'This Week' Transcript: Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels

And so while Sarah Palin keeps us guessing, other candidates are getting serious. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially launches his campaign on Thursday in New Hampshire. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum does the same on June 6th in his home state. And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann tells supporters that she'll make, quote, "an all-important announcement" next month in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa.

But one candidate took the plunge this week. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty made it official in Des Moines on Monday. His announcement tour then wound through Florida and ended up in New York, where I caught up with him.


AMANPOUR: What seriously do you need to do to raise your profile? Or will the system just take care of it by force of running?

PAWLENTY: Well, even now, only about 50 percent of the Republicans nationally even know my name. So we have to get the name ID up and then convert that, of course, to support. But if you're a serious candidate for president, that will happen naturally over time. But I like the fact that most of the other candidates are really well known and yet they don't really have a strong front-running position, and that gives us time and space to be able to advance our campaign.

ANDERSON: So, ladies and gentlemen, my husband, Governor Tim Pawlenty.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's get right to the heart of the matter. Medicare, you have said that if the Paul Ryan plan came across your desk as president, you would sign it.

PAWLENTY: Well, let me start by saying my campaign is based around the notion that it's time for the truth and it's time for leaders to step forward and tell America and the American people the truth.

As to Medicare, everybody knows it's sinking. It's going broke. The current program, Christiane, only has about 50 percent of it paid for by either premiums or payroll taxes, and the rest is deficit spending and debit spending or debt spending. So we have to fix it.

And President Obama has an obligation as the leader of this nation to step forward and solve the problem, and he's basically ducking it and then pointing fingers at everybody else.

Now, as to Paul Ryan's plan, I'll have my own plan. It'll have some differences. For example, he didn't address Social Security. I will, and we already are. As to Medicare, it will have some differences, but if the only choices were doing nothing like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it.

AMANPOUR: So what would you do? What would you do -- for instance, you mentioned Social Security. Would you raise the retirement age?

PAWLENTY: For the people who are currently in the program, no changes. For people who are coming up on eligibility, no changes. But for the next generation, the people who are entering the workforce, we need to gradually raise the retirement age over time.

AMANPOUR: Let's get back to Medicare. What would you do differently than what Paul Ryan has done? And what's wrong with this plan that's freaking people out, apparently?

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