'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

And, you know, I think -- I think Tom's right. We'll probably end up with some kind of a deal, but it's not going to be on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country, and I think that people --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you agree that something is going to happen. Dan Senor, that conflicts at least with a lot of the reporting I had on Capitol Hill this week, where you saw significant numbers of Republicans and Democrats more willing to accept the idea of going over the cliff, at least for a few days?

DAN SENOR, FORMER ROMNEY SR. ADVISER: Yes, I think as one Republican House member said to me, good lesson in negotiating is don't make your opening offer one of humiliation, which is what Republicans felt the White House has put forth in the last couple of days.

I think there's a sense now, Republicans I have spoken to, particularly in the leadership, have said, look, if we go over the cliff, we're going to get blamed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.

SENOR: The view is shifting a little bit now, where there is a sense that if President Obama goes into his second term and poisons the environment so much that he can't get a deal and we go over the cliff, it's going to be so toxic for year two, year three, year four, and he -- the Republicans have some leverage too. The president has to be worried about his legacy and how he's going to govern through the second term. And even though Republicans might get blamed, this whole idea that the president is bringing the country together, something he wasn't able to do in his first term, if he can't do it in his second term, it could be very problematic.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is something Democrats have to be wary of, isn't it?

STEVE RATTNER, FORMER LEAD AUTO ADVISER: Yes, but I don't see it that way at all. Look, the president has made a proposal. It may not be what everybody likes. When you go out to sell your house, you don't put on the price that you're actually willing to sell it on. You start at a place and you negotiate.

I think it was an outrageous proposal. It's consistent with everything he said before. But it's a proposal, it is a real proposal. The Republicans have put no proposal on the table. Nothing, nada. Zip. And so if we go over the cliff, it's not at all clear to me that the American people are going to blame the president as opposed to a party that has put nothing on the table.

ROBERTS: This -- of the blame is really dispiriting, because the idea of who's going to get the blame instead of figuring out how to keep it from happening is exactly what drives voters nuts.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They may have to be aware of who's going to get the blame before they come to a deal.

One proposal that came from you, Congressman Cole, and it caused some consternation in Republican ranks from the House speaker, you're saying accept part of the president's proposal, pass right now an extension of the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, and then fight over the rest later. I want to show you what Speaker Boehner had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: I told Tom earlier in our conference meeting that I disagreed with him. You're not going to grow the economy if you raise tax rates on the top two rates. It will hurt small businesses, it will hurt our economy. It's why this is not the right approach.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I saw he disagreed. But I see other Republicans coming forward, including Bill Kristol--

(CROSSTALK)

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