The other panelists were Newsweek and Washington Post writer Will, political analyst and former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, and ABC News's own Jonathan Karl.
The last time Loesch was on the program, she wholeheartedly endorsed the elimination of Social Security, thought that the Texas Governor Rick Perry was "too weak on illegal immigration," and said that "Obama can be beaten by a generic Republican," which-- depending on the pollster-- might be partially true.
From the 11.13.2011 edition of ABC's This Week:
AMANPOUR: And now, of course, we now bring in our roundtable. President Obama, though, has called the situation at Penn State "horrifying," "a moment for soul-searching." And as I said, we bring in our roundtable, George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Dana Loesch, founder of the St. Louis Tea Party and editor of BigJournalism.com, and ABC senior political correspondent Jon Karl.
George, what have we learned from this?
WILL: Well, first, what we still need to learn is, how graphic was the description that the assistant coach gave to Joe Paterno about what he'd seen in the shower? Because that would tell us the degree of Joe Paterno's culpability.
What we've seen here -- and Christine had it exactly right -- when you graft a multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry anomalously on to higher education, you produce a bubble of entitlements and exemptions, and eventually a simple moral derangement.
BRAZILE: George, I don't know if explaining the details would have made any parent, any adult just suspect and immediately call the police. My initial reaction, had I witnessed that, would have been to pick up something to stop it, to stop the act itself, to call upon the adult to, you know, stop, to protect that child, call the police, and then inform everybody else later, as -- but, look, this was a moral failure, a human tragedy. And as a former college athlete and high school athlete, I mean, this is just upsetting to many of us.
AMANPOUR: And it happens in other sports, too. ABC News has done investigations on, for instance, the lady's swimming team.
BRAZILE: And that's why it needs to become a teachable moment. I know that's a word that we use a lot in politics, but, no, college football, college sports has gotten out of hand. And it's time that we take a look inside of it.
AMANPOUR: Do you think there will be, as President Obama said, real soul-searching, Dana?
LOESCH: I hope so. I hope so at this point. I just -- I'm trying to get my mind around the fact, as Donna and George were saying, that you see something like this happen right before your eyes and your first reaction is to wait a day, and then go and tell Coach Paterno what had happened, and then go through the process of going to the administration, and so on and so forth. I hope there's going to be some soul-searching. Someone's first reaction, aside from feeling physically ill, should be to physically stop it.
KARL: Well, and if you want to send a message on this, you cancel the rest of the football season. Why are they still playing? Why doesn't the NCAA come out and say, "Done, Penn State's football season is over"? What's going to happen? Are they be playing in a bowl game? I mean, send a message, a clear, unmistakable message that this will not happen again.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you now, let's turn to the other headline in politics, and that are the still unanswered issues and allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain. And I want to ask you, Jon, as a reporter, we witnessed on Wednesday night a reporter trying to ask this question at a debate, and he was roundly booed, as if it is not our job to ask these questions.
KARL: Yeah, well, look, Cain's core supporters see this as all the more reason to support him. And, frankly, until -- unless there are more women that come forward and, you know, decide to have a press conference of all his accusers, looks like is not going to happen, it's hard for me to see where the story's going to go.
Cain has made it clear he is not going to answer any more questions about this, even peripheral questions. He's completely done with it. I think, frankly, his bigger concern as a candidate, maybe his inability, as we saw in last night's debate, to talk about some foreign policy questions, you know, to meet the commander-in-chief test. I think that's going to be what we're going to see next with Herman Cain.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, George, though, have we seen the end of this story, when it comes to Herman Cain? I mean, this is a gentleman who is running for the highest office in the land and in the world.
WILL: A rule is, when there are four women, there may be 24, that there's a pattern here. He says there's no pattern, because all four are not telling the truth. Well, we shall see.
For Republicans, it is a teachable moment, because Republicans have said, over and over again, character matters in leadership. We have this powerful government. All more power the government has, the more character matters in the chief executive. And this is a test for them.
BRAZILE: Mr. Cain has received a little bit of what I call a martyr status among some Republicans. And that may be the wrong message to send to someone who is a novice at presidential politics.
The truth is, is that he was defiant, he was defensive. Four women, two have come out, and then they went right ahead and start attacking those two women, who are still anonymous. He attacked former Speaker Pelosi. He made fun of Anita Hill. This is not a good sign of a candidate who would like to remain a frontrunner in the Republican race.
AMANPOUR: And he's still top of the polls. Let me ask you, George, about Rick Perry, who as we all know had a very, very, very bad week, not just his first bad week. Why should anyone believe that he can turn it around? And I know you want to take care of some personal housekeeping this week, as well.
WILL: Yes, for more than 30 years, my wife, Mari, has been in the political business. She was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan's campaign and his White House. She was his last White House director of communications. As part of her profession, which is to consult with businesses and congenial political candidates, she has been in the political business off and on for 30 years. Last Monday, she became part of the Perry campaign, specializing in messaging and debate preparation.
AMANPOUR: Isn't she banging her fists against her head then?
WILL: No, that's what she's there for, is to fix things. Some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal. At the Michigan debate, after the debate, Mari waved to Ann and Mitt Romney. They came over and talked. They've been guests at our dinner table. And Romney gave her a kiss on the cheek, and they went their separate ways. They're both mature professionals.
AMANPOUR: You -- you have -- when Rick Perry first started to get in, you were quite optimistic about his chances. Do you feel now that he has a chance? I mean, it's not just his gaffes. It's his poll numbers.
WILL: Well, he's got better advisers. Beyond that, his poll numbers are down. He had a steep climb before Wednesday night. This climb got steeper. But I would remind you that in -- in 2008 campaign, a presidential candidate gave a speech in Oregon in which he said, "I've visited all 57 states and have one more to go."
WILL: That man is in the White House today.
AMANPOUR: On that note, let us just look at what Rick Perry said at last night's debate, obviously, playing on the -- on the big gaffe he did on Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELLEY: Governor Perry, you advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy. If you eliminate the Department of Energy...
PERRY: Glad you remembered it.
PELLEY: I've had some time to think about it, sir.
PERRY: Me, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Dana, has he neutralized any worries about his weakness as a debater and on the issues?
LOESCH: I think he's coming around. He's -- I think the smartest thing that he did -- and this is sort of interesting, as well, because the week prior to this debate, he and his campaign had been saying that they were considering seeking less media attention and going to less debates. And now it's a complete 180. Now there's not a camera that Rick Perry will not get in front of. He even went on Dave Letterman, which I thought was great, because I think it did neutralize some of the criticism. I think it gives him a little bit more media time, so he can get used to the pressure and the scrutiny. And it helps his perception in the public's eyes.
AMANPOUR: And, Jon, what about the real issue of his poll numbers? And are his donors, fundraisers feeling a little swishy?
KARL: From all I hear is that the fundraising has essentially dried up for Perry. I mean, look, his campaign was in serious trouble before he had his debate performance on Wednesday. I will say, he had a very strong debate last night. It was by far Perry's strongest debate. You could argue -- you saw he was kind of funny at times. He was substantive. He was -- he was strong. You could say that if he had been doing this all along, he'd probably still be the frontrunner. But it's -- it's a really steep climb right now for Perry.
AMANPOUR: A quick round for all of you. Look at the new McClatchy-Marist poll. Mitt Romney, with his trusty 23 percent, as ever, but Newt Gingrich, back from the dead, maybe, and in second place. How did that happen, Donna?
BRAZILE: Well, he's had steady debate performance. He understands that, by attacking the media, taking on media during these debates, he wins the day. He's still a darling of the conservatives. Remember, he was a popular speaker for the Republican side.
AMANPOUR: Do we think Newt Gingrich is going to rise, George? Is he the latest anti-Romney or...
WILL: He's the flavor of the week, and he's a skillful campaigner, and he has perfect pitch for certain Republican constituencies. But, again, you've put your finger on the striking number there, which is that Mitt Romney's support fluctuates wildly between 23 percent and 25 percent.
KARL: And the other anti-Romney is like a yo-yo, up and down, up and down. But, you know, look, Romney has got some serious problems in terms of closing this deal. But this race, you could argue, is as wide open as it has ever been.
AMANPOUR: We're going to continue this right after a break.
And up next, crunch time for the super-committee. Will the lawmakers beat the clock and fend off budget doomsday? The roundtable reads the smoke signals when we return.
AMANPOUR: Repent, the end is near, well, for the super-committee, at least. They have got less than two weeks to figure out how to shave $1.3 trillion off the deficit. Miss that November 23rd deadline, and they'll trigger draconian slate of budget cuts. Let's bring back the roundtable.
So, Jon, is the super-committee going to make this deadline?
KARL: From all of my talks with people on the Hill, the super-committee is on the brink of failure. And barring an 11th minute breakthrough that we don't see any signs of right now, it will fail. It will fail to produce -- now, it may -- my prediction is that they -- that they do something, but it would be a much smaller number than $1.2 trillion. And it will be seen, as it should be, as a failure.
AMANPOUR: Donna, Senator Mitch McConnell thinks that this is all a White House design. Let's just put this up and see what the senator just said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: It does raise your suspicion that the folks down at the White House are pulling for failure, because, you see, if the joint committee succeeds, it steps on the storyline that they've been peddling, which is that you can't do anything with the Republicans in Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What about your storyline?
BRAZILE: Oh, I don't think so. Look, the White House has put forward a big deal, a big bargain, you know, with more cuts that most Democrats will basically say, "No way, let's not cut so deeply into the entitlement programs."
This is still about the Bush tax cuts. It's still about raising revenue. And the -- the Republicans have not put -- put forward a reasonable plan to -- to really, you know, make a deal with the Democrats. So I -- I see a deadlock. And I also believe they're going to kick this down the road.
WILL: They wanted more revenues, the Democrats did, so Pat Toomey, former chairman of the Club for Growth, tax-aphobic if anyone is, put forward hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenues by largely devaluing deductions for high earners, in other words, making the tax code more progressive, and the Democrats again moved the goal posts and said we're not going to do that.
Now, the real deadline is not the 23rd. It's the 21st. They've already blown past one deadline. They had to get their plan scored. The 21st, they have to have it published for 48 hours before the deadline. What happens if the sequester trigger comes into play? Nothing. Nothing happens on the 24th, because the sequester works in 2013.
Furthermore, you can draw a graph. This is federal spending without the sequester; this is federal spending with the sequester. Tiny difference. It's a tiny difference in the rate of growth of federal spending.
AMANPOUR: What's at stake for you and for your sort of constituents? Is this going to work, do you think? And the sequester that George is talking about, if it does go into effect, it really heavily affects military spending.
LOESCH: Yes. And that's sort of, I think, one of the big problems that grassroots conservatives especially had with this whole situation, is that it really focuses on defense, but nothing is really done so much about entitlement.
I personally have zero faith in the super-committee. I don't have any faith in a smaller version of Congress doing what Congress couldn't do already. So because of that -- and just because we've watched Democrats walk away last week from the plan that Republicans -- that Toomey put forward just last week. It threw them a curveball, $300 billion in revenue -- revenues raising.
But I think it comes down to an ideological difference. They want Bush tax cuts to be made permanent. They want to increase revenues by adding to the tax base, as opposed to just jacking up the rates, which I think is valid, especially when you look at tax receipts for the last six decades. And so there's an ideological difference here, but in terms of how this is going to affect us and -- and whether or not we have faith that -- I don't know how it will. We'll wait and see. And I have zero faith.
AMANPOUR: Jon, is this going to be something that we're just going to have to wait for the next election, this whole idea of cutting the spending and getting the deficit under control?
KARL: Well, George made a really critical point I think a lot of people don't really realize, which is these automatic cuts that take place if the super-committee fails don't happen until 2013. What are the odds of them really happening? I mean, Congress can simply vote them away during the lame-duck session after the 2012...
AMANPOUR: So what is this, just an exercise in futility?
KARL: Well, it's -- it's profoundly disappointing. And I think that, if they fail, the cost will be borne by incumbents everywhere. This is an indictment of Congress. It's an indictment of both parties. And it's an indictment of the White House.
WILL: That's the crucial point, because Harry Reid's interest diverged from Barack Obama's interests here. Harry Reid is defending 23 Senate seats. And he does not want his -- his Democratic candidates for Senate to be out there while the president is campaigning against a do-nothing, failed Congress.
BRAZILE: Well, I just want to go back to Toomey's proposal. While it was a modest recognition that revenues need to be...
KARL: Five hundred billion dollars is not modest.
BRAZILE: But, look, compared to allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, $800 billion? I mean, come on. We're looking at, you know, a proposal that would cut entitlements, cut Medicare, cut programs on people who can least afford them.
KARL: You know the Republicans weren't going to go along with allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. I mean, this was the first significant movement forward for Republicans on revenue, besides what John Boehner did with the president in their secret discussions.
BRAZILE: Well, the Democrats have already moved on entitlements, so why can't we just find a one or two billion -- trillion dollar more that -- that will allow us to achieve balance (ph)?
AMANPOUR: Let's talk a little bit about mood, which inevitably governs all these kind of debates and discussions. We saw over this last week, with elections in various different states, you know, various conservative ideas pushed back, whether it was anti-union measures in Ohio or other such things elsewhere. And some have called it a reaction to conservative overreach. How much can one read into this?
KARL: Well, I'd be careful reading too much. Clearly, conservatives lost in those two initiatives you mentioned, but look at the health care mandate in Ohio. Ohio voted overwhelmingly -- every county in the state -- to reject the centerpiece of the president's health care plan, and by a bigger margin than the referendum that put away Kasich's plan on collective bargaining.
So I would be careful in reading much. In fact, if anything, this was an incumbent election. I mean, incumbents did pretty well across the board. And that's a troubling sign for conservatives and for the Tea Party movement, because it means the momentum has waned.
AMANPOUR: So the momentum, George, right down to the latest Quinnipiac poll is basically saying that -- the new state poll out of Iowa is showing President Obama defeating all Republican comers in that new poll. Shift of mood? It's a swing state, isn't it?
WILL: It's a swing state. It's a purple state.
AMANPOUR: I actually meant Ohio. I hope I didn't say Iowa.
WILL: You did...
WILL: Well, Ohio's important to Republicans.
WILL: No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio. Republicans always spend something like the gross national product of Brazil to carry Ohio, and that puts them across the finish line.
The real problem for Republicans is they have to have a candidate who can carry the white, non-college-educated, blue-collar vote, Hillary Democrats, if you will. It used to be called Reagan Democrats. They're in play, and the Republicans need a candidate who can carry them. They lost them in Ohio last week.
BRAZILE: Well, let me just say this. More people turned out to vote against Governor Kasich's proposal than voted for Governor Kasich in 2010. This is a sign of things to come. Voters are sick and tired and frustrated of politicians overreaching, you know, basically doing things that they did not elect them to do.
They want jobs. They want to protect the economy. They're not interested in all of these side issues, whether it's the personhood amendment in Mississippi or the voter proposal in Maine and the anti-worker proposal in Ohio. And, also, remember, in the Hawkeye State, in Iowa, they also rejected one of the Tea Party-backed candidates who had proposed -- was against the marriage initiative. So this was a good day for Democrats.
AMANPOUR: All right.
On that note, up next, the Iran crisis boils over, as U.N. inspectors find new evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear device. The big question: Can America do anything to stop it now? Answers from the Republican presidential field when we return. Stay with us.
AMANPOUR: Last night, the Republican presidential candidates took on the chief foreign policy crisis facing the United States today, nuclear Iran potentially. This week, weapons inspectors said they finally have enough -- the most strong evidence, they say, to see that Iran is still working on a nuclear device.
So can it be stopped at this point? The candidates said yes.
ROMNEY: Well, it's worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It's worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we've done there's nothing else we can do besides take military action, then of course you take military action.
CAIN: I would not entertain military opposition. I'm talking about to help the opposition movement within the country.
PERRY: The issue that has not been raised is that this country can sanction the Iranian central bank right now and shut down that country's economy.
SANTORUM: We should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes.
This time, Loesch defended Rick Perry's infamous 53-second gaffe at the CNBC Debate Wednesday night. She praised his appearance on CBS's The Late Show With David Letterman. She also stated that she has zero confidence in the Super Committee.