'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod


TAPPER: Now, David, she was referring, of course, to the rural tour that President Obama took. But regardless of whether or not it was OK to go on a rural tour, what do you say when a member of the Congressional Black Caucus says that she doesn't know what strategy is for unemployment. This is a big ally of the president's.

AXELROD: Well, obviously, the things that the president is proposing, things like moving forward on the road transportation surface program, the roads -- repairing roads and bridges and so on, which has always been, by the way, done on a bipartisan basis, but is now stuck in the House, those are going to have big impacts up and down the economic scale. There are other things that he's proposing that would have big impact up and down the economic scale.

He fought hard in the debt ceiling negotiations to make sure that those -- those safety nets, Medicaid and Pell Grants for poor students of all backgrounds were protected from those cuts, because they're important. And his -- his program for the future has in it education and opportunities for people to advance their skills, so they're not looked in a cycle of poverty.

So there's lots that is there, with an eye toward those who need the help the most. But we've got to move the entire country forward, Jake, not just one community. And he is focused on doing that.

And we can do that if we get some cooperation, instead of a very kind of political position that we're not going to cooperate on anything while the country's waiting for action.

TAPPER: Lastly, David, I know that you're well aware that you have a big task ahead of you when it comes to motivating Obama supporters from 2008 and potentially future Obama supporters, rallying the base. Progressive filmmaker Michael Moore had this question that he wanted me to ask you. Quote, "Are you aware of how profoundly disappointed so many of the president's supporters are? Do you realize that each time the president moves to the right, he picks up no votes and loses many? Or do you cynically believe that because these people have nowhere else to go, they'll end up voting for Obama?"

How do you respond to liberals like Michael Moore, who want to vote for the president, but are just profoundly disappointed? How do you convince them to turn out in November 2012?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, no one is cynically moving one way or the other. The president is not moving left or right; he's interested in moving the country forward.

And we've got a very, very sharp debate here. And the question is, are we going to take steps in the short run to help stimulate this economy, to help create jobs, to help create growth? And are we going to take the steps in the long run that will protect the investments that can grow our economy and, most importantly, Jake, can create good middle-class jobs in the future on which people can raise their families?

That's what education is about. That's what research and development to create new technologies and advance manufacturing is about. That's what the infrastructure -- that's what roads and bridges and repairs that put people to work now, but also create the opportunity to move -- to move our goods across this country.

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