'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

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STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Compromise or combat?

REP. JOHN A. BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE SPEAKER: There is a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Creeping up on that fiscal cliff.

REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-VA., MAJORITY LEADER: This is not a game. That offer yesterday was simply not serious.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As private talks seem to collapse, President Obama cranks up the public heat.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Congress does nothing, you'll see your taxes go up on January 1st, that's a Scrooge Christmas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which side will blink? Or will cliffside cripple the economy? We'll ask our headliner, the president's point man, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Plus, Susan Rice hits a Senate buzzsaw.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM R-S.C.: The concerns I have are greater today than they were before.

OBAMA: Susan Rice is extraordinary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But does President Obama want a fight over his secretary of state?

And did Obama and Romney really bury the hatchet at that Oval Office lunch?

All that and the rest of the week's politics on our powerhouse roundtable with Republican Congressman Tom Cole and Keith Ellison for the Democrats. Former Romney adviser Dan Senor. Former Obama auto czar Steven Rattner, and ABC's own Cokie Roberts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. Washington back to work this week, but with just 30 days to go until America hits the fiscal cliff that could mean a tax increase for everyone, there is no signs that Congress and the White House are anywhere close to a deal.

So let's get right to where this is all headed with the president's top negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Thanks for joining us again, Mr. Secretary.

It sure sounds like those meetings you had on Capitol Hill this week did not go very well. Senator Mitch McConnell told the Weekly Standard that he burst into laughter when he heard your proposal, and we just heard Speaker of the House John Boehner said, let's not kid ourselves, there's a stalemate.

So is there a stalemate, and did Mitch McConnell really laugh out loud when you heard your proposal?

GEITHNER: George, I actually think we're going to get there. I mean, you know, just inevitably going to a little bit of political theater in this context. Sometimes that's a sign of progress. I think we're actually making a little big of progress, but we're still some distance apart.

But you know, what's at stake here is very important. What we're trying to do is not just prevent a tax increase on 98 percent of Americans -- and there is no reason why we can't do that -- but we're trying to go beyond that and make sure we're doing something that's going to be good for the long-term future of the American economy. And I think we have a chance to do that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said you're getting closer. They say you're getting much farther apart. They say this is not even a serious proposal. It was a proposal designed to fail.

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