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

AMANPOUR: And the question remains: Will the president find bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill? Joining me now, Senators Joe Lieberman, Kent Conrad, and from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison. All three have recently declared they will not be seeking re-election.

So thank you all for joining us this morning. Let me ask you, Senator Lieberman, what will you be listening to from the president at the State of the Union? What does he need to say?

LIEBERMAN: Well, the president listened to the results of the election in November, and that's -- that's the right thing to do in America. Elections have consequences. And since then, he has really reconnected to the vital center of American politics and, I think, to the American people.

And the way he reconnected was through the remarkable accomplishments of the lame-duck session and then an extraordinary unifying speech in Tucson. I think he's got to keep that going.

So I think the mood of the State of the Union has to be both unifying and confident, optimistic that we can do things if we work together. I think the main focus really has to be on, how do you keep growing jobs and at the same time deal with the biggest long-term threat to America's strength and our economy, and that is the debt?

And I hope the president will really be hands-on and say he's ready to take political risks if we are to get America's books back in balance for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

AMANPOUR: Senator Hutchison, do you think the president can convey that -- that message of unity and confidence to move forward?

HUTCHISON: I think he can convey the message. But I think the question, Christiane, is, will there be a follow-through? Will he really get his regulatory commissions to cut back on the regulations that are hurting the growth of business? Will he agree to some changes in the Obamacare which is keeping people from hiring?

I can tell you, I'm all over my state. That's what I hear. They're not going to hire people if they are looking at these big fines and big expenses in the health care bill.

So I think he's -- if he really is going to follow through with a message that I'm sure will be good, with action that shows that he really means it, that's when we will have a -- a true way forward.

AMANPOUR: Senator Conrad, what does he need to say?

CONRAD: Well, I think three things that are at the top of my list and I think on the tops of the lists of many Americans. Number one, growing the economy and jobs. Number two, as Senator Lieberman referenced, the debt threat. That's got to be taken on. And, number three, I believe reducing our dependence on foreign energy, because I think all three of these are deeply related. And I hope that he will come out and be specific about what his plans are in each of these areas.

AMANPOUR: We talked a lot about bipartisanship. And clearly, that is the will of the American people. Everywhere you look, everywhere I go in the country, people say that they want their leaders to work together. You three senators have records of working across party lines, and yet you're retiring.

Let me ask you why you're doing that. First of all, Senator Lieberman, why are you retiring? Is it because it's too tough a battle to win re-election again?

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