'This Week' Transcript: Michele Bachmann and Bill Gates

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is interviewed on 'This Week.'

ByABC News
October 30, 2011, 1:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2011— -- AMANPOUR (voice-over): This week -- she rose fast.

BACHMANN: Thank you, Iowa.

AMANPOUR: But now she's falling faster. Our headliner, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. With her presidential campaign at a crossroads, we asked how she plans to get back in the game.

And then -- the flat tax sensation. Rick Perry hopes it will break his losing streak.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TEXAS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The flat tax will unleash growth.

AMANPOUR: Herman Cain is riding his version to the top of the polls.


AMANPOUR: It's a Republican crowd pleaser. But do the numbers add up? Here to do the math on the policy and the politics, our powerhouse roundtable. And Tea Party titan and flat tax fan Dick Armey.

And then, one of the world's richest men on the global obligation to the poor.

GATES: Every dollar makes a huge difference.

AMANPOUR: Microsoft founder Bill Gates on getting government to give in a gloomy economy, and revealing comments about his love/hate relationship with the late Steve Jobs.

Good morning and welcome to the program. Lots to get to today, but first some news since your morning papers. More than 2 million people in the Northeast are without power this morning after a freak snowstorm slammed into the East Coast. The record-breaking nor'easter brought winds of over 60 miles an hour. It was the largest October snowstorm in New York City's history.

In Afghanistan, new details are emerging about yesterday's suicide bombing, which claimed a dozen American lives. The attacks marked a deadly milestone in America's longest war and It cast a pall on a new Pentagon report showing overall security gains in the country. ABC's Jake Tapper has more now from Kabul.


JAKE TAPPER, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, good morning. This was the deadliest attack on coalition forces here in Kabul in the more than 10 years of the Afghanistan war. Thirteen service members and contractors, most of them American, were killed when the armored bus they were in was targeted by a Taliban suicide bomber driving an SUV with a bomb the Taliban later said weighed 1,500 pounds. Four innocent Afghans were killed as well.

The attack came one day after the Pentagon issued a report touting how year-to-year attacks are down for the first time in America's longest war. Those metrics, however, focused on attacks on U.S. service members. The United Nations says attacks overall, including on civilians, are up 40 percent.

U.S. forces here say that this attack is a sign of Taliban desperation, but that seems debatable. Attacks by the Taliban here in Kabul are getting more brazen and more deadly. Christiane?


AMANPOUR: Thanks, Jake. And the attack comes as President Obama is trying to draw down troops in that war.

Turning now to the Republican primary and Herman Cain. The pizza impressario muscles his way to No. 1 in the new Des Moines Register poll. Cain inches out Mitt Romney for the top spot by just a hair, 23 percent to 22 percent. And Ron Paul is next with 12 percent.

Michele Bachmann, who tied Romney for first place just two months ago, is now number 4 with 8 percent. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich are tied for 5th place with 7 percent. And Rick Santorum brings up the rear with just 5 percent.

The poll caps off a busy week of campaign punch and counterpunch, with a full dose of weird thrown in for good measure. Here's our man Jon Karl with a very special Halloween episode of "This Week in Politics."


JON KARL, ABC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This week in politics was the spookiest yet. Starting with that smokin' Herman Cain video, and that slow-motion smile. Then we saw Cain made even stranger videos, like the one with the cowboy carrying yellow flowers on a horse, and a guy chugging whiskey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why does it always have to be about color? What are you guys, liberal?

KARL: The smoking video spawned parodies by just about every comedian with a TV show. Even more bizarre than Cain's videos, though, is his schedule. This week's bus tour taking him through Alabama.

CAIN: I'm not supposed to be running. I'm not supposed to win. And I'm not supposed to be standing up here with this hat on, but I'm doing it.

KARL: Alabama? When is their primary? Not in January, not in February. They don't vote until after 22 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rick Perry got spooked by debates, suggesting he may start skipping them. Why would he do that?

PERRY: Was it was before he was before--

KARL: What do you think, Governor Perry? More debates?

PERRY: I don't know whether or not we're going to forego any debates or not. You know, there's going to be a lot of debates. I mean, shoot, I may get to be a good debater before this is --


KARL: Perry came out with a flat tax this week, but caused more of a stir with what he said about the president's birth certificate.

PERRY: It's fun to poke at him a little bit and say, hey, how about -- let's see your grades and your birth certificate.

KARL: Michele Bachmann said no to a flat tax this week, saying Reagan didn't have one. Mitt Romney was haunted by the ghosts of flip-flops past and present. In Ohio on Tuesday afternoon, he had this to say about a ballot initiative favored by Governor John Kasich to limit union power.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MASS.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio.

KARL: By Wednesday, Mr. No Apology had this to say.

ROMNEY: I'm sorry if I created any confusion in that regard. I'm 110 percent behind Governor Kasich and in support of that.

KARL: From no position to 110 percent in favor in less than 24 hours.

President took his show out West, handing out lots of treats -- lower student loans and reduced mortgage payments. He also stopped by to see Jay Leno.

JAY LENO, HOST, TONIGHT SHOW: Have you been watching the GOP debate?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island. Once they narrow it down to one or two, I'll start paying attention.

KARL: Finally, trending this Halloween, Hillary Clinton, up. Looking presidential on the cover of "Time" magazine. And check out time's poll -- she'd beat Romney by 17 points.

Romney, up. New poll show him strong in all the early primary states. But down, too. Another flip-flop in Ohio.

Perry, down. Steps on his economic plan with birther talk.

Newt, up, again, in a slew of new national polls, he's in third, way ahead of Perry.

Up, Iowa, it's a race. Down, New Hampshire. Romney so far ahead, is it over? And the Huntsman daughters, up. With a buzzy Twitter handle and their own Cain parody video, they seem to be having more fun than dad.

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


AMANPOUR: The wonderful Jonathan Karl.

And so it's a good Sunday morning for Herman Cain, riding high in that new Iowa poll, but not so good for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who's lost a lot of ground in a short period of time. She joins me this morning from Cedar Rapids. Good morning, Congresswoman, thank you for joining us.

BACHMANN: Good morning.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, the new Des Moines Register poll has you now at fourth, languishing, when we've just been saying that just two months ago, you were tied at the top. Is it going to take some kind of a miracle now to resurrect your campaign?

BACHMANN: Well, we're doing exactly what we need to do. And again, I just want to remind you, that I won the Iowa straw poll in less time than any other candidate, and the first woman to ever win the Iowa straw poll. I'm doing exactly what I need to do in Iowa. I'm here, all across the state, meeting with people multiple times every day. And so it's amazing what a difference several weeks can make in the course of a presidential campaign. These are snapshots in time, and we're looking forward to January 3rd.

AMANPOUR: So do you think, I mean do you concede that you have lost some momentum, though? Because it's not actually just Iowa, and of course you've been spending a huge amount of time there, but also, according to CNN Opinion Research poll, even in New Hampshire, you're seventh. In South Carolina, you're 6th. Are you concerned about the deflation, the deflating balloon of your campaign?

BACHMANN: We're not worried about the day-to-day snapshots. What we're focused on are the primary dates. And of course, everything changes by then. And as we all recall, in the last cycle of the presidential race, it was Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani who were at the top of the charts, not John McCain, and yet he became the nominee. And so we're doing the fundamentals. It's very hard work to campaign. And we're focusing on greeting people, meeting with them, and getting our positive message, which is pro-growth and job creation. I am a former federal tax lawyer and I am a job creator. I've been working for five years at the tip of the spear in Washington for the issues that people care about. That's what we're talking about on the campaign trail and what we're focused on are the actual primary dates.

AMANPOUR: There's the caucus date, which is in about two months from now. Is, as your campaign manager has said, is Iowa for you a must-win state?

BACHMANN: Of course, we're focused on Iowa. We're focused on the schedule and the primary process. Iowa is the first caucus. Then on to New Hampshire. And after that, the first in the South, which will be South Carolina. So we're focused on the schedule that the states are now agreeing on, and that's our order.

AMANPOUR: But is it a must-win for you?

BACHMANN: Well, we're focused on it as we are all on the states. And so we're --

AMANPOUR: What would happen --

BACHMANN: -- moving forward as we are in all of them.

AMANPOUR: -- if you didn't - if you didn't win there? What would happen? How could you sort of rationalize going forward? Would that doom your effort, do you think?

BACHMANN: You know, really, the most important thing right now is the positive message that we're putting out in every state. People see me as a reformer and a fighter. That's what sets me apart in this race from all of the candidates. I spent five years in Washington, D.C. at the tip of the spear. I was the lead person fighting President Obama against Obamacare. I wrote the bill to repeal Obamacare and I wrote the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank, the jobs and housing destruction act. That's what people see.

I have exercised leadership in Washington, D.C., and people know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And they know they can trust me. I don't flip flop. I stand strong on issues and I fight, and that's what we need in the White House to take on President Obama for 2012.

AMANPOUR: Congresswoman, let's talk about some of the issues. You have called it a declaration of war, that the plot by Iran, the alleged plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat here in the United States. You have called that an act of war. As a president, as President Bachmann, what would you do, how would you retaliate to an act of war on American soil?

BACHMANN: I think the one thing that I would do that is very different from President Obama, I wouldn't take my eye off of the fundamental problem in the Middle East today, which is an Iran seeking to gain a nuclear weapon. This will change the course of history once that occurs. And what I would do is take everything at our disposal to make sure that Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon. They have already stated that they would use a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the map. That must never occur. Iran has also stated they would be willing to use a nuclear weapon against the United States of America. I think if there's anything that we have learned over the course of history, it is that when a madman speaks, we should listen. And I think in the case of Iran, that is certainly true.

AMANPOUR: Congresswoman, of course the United States is concerned about the nuclear program. Iran denies that it has one, so it hasn't threatened to use them. But the real question is, what would happen? How would you retaliate as president if there was an act of war as you've called it, on American soil? Would you at least consider the use of force?

BACHMANN: I would consider the use of everything that we need to do to maintain the security and safety of the American people. Of course, there must be first an identifiable vital American national interest. And I think here, where you look at these tremendous acts of aggression and we have to consider, again, what happened. This was Iran attempting an international assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador, potentially set in a restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area, where hundreds of innocent Americans could have been killed and wounded. And all -- but with the use of Mexican drug cartels. These are very serious actions and indicate the aggressive posture that Iran is now taking against the United States of America.

They see the United States as less of a threat to them than ever. And clearly they fail to respect the United States and our presence, and they see the weakening of U.S. presence, particularly with the non-agreement to a status of forces agreement in Iraq, and the pullout of the United States by the end of December.

AMANPOUR: So, Congresswoman, you have just said that you would have all options on the table. Let me move on to Libya. You have said that you disagreed with President Obama, that Libya and the action there was not in America's national interest. So, as President Bachmann, if you had not taken that decision to lead and to support the NATO option, there would be presumably, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people dead in Benghazi, and Moammar Gadhafi would still be in power. Would that -- is that what President Bachmann would have wanted?

BACHMANN: Well, clearly, again, it was Defense Secretary Gates who stated that there was no American vital interest in Libya. That is the precursor for the United States' involvement in another nation's affairs. I believe that it was the wrong decision for President Obama to take, and he said that his reason for a United States involvement -- and he unilaterally made that decision, on his own, without going to Congress -- he made that decision, he said, for humanitarian purposes. But clearly this was about regime change. That was the focus of the president.

And so, now, we have a mess in Libya. We don't know who the ruling party will be going into Libya. There are some indications Gibril is an early leader, but we don't know if that's what ultimately will be. There's essentially a war right now between factions in Misurata and in Benghazi. So, this clearly is not settled, what the leadership or what the future course of Libya will be. There's tremendous uncertainty and chaos. And of course, when there's uncertainty and chaos in a nation, that's when you see trouble and potentially extremist elements that could come into power. That would not be good for the United States' interest in that area.

AMANPOUR: Again, just briefly, Moammar Gadhafi, who launched terrorist plots and acts against the United States, is no longer. So now that we see the end game, you have seen what happened, would you basically still say that given the relatively minor U.S. involvement, about $1 billion and only supporting aircraft, no boots on the ground, that it wasn't worth it? Is that still your position?

BACHMANN: My position is that the United States should not have gone into Libya, because, again, the last chapter isn't written. This is a snapshot in time. There's tremendous instability in the Libyan region, and we have seen continued deaths and fighting. And this will not end any time soon. So there remains a struggle for power. And again, this is the issue now in the Middle East region. Who will ultimately hold seats of power? Egypt yet is unknown, who will ultimately control that seat of power. Will it be the Muslim Brotherhood? Will it be extremist elements? And of course, that's true in Libya as well. Will it be extremist elements that rule? And in Libya, this is very important because of the oil revenues. And oil revenues, as we know, could potentially be used to further finance a global caliphate and extremist elements. So this is far from settled in Libya.

AMANPOUR: Let's take security issues closer to home. About illegal immigration, you have made some statements that really have people wondering about your attention to detail on this. I want to play something that you said about this, this week. Just let's listen.


BACHMANN: 59,000 alone this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror. They are coming into our country.


AMANPOUR: Congresswoman Bachmann, I just want to read from the report of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that the 59,000 represents the total illegal immigrants apprehended from all countries other than Mexico, but only 11 of them were from Yemen, and just five were illegal immigrants from Syria, not 59,000. I mean, how do you get those figures so wrong?

BACHMANN: I did not state in my -- in the full context of my remarks I didn't say that 59,000 came solely from states that were state sponsors of terror. I said it included among them are -- but you're missing the main point that I made. The fact that the United States government has failed to secure our borders has put the American people at risk. If there was even one individual that came illegally across our border from a state sponsor of terror, that alone would show the failure of the United States government. The fact that we have 59,000, other than Mexicans coming across in one year, certainly poses a threat. But no, I didn't say that they were all from the state sponsors of terror. So that would be inaccurate for you to report that

AMANPOUR: Well, it is in fact in your statement there. I'm hearing what you're saying now to sort of talk about what you actually meant. But of course, Yemen is not classified as a state sponsor of terrorism. But can I actually move on--

BACHMANN: That's right. That is right. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terror. Nor did I say that they were. There are on the secretary of state's Web site, listed the nations that are state sponsors of terror. And that's what is wrong, and that's what's worrisome, the fact that we do have individuals that are from state sponsors of terror coming across unimpeded on the United States' southern border, and that's why I have stated that within one year of being in office, I would build the fence that is so necessary on our border.

AMANPOUR: Well, on that issue, thank you for clearing up what you said last week. But let me just ask you one final question about your opponents. You have basically said that Governor Perry is taking and as you said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, taking your ideas when it comes to his tax proposals. But he's talking about a flat tax and you're not, really. How do you consider that taking your ideas?

BACHMANN: My tax plan is unique in that, unlike any of the other plans, my plan calls for every American to pay something when it comes to federal income taxes, because today 51 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax. This needs to change. We're at a tipping point now. Everyone needs to pay something. And so I take a page from Ronald Reagan and the economic miracle that was wrought in the 1980s. Reagan flattened the tax rates and he simplified them.

Now, because he was working with a Democrat Congress, he couldn't abolish the U.S. tax code. I would abolish the United States federal tax code, and in its place, I would flatten the rates and simplify them. I would not have just one rate, but I'd have several rates, which is a flattened, simple, much fairer system, and one that would be equitable and raise revenues for the federal government as well.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Congresswoman Bachmann, thank you so much for joining us.

BACHMANN: Thank you and good morning.

AMANPOUR: Good morning to you. And up next -- the Cain gain, can the pizza mogul keep the momentum going? Or will he flame out before voters head to the polls? Questions for our roundtable coming up.


CAIN: We obviously are very excited about that. And I think it just goes to show that even though the pundits have been criticizing me for not living in Iowa, we have done a lot of work in Iowa, and it's still paying off.


AMANPOUR: Herman Cain in Alabama last night after a first-place finish in the Des Moines Register poll. And getting to the top and staying there are two very different things. The real question, can Cain go the distance? So let's bring in our roundtable. George Will, Cokie Roberts, Austan Goolsbee, the former head of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, and Ron Brownstein of the National Journal.

So, you just heard what Herman Cain said, you've all seen the Des Moines Iowa poll. George, is he going to stay there? Can he keep up this momentum?

WILL: Not if the future is like the past, which it always isn't -- which it always isn't until it isn't. The general conception is that, in Iowa, you have to do intricate organizing, county by county, get the buses, get them to the caucus on a night in January, all of that. Maybe you don't anymore. But my feeling is that Iowa caucuses are light years from now. You know the old axiom, that overnight is a long time and a week is forever in American politics. And no one has voted. And Iowans indeed aren't paying attention yet.

ROBERTS: And Herman Cain is just this week's or this two weeks' not-Romney. We have had an entire season of not-Romneys. Whether it was Rick Perry or Herman Cain or Donald Trump or Chris Christie, this is this week's. And until the Republicans either decide that somebody really is the not-Romney or Romney is going to be the nominee, we're going to keep having these people pop up.

BROWNSTEIN: And in fact, the Des Moines Register poll, if you look at it, is internally very consistent with what we saw in the four other polls that came out this week, the Time-CNN polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, all of the early states. And the pattern is the same everywhere. There is a half of the party that does not identify with the Tea Party, that are not evangelical Christians, and they are steadily consolidating around Romney. So he's got problems within -

ROBERTS: And that includes endorsers in Congress and fund-raisers from -


BROWNSTEIN: And his numbers in all of these states, double-digit advantage with that side of the party. But the other side of the party, the Tea Party supporters, evangelical Christians, are very important in Iowa, 60 percent of the vote in 2008, they don't want Romney, but they haven't been able to settle on one candidate. As Cokie says, it's Cain now, it was Perry before, Bachmann, Palin, Trump. Not clear that this is where the moving finger stops.

GOOLSBEE: I would say, I do think it's not just anti-Romney. I think there's bit of a clamor that Herman Cain has got something that they perceive as a new idea. So he's got the 9-9-9 plan, and most of the others are just kind of staying back and trying to say as little as possible.

ROBERTS: And he's the most entertaining by a long shot. And that ad of his is, you know, is really fun to watch.

AMANPOUR: Yes, we'll talk about that, but let me just bring in former Congressman Dick Armey, who is obviously a leading voice in the Tea Party. Congressman, are you embracing Herman Cain? And if not, why not?

ARMEY: Well, we all -- I speak for myself and a lot of the folks across the country with whom I associate, we like Herman Cain's authenticity. But one thing that you can say clearly, he's not a politician. He's criticized by the politicians for being too amateurish, making all the wrong moves, yet he has got a personal record of accomplishments that none of them can match in terms of his personal life and what -- how often he got the job done. He's straightforward in the way he talks. And he dares to go campaign very directly and in a manner that doesn't seem to be beleaguered by an excess of advice from political professionals. So from our point of view, yes, he's not one of them. So, therefore, he -- it makes him very attractive to us.

AMANPOUR: So is he the new standard bearer? Because obviously Michele Bachmann had that title, that position, that self-declared sort of position during the summer. But is he now it for you? Do you think he has staying power?

ARMEY: Well, the fact is, this is a long-term process. We enjoy having people in the race, make their point of view. And we like Herman Cain a great deal. We don't think he has got the best economic plan. In the final analysis, we're concerned with what policies will in fact be implemented by a new administration, working with a new majority in the House and the Senate, that will in fact move this economy forward, and give our kids to chance to have a better job, a job in the first place. It's all about our grandchildren.

ROBERTS: Congressman Armey, as I recall, Governor Perry is really the man you're waiting for, right, to see how he does? And you like his economic plan, as I understand it.

ARMEY: Well, Governor Perry has had -- has seen the first best public policy option to move employment forward, growth, economic growth forward in America, is the flat tax. That's been known since Hall and Rabushka created it in 1984. He's also probably aware that for the first time, America's beating (ph) Washington, office holders are more responsive to people at large rather than special interests, so we have a chance to actually enact this kind of growth policy for America.

ROBERTS: What you're hearing here, though, is this hope on the part of a lot of Republicans that Rick Perry can pull it out. That he's just not done it so far.

BROWNSTEIN: Because that Iowa poll really underscores I think the risk for conservatives, which is there may never be a majority in the Republican Party that affirmatively wants to nominate Mitt Romney, but if that majority doesn't coalesce behind a single candidate, he could be in effect a plurality nominee. And that right now, you look at a poll like this, that's the direction it's heading.

Someone in Dick Armey's group told me this week, they might feel compelled to endorse one of conservative candidates because they need to have some unity if they are going to stop Romney, who they clearly have questions and doubts about.

WILL: The only person who can stop Romney is Romney, and he took (inaudible) to doing that this week, with several --


WILL: -- of his serial changes of mind.

AMANPOUR: Let's just stick on Perry for one second, because everybody is sort of putting a lot of hope in him, but we have seen that he's collapsed a little under the debate pressure. Here's what he told Fox News this week about these debates.


PERRY: These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. All they're interested in is stirring it up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important.


AMANPOUR: He says he's going to do the November debates, but we don't know about any future debates. Is that important? Should we -- does he need to stay in those debates? Or does he need to do something else?

WILL: Well, he needs to do better in the debates if he's going to be in them.

AMANPOUR: What if he doesn't?


WILL: But let's -- can we just assert that these debates are a preposterous subtraction (ph) from the nation's understanding? They're not debates, they're serial press conferences. Eight on the stage, you can't have a debate. Does anyone remember what Lincoln and Douglas did? The first candidate talked for an hour. The second candidate for an hour and a half.


GOOLSBEE: If you want them to talk for an hour, George, you know -- look, we lived this on both sides, but especially on the extended Democratic primary in 2008. And, it is true that one thing that happens is, it's prone to little snippets coming out that create a brouhaha.

But I will say, you also saw a certain discipline preparing you for what will be a tough, long general campaign. If he stops going to debates, I think...


ROBERTS: Yes, I agree.

AMANPOUR: But what about the flat tax plan? Because that's what he's trying -- everybody is suddenly in love with these flat tax plans?

ROBERTS: But let me -- just on the debates, though. The truth is that even though they don't enlighten, what they do do is constantly tear down the president. I mean, that is what you have as a central message.

And I do think that in that case, when you have long primary on -- you know, on one party and not the other, that the message of the party that is anti the incumbent, in this case, really does have an effect.

BROWNSTEIN: Cokie, there's a second thing, real quick, on the debate, that answers George's correct point from before, that the way you run for president may be changing. The debates really have become a form of public financing.

They are allowing candidates to stay in the race who have been unable to build the kind of fund-raising base, organizational structure, or even broad support in the polls that would have been required. The weeding out process is being changed.

If you can go on these debates, get 5 million, 6 million people watching, when only about 20 million, 25 million people traditionally vote in the whole primaries, you're reaching a big part of the audience.

All of these candidates are able to sustain 8, 9, 10 percent, it probably helps Romney in the end, because it continues to divide up that vote that is resistant to him. But it is part of this way that running for president is changing. It is becoming a national audition in which voters everywhere are being exposed to the same national media. And this on-the-ground organizing in Iowa and New Hampshire, while not irrelevant, is less important than it was once.

AMANPOUR: So let me just ask about the issue now, the flat tax, which is sort of gaining so much steam with the Republicans. Rick Perry's plan, basically, and we can see it up there, a person can choose whether to keep filing at the rates they currently pay or pay a 20 percent flat tax rate. It also preserves a number of popular deductions for households bringing in under $500,000.

Is that a little bit of something for everybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's a little bit of something -- this is a lot for somebody.


GOOLSBEE: This is like the tax version of we're going to try to bring back the leisure suit. I mean, we've thought this through, 20 years ago we thought we went through all of the -- when we get down the flat tax, you're going to find it's a huge tax cut for high-income people, to has to raise the same revenue, it has to raise taxes on the middle class.

The only way to avoid doing that is to make it a huge revenue loser. So I think that the thing that's interesting to come out of the Republican candidates is that, if you look at Cain, if you look at Perry, if you look at Romney, they have each put forward not just refusing to have taxes go up, that we raise any revenue as part of the super committee in a balanced way, but they're actively arguing for multi-trillion-dollar tax cuts centered on the high end.

And I think -- I don't see how the super committee survives in that circumstance.

ROBERTS: Well, they might not survive anyway.

ARMEY: Well, let me just -- let me make the point that that's pretty, you know, ordinary poppycock we just heard. And it's, you know, part of the party line.

GOOLSBEE: I appreciate that.

ARMEY: But the fact of the matter is, all across Eastern Europe, and throughout the history of its implementation in world economies, the flat tax has proven to be the best growth engine for the economy.

Now let's put it within the context of the growth, incomes go up for everybody, and you treat everyone the same. I don't understand why all of these romantic egalitarians out there hanging around the left wing of American politics, can't accept that fair is treating everybody exactly the same as everybody else.


ARMEY: And the facts are right now, we have grotesquely unfair and brutal tax system that represses the economy and is destructive to our spirit. Let's replace it with something that's decent, honest, and fair, and has no mission except to raise the necessary revenue for the government.

ROBERTS: Well, I think -- I think, Mr. Majority Leader, you would find that an awful lot of businesses -- business people disagree with you there. I mean, the deduction for health insurance has been something that they have used very much, deductions on mortgages, of course, and, of course, charitable giving, supporting universities and charities.

BROWNSTEIN: And real quick, one of those "romantic egalitarians" was a private citizen named Mitt Romney, who, in 1996, took out full-page newspaper ads in Boston and New Hampshire and Iowa, saying that the flat tax was a tax cut for a fat cats. Because it is not -- because even though it taxes all wages at the same level, it completely exempts interest, dividends, and capital gains from taxation. And thus because as those concentrate in the top, do, in fact, provide substantial benefits for those at the top of the income ladder.

AMANPOUR: We're out of time. Thank you very much. This will continue in...

ARMEY: Well, you know, I've listened to a president whining...

AMANPOUR: Sorry, Congressman.

ARMEY: ... for the last year-and-a-half...

AMANPOUR: We are out of time.

ARMEY: ... that rich business people are taking all of these tax breaks. This takes them away.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, indeed. And this conversation will continue in the "Green Room."

And coming up, revealing conversation with Bill Gates about Steve Jobs, class warfare, and what America can and must do for the world's most vulnerable.

AMANOUR: President Obama heads to France next week to attend the G-20 economic summit in Cannes. And so too is Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. He's on a mission to convince some of the wealthiest nations and corporations to take care of the poor. And he has some inovative ideas on how to do it. But with the economic crisis rippling around the world, it will be a tough sell. And Gates got a taste of that challenge when he visited Capitol Hill this week. I spoke to him about the frustration gripping Washington and much of the nation.

AMANPOUR: Do you buy this notion that there's a sort of class warfare in this country right now?

GATES: No, fortunately, there hasn't been class warfare. Warfare is like where you're shooting at each other and there's...

AMANPOUR: I know. But...


GATES: -- there are barricades in the streets and...

AMANPOUR: Believe me, I know warfare.

GATES: Right (LAUGTHER). So how does it look?

AMANPOUR: The Buffett Rule, for instance, and all the other proposals the president is making are being called class warfare by his opposition. Do you agree with the Buffett Rule? Do you support that?


AMANPOUR: Why is it funny?

GATES: Well, I just can't imagine the -- these millionaires and billionaires going down and -- barriciding (sic) the streets because they're going to have to pay four or five percent more in taxes. I mean it's going to be rough for them… There certainly is a case to be made that taxes should be more progressive. And, you know, that -- that's being debated by various people.

AMANPOUR: Do you support the Buffett Rule?

GATES: I'm not an expert on how we should do taxes. Clearly, you can't raise the taxes we need just by going after that 1 percent. Yes, I'm generally in favor of the idea that -- that the rich should pay somewhat more. But to really deal with the deficit gap we're talking about, that alone just numerically is not going to be enough.

AMANPOUR: You talk a lot about education. And, obviously, we know and we've seen the figures that the more educated, the more you have a degree and further degrees, the less problems you have with employment, etc.

But, a new book is out. And it says Bill Gates was a college dropout. Steve Jobs was. Jack Dorsey of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Basically trying to say that it's not just about college, that entrepreneurs and innovators may need a different route for the kind of success that you've all brought and that, you know, America needs.

GATES: I think there are some people who will make their own route. And, you know, those people don't need some guy to make a route for them. I mean I don't think somebody is saying, Okay, you go up to Reed College, you drop out after six months, you -- you take various drugs for a while, you go to India. I don't think that's something we need some well-defined route for that, you know, one out of a million type person. For most people, being able to do mathematics, being able to read, have the jobs skills that would let you be a nurse, the job skills that would let you be a policeman, a teacher, you know, these are great things. And our capacity for doing that needs to expand.

AMANPOUR: Bill Gates' latest mission -- getting the world's wealthiest nations to continue investing in the developing world. A tough sell when many countries' budgets are severely strapped.

AMANPOUR: At the G-20 summit next month, you're going to propose, for the richest countries in the world to do and keep their commitments and give more to some of the poorest countries. Isn't that a heavy lift in this era of austerity?

GATES: Well, if we really look at how the world's improved in the past few decades, it's very impressive how we've reduced poverty, reduced malnutrition, reduced the under five death rate. And we need to take lessons, the generosity, the innovation, and carry that forward despite the fact we have this economic crisis.

AMANPOUR: How can you convince people here in this country that this is actually something that should be done?

GATES: Well, certainly if you talk to people about providing AIDS drugs to people who would die otherwise or providing the malaria bed net that protects children, the U.S. voters are very generous about that. They're very excited that the U.S. has been the leader in both of those areas.

And they're pretty surprised when they find out that it's less than 1 percent of the federal budget going to aid very broadly, where these high impact health programs are just a portion of that.

And so, you know, if we had a referendum on bed nets or AIDS drugs, I'm sure we'd do quite well, as long as it doesn't get buried under these general terms of, okay, the size of the government or a broad term about foreign aid, which brings up a history of cold war foreign aid that was not that effective.

AMANPOUR: You were on Capitol Hill. What sort of a welcome did you get?

GATES: They do have a tough constraint. And so the question of should these monies that help the poorest, that enhance national security, should they be cut more than other things? Should they be cut equally? Or should they be preserved? That's, you know, something that they're having to think about. And, you know, I'm reminding them that every dollar makes a huge difference.

AMANPOUR: When President Obama says it's time to do nation-building here at home, what's your answer to that?

GATES: Well, I think, absolutely, the United States has to go back and look at what's going on with our education system, what's going on with our medical costs, what's going on with our infrastructure, our energy, our R&D. There's some very important things. Which is why 99 percent of the budget will -- will focus domestically.

There's a question, as you do that, the U.S. lead role in helping the very poorest, get them vaccines and those things, should you do your nation-building by causing more of those people to die or should you maintain at least at the level you promised, that you went out and said that the Vaccine Fund, the Global Fund, we will put this money in are those promises going to be met? And that's really at risk right now.

AMANPOUR: There was an enormous outpouring when Steve Jobs died. I mean I don't think anybody has seen a businessman get so much reaction. How do you explain that?

GATES: Well, Steve Jobs did a fantastic job. When you think about why is the world better today, the Internet, the personal computer, the phone, the way you can deal with information is just so phenomenal.

AMANPOUR: You must have heard about the book that's come out. Walter Isaacson's written a book about Steve Jobs, with his authorization. And he said a few things about you, which I want to run by you. He had some pretty tough words.

He basically said that you were "unimaginative, had never invented anything and shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas." That's pretty tough stuff. What's your reaction to that?

GATES: Well, Steve and I worked together, you know, creation -- creating the Mac. We had more people on it, did the key software for it. So over the course of, you know, the 30 years we worked together, you know, he said a lot of very nice things about me and he said a lot of tough things.

I mean he faced, several times at Apple, the fact that their products were so premium priced that they literally might not stay in the marketplace. So the fact that we were succeeding with high volume products, you know, including a range of prices, because of the way we worked with multiple companies, it's tough.

And so the fact that, you know, at various times, he felt beleaguered, he felt like he was -- he was the good guy and we were the bad guys, you know, very understandable. I, you know, respect Steve. We got to work together. We spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of that bothers me at all.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Gates, thank you very much indeed.

AMANPOUR: And now, In Memoriam.


DANIEL BURKE, CAPITAL CITIES: Won't be satisfied frankly until we're first.

NUSRAT BUTTO, PAKISTAN PEOPLE'S PARTY: I hope that there will be justice and freedom for human beings.

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



AMANPOUR: And now, a look at what's happening next week in politics.

Fresh off his victory in Des Moines Register poll, Herman Cain travels to Washington tomorrow to pitch his 999 plan at the National Press Club. Many of his opponents spend the week hunkered down in Iowa. Rick Perry is among those addressing the National Association of Manufacturers in Pella (ph).

Wednesday, Rick Santorum completes his tour of the Hawkeye State, visiting its 99th county.

The week's most entertaining political event, happens way off the campaign trail in Texas next Saturday when Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich hold their first in a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates.

And President Obama gets away from it all, traveling to Cannes, France on Thursday for the G20 summit.

Up next, final thought on a new exhibit that could start turning the page on America's relationship with Islam. We have some amazing pictures to show you. So stay with us.


AMANPOUR: Before we say good-bye today, we want to leave you with feast for the eye and a lot of food for thought. Starting this week, visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, will see the newly refurbished Islamic art gallery. Americans, indeed much of the world, have understandably had a turbulent relationship with Islam since the horrors 9/11. And by a stroke of bad timing, the Met, which houses one of the world's preeminent Islamic art collections, closed the galleries for renovations for 2003. It was a time when we so desperately needed to see another side of this civilization, when we need to learn more not less about Islamic culture.

So, now, art spans that thousand years from ancient Persia, and Egypt, Turkey and the Arab lands, central and south Asia is on display in all its glory.

The magnificent tiling of the prayer niche from Persia or Iran circa 1354. The emperor's carpet, which took more than three years to restore, another Persian masterpiece, and believed to have once belonged to Peter the Great of Russia.

In the Damascus room, we see how 18th Century Syrian noblemen lived and entertained. And we wonder about today's uprising there.

The Met has laid out all of this, and more, not as an ode to religion, but as a secular regional and historical panorama of a civilization that predated and out innovated Europe hundreds of years before the United States was even born.

To walk through this Islamic treasure trove is to experience awe, but also intimacy and an almost visceral sense of relief, that here lies a thousand years of beauty to counter the last 10 years of fear and loathing.

That's our program this week. Join us next Sunday when former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins me to discuss her new memoir on life in the Bush administration.

And be sure to watch World News with David Muir tonight for all of the latest headlines.

And for all of us here, thank you for watching. We'll see you next week.