'This Week' Transcript: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

PHOTO: Dem. Leader Nancy Pelosi sits with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): This week, inside the uprising. As the Wall Street protests spread...

(UNKNOWN): It's my money, and I want it now.

AMANPOUR: ... Washington finally takes note.

CANTOR: I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs.

CARNEY: One man's mob is another man's democracy.

AMANPOUR: Is this the left's answer to the Tea Party? We get answers from a leading voice in the movement when he joins our powerhouse roundtable, George Will, Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, and Peggy Noonan.

PELOSI: People are angry.

AMANPOUR: Our headliner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, on President Obama, the Wall Street uprising, and broken government.

And for Republicans, the time for wishful thinking is over. With Palin and Christie out, the presidential field is set. As the candidates head into a crucial week, Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour joins the roundtable to debate campaign politics.

Then, 10 years of war in Afghanistan. We're on the front line with a band of brothers fighting to make a difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Live from the Newseum in Washington, "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour starts right now.

AMANPOUR: Good morning, and welcome to the program. We have lots to get to this morning, but first, some news since your morning papers.

Occupy Wall Street leaders are preparing for another mass rally in lower Manhattan today. They're demonstrating against corporate greed, social inequality, and joblessness.

Yesterday, more than 1,000 people marched on Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Banks got bailed out.

(UNKNOWN): We got sold out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Here in Washington, police used pepper spray on a group of protesters trying to enter the National Air and Space Museum, forcing the building to close two hours early. So what's next for the movement? ABC's Cecilia Vega joins me from lower Manhattan.

Cecilia, what's happening there right now?

VEGA: Good morning to you, Christiane. Well, this is the park where it all started just about one month ago. And let me show you what's happening out here right now. There are still hundreds of campers out here in this park in Manhattan's financial district just waking up this morning. There are dozens of uniformed police officers surrounding the park, just monitoring the situation right now. Largely, it remains very peaceful and, at this hour, very quiet.

This is a very self-sufficient group out here. They've got donations pouring in from all over the country to keep them supplied with food. They've got generators for power. They even have their own newspaper, called the Occupy Wall Street Journal.

For now, we know they plan to hold, as you said, more demonstrations today, but so far, Christiane, there appears to be no end in sight.

AMANPOUR: Cecilia, thank you. And more on that later in the program.

But in London, Paul McCartney ties the knot today with his American fiancee, Nancy Shevell. This is Sir Paul's third trip down the aisle. His first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 1998, and his second marriage to model Heather Mills ended in divorce in 2008.

In Washington this week, one of Rick Perry's supporters sparked a firestorm when called Mitt Romney's Mormon faith a "cult." The incident capped several days of intense jockeying amongst the Republican candidates.

But the week's perhaps most revealing moment came from President Obama himself. And here's ABC's senior political correspondent Jon Karl with "This Week in Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL (voice-over): In 2008, it was all about hope and change. What two words will define Obama 2012?

OBAMA: I haven't quite boiled it down to a bumper sticker yet, our vision for the future. That's three words, four.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's five, actually.

KARL: Math aside, this week it almost sounded like hope and change are being replaced by grim and grimmer. First, the grim, words you've never heard from an incumbent president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There are so many people who simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.

OBAMA: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you convince them that they are?

OBAMA: Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.

KARL: And then the grimmer.

BIDEN: A significant majority of the American people believe that the country is not moving in the right direction. That is never a good place to be going into a re-election.

KARL: No wonder those Occupy Wall Street protests are starting to look like a national movement, from New York and Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City and beyond.

To Republicans, it's not another Tea Party movement.

CANTOR: I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country.

KARL: Mitt Romney called the Occupy Wall Street protests "dangerous," even "class warfare," but he's got bigger things to worry about.

ROMNEY: I'm just trying to get -- get myself to occupy the White House.

KARL: And, protesters, Herman Cain's got some advice for you.

CAIN: Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job, and you're not rich, blame yourself.

KARL: This week was the last gasp of the non-candidates.

CHRISTIE: Now is not my time. New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me.

KARL: Sarah Palin opted out, too, but didn't get as much attention, not that she cares.

PALIN: I wanted to, you know, just kind of put the marker down and say, no, I'm not running, not have a big press conference about it, not make a big, darn deal about it, because this isn't about me.

KARL: Romney's pollster suggested this week he is playing political Whack-A-Mole. Every time one big rival falls, another pops up, bam, bam, bam, bam. The latest to pop up, Herman Cain.

Trending this week, Cain up. One poll has him tied for first. A best-seller, too. Obama down, now the underdog. Just ask him.

OBAMA: I don't mind. I'm used to being an underdog.

KARL: Perry up, in cash, anyway, $17 million in just 49 days. But also, down, fourth place in the Values Summit straw poll. Ron Paul up. He won that straw poll, and won it big.

Hank Williams, Jr., down. He compares the president to Hitler; now he's taking his song and his rowdy friends out of here.

For "This Week in Politics," I'm Jonathan Karl.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Let's bring in our roundtable now, George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, and George W. Bush's former chief strategist, Matthew Dowd.

George, is President Obama going to rue the day he said that comment -- he made that comment about not being better off than four years ago?

WILL: I think he will, except it's stating the obvious. And I don't think you get in that much trouble for stating the obvious.

He's missed some obvious things. One year ago, in the 2010 elections, if you saw Barack Obama in an ad, you knew it was a Republican ad. And now he's threatening to go around the country, demanding pass this jobs bill now. Republicans said, fine, let's vote. And Harry Reid says, oh, not so fast, because we don't have Democratic votes for the Democratic president's own jobs bill.

AMANPOUR: Let's put up a graphic where we've got some of these numbers. The new ABC-Washington Post poll shows by a 15-point margin that Americans now trust President Obama more than congressional Republicans to handle jobs.

Matt, that's a huge jump in the past month.

DOWD: Yeah. As I've said all along, the best thing that Barack Obama has going for him is the congressional Republicans right now are the only place worse than him. The problem is, he's not going to be running against the congressional Republicans next year in this election. He's going to be running against a new Republican on the ballot.

My thought about Barack Obama these days is, when a country right now which feels beleaguered and under the gun, and feels like they don't know where to go, they don't want a leader that comes across as beleaguered and not know where to go. And that's, I think, his biggest problem right now, is he comes across as very beleaguered and beaten down.

AMANPOUR: Peggy, you're nodding?

NOONAN: I am. I think -- look, I think the president is in a world of hurt. And not just many of the polls of the past few months, but there is a sense when you see him now that he's talking into a void. He's acting out the presidency and saying things like, "Pass my bill," and, "Follow my lead."

But there's a sense -- you look around at the public, and they're not saying, "Yes, let's pass his bill. Let's follow his lead." The operating in a void part is a problem. It's almost as if the presidency here has constricted and drawn back.

AMANPOUR: Donna?

BRAZILE: Yes, I don't feel so pessimistic. And perhaps the reason why is because I think the American people understand that the president is trying to get his jobs bill through Congress. They know that the Republicans are obstructing. They know that the Republicans will not support the president, even on issues that they once advocated themselves.

I think the president has to be careful not to allow this so-called underdog narrative to play out next year. But right now, he is in a good position to get the American people behind him on his economic plan.

DOWD: Christiane, he will not get any credit -- I disagree with Donna on this -- he will get no credit even if he got his jobs bill passed with the American public right now. The American public right now is going to judge him not based on political performance, but based on actual results. And if jobs aren't added and the economy doesn't improve, no matter how many things he gets through Congress, he will not -- it will not change his political stature.

BRAZILE: Matt, I disagree with you, because more than two-thirds of the American people still blame the previous administration for the hole that we're in. They now see that -- we're coming out of the hole, but we cannot get out of the hole fast enough, given Congress's inability to get anything done. So I think the president has to continue to take his fight to Congress and to the American people.

AMANPOUR: So we actually talked to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader about that. The president doesn't just have to win over the American people; he needs to make serious inroads in Congress, as we've just been saying.

I spoke with the House Democratic leader just earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: The president is barnstorming the country, trying to sell this jobs bill. But it looks like the Senate Democrats are not dying to take it up. Why not?

PELOSI: Well, I think the Senate Democrats overwhelming are promoting it. There are one or two -- a few that may have some concerns about one aspect of it or another. But what's important is the president is taking it to the people. They understand the opportunity it presents, the distinctions between doing something or not and what it means in their lives.

AMANPOUR: He keeps saying that I -- I want the people to push this through, because he doesn't think it's going to make it in either the Senate or the House.

PELOSI: It never usually does unless you have public sentiment. I'm fond of saying to anyone who will listen, President Abraham Lincoln said public sentiment is everything.

You cannot just persuade people inside maneuvering. You have to have the outside messaging and mobilization so that people know if there's not -- if jobs aren't created why they're not created.

AMANPOUR: Now, it's no secret that you were quite disappointed in some of the president's previous public advocacy. Do you now think that there is a -- a pivot that's significant, that there is a new combative president, that he's going out and really doing what you had hoped, to uphold the Democratic flag?

PELOSI: I don't remember being -- I don't remember being ever disappointed in the president, but I -- I do think that doing more is better.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the case has been made well enough for accountable government, effective government?

PELOSI: Apparently not, if you look at the figures. But the fact is, is that we have to revert to a time where we took great respect for what we stood for, instead of trying to mischaracterize the other side, question their motivation, their patriotism, and the rest, as you see.

So that's why I think it's really important that President Obama get out there very strongly, very clearly about what this jobs bill does and what it means to kitchen-table concerns of the American people. Will they have a job? Can they educate their children? What about their retirement, and the rest?

But it's a fight. And it's a fight between those who do not believe there should be any government role, as I said, public safety, public education, clean air, clean water, food safety. We see it on the floor of the House every day, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.

Bless their hearts, the Republicans don't believe -- many of them don't believe in a public-sector role, and they vote accordingly. The American people have to make a judgment as to what is important to them.

AMANPOUR: When the American people look in, they see this increasing dysfunction in this building, in this town. At the same time, congressional approval amongst people is at somewhere like 14 percent, the lowest since, anyway, we've been taking these polls.

PELOSI: I agree with that. Count me among those who are...

AMANPOUR: Among the 14 percent?

PELOSI: No, among the others who object to the way Congress is conducting itself.

AMANPOUR: People -- American people are now occupying Wall Street. They are spreading their protests to various other cities in the United States. They're expressing frustration. They're expressing fear of the joblessness. Do you support them?

PELOSI: Well, I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen. We cannot continue in a way that does not -- that is not relevant to their lives. People are angry.

AMANPOUR: I just want to get your reaction to some comments by Eric Cantor today. He said, quote, "I'm increasingly concerned"...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: ... concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: I didn't hear him say anything when the Tea Party was out demonstrating, actually spitting on members of Congress right here in the Capitol, and he and his colleagues were putting signs in the windows encouraging them. But let's not get down to that. Let's not get...

AMANPOUR: But do you think it's pitting Americans against Americans?

PELOSI: But it's the American system. It's the democratic system. We don't all agree. We'd have a king if we were all of one mind. We don't. We have different views. And the -- part of the democracy of our country is the expression that people give, and the Constitution guarantees that.

AMANPOUR: The story seems now to be one of class warfare. Are you concerned and worried that that is going to be the story going into the elections?

PELOSI: Well, actually, that notion, which I don't like, is one that came from the other side. When we said everyone should pay their fair share, the other side said that's class warfare.

No, it's not. It's the most endearing American value, fairness. And it's about everyone paying their fair share. We all have a responsibility to grow our economy, reduce the deficit, keep us number one.

So the very idea that the disparity in income and the disparity of equity and ownership in our country has grown so great -- listen to Ronald Reagan, when he talked about how unfair it was for a bus driver to be paying at the same rate as a millionaire. Listen to Ronald Reagan talk about that; he speaks beautifully to the unfairness of that scenario.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you about a little local spat? There was a back-and-forth between Elizabeth Warren and between Senator Brown in Massachusetts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): To help pay for his law school education, Scott Brown posed for Cosmo. How did you pay for your college education?

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: I kept my clothes on.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): Have you officially responded to Elizabeth Warren's comment about how she didn't take her clothes off?

BROWN: Thank God.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: What did you make of all of that?

PELOSI: The response you just gave, "Thank god," really, I though spoke volumes about how clueless Senator Brown is. It really spoke volumes about really disrespect for women that he may not even realize. I bet you he'd like to take that comment back.

AMANPOUR: Did you think it was kind of joke-y, for both of them?

PELOSI: Well, I think that -- she was asked a question. And -- and I -- I hope it's joke-y. And if it is, then hopefully he will take that comment back. But women know. They hear a comment like that, it tells you a lot about somebody.

AMANPOUR: Leader Pelosi, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And the revolution is being televised and Tweeted and Facebooked. The Occupy Wall Street protests are suddenly all that Washington can talk about. Are we witnessing the birth of a new kind of Tea Party? The roundtable will weigh in again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: You can demonstrate all you want to on Wall Street. The problem is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

BIDEN: There's a lot in common with the Tea Party. They thought it was unfair we were bailing out the big guys.

PAUL: There's a whole generation of Americans right now rising up and saying we were on the right track at one time. Let's get back on that track.

BERNANKE: They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess. At some level, I can't blame them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Washington reacts to the Occupy Wall Street protests now entering their third week. Yesterday, thousands of demonstrators marched to New York's Washington Square Park. That was their second mass rally.

Meantime, the protests have quickly expanded to other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, as well as here in the nation's capital. And this week, politicians of both parties finally realized that these young people could not be ignored.

So let's bring back again our roundtable.

George, the protesters are railing against Wall Street. It's a lot of what the Tea Party did in the early days. Is there a comparison to be made here?

WILL: No, because the Tea Party was the bourgeoisie in revolt, and they immediately went into the business of winning elections and running candidates. I disagree with some of the Republicans. I wish for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators long life and ample publicity for two reasons.

I think they do represent the spirit and intellect of the American left, but also I remember the 1960s. We had four years of demonstrations like this, leading up to 1968, when Nixon-Wallace vote was 57 percent, the country reacting against the demonstrators, and Republicans went on to win five of the next six presidential elections.

BRAZILE: I disagree. I don't think it's the same protesters that showed up in the late '60s or early '70s. I think this represents a different movement. It's...

AMANPOUR: Is it Tea Party-like?

BRAZILE: Well, Tea Party-lite? I don't know. I hope it's heavy on coffee and not on tea. But I do believe that it's a legitimate movement that grew out of the public outrage over the debt ceiling debate, when many Americans saw members of Congress basically sitting on their hands, doing nothing. These are educated people who cannot find jobs. They have worked hard, played by the rules, and they believe that Wall Street has not been held to account for their actions that created the mess in the first place.

AMANPOUR: Peggy, do you think that people are too quick to dismiss them?

NOONAN: Maybe. Look, to a certain degree, the Occupy Wall Street folks are reflective of a bitterness that has not gone away in America in the past three years that has accentuated as the economy has gotten worse, a bitter sense out there that Washington and the investment banks of New York tanked the American economy and paid no price for it.

That having been said, Occupy Wall Street, these protesters, is nothing like the Tea Party. The Tea Party rose up spontaneously, as I assume these folks have, but they were mature. They had a program. They had a political point of view that they were going to put into legislative action. They made serious political decisions about not going third party. They were real. We don't know yet that these folks are real.

Can I tell you, though? The Republican Party should not take the bait of Occupy Wall Street, and they should not do this replaying of 1968 where the Republicans say, "Protesters are bad." The protesters are doing their thing. Let it be.

DOWD: I think the Republicans are making a huge mistake on this, because I think if I were a Republican candidate or advising a Republican candidate today, I would say adopt this populist movement. Because right now, I think the Republican Party has forgotten who their base is. The Republican Party's base is not Wall Street. The Republican Party's base is a middle-class, small-town, rural vote out there.

And not to say that the Republicans agree with that, but I think the Eric Cantors and everybody else that are dismissing these folks, if I were Michele Bachmann or somebody else in that field, I would say, let's -- this is Main Street versus Wall Street problem. These protesters are saying the right thing. They may not have the right policies, but be a populist and be a populist Republican attacking Wall Street.

AMANPOUR: OK, we've spoken a lot about them. I'm now going to bring in Jesse LaGreca, who is a blogger for the liberal website Daily Kos. And he's been a fixture at the Wall Street protests.

So, Jesse, you've been listening to all of these descriptions of your movement. Where do you come down? I mean, we've talked about it as being immature, it hasn't had policy sort of directives. What is that you are trying to sort of consolidate around there?

LAGRECA: Well, I think the matter at hand is that the working-class people in America, you know, the 99 percent of Americans who aren't wealthy and aren't prospering in this economy, have been entirely ignored by the media. Our political leaders pander to us, but they don't take action. They stand in the way of change. They filibuster on behalf of the wealthiest 1 percent. They fold on behalf of the wealthiest 1 percent.

So the conversation we need to have is about the future, about what type of country we really want to be. And I think the most important thing we can do in our occupation is to continue to push the narrative that's been ignored by so many pundits and political leaders.

I mean, the reality is, I'm the only working-class person you're going to see on Sunday news, political news maybe ever. And I think that's very indicative of the failures of our media to report on the news that matter most to working-class people.

AMANPOUR: We are trying our best, Jesse.

LAGRECA: And I thank you.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, some of your, you know, most vociferous supporters, like our colleague, Paul Krugman, has spoken quite glowingly about this populist movement. And you've even heard people around this table saying that it should be harnessed, but also saying that it's the moment now to perhaps try to translate that into some kind of political question, political demand. Is there something that you can make this about?

LAGRECA: I think the entire movement is about economic justice. I mean, to me -- and I'm not speaking on behalf of Occupy Wall Street, I'm just giving my personal opinion -- I think it's a matter of economic rights and I think it's a matter of social rights and social justice. And to the people who would take offense to the word "social" being placed before justice, I'd invite them to re-read the Constitution.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask George Will, who wanted to ask you a quick question.

WILL: Mr. LaGreca, I hear a certain dissonance in your message. Your message is, Washington is corrupt, Washington is the handmaiden of the powerful. A lot of conservatives agree with that. But then you say this corrupt Washington that's the handmaiden of the powerful should be much more powerful in regulating our lives. Why do you want a corrupt government bigger in our lives?

LAGRECA: You know, I find that a lot of these conversations about the government tend to deflect away from Wall Street, because let's be honest. The lobbyists have enormous power, and they've shut out the voice of American people.

So I think we should demand a government that is listening to people. And I find it ironic that when people demand action from their government, so many people tend to overreact and say, "Well, that's out-of-control government."

Our government is a function of our democracy. By attacking the government, we are attacking democracy. So to me, I think, yes, we should ask our government to represent the will of the people. And if the will of the people are demanding action, then they should follow suit.

AMANPOUR: Do you think these demonstrations are going to have momentum? I mean, is it going to continue now, day after day?

LAGRECA: Absolutely. People are extremely excited about what we're doing. We're engaging in a direct democracy conversation. I mean, the general assembly is really the new town hall. And we don't have a filibuster. We don't have lobbyists. We don't have a system that can be co-opted. And I invite everybody to come down and talk to us.

AMANPOUR: All right. Jesse, thank you so much, indeed. I appreciate you being there.

Let me ask you, Donna. Clearly, unions and other Democratic organizations are jumping on this. Is this something that the Democratic Party feels will energize it, as the Tea Party did the Republican Party?

BRAZILE: There's no question that Democrats recognize the strength of this movement. This is a grassroots movement. On the other hand, I don't believe that the party itself should try to lead this. Yes, teachers, firefighters, many others who've been impacted by the ongoing recession, they have a legitimate right to go out there and protest.

George, many of these Americans are feeling the effect of the economy, foreclosures. How many Americans out there have lost their homes or their homes are underwater? This is a legitimate movement, and we should not try to marginalize them.

AMANPOUR: You know, and, Peggy, I was stunned by your column this week, where you were talking about a group of Wall Street -- sorry, Wal-Mart moms, and you were talking about people who were taking extraordinary steps to save money, donating blood, collecting aluminum cans.

NOONAN: Yes. Yes. They're -- I think we can all sometimes miss what is really happening in America. America is in distress. It's in immediate distress, paying the bills, foreclosures, et cetera.

But another kind of distress it's under is Americans are smart and they can tell, this ain't going to get better for a while. So there is a certain -- bitterness is too strong a word, despair is too strong, but maybe very upset and not feeling so great about the future.

It seems to me the question about Occupy Wall Street is this: What is your plan? You going to spend the next six months blocking the Brooklyn Bridge? Or are you going to harness a movement into political action, which means getting together with each other in living rooms...

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: I'm going -- I'm going to have to ask Jesse that. Very quickly, did you hear that, Jesse? Are you still there?

LAGRECA: Yes, I'm still here. But can you repeat the question?

AMANPOUR: Are you going to harness this into a political movement or are you going to, you know, hang out for -- for months?

LAGRECA: What I find amusing is that now people are looking to us to solve the political problems, and they should. But I'm not going to support one party or the other. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. But I will encourage you to be a voter.

I think we have succeeded tremendously in pushing the narrative that working-class people can no longer be ignored. And I think that it's very important that we have this conversation, because it's about the future of our country.

You know, right now, working-class people are being told to sacrifice. We're being told that our future is going to have to be put on hold in the name of austerity. And I can't name a single country that succeeded in solving their economic problems with austerity.

So I think the more important thing to do is to come out and speak to us. The town halls that you see are very top-heavy. Our political leaders come and try to sell us a message.

AMANPOUR: OK.

LAGRECA: They should be listening to us.

AMANPOUR: All right, Jesse, thank you very much, indeed.

And up next, religion leads to the forefront of the Republican race, as a prominent Rick Perry supporter labels Mitt Romney's Mormon faith a "cult." The roundtable gauges the fallout.

And Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour joins us with his take. That's after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFRESS: We want a candidate who is a good, moral person, or do we want a candidate who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?

(APPLAUSE)

Rick Perry is a true leader. He is a true conservative. And he is a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Would you join me in welcoming the governor of the great state of Texas, Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: That was Texas Pastor Robert Jeffress introducing Rick Perry at the Values Voter Conference on Friday. Shortly afterwards, Jeffress told reporters that he considered the Mormon Church a "cult."

Perry's chief rival, Mitt Romney, is, of course, Mormon, and Perry quickly distanced himself from the pastor's remarks. But the incident raises questions for both candidates.

So let's bring back the roundtable again.

George, again, this is about this unspoken business of Mitt Romney's faith. Is it going to be a major issue?

WILL: It's a submerged issue. I don't know how big it is, but it's an issue primarily with Republican voters. I don't think most Democrats care about this, and most Democrats aren't going to vote for Romney in any case.

AMANPOUR: And primarily with primary voters.

WILL: That's true. However, I think much of the resistance is in the South, and whoever the Republicans nominate is going to carry the South, regardless of any anxieties about his faith.

DOWD: This is interesting. Being raised Catholic, family in Detroit, I remember the times that many Evangelical ministers called the Catholic faith a cult. So I think you have this -- always have this back and forth.

Rick -- Mitt Romney's problem isn't that he's a Mormon. Mitt Romney's problem isn't that the Evangelical church -- Mitt Romney's problem isn't about a cult. It's about a core. And Mitt Romney -- most Republicans voters do not think he's authentic. The perception is that this is a guy, doesn't have a core, doesn't have a solid core. Unrelated to his religion, unrelated to that, fundamentally his problem is not going to be related to this Mormon issue, but related to the issue, can we trust you?

AMANPOUR: Let me go back to this issue for a moment. It was after this that the consecutive radio host Bill Bennett spoke of the summit yesterday, and he condemned the pastor's remarks. So the question is, is this going to hurt Perry, what was said yesterday, do you think?

BRAZILE: I think Rick Perry has a lot of problems, not -- not only on immigration -- and he tried to make up for that this weekend in Iowa -- but this whole race issue is still going to dog him for a couple more days. And hopefully he'll follow Haley Barbour's lead in addressing it at some point. Haley addressed it earlier this year, although he decided not to run.

But I think going back to what Matt said, I'm Catholic, but I grew up in the segregated deep south, and I -- and for many Southern Baptists, especially conservative Evangelical Baptists, this is an issue.

But I also believe that Mitt Romney can address it. He did address it four years ago when he ran for president. He talked about his faith. But this is an issue, he has to address it, and then move past it. You know, many Republicans wave the Constitution like a church fan (ph), but when it comes to this issue of religion, they become silent.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned Governor Haley Barbour, and he is joining us right now. Welcome from Mississippi, I believe.

BARBOUR: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Good to see you. You've heard all this conversation. What does Mitt Romney have to do in order to neutralize this? Is it possible?

BARBOUR: Oh, I think for many, many people, even here in the South, in the Republican primaries, it's not a big deal. For some people, it is. But I will guarantee you that there are thousands of Southern Baptist preachers that'll vote for Mormon Mitt Romney, if that's what they think it takes to get rid of President Obama.

AMANPOUR: And do you think that this is going to hurt Rick Perry?

BARBOUR: Well, I really don't. I mean, it's not -- Rick Perry didn't say anything. Somebody who introduced Rick Perry at an event later said something. It's not like the man even said it in the introduction where you might have expected Governor Perry to say, you know, I wouldn't say that or I didn't think that. Of course, you can tell from what you showed it wasn't even said in Rick Perry's presence, so I don't understand how that has any effect on Rick Perry.

The fact that Rick Perry is a conservative Christian helps him with a lot of people in the South and a lot of people around the country in other place.

DOWD: Rick Perry, I think, this is -- this is not -- Rick Perry has some more fundamental problems than this issue. He doesn't -- he has...

AMANPOUR: Including not winning the Vales Voter straw poll.

DOWD: He has -- he has a performance problem, not a pastor problem in this case. He's gone through three debates, where each -- as each debate has progressively been held, he's gotten worse and worse over the course of that time. Rick Perry's problem is that what -- the expectation people had for him, he is not meeting them, and that's fundamentally his problem, and that's what he's got to solve.

NOONAN: Well, I'm Catholic, too.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

AMANPOUR: We're outnumbered today.

(CROSSTALK)

NOONAN: ... like the Supreme Court. And I would note that -- that, when you look at polls, Catholics are less likely to be bigoted, if you will, about such religions as Mormonism, in part because bigotry has been put against them. It is not a Catholic problem with the Republican base. It is an Evangelical Protestant problem. We'll see how big it is.

AMANPOUR: Governor, if I could bring you back in again, at the Values Voter conference in their straw poll, it was Ron Paul who won it, not Rick Perry, not Michele Bachmann. And Herman Cain is sort of going up, as well. He's having a moment right now? Do you think that's going to last?

BARBOUR: Well, Herman Cain is very attractive. He comes from the private sector. He is plain-spoken, authentic, truth-telling, and a lot of people are -- are really looking for that. But it's a long way from here to there.

You know, one of the things we've got to understand, what happened in the last seven days is not necessarily -- can be extrapolated to what's going to happen in the next seven weeks. In a Republican nominating contest, about 90 percent of what matters hadn't happened yet.

So right now, it's kind of like the Cinderella phase. Everybody's trying to see if the shoe -- if the slipper fits on Herman Cain or on -- tried to force it on Chris Christie. But we're a long way from being able to say, is this going to stick?

Romney continues to -- to have a big following. Perry has a following. And the fact that Matthew said he didn't do well in debates, again, he is going to grow as a candidate, if he wins the nomination. Romney's going to grow as a candidate. Herman Cain is going to grow as a candidate if he wins the nomination.

AMANPOUR: Governor, let me just ask George. Is Cain the man to watch now? Has he got sticking power?

WILL: I think the problem is that Cain, attractive though he is and intelligent -- his 999 program is, I think he has a low ceiling. Can I ask Haley a question?

AMANPOUR: Please.

WILL: Haley, George Will. In the last five election cycles, the Republican presidential candidates have received 79 percent of their electoral votes from the South, defined, I think, as the 11 states of the old Confederacy plus Kentucky and Oklahoma. That -- weigh that against the fact that this election's apt to be won or loss in the North, that Obama has to carry at least three of four of the following states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, all of which elected Republican governors in 2010. Now, do you think that Rick Perry is a good candidate to win those states in the North?

BARBOUR: Look, he's had a very good record as the governor of Texas. Been governor a long time and a very good record in a very large state. I would just say to you, George, we've got to win back Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. And then, you're right, this election will be decided in the industrial quadrangle, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan. We've got to win back Indiana, for that matter, Wisconsin.

I think any Republican who can win the nomination -- and I'm not saying everybody in the field could win -- but any Republican who wins the nomination is going to be very competitive in that. And whether Romney, because he's from the Northeast, has a little bit of edge, this election should be a referendum on Barack Obama. When we -- when we have presidents up for re-election, it's supposed to be a referendum on that president, his record, and the performance that he's gotten from his policies. If that's the case, I think Rick Perry will do just fine in Ohio.

BRAZILE: Governor Barbour, you addressed the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders when they came to Mississippi, and you talked about the mistreatment they received. Do you think that Rick Perry, given this problem with the rock in Texas, should he also address this issue in the context of his campaign?

BARBOUR: You know, it's funny, Donna. Rick Perry appointed the first African-American chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. I mean, that speaks a whole lot louder than making some speech. Rick Perry's got a great record of appointing Hispanics and African-Americans.

And so whether or not he wants to make a -- make a speech like that, for us in Mississippi, it wasn't that I wanted to make a political speech. It was the fact that it was the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders coming to our state, being mistreated. And it was an opportunity for us to talk about how Mississippi's changed, changed considerably for the better.

BRAZILE: I know -- I know he's a former Democrat and I know his appointments, but don't you think this will help him dispel some of those issues that have come up in the campaign? And I often believe, Governor, as you well know, as a southerner myself, that we often address these issues in the Democratic Party, but isn't it time for the Republicans also to talk about the civil rights era? And this could really help Rick Perry.

BARBOUR: Well, as you say, Rick is a former Democrat. It just proves why we believe in redemption, Donna.

BRAZILE: Oh, go LSU Tigers, Governor. I'm going to rub it in.

AMANPOUR: Very, very quickly, Governor, before we leave you, how much is at stake for him in this next debate this week? He zoomed to the top, and then, as we've discussed, he's had some very, you know, questionable performances since.

BARBOUR: Well, I mean, the way the press has made a big deal of the previous debates, obviously, that means the stakes are higher. I'm not sure every voter is struck the same way, but the press coverage, the prism is the prism through which voters see candidates. And when somebody is not very well known and the press keeps saying they did badly, they did badly, they did badly, it matters. So the stakes are high.

AMANPOUR: Governor, thank you very much, indeed.

Is it just the press coverage, Peggy and Matt? Or does the governor really need to -- to pull something out of the hat on Tuesday?

NOONAN: Governor Perry? Oh, he started off unsteady at a time when people are looking for steady. Interestingly enough, debates, presidential nominating debates, are often sort of extraneous and not that interesting in life. This year, the Republican debates have done their job. That's where Perry had trouble. That's where he made a bad impression.

DOWD: His faltering and Cain's rising is directly related to the debates.

AMANPOUR: All right. And this roundtable will continue in the green room at abcnews.com. And when we return, a story of bravery and valor from the front lines of America's longest war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: This week marks the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. And for the last year, ABC's Mike Boettcher has been embedded with American units along the border with Pakistan. The 25th Infantry Division has seen heavy combat along the Pech River Valley in northeastern Afghanistan and to the south, in the province of Paktika.

Mike Boettcher spent time with the famed Currahee Brigade, an infantry unit that's celebrated for its World War II heroism. And we begin there with this modern-day Band of Brothers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOETTCHER (voice-over): It's early on a Sunday morning. Easy Company is in trouble. And so am I. Outside a mountain village near the Pakistan border, we walked into a Taliban ambush. Bullets are coming at us from three sides. One bullet heads straight towards the camera, deflected at the last second by a piece of wood.

(UNKNOWN): Get over here!

BOETTCHER: But Easy fights back. The Taliban retreats, and somehow no one is killed or wounded. They are, after all, the successors of the legendary E Company, 101st Airborne, immortalized in the "Band of Brothers." In their piece of Afghanistan, Easy walks everywhere to avoid the constant threat of roadside bombs.

Sergeant Max Brown (ph) knows firsthand what a homemade bomb can do.

BROWN (ph): It's like a shooting pain...

BOETTCHER: He feels it every time he takes a step.

BROWN (ph): You can see this bruise here. It's kind of like where the metal still is in my leg. And then that was the big entry point. But the pain will start here, and then it'll just go all the way down my leg as I walk.

BOETTCHER: On this particular mission, we walk 10 miles through those mountains and have to return 10 miles. And some of the soldiers in Easy Company say, in 11 months, they have walked more than 1,000 miles.

HANSEN: They've done what other people said was impossible. And that's -- and that's not a hyperbole; I mean, that's the truth.

BOETTCHER: Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division were sent back to this base in the dangerous Pech River Valley only a few weeks after they turned it over to the Afghan army. More than a dozen Afghan officers deserted Nangalong Base (ph) when the Americans left.

GUILLEN (ph): You keep dominating the conversation, and you're not letting us get any input. So all you're doing is complaining.

BOETTCHER: Now, Major Guillermo Guillen (ph) tells the new Afghan commander hard truths about America's slow exit from Afghanistan.

GUILLEN (ph): This has been the problem, is you're constantly waiting for an American force to go with you. You can't do that.

BOETTCHER: The modern American soldier is part-fighter, part-diplomat, part-truth-teller. Each day, American soldiers fan out across Afghanistan to spread this message: The Taliban kills you.

(UNKNOWN): In addition to the cutting off their heads, they destroyed a Koran when they blew the building up.

BOETTCHER: The American-backed government of Afghanistan will protect you.

(UNKNOWN): We do not want good Muslims to die.

BOETTCHER: Lieutenant Andrew Simmons (ph) is a relentless minister of that message.

SIMMONS (ph): We're working under the assumption that the vast majority of these guys can actually be reconciled back into Afghan society. They're not people we have to kill to win the war.

BOETTCHER: Some days there are glimmers of hope. For the first time of their year deployment, Currahee Brigade is warned by villagers that the Taliban planted a big bomb along the road they're patrolling.

(UNKNOWN): Yeah, I know. We need to encourage more people to tell us about this stuff.

BOETTCHER: The bomb is uncovered and destroyed.

(UNKNOWN): My honest assessment is, is they do what they kind of have to do to survive. You know, I think that they can of appease whoever is here at the time for survival.

BOETTCHER: And the reality of survival is this: American soldiers are leaving. The Afghan government is slow to fill the void. And time is running out.

For "This Week," I'm Mike Boettcher in the Pech Valley, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And coming up, your Sunday morning cheat sheet for next week in politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And now the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FERGUSON: And happy anniversary to President Obama and the lovely Michelle. They got married on this day in 1992. They had a nice private dinner to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the last time someone said yes to an Obama proposal.

(LAUGHTER)

GRASSLEY: Never before in the 225-year history of our country has the federal government said you had to buy anything.

COLBERT: Yes, the government cannot force you to buy things. It can only tax you, draft you, seize and sell your property, arrest you, incarcerate you, and execute you.

(LAUGHTER)

MEYERS: On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that he was not running for president. And then on Wednesday, Sarah Palin also announced that she would not run. Palin said that she would love to be president, but she just couldn't handle the two-year commitment.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Stay with us. "Next Week in Politics," your guide to campaign 2012, is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And now, "In Memoriam."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOBS: Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone. The last few years have reminded me that life is fragile.

DAVIS: I had a dream that some day I would build the finest organization in professional sports.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: And we remember all those who died in war this week. The Pentagon released the names of four service members killed in Afghanistan.

We'll be right back with "Next Week in Politics."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And now, your guide to what's happening next week in politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): The main event, Tuesday's big economy-focused debate in New Hampshire, Rick Perry's best shot at redemption.

That same day, President Obama plants his flag in the swing state of Pennsylvania, pushing his jobs plan in Pittsburgh.

Governor Perry travels there on Friday to deliver what's billed as his first major policy address, this one on energy and jobs. Mitt Romney will be across the country delivering a speech on trade in Seattle.

And at the end of the week, it's show me the money. Campaigns file their fundraising reports, and we'll know which candidates have real muscle behind their message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: That's our program this week. Remember, you can follow us anytime on Twitter, Facebook, and at abcnews.com. And be sure to watch "World News" with David Muir tonight for all the latest headlines.

For all of us here, thank you for watching, and we'll see you again next week.

END

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...