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

WILL: And it becomes a political pep rally, to use the phrase of Chief Justice Roberts last year. If it's going to be a pep rally, with the president's supporters or whatever party standing up and braying approval, and histrionic pouting on the part of the other, then it's no place for the judiciary, it's no place for the uniformed military, and it's no place for non-adolescent legislators.

BRAZILE: It's a once-a-year opportunity to talk to the American people to remind us who we are and where we're going. This is an opportunity for the president to use scripture to give us a vision, because the Bible says, without a vision, a people will perish, and we didn't have that over the last...


AMANPOUR: So what is the vision? Because now or never.

BRAZILE: It's about jobs. It's about rebuilding America, making America competitive and strong again, and taking care of all our issues, both on the domestic front, as well as international.

DOWD: To me, the State of the Union -- and I'll agree in part with George and disagree in part with George on this -- they don't affect the American public. If you look at like approval numbers going into State of the Unions over the last 35 years and coming out, they do not move the numbers. Even Ronald Reagan, who was lauded as one of the best communicators in the history of this country, never moved the American public.

Barack Obama, another great speaker, did very well in Tucson. In last year's State of the Union, didn't move the numbers. But what is important I think in this is for him to continue to connect the dots with the audience in the Capitol and the people that surround people in the Capitol that he is going to keep doing what he's been doing since Election Day.

It's not the event in itself that matters, but it's how -- the cumulative effect of it. And if he continues to, one, talk about jobs and the economy, and then tie to it an increase in making our discourse better and talking to each other across party lines, if he does those two things, he will continue to rise in the polls.

AMANPOUR: There's been some preview of what he's going to say. What does he need to say to inspire confidence in the economy?

KRUGMAN: Oh, I don't think there's anything much he can do that will inspire confidence. I mean, what he's doing in the lead in is, is using this competitiveness, which is actually a tired old buzzword. But it's -- what he appears to be doing is signaling that he's not going to go for the full-out Republican agenda of slashing spending. He's actually going to make a case for more public investment.

And we're just -- you know, I think the main thing right now is what we're not hearing. We're not hearing him signing on to cuts in Social Security, which was something that was being floated for a while.

But, you know, and actually the whole thing -- that is -- political event, actually, doesn't matter. But it's an event that forces the president to signal what he's -- where he's going.

AMANPOUR: George, you talked about the braying and the pouting. And, obviously, there's been a huge amount of -- of -- of attention to the seating plan. Do you think the seating plan, which Democrats sit next to which Republican, and the new tone of civility is going to make a difference, going to last?

WILL: Well, if it, again, drains the pep rally aspect out of it, this will be fine. But as Matt says, the whole event does not matter.

AMANPOUR: Expect that...

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