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ABC "This Week with Christiane Amanpour" - Transcript


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Governors, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

Let's start with the other upraising, the one in Wisconsin that we've seen. The nation has watched as Governor Scott Walker has sought to not only cut the benefits of state employees, but also restrict their collective bargaining rights. Is this the right move Governor Haley?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Absolutely. You know, what we have to remember is we appreciate our public employees. But our job as governors is to look after the tax payers. And he's doing exactly what he promised to do, he is trying to trim his budget. He is trying to make the tough decisions that the people of Wisconsin wanted him to do.

What I think the shame is the fact that you have got Democrat senators who represent the people of Wisconsin that have so cowardly that they left their own state. I think that's an absolute slate on who should be thrown out of office as soon as they get back. It's absolutely unfortunate.

TAPPER: Governor Hickenlooper, want to weigh in?

GOV. JOHN HICKENHOOPER, (D) COLORADO: Well, you know, I spent a number of years in the restaurant business and sometimes we took over failing restaurants.

HICKENLOOPER: The first thing we did was reach out to the work force, the workers, and say, all right, if we have got to cut costs and try to find new ways of making difficult decisions and delivering services with less, you can -- you're the ones who have to help us.

And I think it's a challenge to have that kind of division and adversarial relationship. It makes it very tough for them to get to the point where they can make their government smaller and yet more effective.

TAPPER: Governor...

PATRICK: Yes, we made our -- if I may, Jake...


PATRICK: ... just on this point. We have made greater accountability in the public schools. We have reformed the pension system. We have rebalanced public employee benefits, health benefits in particular. We have had concessions from labor to wage concessions to help us close the budget. We reformed transportation.

All of this with labor at the table. So there's another way to approach that. And we bring a different way. And it has been a successful way.

TAPPER: But speaking of being a...


TAPPER: Go ahead, Governor.

BREWER: Well, it's kind of interesting, because during these very, very difficult times that all governors are facing, throughout the United States, is the fact that you have to make some really tough decisions.

And employees need to have a personal relationship with their employer. And if we're not able to go in there as governors and to be able to make these adjustments during these difficult, difficult times, we will never get our states turned around.

PATRICK: I agree with that. I agree with that. My point is simply that we can do this with labor at the table, instead of doing it to labor. And we've shown that in Massachusetts.

TAPPER: Well, speaking of being at the table, don't you think it's a little cowardly for the legislators -- Democratic legislators in Indiana and Wisconsin just to have fled? I mean, that's not...

PATRICK: You know what, I try to make a practice of just governing Massachusetts and not trying to govern other states. My...

TAPPER: But how would you do it if -- you have a Republican house in Colorado. What would happen if the Republicans in the house just decided they didn't like what you were doing and they were going to Nevada for the week?

HICKENLOOPER: I think that the key, and, again, this is the restaurant background, where, you know, you learn real early there is no margin of having enemies. That, you know, we have been trying to reach out to the Republicans from before the inauguration.

All right. How can we work together? We need your ideas. We've all got -- I mean, this country, we shouldn't be talking about, you know, these polarized topics. We should be talking about jobs and how do we all make the investments in education, and infrastructure, and technology, and innovation. To move this -- I mean, all 50 states, we should be competing against each other to see who can drive our economies the fastest.

And, you know, the budget is tough. It's difficult. But if everyone is at the table, we'll get through it.

HALEY: But let's be clear, this was cowardly. This was irresponsible. They left their state at a time when their state needed them the most because they don't want to take a vote. Whether they are for it or against it, you come back and you represent the people of your state.

I think what Governor Walker is doing is showing that he is standing his ground. I talked to him this past week. He is holding strong. I told him the people of this country want him to hold strong. I think what is absolutely shameful is those senators left their state.


TAPPER: But, Governor Haley, if I could just follow up for one second. There is no correlation, according to statistics, between a state's ability to collectively bargain with its public employees and whether or not they have a budget deficit.

There is -- you know this firsthand. Your state is a "right to work" state.

HALEY: That's right.

TAPPER: And, in fact, in the New Republic, Joseph McCartin argues, quote: "There is no direct correlation between public sector collective bargaining and yawning state budget deficits, according to data gathered by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, while Wisconsin projects a state budget deficit of 12.8 percent for 2012, North Carolina, which does not allow government workers to bargain, faces a significantly higher deficit, 20 percent. Ohio, whose Republican Governor John Kasich has also made clear his desire to roll back collective bargaining, has a deficit that's only about half the size of non-union North Carolina."

Isn't this just a power grab by those who oppose unions?

HALEY: Absolutely not. Because what you're looking at is, these employees oppose the health care cuts. They have opposed the benefit cuts. So they're saying no to everything. So collective bargaining is a combination of all of that.

What he's saying is, now more than ever, we have got to get control of our states. We've got to get control of our budgets. This is the time where he has got to make decisions. He's trying to do that. And I think the people elected him to do that.


PATRICK: I think -- excuse me, Nikki. I'm sorry. I just -- all of us, as you said, and as we would all acknowledge, are dealing with these kinds of challenges, trying to get benefits rebalanced, trying to our gaps -- our budget gaps closed. All I'm saying is, there's another way. And we've shown that there is another way. And the leadership I've tried to bring in Massachusetts is about turning to each other, instead of on each other. And so we have had labor at the table to move these very issues and had -- and moved them successfully.

BREWER: I think it's despicable, Jake, that you have elected officials in the legislature, and I served in the legislature for 14 years, in part of leadership, that they would leave their job. No one should walk out. They are doing exactly what we ask public employees not to do, and that is to strike. And it is wrong.

They need to get back to Wisconsin, they need to go in there, and they need to vote. And it is just so irresponsible. I can't imagine them, any of them, getting re-elected. The only thing you go to the legislature with is your vote.

TAPPER: OK. We're going to take a quick break. And we'll be back with the governors and the roundtable.

And later, of course, Christiane Amanpour live from Libya. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to a special THIS WEEK governors roundtable. Christiane Amanpour will be back later in the show, live from Libya.

Governor Brewer, I want to ask you a question about the Republicans' effort here in Washington to cut the budget for spending cuts. Their budget allocates $350 million less for border security, fencing, infrastructure, and technology than Congress approved last year, and cuts an estimated $159 million over last year for customs and border protection, modernization and construction programs, and potentially 685 fewer Border patrol agents than President Obama's budget called for.

Does the House Republicans' budget make Arizona less safe?

BREWER: I believe that we need as much resources that are necessary to get our borders secured. The bottom line is, is that the budget has not been completed. I'm hopeful that it will be reinstated, the dollars. And I hope that those dollars end up in Arizona, and in Texas, and in California.

But we all know that Arizona is the gateway for illegal immigration, and the drug smuggling, and the drug cartels. And Arizona is paying a hefty price. Just cumulatively, in incarceration, the feds owe us almost $800 million, and over a billion dollars a year just in education and health care.

And it's out of control, out of control and we are going to continue fighting the battle against what's taking place between our border and Mexico.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about President Obama's proposed budget which would add $7.2 trillion in debt over the next 10 years. At no point in his 10 point -- 10 year projection would the federal government spend less than it's taking in. Would you ever support a budget like that? What would happen if you brought a budget like that to the legislature and the people of Colorado?

HICKENLOOPER: I think there would be a healthy debate which I think is what the president is expecting as well.

TAPPER: A healthy debate, is that what they're calling it?

HICKENLOOPER: The bottom line -- I mean, you know, the dirty four letter word in all this is math. In the end, it does have to add up. The federal government is ultimately is going to have to balance their budgets and get back onto a fiscal track. But where you start out is not where you're going to end up. And I think what the president is trying to stress is that we need to invest in our infrastructure. We need to be the best innovation country on Earth. We have to make the appropriate investments.

So he's laying out a broad array of I think largely really constructive investments -- education, mobility and transportation, health care, defense. Trying to make sure we're ready to compete. To win this game. It's a worldwide competition now.

TAPPER: You have proposed $300 million in cuts to the public education system in Colorado, k-12. It's about $500 less per student. President Obama, when talking about his budget cuts recently said this.


OBAMA: We can't win the future if we lose the race to educate our children, can't do it. In today's economy, the quality of a nation's education is one of the biggest predictors of a nation's success.


TAPPER: Are you going to lose the future in Colorado?

HICKENLOOPER: No. But for one year, we're going to have to retrench and say all right with less money how do we still figure out how to raise our kids up. And, you know, often times in business, when you struggle for a year, you come up with ideas or innovations that make you better. And we've been working with the teachers union, we're working with the entire educational community and say all right, we don't have a choice, all right, 42 percent of our budget is k-12 education. We have got to make some serious cuts there. How do we do it in way that we don't hurt our kids?

PATRICK: You know, Jake, we were talking how the fiscal crisis has given you us the opportunity to think in new ways and to ask ourselves what is it we want government to do and not to? In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, just like everywhere else, we have had huge budget gaps we've had to deal with -- $13 billion of accumulated gaps over the last couple of years. We have closed those gaps now, but at the same time, made record-level investments in K-12 support for our public schools because that's our investment in the future. And in that respect, the president and I completely agree.

TAPPER: Let's talk for a second -- I want to turn to 2012 -- we only have a couple of minutes left. And I want to ask you about 2012.

PATRICK: I am not running, no.

TAPPER: You took over your state from Mitt Romney who is almost certainly going to run for president. Did he do a good job at governor of Massachusetts?

PATRICK: You know, I think one of the best things he did was to be the co-author of our health care reform, which has been a model for national health care reform. We have 98% of the residents insured today...

TAPPER: But you haven't gotten costs under control at all, have you?

PATRICK: It's very, very interesting. Actually it's added about 1% to our state budget, which is not what is generally reported on out there, but that is the truth. And what these folks did in Massachusetts is frankly the same thing that congress did which was take on access first, and come to cost control next. And that's what we're doing right now. We have some exciting strategies.

And just as we have shown the nation how to provide universal care through a public-private model I think we can crack the code on health care costs as well.

TAPPER: So it sounds like you think he Governor Romney did a pretty good job.

PATRICK: On that one issue, I think he deserves a lot of credit.

TAPPER: Governor Haley, I want you to look at this ad.


ANNOUNCER: Nikki Haley supporter, Governor Sarah Palin.

SARAH PALIN: A strong pro-family, pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-development, conservative reformer, your next governor, Nikki Haley.


TAPPER: That was a pretty important endorsement for you. If she runs for president, will you return the favor?

HALEY: You know, the one thing I think that the environment is going to dictate who our next president is. I have not in any way endorsed, plan on endorsing at this point in time at all. I want all the candidates to come to South Carolina. I want the people of South Carolina to get to see them the way I know them. I want them to campaign hard. And then when right time comes, I will endorse. But there's is no one that I feel like I owe at this time.

TAPPER: All right thanks. We're going to take a quick break.

Still to come, Christiane Amanpour live from Libya

And coming up next, is both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue work to avert a government shutdown over spending cuts some Tea Party freshmen say a shutdown may be the wakeup call we need. We'll hear from one when we come back.


TAPPER: Welcome back. After passing a $61 billion budget cut, congress recessed with talk of a government shutdown still in the air. The members have been in their districts this week and preparing to come back to Washington to do battle over calls for even deeper cuts in federal spending. Republican leaders know a government shutdown could be playing with political fire, but David Kerley caught up with a Tea Party freshman who doesn't seem worried about getting burned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindenhurst, baby!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen.


DAVID KERLEY, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is what a Tea Party victory lap looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to a cup of Joe with Joe.

KERLEY: In a barber shop about an hour outside of Chicago new Republican congressman Joe Walsh...

REP. JOE WALSH, (R) ILLINOIS: I called myself a Tea Party conservative first and a Republican second, not everybody liked that.

KERLEY: Is back with the faithful for the first time since the big victory.

WALSH: I believe this country that we love and adore needs a little bit of shock therapy.

KERLEY: But should he stand firm with the government poised to run out of money and shut down this week?

WALSH: How many people would like me to vote against that even risking the government shutdown?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call the democrats out on the taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we ran our households as irresponsibly as the government has been running itself for the last 20 years, we would be in prison.

KERLEY: For two days, we followed the new congressman crisscrossing his district from a steel plant to classrooms and conference rooms, as he canvassed his constituents, asking if he's on the right track.

What has been the number one message you received since you have come home after passing that budget

WALSH: Keep cutting, baby. I know you're going to take some hot hits, but you're doing this for the bigger picture.

KERLEY: Emboldened, Walsh is one of the few Republicans who wonders out loud, would a government shutdown be that bad?

WALSH: I don't want a government shutdown. But if we have to have one, it might be good for us.

KERLEY: But not everyone is happy with the new congressman and all those cuts. He's challenged at many stops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're talking about deficits and then you guys went the first thing, give a tax break to the richest people in the nation.

WALSH: This is great time to be alive, you know why? Because there's a lot of stuff going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you can't determine it's great time to be alive for everybody. You don't know that. You don't know everybody's story.

WALSH: This country right now is arguing about and debating, and it's a good thing, big issues.

KERLEY: This week the big bank, Goldman Sachs, said that the Republican budget cuts could cut our already slow economic growth this year by more than half.

Don't you risk running the country back into a recession? WALSH: Not at all. Not at all.

WALSH: Every dollar we take out of the public sector will go into the private sector, and it will go to grow the economy.

This is one of those rare moments when the American people are asking us to be bold.

KERLEY: Walsh has taken an unusual path to Congress.

WALSH: Leadership is every bit as conservative as this freshman class is.

KERLEY: After a career in education reform, he failed at raising capital for startup ventures. Financially strained, his house was foreclosed, and the libertarian ran for Congress.

WALSH: Look. I don't hide anything. I don't like what the president's been doing the last two years. Duh. That's why I ran. I think we're spending too much money. I want to stop it.

KERLEY: To high school students and CEOs, the message is the same.

WALSH: This country that we love, feel it, we're going through a revolution right now. It is wonderful!

KERLEY: Walsh joined that revolution by just a couple hundred votes.

WALSH: I'm Joe Walsh from Illinois.

KERLEY: He sleeps in his Washington office. He refused the federal health care plan. Now he's the subject of "Time" magazine photo shoots and tells reporters he's truly surprised with the freshmen's power.

WALSH: Based on what I have seen, in general, we have held together very, very strongly.

KERLEY: Walsh's energetic --

WALSH: You rock!

KERLEY: And impatient style --

WALSH: So let's be mobile. Give me quick answers. What do you want your government doing right now to address this problem? Go! KERLEY: Only seems to endear him to his base, Tea Party members and small business.

WALSH: Should your congressman and other freshmen, at some point, compromise with the other side to keep the government running?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole point --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why you were voted in.

WALSH: If everybody else has to cut and live within our means, why shouldn't the government?

KERLEY: Walsh says he may sign on to that compromise to fund the government for just two weeks. A short reprieve, he says, from the bigger battle, which he won't shrink from.

Are you going to be a one-hit wonder? One term?

WALSH: Possibly. And here's why I say that. Every decision I make these next two years is going to be to do what I think is right to help save this country, fiscally. And if that doesn't get me reelected, so be it.

KERLEY: For "This Week" I'm David Kerley, in Fox Lake, Illinois.


TAPPER: So you heard the congressman, Governor Brewer, say that he was willing to shut down the government over this fight, this showdown with the White House and with Democrats over spending cuts. The White House says they will not abide $61 billion in spending cuts in the House Republican bill. Should Republicans be willing to shut down the government?

BREWER: No, I don't believe so. I think that government is a necessary evil, but we need to continue.

TAPPER: You don't mean evil.

BREWER: I do. Well -- it's necessary. Government is necessary to provide certain services. And they should be able to come to some solution. Bottom line is, they need to trim the budget. They need to move on and they need to get out of our lives as governors in our states. They need to take care of the federal government's responsibilities and let us -- and give us the flexibility that we need so that we can take care of the people within our states.

TAPPER: Should they risk a shutdown?

HALEY: I'm proud of those congressional Republicans for making those cuts. We have a leader of this country that has got to make some decisions. The people have spoken. No, I don't think government should shut down, but it's up to the president to go and negotiate with the Republicans, not for the Republicans to go and negotiate with the president. They are doing what the people asked. This last election said, less dollars, no deficits. Let's start living within our means. I think those Republican congressmen did that. I think the president needs to respond.

TAPPER: Very quickly, Governor.

PATRICK: I think it took 10 years to grow this deficit. A lot of those folks who are saying shut the government down didn't have a word to say when the deficits were being run up through the roof by President Obama's predecessor. I think the president has shown he will and can work with Republicans, but when he reaches out a hand, they need to not slap it, they need to reach back and act like the adults we sent and we expect in that building over there.

TAPPER: All right. I'm afraid that's all the time we have. When we return, Christiane Amanpour has more live from Libya. Stay with us.


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