'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner Full Interview

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But, again, if you look at broad measures of the basic resilience and dynamism of the economy, they're -- they're pretty encouraging. We've got to work to reinforce them. A lot of work to do, still. A lot of damage that -- a lot of damage, still, to undo.

And that's why, again, we need a -- we need a a willing partner in Congress to do things to help make the economy stronger.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Women have been front and center in the presidential race this week. And Governor Romney tried to turn the table on Democrats, who said that Republicans have prosecuted a war on women with this argument.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The real war on women has been waged by the policies of the Obama administration, because...

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: -- did you know that of all the jobs lost during the Obama years, 92.3 percent of them are women. During the Obama years, women have suffered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now I -- I know you disagree with the point that Governor Romney is making. But that number he's citing, 92.3 percent of the job losses are women, is accurate, isn't it?

GEITHNER: It's a -- it's a ridiculous way to look at the problem. And this is a political moment and you're going to be seeing -- just to borrow a line from Mario Cuomo -- you're going to see a lot of politicians choose to campaign in fiction. But we have to govern in fact.

And this crisis was a very damaging crisis, hurt everybody. And it began in, as you know, in early 2008. And a lot of the early job losses in 2008 affected men, because they affected construction and manufacturing.

And as the crisis spread and state and local governments were forced to cut back on services and fire a lot of teachers, that caused a lot of damage to women, too.

But what matters is -- and this is why this debate is so important -- is what can we do to help families across the America -- America, men and women, not just get -- get back to work, but help them afford college, help them get access to affordable health care, preventative care, and make sure that we're strengthening this important safety net at a time where so many Americans are suffering.

And that's the debate we're having across the country. And that's a good debate to have.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you completely reject his argument?

GEITHNER: Oh, it's a ridiculous argument. Ridiculous. It's been largely debunked this week by the people who have looked at it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though, but you -- you do concede that the number is correct?

It's -- it's technically accurate?

GEITHNER: But, you know, again, the crisis began in early 2008, a year before the president took office. It was gaining momentum throughout 2008, even coming up to the time of the inauguration.

You know, unemployment -- as you know, the GDP, at that point, was falling. The economy was contracting at an annual rate of almost 9 percent at that point. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month, devastating damage. Now -- and it hurt men and women. It hurt families across the country. There's no doubt about it.

And, again, the early job losses were concentrated in manufacturing and construction. A lot of men lost jobs then. A lot of women lost jobs later on.

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