'This Week' Transcript: David Axelrod, Mike Huckabee

ROMNEY: The president is going to try and take responsibility for things getting better. You know, it's like the rooster taking responsibility for the sunrise. He didn't do it. In fact, what he did was made things harder for America to get going.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let me bring in the president's top strategist, David Axelrod. Great to have you here in New Hampshire.

AXELROD: George, welcome back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is good to be back. Boy, you saw right of the box, Mitt Romney last night walking that tightrope on the economy, welcoming the good news, but saying President Obama doesn't deserve any credit for it. He's made things worse. That's going to be the key debate of this campaign.

AXELROD: He ought to ask 1.5 million auto workers and people who work in the auto industry who are working today because the president intervened when Mitt Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt.

He said something worse than that, George. And more preposterous, which is that the president's policies have made the recession worse. The fact is--

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's his argument.

AXELROD: The facts -- he has a lot of arguments, none of them are supported by facts. If you look at the history of this, the president came to office. The quarter before he got to office, the country, the economy shrunk by 9 percent. The first month he was there, the country lost 750,000 jobs. We have had 22 months of private-sector job growth now. It's been a climb up. And there are a series of -- manufacturing up for the first time in decades.

I mean, we have plenty of work to do. We have got big problems that took a long time in the making, they're going to take some time -- more time than we'd like to solve. But to say that his policies made the recession worse -- and here's the thing, George -- he had -- when he was running in president in 2007, in 2008, he had not one unkind word, one critique of the economic policies of the last administration that led up to and through (ph) the worst of this recession. He thinks that the policies that were in place then were the right policies, and now he wants to go back to them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But unemployment is still not as low as you all predicted it would be when President Obama first came in, and according to most projections, it's likely to be the highest for any incumbent president in modern times.

AXELROD: Well, we'll see where those statistics lack. I think the direction is important here. Governor Romney may be rooting for slips and falls here. We're concentrating on moving this economy forward.

But there's a larger issue, George, which is what kind of economy are we aiming for? We have to get people back to work, but we also have to make sure that work pays.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, governor--

AXELROD: That's a big distinction between us and Governor Romney. He doesn't understand that that's a fundamental issue that is facing this country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He also started to take some fire last night on his tenure at Bain Capital. And something you, Democrats, the Democratic National Committee, have really been hitting hard all through this campaign so far. He's not backing down at all. You saw him last night, Governor Romney saying his team at Bain Capital is responsible for creating 100,000 jobs. Do you have any qualm with that number?

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