'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Joe Manchin and Jon Huntsman

Sens. Reed, Corker and Manchin and Jon Huntsman are interviewed on 'This Week'

ByABC News
January 12, 2013, 12:21 PM

NEW YORK, Jan.13, 2013— -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."


STEPHANOPOULOS: America and the world. Debating a new chief for the Pentagon.

OBAMA: Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve.

GRAHAM: This is an in your face nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ending the war in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: Our troops will have a different mission.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And starting one with Iran. That conversation with Senators Jack Reed for the Democrats and Republican Bob Corker, plus ABC's chief global affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, and the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass.

Then with the White House set to act on guns --

BIDEN: There's got to be some common ground here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We join the search for solutions with the new leaders of No Labels. Plus, the short strange life of that trillion-dollar coin.

STEPHEN COLBERT: We should have known a coin was Obama's solution to everything. It was right there in his slogan, change.

That and all the week's politics on our powerhouse roundtable with Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, America's last comptroller general David Walker, Judy Woodruff from PBS and Bloomberg View's Al Hunt.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. Lots to get to this morning, including the Treasury Department's decision late yesterday to bury the idea that a trillion-dollar platinum coin could solve the debt limit stalemate. Advocate Paul Krugman and our roundtable ready to weigh in on that, but first the national security debate, with our panel of experts and policymakers including the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, Democratic Senator Jack Reed, who just returned from his 14th trip to Afghanistan, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, author of the forthcoming book, "Foreign Policy Begins at Home," and ABC chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz.

And, Martha, let me begin with you. We saw that announcement from the president on Friday, speeding up the withdrawal of American troops out of Afghanistan. That's a little faster than the military wanted, but he was silent on how many troops would be left behind. What's behind the decision and where do you expect it will end up?

RADDATZ: I think all through the election season, I thought all they ever talk about is leaving Afghanistan, but this is real. This was a very big deal this week and a very big change. U.S. troops will be in an advise and train -- that's all they'll be doing come spring.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Pulling back from the front lines.

RADDATZ: Pulling back from the front lines. They will be with Afghan forces. The president has not announced how fast they'll draw down, but I suspect by the end of this year, we could be down to 30,000 troops. We're 66,000 troops now, possibly down to 30,000. And when we really draw down in 2014, when we are no longer doing combat missions, I think you'll see anywhere from only 6,000 to 9,000, and the important thing to remember about that, George, is tooth to tail. Tail means the enablers, the support. We would really have, if we had 3,000 troops there, we would really only have about 800 trigger pullers. You're going to see a lot of counterterrorism action, all of those things Joe Biden talked about a long time ago. I think that's all we'll have there in the future.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Corker, are you comfortable with that?