'This Week' Transcript: John McCain and Robert Gibbs

John McCain and Robert Gibbs are interviewed on 'This Week.'

ByABC News
February 17, 2012, 12:59 PM

NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2012— -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER (voice-over): Good morning. Welcome to "This Week."

Michigan melee.

ROMNEY: If you want a fiscal conservative, you can't vote for Rick Santorum, because he's not.

SANTORUM: It's not about you. It's not about you.

TAPPER: Rick Santorum has the momentum.

ROMNEY: Thank you.

TAPPER: Mitt Romney has the money.

(UNKNOWN): How did Rick Santorum actually vote?

TAPPER: When will order finally come to the Republican race? That question for our exclusive headliner, the man who survived the GOP primary gauntlet four years ago to emerge as his party's nominee, Senator John McCain.


OBAMA: Change will come.

TAPPER: ... is the Republican fighting helping President Obama, despite his struggles? We'll ask top Obama adviser Robert Gibbs.

Then, our powerhouse roundtable takes on all the week's politics. Plus, the Jeremy Lin phenomenon and whether the tribute to Whitney Houston has gone too far, with George Will, Dee Dee Myers, Lou Dobbs, Clarence Page, and Jonathan Karl.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from the Newseum in Washington, Jake Tapper.


TAPPER: Good morning, everyone. George Stephanopoulos has a well-deserved morning off. We're now just over one week away from the crucial Michigan primary. Michigan is Mitt Romney's home state, where his dad was governor. And both the Romney and Santorum camps consider the contest there to be a potential game-changer in this bitterly fought Republican nomination battle.

To discuss that fight and more, key Romney-backer and the Republican nominee from four years John McCain joined us just a few moments ago from Afghanistan.


TAPPER: Senator, I'm going to get to international relations and foreign policy in a second, but the news this week has been dominated by politics. And, in fact, you've become part of the conversation. I want to play Rick Santorum in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, talking about Mitt Romney's leadership of the Salt Lake City Olympics.


SANTORUM: He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake -- John McCain called it potentially the worst boondoggle in earmark history. Does the word "hypocrisy" comes to mind?


TAPPER: Does the word "hypocrisy" come to mind, asks Senator Santorum. Well, does that word come to mind? Because Senator Santorum is right. He did request that money as head of the Olympics. You did criticize it. And now Mitt Romney is criticizing Rick Santorum for earmark spending. What's your reaction?

MCCAIN: Well, my reaction is that I, of course, oppose earmarks, and I've opposed them of all kinds. All I wanted them to do was go to Congress and go through the normal process of authorizing and then appropriating. I certainly wanted to save the Salt Lake Olympics, as most other Americans did.