'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod

TAPPER: The president in the last week-and-a-half has updated his speech with new language, in which he suggests that one of the reasons that we're not making economic progress is because some of his plans have been blocked by those -- he's obviously alluding to Republicans -- by those who put party before country, who would rather see America fail than their opponents win. Isn't there a suggestion being made here by the president that those who don't support his plans are something less than patriotic?

AXELROD: Well, Jake, when people don't support plans that have in the past garnered bipartisan support, when people are willing to walk the country to the brink of default, when people, instead of saying where there's a will, there's a way, it's my way or the highway, you have to assume that politics is at play.

Last week, I saw the spokesman for the speaker of the House say that they would not call any of the president's job-creating proposals, other than his proposals for three new trade treaties, which we need to open up markets, and for -- for patent reform, so that entrepreneurs can bring their products to market more easily -- those are good things, but we need to do more.

For example, we need to extend the payroll tax cut that's in place right now. It is unthinkable to me that the Republican Party would say we can't touch -- we can't touch tax cuts for the wealthy, we can't touch special interest corporate tax loopholes because that will hinder -- hinder the economy, but we'll allow a $1,000 tax increase on the average American come January. How could that be? The only explanation for it is politics.

TAPPER: David, my understanding about those three trade deals is that members of Congress are waiting for the president to send them up to Capitol Hill. So why does the president keep talking about the need to do this without having sent them to the House and Senate to act upon?

AXELROD: Well, as you know, Jake, we've actually made progress on this in the Senate, but there's a dispute, because the president wants to pass the treaties in tandem with trade adjustment assistance for any workers who might be -- American workers who might be disadvantaged by the treaties. And on the whole, they'll be a big plus for American workers, but in some sectors, there could be impact. We want to make sure that we're being fair to American -- American workers.

We feel like we reached an agreement or made progress in the Senate. We need to get this through Congress come the fall. So I'm encouraged that -- that the speaker wants to do that.

But there are a whole range of other things we should be doing. And as I said, it's bewildering as to how they would take the position that we're not going to move anything the president says before he even speaks. It just doesn't make sense.

TAPPER: David, in the last month, there's been a lot of criticism of President Obama by some prominent members of the African-American community. And in fact, this week, the Congressional Black Caucus launched a "For the People" jobs tour. And here's what Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters had to say.


WATERS: We are supportive of the president, but we're getting tired, y'all. We're getting tired. Our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why, on this trip, that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black communities. We don't know that.

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