'This Week' Transcript: David Axelrod and Rick Santorum

PHOTO: Obama Campaign Senior Adviser David Axelrod on "This Week"

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to This Week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president takes a pounding.

OBAMA: The truth of the matter is, the private sector is doing fine.

ROMNEY: Is he really that out of touch? To stand up and say the private sector is doing fine? It's an extraordinary miscalculation.

OBAMA: The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Obama's gaffe caps the worst week of his campaign, with new worries on the economy.

A big loss in Wisconsin.

WALKER: Together, we're going to move Wisconsin forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: His best surrogate off-message.

CLINTON: I don't think I should have to say bad things about Governor Romney personally to disagree with him politically.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And new fury over national security leaks.

MCCAIN: They have to stop. These leaks have to stop.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can Obama get his groove back? Will Romney make the most of this chance?

ROMNEY: A long way to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Questions for our headliners. The president's top campaign strategist, David Axelrod. Romney's runner-up, Rick Santorum, and another powerhouse roundtable with Mike Huckabee, Ed Rendell, Ann Coulter and Van Jones.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. As you just heard, a rough week for the president's re-election campaign. So let's get right to his top campaign strategist, David Axelrod. Good to have you back, David.

AXELROD: Thanks, George, good to be with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's start with that press conference on Friday. The president making that statement saying the private sector is doing fine. You saw how fast Mitt Romney pounced. And this morning the campaign is out with a new video to drive the point home. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have seen layoffs, cutbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When all is said, we're making $200 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been looking for a job for two years. Haven't found any.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to file my own personal bankruptcy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're saying, no, Mr. President, we're not doing fine. How big of a mistake did the president make and is it going to stick?

AXELROD: Look, George, I think the American people are smarter than that. They understand the president called the press conference to say that because of the storm clouds that are rolling in from Europe and elsewhere, we need to undergird our economy, and he called the press conference to promote several steps he thought we needed to take to strengthen job creation.

So, tax cuts for small business hiring. Helping families who are under water by cutting red tape so they can refinance under today's low interest rates. Save on the average $3,000 a family. And put the teachers and firefighters and police who have lost their jobs over the last -- we have had 4.3 million private sector jobs created over the last 27 months, but we lost almost half a million public sector jobs, and most of them are teachers. Many of them are firefighters and police. And his argument was that we ought to move on this, Congress ought to move on this.

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