'This Week' Transcript: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

AMANPOUR: All right, but let me -- let me ask you, then, about the current committee. I mean, the super-committee was in part shaped by President Obama. And here it is now, at the 11th hour, and it is apparently going to fail. They're not going to meet what they promised that they would do. And people are saying that President Obama hasn't been front and center enough in terms of, you know, doing that last-minute politicking...

EMANUEL: Oh, wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa, no, no. Back up. Now, he's -- the super-committee was set up by the -- by the leading -- congressional leaders because that's where they wanted it.

Number two, he put an insurance policy in there, that if you fail, if Congress doesn't do its job, there is going to be an automatic cut, and that was the insurance policy both to motivate them, but to make sure that America got the types of changes and cuts and reforms that were necessary. Now, he hoped Congress would do it, but he had to buy an insurance policy.

Number two, as I said before, he has a plan; they have an ideology. He has offered to work on a grand bargain. They have refused to bargain. They will not move. He has put things on that are dear to Democrats and said, as part of an overall plan, I will make that part of it. That shows compromise. That shows interest. They have refused to budge on a single piece on their agenda. That is not how you get to an agreement.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you. You're obviously giving a full-throated, as we would expect, you know, re-elect, rallying the troops for President Obama in this coming election year. Obviously, we expect that.

EMANUEL: Well, Christiane, I was -- I was asked to give this speech at the Iowa Democratic Party, not to the Brookings Institute.

AMANPOUR: Right. But I know. But obviously, I mean, we understand that. You're a Democrat. You were the president's chief of staff. I guess what I'm asking you is, given your, you know, passionate defense, given everything you're saying right now, and given the polls that, for instance, show that the majority of Americans think that the country's on the wrong track, they don't see the president as being able -- at least 43 percent of Americans don't see the president as being able to lead them out of this economic bind. And furthermore, the latest CNN Opinion Research poll shows that, if the election was held today, Mitt Romney would beat the president by about 51 percent to 47 percent. How do you deal with that heavy lift? How does the party, how does the president face that?

EMANUEL: Well, first of all, you remind people where we were just three years ago and what has been done, but what needs to be done. And then, second, as I do, I think, in the speech, there's a clear set of choices, because when it comes to the decisions in that Oval Office, the outcome isn't clear. It's filled with fog. And your guideposts are your leadership, your judgment and your values. Mitt Romney has revealed himself, and I believe as the campaign continues, more and more people will see who he's willing to stand for and who he doesn't really -- turns a blind eye towards, and that's the middle class.

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