'This Week' Transcript: Tony Blair


KRUGMAN: He needs now to say it's the other guys who are blocking action. He needs to lay out a philosophy. I'm not sure if there's any way he can save the House, but if he can, he can do it not by actually changing the economy in the few weeks remaining, but by -- by making this an issue. Do you really want these guys' economic plan? And then he's campaigned for it.

I don't -- by the way, you know, the first thing he did was the stimulus, was not health care. He did -- and -- but the -- the fatal thing was, A, it was too small, and, B, they kept on claiming that it was -- it was just right way -- you know, until about a month ago, they were claiming it was just right, nothing more needed to be done.

AMANPOUR: So let me go to something quite extraordinary. On the Politico blog, "The Playbook" by Mike Allen, he actually singles out not even a column that's out now, but one that's coming out in a couple of days in the Washington Post by Richard Cohen, who talks about President Obama in terms of the incredible shrinking president. You remember that, you know, in the '90s, there was that famous Time magazine cover about Bill Clinton at about the same time, in terms of midterm elections.

He said the folks who ran a very smart presidential campaign in '08 have left the defining of the Obama presidency to people on the edge of insanity. But then he goes on to talk about his Oval Office address this week about Iraq, about turning to Afghanistan and the economy.

And he says, "It was only his second Oval Office address, and so great importance was attached to it. He should have had something momentous to say." Is that fair?

FRIEDMAN: I think it is fair. You know, one of the criticisms certainly I've had -- and many others have had -- this is not, I think, original -- there's been no narrative to this administration. To me, I think Barack Obama was elected for one thing, which I'm not sure he ever fully understood, to do nation-building at home, to do nation-building in America.

To me, it was a central tent pole. Under that was health care, jobs, you know, economy, innovation, education, energy, OK? He's never tied it together, it seems to me, under one single narrative. And then, therefore, he's fought each issue against a different constituency.

There's never been a unifying message. I've worked here since 1989. I personally -- just as a reporter, a columnist in Washington -- have never seen a worse communicating administration, just at the basic, technical level of, "Hey, we've got a good plan. You know, maybe someone out there would be interested in writing about it," not since I've been to Washington.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your area of -- of investigation, which is a lot of foreign policy, particularly the Middle East peace process. They did have something to show today, or rather this week, and I'm going to put up some of what the principals said when President Obama convened, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


NETANYAHU: I see in you a partner for peace. Together we can lead our people to a historic future that can put an end to claims and to conflict.

ABBAS: We call on the Israeli government to move forward with its commitment to end all settlement activity and completely lift the embargo over the Gaza Strip and end all form of incitement.


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