'This Week' Transcript: Tax Deal

ROBERTS: The way you can get real stimulus is all the people who think that the tax cut is going to people who are too rich should just go out and spend some money. And then, you know, then we'll get some stimulus going. We have an obligation to spend.


WILL: We're -- we're complaining -- we're complaining because a lame-duck session, which is inherently illegitimate, is not solving structural problems that have plagued the nation for a generation.

ROBERTS: That's right. That's right...


WILL: The simple fact is that this session up here is a gathering of the exhausted, leavened (ph) by the repudiated. It shouldn't be doing anything.

KRUGMAN: That's actually kind of -- we're agreed, right? I would have been happier, actually -- I mean, I'm -- I'm agonized about this. This is tough. I understand it's tough. But I actually think I would have been happier if they had not done anything. I mean, it's just because...

AMANPOUR: You would have been happier if they'd not done anything and everybody would see their taxes rise?

KRUGMAN: Because then -- because we are setting ourselves up -- because I think -- I think part of -- I think part of the hard bargaining on the part of the Republicans...


ROBERTS: That's politically totally untenable, Paul. That's politically untenable. You can't do that.

KRUGMAN: Well, let's -- you know, I think part of the Republicans' stiffness on this is, in fact, a bluff. In fact, if the tax rates on their favorite constituents went up, they would be screaming for a deal, as well.

AMANPOUR: And what does this mean for bipartisanship? Look, you've just talked about an election. The people really did say they want some bipartisanship and they want solutions to these huge problems. Is this one beautiful moment of bipartisan bubble?


AMANPOUR: Or does this presage the future?

DOWD: My belief is -- well, it's a bipartisan -- it's a bipartisan moment that doesn't call the American public to any sense of leadership, and that, to me, is not really a bipartisan moment. If you want a bipartisan moment, you basically have to come together and make hard choices. This was not a conversation that made hard choices.


AMANPOUR: But it was -- it was an attempt to make the president, as his people describe him, to show his pragmatic side.

ROBERTS: Well, also, Mitch McConnell claims that the president talked to him more in the last two weeks than in the last two years, and -- and that is -- is much more of an instance of bipartisanship. Now, the president should have done a little bit more groundwork with the Democrats in the House, but -- you know, now Joe Biden is doing that.

DOWD: But -- but...

ROBERTS: But I think that what really happens in terms of bipartisanship is that on every issue you put together a different coalition, and that's just common sense.

AMANPOUR: Do you see this president doing what -- you brought in President Bill Clinton -- doing the old triangulation, going towards the center now?

WILL: I'm not sure he knows what the center looks like in this country. In 2009, three days after his inauguration, he met with Republicans in the White House, who wanted to have some influence on the size and composition of the stimulus. His response to them was, "I won." Well, he just heard from them, "We just won," and this is a changed political landscape.

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