WASHINGTON, May 29, 2011 -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): This week, the race is on.
PAWLENTY: I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I'm running for president of the United States.
AMANPOUR: Lots of candidates, but no clear front-runner. I asked former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty how he'll break out of the pack.
PAWLENTY: If somebody elbows me, they'll probably get an elbow back.
AMANPOUR: And Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he has other priorities.
(on-screen): How difficult was it for you to say that you loved your family more than your country?
(voice-over): And as the Republican field grow, our roundtable sizes up the contenders.
Then, facing the future. The class of 2011 is ready to work, but where are the jobs? Graduates ask top CEOs how they can get an edge in this troubled economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Live from the Newseum in Washington, "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour starts right now.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, and lots in store for you today. But first, some late news since your morning papers.
President Obama heads to Joplin, Missouri, today to tour the site of that deadly tornado. The president will meet with local residents and speak at a memorial service for the victims. A hundred and thirty-nine people were killed in the twister that struck a week ago today.
In Afghanistan, officials say a NATO air strike targeting insurgents instead killed 14 civilians, all women and children. Afghan leaders say the bombing was in retaliation for an attack on an American base on Saturday, and a NATO delegation is heading to the scene to investigate.
And Sarah Palin's campaign-style "One Nation" bus tour kicks off today right here in Washington, D.C. And it's touching off a fresh round of presidential speculation, but will she really run? Here's ABC's David Kerley.
KERLEY: Good morning, Christiane. It is a bit of a political mystery and this bus tour, as well. Here's what we know. Sarah Palin says she will start this bus tour of the northeast here in Washington today.
Here's what we don't know. Where is the bus? Is she speaking? Where does she go next? Is this all a publicity stunt or is this really a launch of a presidential campaign?
The plan, according to her political action committee, is to visit historical sites. We're hearing Gettysburg, the Liberty Bell. She'll also go to an early primary site, New Hampshire. This is unfriendly territory for her, so she may be testing the waters a little bit there. And, you know, she kind of announced all this with a very slick video showing the bus being dressed up in a grizzly bear at the beginning. Not sure if it was a mama grizzly or not.
Aides promised a schedule for today, this weekend, and we haven't seen anything yet. So is this Palin in perfect surprise mode for the media or a seat-of-the-pants plan? We don't really know. She's really not played by establishment rules and has had some success. She is asking for donations, Christiane, on this bus tour, which apparently starts somewhere in Washington sometime today.
AMANPOUR: David, thanks so much.
And so while Sarah Palin keeps us guessing, other candidates are getting serious. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially launches his campaign on Thursday in New Hampshire. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum does the same on June 6th in his home state. And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann tells supporters that she'll make, quote, "an all-important announcement" next month in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa.
But one candidate took the plunge this week. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty made it official in Des Moines on Monday. His announcement tour then wound through Florida and ended up in New York, where I caught up with him.
AMANPOUR: What seriously do you need to do to raise your profile? Or will the system just take care of it by force of running?
PAWLENTY: Well, even now, only about 50 percent of the Republicans nationally even know my name. So we have to get the name ID up and then convert that, of course, to support. But if you're a serious candidate for president, that will happen naturally over time. But I like the fact that most of the other candidates are really well known and yet they don't really have a strong front-running position, and that gives us time and space to be able to advance our campaign.
ANDERSON: So, ladies and gentlemen, my husband, Governor Tim Pawlenty.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's get right to the heart of the matter. Medicare, you have said that if the Paul Ryan plan came across your desk as president, you would sign it.
PAWLENTY: Well, let me start by saying my campaign is based around the notion that it's time for the truth and it's time for leaders to step forward and tell America and the American people the truth.
As to Medicare, everybody knows it's sinking. It's going broke. The current program, Christiane, only has about 50 percent of it paid for by either premiums or payroll taxes, and the rest is deficit spending and debit spending or debt spending. So we have to fix it.
And President Obama has an obligation as the leader of this nation to step forward and solve the problem, and he's basically ducking it and then pointing fingers at everybody else.
Now, as to Paul Ryan's plan, I'll have my own plan. It'll have some differences. For example, he didn't address Social Security. I will, and we already are. As to Medicare, it will have some differences, but if the only choices were doing nothing like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it.
AMANPOUR: So what would you do? What would you do -- for instance, you mentioned Social Security. Would you raise the retirement age?
PAWLENTY: For the people who are currently in the program, no changes. For people who are coming up on eligibility, no changes. But for the next generation, the people who are entering the workforce, we need to gradually raise the retirement age over time.
AMANPOUR: Let's get back to Medicare. What would you do differently than what Paul Ryan has done? And what's wrong with this plan that's freaking people out, apparently?
PAWLENTY: Well, the current system can't continue. But our plan is going to have some of these features. One, we're not going to pay Medicare providers under my plan just for volumes of services provided. We're going to pay for better results and better health care outcome, and we're going to put hospitals and clinics and providers on a performance pay system, not just a volume pay system.
And we're going to give people lots of choices. If they want to stay in the current Medicare program or whatever comes next in that program, great, that's their choice, but we're also going to offer them a serious of other choices so they can pick what's best for them and their families, and then they'll have the opportunity to be in the driver's seat.
And we'll also have incentives, financial incentives to make wise choices as it relates to cost and quality of health care.
AMANPOUR: Do you think in the things that we're facing right now, whether it's Medicare, whether it's the deficit, whether it's the debt, can any of these things be tackled by one party or another? Or does it demand and require both party action?
PAWLENTY: We hope for everybody to come together and be a team and move forward in the right direction for the country. But as you know, there are some sharp differences about what the correct solution is here.
So I think any doofus can go to Washington, D.C., and maintain the status quo or incrementally change things. But for the country, the hour is late, Christiane, and we have to take significant action soon. This is time for people who are wanting to be leaders in a bold way to come forward and say, "We really have to change things significantly."
AMANPOUR: Define "doofus."
PAWLENTY: That's a Minnesota term. And doofus would mean somebody who would be relatively low performing.
AMANPOUR: All right. Let's talk about this huge debate going on in Washington and around the country about the debt ceiling. If you were president, would you ask Congress to raise it now?
PAWLENTY: I don't think we should raise the debt ceiling. And if the Congress moves in that direction, the president, they better get something really good for it. It better be permanent, and it better be structural, like a balanced budget amendment and like permanent caps and limits on spending that are specific, not just aspirational.
AMANPOUR: Are you being political right now or do you really, really mean that one should not raise the debt ceiling, given the fact that most economists say that it would -- it would make a cascade of catastrophic economic situations?
PAWLENTY: Well, there are some serious voices challenging that very premise. And the answer is nobody really knows, because we've not been at this point before.
AMANPOUR: But many people would say we would be at that point at our peril and that it is not like an argument over shutting down the government for a few days. This is a major, major earthquake in the economic system.
PAWLENTY: Well, again, there are -- there are people who've written thoughtfully -- and these are serious people...
AMANPOUR: So do you not believe that, then?
PAWLENTY: Well, I'd -- what I'd...
AMANPOUR: Is your position that it would not affect the economy of the United States or the credibility of the United States or the creditworthiness of the United States?
PAWLENTY: My position many, many months ago when I wrote an op-ed for one of the major national newspapers was this. President Obama was setting up this false choice between default and raising the debt ceiling. And at least for a while, you can take away that false choice by ordering the Treasury to pay the obligations to outside creditors first, and there's enough cash flow to do that for quite some time.
AMANPOUR: Do you agree that the military budget has to be really, really tackled very, very severely, in terms of cuts?
PAWLENTY: If you look at where -- I believe strongly that the first responsibility of the United States federal government is to protect this nation and our citizens, so I'm not calling for absolute or real cuts in defense. I think the growth can be slowed down. I think efficiencies can be found within defense. But I think those monies should be plowed back into defense to support it.
AMANPOUR: Small government is a rallying cry of the Republican Party. What is your vision of the size of government? You've said that it has to be more proactive and more aggressive. How does that square with the small government agenda?
PAWLENTY: Well, just because the government has an area of responsibility doesn't mean it has to be the provider of the service. If government has an ability and an interest in helping people with certain things -- and they should, like education -- then give people the money directly. Let them decide what's best for their family in a marketplace.
We shouldn't have a country where the government says, "Unless you're rich, you're condemned to go to a crappy school and your future hinges on whether some stupid lottery ball comes out so you might be able to go to another one." All kids, regardless of background, should be able to go to a school of their choice and realize their dream.
And President Obama, of course, one of the first things he does when he comes to Washington, D.C., along with the Democrat Congress who lecture us about how they're for the poor, eliminate the scholarship programs in Washington, D.C., one of the most pathetic things I've seen in public policy in my life.
AMANPOUR: I sense passion and anger there. And...
PAWLENTY: Well, I was the only one in my family who was able to go to college. And my brothers and sisters couldn't go, not because they didn't have the capability. They didn't have the opportunity.
But we can't afford to have a country of just over 300 million people with a third of our people uneducated or undereducated, unskilled, unable to access the economy of today and tomorrow, being ticked off and becoming wards of the state. That's not going to work.
And this system has to change. And the people who are defending the status quo are the -- they got the interests of the adults instead of the interests of our children and the future of our country. And it does make me mad. It does make me mad. And it's hypocrisy.
AMANPOUR: You do emphasize your blue-collar upbringing. Your wife introduces you as the salt of the earth. Do you think that gives you an advantage when you go into a campaign like this?
PAWLENTY: If you walk into a place, you know, like the VFW in my hometown and you walk in there at the fish fry on a Friday night like Mary and I went to a few Friday nights ago, and there are some people in there, you know, wearing Carhartt jackets and playing pull-tabs trying to win the meat raffle, they don't look up and say, "Gosh, I really like his white paper on Sarbanes-Oxley reform. That really gets me going."
They want to know not just what you have up here, they want to know, what do you have here? And if you're going to be president of the United States or run for president of the United States, they want to know, who are you? Where did you come from? How were you raised? What do you believe? Why do you believe it? What's it based on? What were your life experience? What shaped you?
And so I'm not saying it's the difference-maker, but when you grow up as I did, in a meat-packing town, and your mom dies when you're young, and your dad for much of his life was a truck driver -- he got promoted later to dispatcher and terminal manager -- you learn some things and you see some things.
And in my hometown, when those big meat-packing plants shut down and we had all kinds of people in town unemployed, worried about their future, this is not some academic exercise. I saw the face of it, real time, at a real young age.
And so when people hear that, it just gives you a chance to have some credibility with them so they don't just think you're some pinhead, you know, who, you know, writes nice white papers or can spout off about these issues. You've actually lived it. You've walked in their shoes. And it helps.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, the man many say who could have been a real contender, Mitch Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I know a number of you work in small business.
GINGRICH: Most important social...
BACHMANN: ... created just for this purpose.
PAWLENTY: Make our mortgage payments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "I love my country. I love my family more." With those words, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels took himself out of the running the Republican nomination for president. Many conservatives were counting on him to lead their party back to the White House.
His strong record as a fiscal conservative, his reputation for being an innovator, and his call for a truce in the culture wars made him an attractive choice. So this week, I traveled to Indiana to find just what makes his political clock tick.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): It's been a tough week for Governor Mitch Daniels, and the first thing you notice is the bandage slapped across the middle of his forehead. At the gym, someone had slammed the door on him.
M. DANIELS: This was the day before I announced I wasn't going to run, and the popular theory is it knocked some sense into me.
AMANPOUR: I came to meet him at Indiana's state capital to talk about that decision and its implications for the Republican race to the White House.
(on-screen): So many people in the party wanted to you run, and they were disappointed. How difficult was it for you to say that you loved your family more than your country?
M. DANIELS: That was easy to say. It's a true -- it's a true statement. It was uncomfortable to feel two duties that I am very passionate about, but in the end, it wasn't really any question which came first to me.
AMANPOUR: Why do your wife and your children hate the idea so much?
M. DANIELS: We've got young women, three of them married not too long. They're looking forward to building lives, starting families, and this was just a disruption that they were very, very leery of, and who wouldn't understand that?
AMANPOUR: Does it say something about the way politics is played?
M. DANIELS: If it weren't for the cheap shots and the, you know, personal unfairnesses that would -- that would come with it, there's also just the inevitable loss of privacy, the security, all of that.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Daniels and his wife Cheri divorced in the 1990s, and she moved to California while he raised their four daughters here in Indiana, but they remarried after several years apart. Unwilling to put his family through a re-airing of that story, he decided to forego the race of a lifetime.
(on-screen): Do you think you could have beaten President Obama?
M. DANIELS: Yes, I think so. I mean, no one can know.
AMANPOUR: Business people and community leaders said that they really felt Governor Daniels could give President Obama a run for his money in a general election. Much has been said about Governor Daniels' lack of charisma, but most people say that his record of success in this conservative Midwestern state speaks for itself.
(voice-over): He tamed the public sector unions and cut the number of state workers. Daniels lowered property taxes and invested in infrastructure projects.
M. DANIELS: I enjoy this centennial version of the -- as we love to say, greatest spectacle in racing. Thanks, John.
AMANPOUR: Just before today's Indianapolis 500 race, he hosted a reception for motor sport executives that he's trying to lure here. Doug Brown runs a local technology company. He's adding more than 100 jobs thanks to Daniels' tax incentives.
BROWN: You don't think of Indiana as a high-tech state, but his policies really are growing jobs in that sector. Indiana had one of the highest job growth rates for private companies in the nation.
AMANPOUR: As the governor of a small state, Daniels mingles easily with his constituents here at the gym.
M. DANIELS: Hello. How are you all?
AMANPOUR: During his last campaign in 2008, he put out a series of videos that he called Mitch TV. This one shows him and his wife, Cheri, at the state fair.
C. DANIELS: Come on, Belle.
AMANPOUR: She came in second in the cow-milking contest, and he won a second term in a landslide. Daniels was budget director under President George W. Bush, and his attempts to control spending earned him a nickname that he still proudly displays.
(on-screen): So you have a lot of memorabilia, including what looks like a samurai sword. What is this here?
M. DANIELS: That's what it is. Because of my alleged thriftiness...
AMANPOUR: Slash and burning?
M. DANIELS: ... well, some said -- I had that nickname for a while, and...
AMANPOUR: The blade?
M. DANIELS: Yes, the blade, and the nicknamer-in-chief conferred that on me.
AMANPOUR: And that was?
M. DANIELS: President Bush.
AMANPOUR: Indiana's magnificent state capitol took 10 years to build and came in under $2 million. That's under budget. Now, of course, that was in 1888, but the governor likes to say it's a metaphor for the kind of fiscal prudence that's needed in today's hard times.
(voice-over): He slashed state spending and turned a budget deficit into a surplus, and that's what made him so attractive to his party faithful.
M. DANIELS: The state was broke, for no good reason, except that it had simply overspent its income seven straight years, and so we -- we turned that around.
AMANPOUR (on-screen): It's been said that for you, if you were running, if you became president, your agenda would be deficit, deficit, deficit, cut it, attack it.
M. DANIELS: Yes, reduce the debt, the long-term debt facing the country before it crushes the American dream, limits our influence in the world, and, you know, possibly even worse consequences, and -- but that -- to me, that is the challenge of this time.
AMANPOUR: Well, Paul Ryan has tried to put across his own budget proposal, and it's quite controversial, particularly the Medicare aspect of it, because clearly this one is causing people to run away from it, not just politicians, but also people. The polls say that people do not want their Medicare or their Medicaid touched.
M. DANIELS: Well, I'm not running away from it. I think it is the best way.
AMANPOUR: Do you think it will be the litmus test, though, in these -- the election coming up?
M. DANIELS: I hope so. I think it is the central dilemma. I think it ought, therefore, to be the centerpiece of the next election, and we ought to test the proposition -- and I have faith that the answer will be yes -- that Americans are absolutely up to the job of making changes necessary once they understand the facts.
AMANPOUR: Is there a way to do this in a way that does not put so much of a burden on the individual, on the seniors?
M. DANIELS: There's a way to do it that protects the most vulnerable seniors more. I mean, another, I think, important and positive point to be made is that our current system is brutally unfair. It is tilted toward higher-income people in many, many ways. There's no reason on Earth that we should be sending Warren Buffett a pension check or paying for Bill Gates' health care or mine, for that matter. And in the 2.0 system of Medicare and Social Security, for the next generation, not this one, we ought to heavily devote the resources to those who need them most.
AMANPOUR: You've also said that tackling debt, debt, debt and absolutely having to get that done is paramount to the survival of the republic and that perhaps there should be a truce on some of the very, very divisive social issues that tend to take up so much of the oxygen. Do you still believe that?
M. DANIELS: Yes, I do. You know, not that anybody changes their mind, not that anybody retreats one foot, just that temporarily we address the issue that threatens us all. If this country goes broke, we will all pay the price, black and white, gay and straight, male and female. We are all in this together.
AMANPOUR: So there's a lot of politics to talk about this weekend, and that's exactly what we're going to do with our roundtable when we return.
AMANPOUR: Today, Republican presidential candidates are re-learning a tough lesson: No one steals a show like Sarah Palin. The former vice presidential candidate with a fondness for holiday weekend political theater is launching a new round of speculation with her "One Nation" bus tour.
And here to read the tea leaves are ABC's George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, the former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, and ABC's senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.
George, what is up? Is Sarah Palin going to run?
WILL: I don't know.
AMANPOUR: What do you think?
WILL: Two things are infinite. One is the expanding universe, and the other is media attention to Sarah Palin, who's a genius at manipulating it. She has several political problems, the first of which is there's no undecided vote in this country anymore about Sarah Palin, surely.
Second, the threshold question. It's not usually asked, but it's in everyone's mind in a presidential election. Should we give this person nuclear weapons? And the answer is -- answers itself there. That doesn't mean she can't be without political consequence.
If she gets in now, it will be because, I think, Michele Bachmann is about to get in, and they take up the same political space, and the two of them there can be devastating to Tim Pawlenty, because he has great appeal to the evangelical Christians who are dispositive in Iowa, and she can divide that vote and take it away from him, and thereby help Romney.
AMANPOUR: So do you think from all the reporting you've done, Jon, that there is evidence of any serious laying of the ground by Sarah Palin for a race? Or is this, as George says, really a publicity stunt?
KARL: I see absolutely no evidence that Sarah Palin is preparing to run for president. It doesn't mean that she can change her mind, but, look, she doesn't even have a scheduler. She has no donor network built up. She doesn't have a press secretary. Every decision we can tell is being made strictly by Sarah and by Todd Palin. And there is no preparation. You talk to...
AMANPOUR: The house she's just bought and all of that stuff?
KARL: The house she bought, it's a summer home in Arizona. I don't think that's a sign you're running for president. But, look, if you go and you talk to activists in South Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, they will tell you there is no sign whatsoever of Palin or any Palin organization.
AMANPOUR: So, Ed Gillespie, given your former position, what would the effect of a Palin candidacy be on the race?
GILLESPIE: Well, I think she does command a great deal of attention. You know, the media have a love/hate relationship with Sarah Palin. They hate her, but they love to cover her. So she'll have a pretty big impact in terms of other candidates responding to, you know, her policy proposals and her activities. But I like everyone else here have no idea whether or not she's, you know, going to run or not.
BRAZILE: Any moment now, she's going to tweet, and we will learn whether or not she would start off this bus tour at the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument.
Sarah Palin is a phenomenon. She doesn't need to run by the rules established by the Republicans. She can run simply on her own timetable, when she feels like, and she doesn't have to follow conventional wisdom. I think she's running. She sees a big opportunity. And you know what?
KARL: You're certainly hoping she's running, right, Donna?
BRAZILE: No. Look, I'm hoping Michele Bachmann gets in...
AMANPOUR: Well, who is -- who is the dreamboat Republican candidate for the Democrats?
BRAZILE: We don't have one right now.
AMANPOUR: Well, who would you rather run against?
BRAZILE: Well, my man dropped out, Haley Barbour. I wanted Haley to run because clearly I could go on TV and translate everything that he would say. But Mitch Daniels is not in the race. Tim Pawlenty is the person I think to beat.
AMANPOUR: Person to beat?
WILL: At this point, yes.
AMANPOUR: Who do you think, Ed?
GILLESPIE: I think it's wide open. I think that's great for our party right now, and I think that -- I think largely the field is formed. There may be some late entrants still to come, but I think we've got a field right now that whomever emerges as our nominee will be able to beat Barack Obama in 2012.
AMANPOUR: You say largely. I think you were a little bit more definitive earlier this week. You said the field is formed; the nominee will come from the current crop.
GILLESPIE: I said the field -- I think I said largely formed. There may be some late entrants. My point was, I think that the -- for most Republican activists and donors and elected officials, they're probably going to, you know, start to sign up for somebody now in the current field. There may be someone who comes later, but I suspect we -- you know, the field is pretty formed. Whoever emerges is likely to come from this crop of candidates that we have soon to get in or now.
WILL: If, however, it's not fully formed, the late entrant would probably be Governor Perry, for several reasons, governor of Texas. Texas is to the Republicans what California is to the Democrats, a great source of reliable electoral votes and money. Second, in every contested Republican nomination scramble since 1980, there has been a Texan, John Connally, the first Bush, and the second Bush, so there is a space there to be filled.
AMANPOUR: And you've been talking to people in Texas, right, about this, Jon?
KARL: Yeah. And my sense is I find actually some of the least enthusiastic about a Perry candidacy in Texas. I mean, he -- look, the guy's never lost an election, so he's clearly formidable. He just won a tough primary in Texas. But the reaction I got from Texans was, do you really think America is ready to elect another Texas governor as president right now?
AMANPOUR: Well, what about another campaign by Mitt Romney? He is about to -- to announce next week on Thursday. He's kept a very low profile. He hasn't been doing any major interviews other than, you know, he's been raising a lot of money. Is this all about to change? Are we going to see something different cropping up in the next week?
KARL: I think you're about -- look, he has been the invisible candidate, but he's been doing all that you need to do. He's proven that he can raise money above and beyond anybody in this field, I think even including Sarah Palin, if she were to jump in.
And it's fascinating right now. You're seeing Romney is going to come out. It's going to all be about the economy. The biggest weakness he had last time was he flip-flopped on issue after issue. Now you have the no-flip-flop Romney. He's sticking to TARP. He's sticking to health care. He didn't even back down from ethanol subsidies, even though he's not focusing on Iowa. You have a new Romney campaign.
BRAZILE: You make a point. Last week, he said that he helped to save the auto industry, when a year ago he said that he was opposed to the government bailing out the auto industry. We don't know what -- which Mitt Romney will appear this week, and I think it's called a Bittersweet Farm. Can you imagine that, Bittersweet?
AMANPOUR: Better or bitter?
BRAZILE: Is it Bittersweet? I think it's Bittersweet Farm.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, because he's -- you know, he's obviously had a candidacy already. What makes him likely to do better this time around?
GILLESPIE: Well, I think he does have the -- you know, all the markings of a second-time candidate. He's, I think, improved on the stump. I think he's much more comfortable as a candidate. And the -- in terms of the political environment, the economy is the number-one concern, and he has credibility when he's talking about economic policy and job creation.
AMANPOUR: So that will be his strength?
GILLESPIE: I think that's probably his strong suit, exactly, yeah.
AMANPOUR: Stronger than for Tim Pawlenty?
GILLESPIE: Look, I think -- you know, as you know, I'm neutral, and I think that we have a field that, you know, is good.
AMANPOUR: But on the empirical facts?
GILLESPIE: You know, Pawlenty has a great record as a governor of a very blue state. Governor Romney has a great record in terms of private-sector understanding of the economy and a critique of Obamanomics. You know, Governor Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, everybody has, you know, their own assets. Everybody has questions they have to answer, as well.
WILL: Let's, however, remember that at this point in the 2008 electoral cycle four years ago exactly, the prohibitive favorite was Rudy Giuliani.
BRAZILE: Right, right.
AMANPOUR: Who is making some noises. But let me get to Medicare. And this week, there was yet another hiccup in the great Medicare debate. And your former president, President Clinton, jumped into that. Let's play what he said to Paul Ryan at the fiscal conference this week here in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I'm glad we won this race in New York, but I hope the Democrats don't use it as an excuse to do nothing on Medicare.
RYAN: My guess is it's going to sink into paralysis, is what's going to happen. And you know the math. I mean, it's just -- we knew -- we knew we were putting ourselves out there, but you got to start -- you've got to get out there. We've got to get this thing moving.
CLINTON: If you want to talk about it...
RYAN: Yeah, I'll give you a call. Good, thanks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So they were obviously talking about the New York 26th, the race that went for the Democrats, and they said Medicare was the big bear in the race. Are people going to be running away from this? Or are we going to -- are the Republicans going to be able to coalesce around the current Medicare plan?
WILL: They're going to coalesce around the idea that the question is not do we keep Medicare as we've got it now or is it some other plan, because the one thing we can't have forever is the unsustainable plan we have now.
I don't think the New York race will drive people away from this, because it would have been a different outcome. Too close for comfort, but a different outcome. The Republican almost certainly would have won if there hadn't been one of these free-booting third-party candidates who spent $3 million, every penny of it his. He got no contributions, as far as anyone can tell.
Beyond that, what the Republicans have learned is -- Pat Moynihan used to tell me this -- after long public life, he said you cannot exaggerate how often and how simply you have to say things in public life to get this country's attention.
AMANPOUR: So do you agree that the Democrat won only because the race was split?
BRAZILE: This race, it was won on three issue, Medicare, Medicare, Medicare. And Kathy ran a great race. She was on message. She pointed out that her opponent, Ms. Corwin, supported the Ryan plan. That was a kiss of death, and the Republicans know it. The Republicans are on record now to end Medicare as we know it. They're going to have to deal with that.
And let me just tell you, Bill Clinton was thrilled that Kathy Hochul won that race. And for Democrats up on Capitol Hill, they have new life, new air under their wings.
KARL: But Bill Clinton also made an important statement there. He said that I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing, and that is exactly what Democrats are doing right now. There is no Democratic plan on reforming Medicare. We're waiting for the president to come out with a plan. The president's old budget lost 97-0 in a vote in the Senate. So, you know, I mean, who -- Republicans are scared. They are definitely scared. But there is nothing coming from the other side.
BRAZILE: But the Ryan plan -- the Ryan plan lost. The Toomey plan lost. Look, the Senate was in a mood to just say no so they can get out of town. But the Republicans have consistently tried to kill Medicare for the last 30 years, and the Democrats...
GILLESPIE: No, that -- that is not true.
GILLESPIE: We've been trying to save Medicare. And the only party that has a plan to save Medicare is the Republican Party. The Democrats in the Senate, who have controlled the Senate for -- for, you know, three years, going on three years now, haven't passed a budget in 760 days.
GILLESPIE: They have nothing to offer the American people. That will be the choice.
AMANPOUR: And we will continue this discussion in the green room. And Mitch Daniels told me that actually he thought Medicare should be a litmus test in this coming-up election. So join us there at abcnews.com/thisweek, where you can also find our fact checks of today's interviews from PolitiFact.
And when we return, getting jobs and hiring in this economy, but first, the Sunday funnies, so stick around.
AMANPOUR: And now, the Sunday funnies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMMEL: The field for the Republican candidate for president is finally taking shape. After announcing that he would not run last week, he made a big announcement. Donald Trump told "Fox and Friends" this morning he might run. See, that's the kind of decisiveness we need.
O'BRIEN: Huge story. This is a bombshell. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has announced he will not run for president in 2012. Yeah, Daniels reached the decision after early polling determined that even he didn't know who Mitch Daniels was.
FALLON: President Obama is on a big European trip this week, and I heard that he's sleeping at Buckingham Palace when he visits England. That's when you know the U.S. is short on cash, when even Obama's like, "Hey, is it cool if I crash at your place? No, couch is fine, couch is fine."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, what does it take to land a job in this climate? We'll connect people who need a job with some people who could offer them, in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WASHINGTON: You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something, there's no doubt about it. And I know that's probably not a traditional message for a graduation ceremony, but, hey, I'm telling you, embrace it.
M. OBAMA: As you climb those career ladders, just remember to reach down and pull others up behind you.
That's what so many folks have done for you all, and now it is your turn to repay the favor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And so the caps and gowns are put away and the real work of finding a job begins. And I'm joined now by four members of the class of 2011: Stuart Watkins of Louisiana State University; Savayia Singh of the University of California at Berkeley; Melech Thomas of Howard University, right here in D.C.; and Lauren Kiel of Harvard.
And I'm also joined by two business leaders, Doug Imbruce, who's the founder and CEO of the Internet start-up Qwiki, not so many years from his own commencement day; and Mort Zuckerman, chairman and founder of Boston Properties, publisher of the New York Daily News, and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report.
Thank you all for joining us. And we're going to get some wisdom from all of you.
But first I want to start, Savayia, with you. You're graduating. What are your prospects for a job? What are your chief concerns right now?
SINGH: Well, my chief concerns is, honestly, finding a position that I can use the valuable skills and knowledge that I've acquired in the last four years.
AMANPOUR: So what's happening? Do you have a job prospect out there?
SINGH: I -- unfortunately, I do not have a prospective job. I have definitely put myself out there, applied to as many positions that I would like to eventually work in, but I don't have any job offers at the moment.
AMANPOUR: Are you afraid?
SINGH: Oh, I'm terrified. I -- again, the anxieties (inaudible) not having a secure future are very just all over the place right now.
AMANPOUR: And, Lauren, you went to Harvard. Many people think that that is an automatic entry into a great-paying job. What are your prospects right now?
KIEL: So I've actually decided to postpone my job search for another year and go to graduate school next year.
AMANPOUR: And like all of you, Stuart, I guess you're probably burdened by quite a lot of debt, student loans.
WATKINS: Absolutely. It's something that I think our generation of college students have really -- have had to face, taking out loans just so they can, you know, go -- go to those four-year institutions. I'm fortunate to where I actually have two offers right now, but I think one of the things that I'm coming to terms with is, they're not in fields of which I want to pursue or that I want a career in.
AMANPOUR: And, Melech, where do you sit right now in terms of do you have a job? Do you have a prospect of paying down your student loans?
THOMAS: Well, I actually have no student loans from my undergraduate, but I have to take out $20,000 for my first year of graduate school.
AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you both. You've now listened to them. You see what they've studied. You've heard their prospects. Mort, as the owner of a real estate company, as the publisher of newspapers and magazines, what do you think they need to do? And are they hirable, what you've just heard right now?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't know enough about their individual skills and capacities, but this is the worst atmosphere for employment that we've had in 50 or 60 years. I mean, just think of the fact, in the '70s, '80s and '90s, the United States created over 20 million jobs in each one of those decades. In the first decade of this country, we created zero jobs.
If I were hiring today, I would look for people of these qualities and characteristics, but I'd look for a particular thing, quite frankly. The one thing that I look for more than anything else is some evidence of determination, which to me is the most important quality in terms of how people will do in their career.
AMANPOUR: And, Doug, you set up your own company. You were an entrepreneur. I mean, you just didn't wait for the jobs to come to you.
IMBRUCE: I've always advised individuals to look not just for a career, but for a calling. And I think that if you can demonstrate to a potential organization, potential employer that you have true passion about their product, I mean, besides integrity and, you know, an obvious academic background, that's what we look for at my company, Qwiki, is we look for a real passion about our products.
AMANPOUR: We've heard the advice and the analysis from the entrepreneurs and CEOs, but for you, when you were told that if you worked hard and you got into a university and if you got into a great university and you spent the four years, that it would be an inevitable passport to a good job. Do you feel betrayed? Do you feel like the American dream hasn't quite played its part for you?
THOMAS: Well, to be quite frank, especially people of African descent, the American dream has never really been a reality. And so as much determination as some of my peers even at Howard University have had, because African-Americans usually have to work twice as hard to get a job in a field where the job market is already shrinking, it becomes very, very frightening and very, very paralyzing for some of the students. And so I won't say betrayed, because the American dream never really promised us much.
AMANPOUR: Stuart, it did promise for people like you.
WATKINS: Yeah, I did feel a sense of, you know, the minute I stepped out of college, you know, I was going to be able to hit the ground running, and now I'm just seeing that, yes, the offers that I have on the table are great, but I want to explore my passions. I want to explore what I -- you know, what I want -- what I want to do from here on out. And it's just not right there at the moment.
AMANPOUR: And another thing that we're reading is that the major that you choose determines more and more now your success, not just at getting a job, but moving from middle even to upper class, also just getting a good salary for your life. Do you feel like you've taken the right majors?
SINGH: I almost don't feel like I have, like my major technically on my degree is interdisciplinary studies.
AMANPOUR: What does that mean?
SINGH: Exactly. It doesn't have a solid definition. I just took that overarching title and created my own major. But when just looking at it, it doesn't -- it honestly doesn't say anything about myself.
AMANPOUR: And, Lauren, even though you've graduated from Harvard and you're going to University College in London, do you feel you've done the right major to get yourself a real leg up in the job market?
KIEL: So I was a major in history and literature of America, which for most doesn't really mean a whole lot in terms of what is that for a career, what is that for professional development, so I think that's -- and that's for a lot of Harvard students. We studied biology. We studied English. We studied these subjects that don't necessarily lead to job. You're going to something to pre-professionalize yourself or you have to, you know, make your -- put your leg up in terms of internships or getting yourself out there with working on the newspaper or working on some type of more professional way to show that you can do -- that you can do something career-wise.
AMANPOUR: Well, we do have a publisher sitting right here.
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I -- I will put it this way. The print publishing business has now climbed to the number one on the list of American oxymorons. As you probably know, the print publishing business is very, very difficult. And what you've seen in that particular world is a tremendous shrinkage of the number of people who are working in it. So I would recommend that you hire -- ask this guy for a job, because he's in that kind of high-tech world, which is growing quite dramatically.
AMANPOUR: And are you hiring?
IMBRUCE: You know, it's really interesting to come here.
ZUCKERMAN: I applied for a job earlier.
IMBRUCE: It's really interesting to talk about the dearth of jobs available, because in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, you literally cannot hire fast enough. I mean, candidates are wined and dined. It's unbelievable. So I would say that if you're considering a major: engineering, engineering, engineering. America needs more engineers, period.
SINGH: I don't have a degree in technology or engineering. I feel that's one of the main problems. I...
AMANPOUR: But you didn't have a degree, did you?
IMBRUCE: I had a degree in English and comparative literature.
AMANPOUR: OK, fine. See?
ZUCKERMAN: ... high-tech world, right?
AMANPOUR: And, Melech, you know, go ahead. I was going to -- how do you see the next few years for yourself?
THOMAS: I think a lot of people set themselves up in college to go to school to find a job, but then they get their job and they get their career and they're unsatisfied, where you have two people here that have followed not just where the job creation market was, but they followed their own creativity and their own imagination and they found themselves loving what they do.
KIEL: Can I say, I think that what you're saying about being creative and thinking outside the box is definitely something our class and our generation has had to do in the past couple of years. I know for us, at the Harvard newspaper, people when I was a freshman were walking out the door to the New York Times or to the Wall Street Journal. And now that's just not an option for us anymore, so we're considering technology and media in a different way.
IMBRUCE: And that's where the next biggest company will come from. I mean, Facebook, which is going to be, you know, probably one of the world's biggest technology companies fairly soon, came out of a dorm room, you know, at Harvard sophomore year. So I think...
ZUCKERMAN: I'm thinking of changing my name to Zuckerberg...
WATKINS: Well, just to build off of what Lauren said, I feel like our generation is extremely resourceful. I mean, we grew up with information at our fingertips. And at the end of the day, we're going to have to put two and two together. And this just not having a job right after college is a small roadblock into what's to come, I think.
AMANPOUR: So what would you say -- what would you say is a wrap-up, is a final piece -- what would you say is a final piece of advice for our grads here?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, frankly, I would just get in the swing. You just have to get out there in that world and find a job, the best job that you can. I would not let it go -- too much time go by, because if you're sitting here a year from now without a job, frankly, you're going to be less employable than you are today.
AMANPOUR: Doug, advice, finally?
IMBRUCE: I agree with Mort. I mean, I think that, you know, situations are temporary and skills are forever, so it absolutely makes sense to go, get out there, get experience, and try to just be the best version of yourself you can be, and add value, and that will set you on, you know, certainly the right career path.
AMANPOUR: Lauren, what are you feeling now after this discussion?
KIEL: Hopefully a bit more optimistic. I think we're all kind of charging forth knowing that, you know, our first job might not be the job that we're going to have forever. We grew up in a world where our grandparents -- you know, both of my grandfathers worked the same jobs their entire lives.
ZUCKERMAN: My parents and my grandparents were immigrants. They didn't even speak the language when they came here. So when they came here and took the chances that it took to make this huge trip and start off with nothing, I mean, I give that -- those folks a lot of medals for courage.
IMBRUCE: The American dream is alive and well. I mean, I'm surrounded in Silicon Valley by tons of entrepreneurs from, you know, America, from abroad that have really, you know, contributed to society.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that very optimistic note, thank you to our entrepreneur CEOs and thank you very much to our students.
And we'll be right back in a moment.
AMANPOUR: And now, "In Memoriam."
SCOTT-HERON: The revolution will put you in the driver's seat. The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, not be televised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We remember all of those who died in war this week. The Pentagon released the names of nine servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And when we return, a final note about one of the world's most wanted men finally being brought to justice.
AMANPOUR: This Memorial Day weekend, we want to focus on what's been a great month for international justice. It began with the killing of Osama bin Laden, and it's ending with the capture of a man accused of orchestrating the worst massacres in Europe since World War II.
Ratko Mladic on the run for 16 years now faces genocide charges stemming from the war in Bosnia. It's a war that I spent the better part of a decade covering. And he'll be held to account for what a war crimes judge has described as scenes from hell written on the darkest pages in human history.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): In the spring of 1992, Mladic, commander of the self-declared Bosnian Serb Army, turned the city of Sarajevo into a slaughterhouse, where neither men nor women nor innocent children were spared.
I covered the siege as his forces used the high ground around the city to rain gunfire and artillery on the innocent civilians, turning streets into sniper alleys.
By August of that year, shocking images emerged of emaciated Muslims held in concentration camps. They were the target of his brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, to exterminate or expel Muslims and create an ethnically pure Serb rump state inside Bosnia.
When I met Mladic and demanded answers about the bloodbath, like so many of his type, he would smile behind cold eyes and insist that he was only protecting his own people.
But throughout the '90s, as he turned Bosnia into the worst killing fields in Europe since World War II, the evidence against him was overwhelming. Peter Jennings was there, as well, as mortars rained shells on Sarajevo's main marketplace.
JENNINGS: This will count as one of the worst attacks since this war began.
AMANPOUR: And all of this was unfolding in the age of never again, indeed, at the very same time as the U.S. Holocaust Museum was being dedicated. And no less than the moral might of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was directed at President Clinton.
WIESEL: Mr. President, I cannot not tell you something. As a Jew, I am saying that we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country.
AMANPOUR: But still, the worst was to come. On July 11, 1995, Mladic's men stormed the tiny town of Srebrenica, and later Mladic himself swaggered through, his own cameras in tow, directing his forces to hand out chocolates to terrified children. Chillingly, he told these civilians that they had nothing to fear.
But when the cameras were turned off, the real savagery began. Women were raped. Men and boys were taken to open fields and executed in cold blood, their bodies thrown into mass graves. More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed.
AMANPOUR: Mladic faces the war crimes tribunal at The Hague as early as tomorrow, a court that the United States was instrumental in creating. And now, with each passing year, it becomes less likely that war criminals such as Mladic can escape unpunished.
That's it for our program today. And for all of us here in Washington, thank you for watching. You can follow me all week on Twitter and at abcnews.com. And be sure to watch "World News with David Muir" later tonight. We hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, and we hope to see you again next week.