

Until he shifted -- elections have consequences, and he shifted to a set of policies that was more in tune with where the American public was. His numbers have risen. Now he has the power of the pulpit again.

KRUGMAN: Yeah, I mean, look, I think the model is something like Clinton, who, in fact, mostly was just riding on a successful economy, which was successful mostly for reasons that had nothing much to do with him, but he was able to -- to be a very popular president by presiding over that, by providing competent management on those things you could control. I think that is Obama's model now. It's -- I'm not sure it'll be enough, because this -- we're in much deeper economic trouble than we were in the '90s. But given the realistic of political limits, you can't expect him to do too much.

AMANPOUR: We talk about symbolism, what the president needs to do. Politically, he's moved to the -- to the center. He's heeded the call of the people, so to speak. But when it comes to real solutions, how do you kick start and how do you make a dent in that 9.4 figure?

WILL: You don't. I had lunch this week with Austan Goolsbee, who was your guest a few weeks ago, and he said, look, people seem to feel that in the basement of the White House somewhere think there's an enormous switch, you go down and throw it, and jobs are created.

The fact is the terrible frustration in the White House must be that everything that really matters is beyond their control, which is how to create jobs. It's not going to happen because of the government.

AMANPOUR: We will pick that up in -- in a moment. When we come back, we'll have more with our roundtable on the state of the Obama president and what we expect in the State of the Union address, when we return.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: While the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: That was President Obama delivering last year's State of the Union address. Welcome back. Joined again by our roundtable.

George, I know that you have a great, great regard for watching the State of the Union on television.

WILL: A, they're overrated. The next morning, the country is still a complex continental country with muscular interests (ph) and politics is its own momentum.

Between Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson, no one delivered this in person. They sent their report to Congress in writing. But now we've turned this into this panorama in which -- in an interminable speech, every president, regardless of party, tries to stroke every erogenous zone in electorate.

AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness.

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