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

LIEBERMAN: No. It's really because, for me, it's time for a change. At the end of this term, I will have served 24 years in the U.S. Senate, 40 years in elective office. I've run 15 campaigns in Connecticut. I want to try something different. I want to begin a new chapter of my life.

I've loved service in the Senate. I feel good about what I've been able to accomplish working across party lines. But I must say, I'm excited about a new chapter and new opportunities. I'll always want to be involved in public service in whole or in part, working on the causes to which I've devoted a lot of my public life, including particularly national security.

AMANPOUR: If you think you could have won, why not -- now the battle is being joined for issues that you care deeply about, like the economy -- why not stay and fight this battle...

(CROSSTALK)

LIEBERMAN: You can always find a reason to continue, you know? But I think you've got to know when it's time to -- to move on.

I was not -- I believed I would have won re-election. Obviously, it would have been a tough campaign. But, you know, as I said, so what else is new? I've run -- almost all my campaigns have been tough. That's not the reason why I didn't run. I didn't run because I want to try something different.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you -- before we were talking about a sense of contentment that you all three felt, so let's get beyond that and I want to ask you, Senator Conrad, you know, in your state, Democrats in Congress are becoming an endangered species. They may, in fact, become extinct in the next round of elections. What is it about the Democratic message that seems not to be selling or not to be being bought in the heartland?

CONRAD: You know, it's very interesting. What I hear all across my state are three words: Enough is enough. When you put together TARP, of course, which was done under the Bush administration, but it sort of all runs into the same reaction by people, and you add stimulus, and the auto bailout, and the health care bill, it just struck people that there was too much coming from the federal government, and so people wanted to make a change. AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you, Senator Hutchison. First of all, in a new report today in the New York Times, they say that, in fact, TARP will cost maybe $28 billion to the taxpayer, instead of the $700 billion. They say that bailing out the auto industry will cost maybe in the end about $15 billion, rather than the many tens of billions were put in.

What about you? You yourself have been facing -- even though you're a reliable conservative -- Tea Party competition in Texas. Are they outflanking you?

HUTCHISON: You know, I -- I think the Tea Party has done a good thing in awakening America to the problems that we are facing and saying we can do something about it. And I appreciate that.

I think that, if I had run, I would have won. It would have been a tough race, for sure, but I thing I would have won, because I think my record is good, and it is to be effective and get things done.

But I do think there is such a strong feeling that America has not been going in the right direction, and I think people are looking for a change. That's not why I didn't run; it was a personal decision for me. I commute every week. I have two young children. And the time was right for me.

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