'This Week' Transcript: Gene Sperling and Sen. Kelly Ayotte; Plus Dennis Rodman on His Trip to North Korea

SPERLING: You know George, I've known Bob Woodward for 20 years. We've had a very friendly, and respectful relationship. I think virtually everybody who has looked at my email to him, and his reply to me, though those emails reflected that degree of respect, and -- and politeness. And the emails were fundamentally substantive. I was -- I was arguing a case as to why I believe the president asking for balance is consistent with where things have been for the last several years.

So all I can say, George is that Bob Woodward is -- is a legend. I hope that him and I can put this behind us, and I think most importantly...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you haven't talked about it yet?

SPERLING: You know I haven't talked to him yet, but I hope to. I -- I hope we can put it behind us. Because I think we both care about the policy issues we were debating, and I think we both think that that's where the focus of our -- our national debate should be, not on -- not on our email exchange.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Gene Sperling, thanks for your time this morning.

SPERLING: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, let's get a Republican point of view, now from New Hampshire, Senator Kelly Ayotte. Thanks for joining us this morning Senator. You heard...

AYOTTE: Good morning, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. You heard Gene Sperling there said, this is not a win for Republicans. Do you agree with him on his assessment on how much damage these cuts are going to do?

AYOTTE: Well George, I serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I've listened to our military commanders for the last year. I also traveled around the country with Senators McCain, and Graham, and so I am really concerned about the impact on our national security. We've already heard on cuts on training for our active duty troops. Also flight hours for the -- the combat fighter pilots.

So yes, there's some real concern about undermining our national security. But I want to step back for a minute because I actually think that what the Woodward exchange with Mr. Sperling demonstrates is that both sides are rewriting history here to some extent.

You have the president out blaming Republicans when the idea came from the White House, and now he's trying to write into -- tax increases into the plan, when it wasn't ever in the plan, and...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Republicans...


AYOTTE: (Inaudible) on the Republican end.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Republicans were...


AYOTTE: Right. Exactly.


AYOTTE: That's why I say on the Republican end, the enforcement mechanism was one where we left 50 percent of spending off the table so that defense takes a disproportionate cut, which where's the party of Ronald Reagan on this? So I think it's time -- you know Mr. Sperling talked about this being a choice of increasing taxes. We just increased taxes, the Congress did in January at the president's request.

How about alternative spending cuts? In fact this week I offered a proposal to do that. So why can't both sides work together to do this in a more sensible way?

STEPHANOPOULOS: What are the spending cuts you think would work to achieve these same kinds of savings?

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