'This Week' Transcript: David Plouffe and Lindsey Graham


PLOUFFE: What I would say is, we would accept an enforcement mechanism that ensures that -- that compels both parties to action and also is something that we think substantively is acceptable to the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're saying there may be a way to compel action by both parties without including revenues?

PLOUFFE: Well, again, we're talking about a variety of different options here in the closing hours here about how to compel that action. I would say that the positive thing is -- I think both parties agree that you need such an action.

And exactly what the composition is -- again, we want to make sure that there's focus on this committee acting. And I think this has been a healthy debate. I think the American people understand a lot more about the deficit, about that there's no easy answers. I think it's been a healthy debate here in Washington. And I think any long-term deficit reduction is going to include revenues and smart entitlement reform.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Republicans don't agree with that.

PLOUFFE: Well, some Republicans do. First of all, I'd say most Republicans in America do. And you're beginning to see more Republican senators speak to this, that, listen, we had a deal with Speaker Boehner that obviously fell apart that included $800 billion in revenue. So I'm confident that any solution that this committee would produce that ultimately will be voted on in Congress is going to be balanced.

AMANPOUR: Frustrated members of your own party, they're basically saying, look, why doesn't the president -- who has his principles -- stand up for them, rather than spending so much time wanting to be bipartisan, a conciliator? I mean, they're saying the Republicans are driving a harder bargain. And as George has just described, the president has moved all of the way to the language and the ideals that the Republicans espouse.

PLOUFFE: Now, if you look at -- what are...

AMANPOUR: But, yes, because he wanted a clean bill, then a bill with cuts and spending, and now as George is talking about, it's -- it's all cuts for the moment.

PLOUFFE: Well, first of all, we've been clear, we need this debt ceiling increased well into the future. The spectacle in Washington this week, anyone who thinks we should repeat this again a few months down the road, I don't think there's many people in America.

So, first of all, we need a longer-term extension, because our economy cannot have this cloud over it. Secondly, deficit reduction now is going to happen in two stages. There's going to be a first stage that has cuts agreed to, largely that came out of the work the president and the vice president did, that are acceptable largely to members of both parties.

The second stage is going to be a committee that's looking into the tougher issues of entitlement reform and tax reform.

The president believes that we need to reduce the deficit. This isn't about playing on a Republican playing field. This country, our economy has to reduce the deficit, we have to live within our means. And if you're a progressive, there's a powerful case for deficit reduction, things like college loans, college scholarships, medical research, spending on things like roads and bridges that put construction workers to work, if we don't reduce the deficit in the not-too-distant future, we're not going to have room to do any of that.

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