'This Week' Transcript: David Axelrod and Rick Santorum

Governor Romney chose to jump on the word, but what was most interesting is how he reacted to the spirit of the thing, because his statement was we don't need any more teachers, we don't need any more firefighters or police. The president is out of touch. Out of touch? We have lost 250,000 teachers in the last 27 -- couple of years. Every community in the country is feeling it. It's bad in the short term for our economy, because those are good middle-class jobs, and it's bad in the long term for our economy because we're not going to win and our kids aren't going to win unless we invest in education.

So I would suggest he's living on a different planet if he thinks that's a prescription for a stronger economy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that debate is going to continue. But as you know, the press conference came at the end of what had been a pretty tough week as we've said. The jobs numbers coming out last Friday, the Wisconsin loss for Democrats in the recall election. We found out also that Mitt Romney outraised the president last month. And the Romney campaign really seems to be smelling blood right now. They think you've lost your footing.

I want to show something that -- from columnist Matt Dowd, who of course worked for President George W. Bush. He said, I would have thought that the Obama campaign would have prepared a single disqualifying argument and pounded it for the last five or six weeks. They have done neither.

AXELROD: Well, first of all, let me say, you've got an expert panel coming up and they can chew over whether what happened in the first week of June is going to be meaningful in October and going into the first Tuesday in November. I suspect much of this will be of little consequence.

I think the debate we just talked about will be, because Governor Romney has proposed a program that would give every millionaire a $250,000 additional tax cut but deeply cut education. And those kinds of debates are going to be important. The rest of it really won't be important, and, you know, it's the fascination of the political community. We are -- you know, we are making a case about how you grow this economy in a way that will build a strong middle class. It's not the way Governor Romney proposes. His history as a job creator is suspect. Senator Santorum is on next. He spoke to it during the Republican primary campaign. His business was not creating jobs. It was creating wealth for his partners, oftentimes at the expense of workers, and that showed in Massachusetts when he was governor, 47th in the nation in job creation, one of the worst records.

Even as he was expanding -- he expanded the government by 30 percent, public sector jobs grew at six times the rate of private sector jobs. So this is the debate that the American people are interested in. How do we grow this economy in a way that grows the middle class that is sustainable, an economy that is built to last?

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you hit on both points there, both the past and the future for Governor Romney. Which one is more important? Because Bill Clinton seemed to be suggesting last week that what your campaign should focus on is Romney's plans for the future, that's where the debate should be, and that's where you're going to win.

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