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

CONRAD: You know, I was part of the president's fiscal commission that made a proposal, really, a very sweeping proposal, to reduce the debt by $4 trillion over the next 10 years and much more than that over an extended period of time. I think that's what's required, a balanced plan that does, yes, have spending cuts. We had $1.5 trillion of spending cuts in the fiscal commission's plan, but you're going to also have to deal with the entitlements, Social Security and Medicare, and the American people right now...

AMANPOUR: And the military?

CONRAD: ... the American people reject all of those. The American people say, don't touch Social Security, don't touch Medicare, don't cut defense. That's 84 percent of the federal budget. If you can't touch 84 percent of the federal budget -- and, by the way, they also don't want to touch revenue -- you're down to 16 percent of the budget at a time we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. So, you know, there needs to be leadership to help the American people understand how serious this problem is and that it's going to take a lot more than cutting foreign aid and taxing the rich. You're not going to solve the problem that way.

AMANPOUR: And one last issue I want to talk about, the tone, civility, a huge amount of speculation and attention on the seating plan for the State of the Union. Apparently, some senators and congressmen already choosing their seating mate. So all of you -- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who are you going to be sitting next to?

HUTCHISON: I do not know.

AMANPOUR: Who's your date?

HUTCHISON: I have -- I haven't been there. I don't have a date.

CONRAD: Kate, I'm available.


HUTCHISON: ... find a place to sit -- sit down.


AMANPOUR: Senator Conrad says he is available.

And you?

LIEBERMAN: You know, when I was in high school, I always waited too long before the prom to ask for a date, so I haven't done that yet, but...

AMANPOUR: You've got two days. Tell us now.

LIEBERMAN: I'm going to be on the phone today. Incidentally, in our committee, the Homeland Security Committee, Susan Collins and I have been having our members sit without regard to party. In other words, we're not just -- we're not two warring camps facing each other.

And this is -- this is symbolic, but it -- but it sends a good message. We've really got to do more of this.

AMANPOUR: Have you picked a date?

CONRAD: I just asked Kay.

AMANPOUR: I know. All right. Well, we'll see you two sitting together. And you with Senator Collins.

LIEBERMAN: I hope so.

AMANPOUR: All right. Thank you so much.

And up next, I'll take an inside look at some of the new Republicans in Congress, their agenda, and how they view the new calls for civility in Washington. And later, our roundtable, with George Will, Paul Krugman, Matthew Dowd, and Donna Brazile, so stay with us.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

As the new right came to Washington and took the reins of power in the House, we were with them. We followed two new Republican House members and a freshman senator, all swept to power by the Tea Party.

This week, we -- will President Obama's opposition -- that's what they'll be -- and we talked to them about the changes they're looking for and the unexpected shift in tone they've encountered since they arrived.


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