'This Week' Transcript: Tony Blair

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FRIEDMAN: I think one of the sad things about -- in polls like that for me, Christiane, is that, you know, I wouldn't mind if the Republicans were winning because they had a better idea there. But, I mean, to me, the two ideas I hear is that the stimulus didn't work that we've done so far, the $787 billion. I think that's false. It clearly did create what Paul is talking about, some more demand, maybe insufficient.

And, secondly, you know, it just doesn't seem to me the Republicans have some -- to say we need just tax cuts, OK, that's going to solve everything, to talk about tax cuts without talking about long-term offsetting budget cuts, what you're going to cut by way of services, not being honest about that -- well, a tax cut without offsetting budget cuts is -- is nothing more than passing on more debt to the future. So don't tell me they're winning with a better plan.

KRUGMAN: The Republicans are deeply unserious here. They want to cut taxes. They say they're against deficits. They have no plan for offsetting spending cuts. They have no -- no plan to make this work and certainly no plan to get the economy moving again. You know, they're just not serious.

WILL: Well, they would disagree. They would say that they have a serious plan, that people like Paul Ryan and others -- I know you're down on Paul Ryan...

KRUGMAN: Yes, indeed.

WILL: ... but not all of the people who disagree with you are fools or knaves or foolish knaves. He has a -- he's a serious man with a serious plan.

JORDAN: Well, the fact that the Republicans are going to do so well, really, it's just the history. The president's party always gets shellacked in midterms. It's only twice, 1934 and 2002, that the president's party actually gained in both the House and the Senate.

WILL: But it's worse than that, because the Republicans start from a historic trough right now, having just suffered two wave elections, a wave election being one in which a party loses 20 or more seats in the House.

AMANPOUR: Let's go to this generic ballot, since this is affecting politics, obviously. There is a preference among registered voters for Democratic candidate 41 percent, the Republican candidate 51 percent, and that seems to be a huge sort of gap for the first time.

WILL: It's worse than that, because as you say, that's a poll among registered voters. If they had filtered -- and they know how to do this -- for likely voters, they think it would have been a 14-point spread. The 10-point spread is the record that Gallup has had in 40 years of polling midterms.

FRIEDMAN: You know, Walter Shapiro had a column the other day which I think made a good point. Look, I'm for more health care. I'm glad we've extended it to more Americans. But the fact is, there is a real, I think, argument for the case that Obama completely over-read his mandate when he came in.

He was elected to get rid of one man's job, George Bush, and get the rest of us jobs. I think that was the poor thing. And by starting with health care and not making his first year the year of innovation, expanding economy and expanding jobs, you know, I think, looking back, that was a political mistake.

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: So what does he have to do -- what does he have to know now...

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: ... one-term president?

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