Transcript: Gibson Interviews Rahm Emanuel

And I don't think anybody's had any trouble -- and if you look at other presidencies, kind of when there's a dissonance between the public's acceptance of them as president, they see him -- the public sees President Obama immediately in the role in a natural way as president. And his openness and his accessibility, that he is trying to basically hit these problems head on, be honest with the American people, talk to them in an honest way, and help them understand that the challenges we have, that we face as a country, and what the solutions are.

So, substantively, putting in place the foundation, to fundamentally take the economy in a direction that he meets his challenges so it can be a competitive economy in the future. And then stylistically, I would also say one in which the American people who see a president who is open, honest with them, and meeting the challenges that we have, and they have a stake in what we're doing. And that conversation with the American people is an ongoing conversation.

GIBSON: But Rahm, you make the point he ran to be a transitional president, a transformational president.

EMANUEL: No, I don't...

GIBSON: I take back the word transitional..

EMANUEL: He didn't run for that. The moment in time is here. He ran to change Washington because it has been postponing, Charlie, in viewing with the challenges. And that because of the culture here in Washington, the problems for America kept mounting without us seriously dealing with them.

GIBSON: Well, but I make the point, to be a transformational president, it has been obvious in these first 100 days, by the agenda you just laid out, he intends to be or wants to be transformational.

EMANUEL: Has to -- And somewhat also has to be because the scope and scale of the challenges require a set of solutions that meet the size and scope of the problem.

GIBSON: But fair to say, though, that he ran for one job and got another given the condition of the economy as he takes office?


GIBSON: And does that not divert you from all the other problems that you faced and talked about, like education, like energy, like health care reform?

EMANUEL: I'm missing the point of the question. Say that again.

GIBSON: I'm simply saying, given the fact that he runs, or that he sets out an agenda that essentially can be transformational...


GIBSON: ... did he essentially run for one job and get another, given the scope of the economic problems that land on his desk as soon as he takes office?

EMANUEL: I think I can reflect that the president's view is, you know, we inherited [this] set of problems. That's not to point fingers, but the fact that that's the set of problems, and that's basically the hand he's been dealt with. And that, therefore, we have to have a set of solutions that is as significant and as deep and as serious as the set of problems.

And, you know, we didn't want to handle the H1N1 flu, but here it is. And we're going to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to do.

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