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

KRUGMAN: I've got to say...

AMANPOUR: OK.

KRUGMAN: ... the juvenility of U.S. politics in this past year or so has just been amazing. And -- and, you know, I think about the fact that so much of this talk about Obama having an anti-business agenda has been just because, "Well, he doesn't treat us with enough respect." I never thought that "Ma, he's looking at me funny" would be a political rallying cry.

AMANPOUR: Well, when you say that -- but, look, and I keep repeating this, because I find it extraordinary, given the polarization of the debate. The vast majority of the American people say that they want -- the vast majority, Democrats and Republicans, up to 83 percent, that they want the president and the White House and the Congress to work together on these big issues. Is that -- will they heed the voice of the people?

DOWD: Well, it's interesting, Christiane, because the American public's been sending that signal for many years in a row. They sent it during Clinton's presidency...

AMANPOUR: So why doesn't anybody listen?

DOWD: They said it -- because it's much easier in the polarized nature of a lot of the -- of Congress and how it operates and the media, which sort of has a tendency to cede it to the people on the far left and the far right that can yell at each other. I do think it's a good thing that maybe some of them are going to sit together, though it kind of reminds me of my daughter's second-grade class. She doesn't like somebody this; we're going to seat them together and maybe they're going to get along. But in the end, I think it's a good step.

BRAZILE: Look, senators represent their states, representatives their districts. The president represents the entire country. An -- this is an opportunity to talk above the heads of the politicians to the American people to give them some confidence about the future.

AMANPOUR: Thank you all very much. We're out of time. And the roundtable will continue in the green room at abcnews.com/thisweek, where you can also find our fact checks in conjunction with PolitiFact. And when we return, ABC's John Donvan on the challenge of saying something new in the State of the Union.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Welcome back. As President Obama makes his final edits to the State of the Union address, he faces many challenges, as you've heard, the economy, war, and defending his signature achievement, health care reform.

But, as ABC's John Donvan tells us, one of his biggest challenge may be originality.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(UNKNOWN): Madam Speaker, the president of the United States.

DONVAN (voice-over): So they announce him by title, and everyone stands up, and they applaud, and he gets to have that lookout at everyone from on high moment, and that's got to be, you know, for a guy with any sort of ego, gratifying. You've arrived.

But then, the speech part, a tradition started by George Washington and then skipped by all intervening presidents who sent up written messages until 98 years ago Woodrow Wilson went back to once again delivering the State of the Union message by saying out loud, which all presidents have done nearly every year since then.

The speech part, really, doesn't it seem a little bit like homework to us and to him? Why is he preparing this particular speech right now? Because it's mandatory. It's expected by a certain date. It's an exam paper.

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