'This Week': Pope Francis' Economic Critique

The "This Week" roundtable on Pope Francis' critique of capitalism and the Obama family's post-presidential plans.
3:00 | 12/01/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Pope Francis' Economic Critique
morning at a prayer service in st. Peter's square, at the start of this holiday season. It comes on the heels of a remarkable document he released this week. I want to read some excerpts of it first. It's called the joy of the gospel. It talks a lot about our duty to the poor. He comes out of the globalization of indifference. He said that, thou shalt not to an economy of exclusion and inequality, such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news testimony when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure. But it is new when the stock market loses two points. He takes on trickle-down theory. It's never been confirmed by the facts and expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding power. He says, I beg the lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor, it's vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and health care. Peggy noonan, he didn't necessarily change church doctrine but kind of reordered its priorities. Well, each pope and the way he speaks about the problems of the world, shows the world his own thinking and his own sense of priorities. This pope, first of all, he continues to fascinate, he excites the imagination of the world, I have never had so many friends, at various sorts and backgrounds, in this city and in washington, say, I love this man so much, I'm considering coming catholic. Have you heard that? I'm actually hearing it from people. They're like, wow, can I join? Here's -- there are many different ways to approach the pope's paper which is long and which dealt with many things. One of the thoughts I had briefly was this, our modern popes have tended to be european social democrats, they are -- they are -- socialism hasn't upset them. Communism has. They understand the free place. Which was very hopeful to tm as they -- the cardinals, who became pope resisted the c connumism world. His tradition is different. He may indeed view capitalism with a more jaundice eye. He may be bringing something else which will be revealed in time. He wanted to take some of the heat out of the political debates here in the u.S. I was struck, keith ellison, that bishops shouldn't deny communion to those against abortion. So much is about our duty to the poor. The key issues in people's lives every day, can I make enough money to put food on the table? You hear people say, I can't survive on 7.25. And he's speaking to their reality, and it's so thrilling to hear a faith leader, of any faith, muslim, christian, jewish, talk about the real guts of their values in a way that actually should reform policy. I wondering if we're seeing, you see some of this on both the left and right. More generally, a real populist energy. Here, keith and I were in the methodist corner, we're big fans of the pope. I love this. And I think it's a very helpful message in terms of what our obligations are as individuals. On the other hand, I'm also -- I look at capitalism that's generated more wealth and changed more lives for the better than any other economic system. But that doesn't mean there's not a place in it to regulate it. I see this as a useful corrective. Call for us to be better people. It's rare, too, I mean, every move this pope has made seems to be the perfect move. It's just rare today. Everything that criticizes. Everything that this person has done. Greatest campaign strategy of our time. Take some lessons from him. Look at that. We have a minute left. Before we leave, I want to show a little bit of president obama's interview with barbara walters where he suggested that he might stay in washington after leaving office. She'll be in sophomore in high school. So you may want to stay in washington because of sasha? Let's put it this way, sasha will have a big vote, obviously they and michelle have made a lot of sacrifices on behalf of my ideas of running for office. I want to make sure it's good for them. David plouffe, the president being a good father and a good husband right therre, is it realistic, to be the first president since woodrow wilson, to stay in washington? You have to do right by your kids. I think most presidents want to escape washington after their second term. By the way, it's a good thing that he won re-election, he might have had six years in washington as a former president. Wilson was ill. He had a stroke or a series of strokes, he was not well, he moved a few blocks from the white house. In general, it's very good when the presidents arrive from a real american place, and it's very good when they get their job done to leave and get home. Go home to the real american place. Harry truman did. Reagan did. I'm really glad that the president did that. Because that's a part of him that americans need to see, he's a wonderful father. When he was in moore, oklahoma, during the tornadoes we talked about how difficult it is to be president of united states. He made the point, the only good thing about my job, I know that neither of my daughters will get in a car with a drunk driver. He thinks about that. George, I love it when the president reveals that he's a regular person. He's in anxiety over some of the issues he's facing right now. I believe that he has the ability and persistence to push this thing through and help realize the vision that pope francis is talking about. Three more years left, of course, in the white house. Thank you all, great roundtable. And coming up, did you see

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