'This Week' Transcript: Stephanie Cutter and Eric Fehrnstrom

KRUGMAN: Can I say, the Ryan plan -- and I guess this is what counts as a personal attack -- but it isn't. It's not an attack on the person; it's an attack on the plan. The plan's a fraud. The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what's actually in it, it's a deficit-increasing plan.

And so to say that -- just tell the truth that there is really no plan there, neither from Ryan, nor from Governor Romney, is just the truth. That's not -- if that's -- if that's being harsh and partisan, gosh, then I guess the truth is anti-bipartisanship.

FEHRNSTROM: So may I ask you, Paul, do you prefer the president's plan?

KRUGMAN: Oh, yeah. I mean, the president -- at least it's -- you know, I don't approve of everything, but there are no gigantic mystery numbers in his stuff. We do know what he's talking about. His numbers are -- you know, all economic forecasts are wrong, but his are not -- are not insane. These are -- these are just imaginary.

FEHRNSTROM: Well, this president has given us four years of trillion-dollar deficits. Never before -- not until Barack Obama came into office -- have we ever achieved a $1 trillion annual operating deficit. That's what we have under this president. At least the Paul Ryan plan puts us on a path toward a balanced budget. It gets those annual deficits down.


FEHRNSTROM: ... in a way -- in a way -- in a way that this president has been unable to do.


WILL: With his predictions about what his stimulus would accomplish, what his green jobs programs would accomplish, the president gave a lot of hostages to fortune, and fortune has shot the hostages.

Now, when -- when Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian revolution, made lots of predictions, and his -- his biographer, Isaac Deutscher, who loved Trotsky, said, proof of Trotsky's farsighted is that none of his predictions have come true yet. I think Mr. Obama is farsighted in the same way.

KRUGMAN: Oh, no question, that -- that one chart about the stimulus was -- was really wrong, but what's interesting about that very early thing was...

STEPHANOPOULOS: When he said that unemployment would go below 8 percent.

KRUGMAN: Right, but they actually said that...

WILL: Stay below 8 percent.

KRUGMAN: But they -- they were -- they were wildly over-optimistic about the ability of the private economy to recover on its own, but the mistake they made was that they said that even without the stimulus unemployment would fall sharply. And that was -- I don't know why they believed that, but this is not a problem with the president's policies, and it is something that a couple of economists put together in January 2009. Is that still what we're going to run on?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to dig into a little more of what happened this week when both campaigns went in to rival territories. I said at the open, we had David Axelrod go to Massachusetts, talk about the Massachusetts record, Mitt Romney go to Solyndra, talk about the president. Take a look.


AXELROD: The state was 47th in job creation, fourth from the bottom. Under Romney's tenure as governor, Massachusetts's economic performance was one of the worst in the country.

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