Transcript: David Axelrod and Sen. Charles Grassley

As for the tax issue, you know, I have a high regard for Warren Buffett, and the president does as well. I think the Congressional Budget Office addressed this issue, and their conclusion was the way the bill was written, the impact on the average American will be negligible over time.

And I think it was written for...

STEPHANOPOULOS: About $150 a year.

AXELROD: ... that reason. In 2020, and for lower income people, it actually will be a net gain because they'll get some help with their energy bill. So I think this is a phony issue.

And the real issue is, what is the Republican strategy for creating jobs? This bill actually, they call it a job killer, it will create millions of green jobs, the jobs of the future. We've lost millions of jobs in the recession that began last year and continues.

What is their strategy for that? What is their strategy for reducing our dependence on foreign oil? And how are we going to deal with this issue of carbon pollution that threatens people's health and the planet?

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, you're also facing some resistance from Democrats though in the Senate on this bill as well, senators like Claire McCaskill saying they're going to need some major changes.

And I've been trying to get into the issue of legislative strategy a little bit. The president is also pushing very hard on health care reform. He said he wants the Senate to act on this energy bill as well.

Does he want them to take it up right away or wait until after they finish considering health care in the fall?

AXELROD: Well, I think this energy bill will probably be dealt with in the Senate in the fall.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So after health care.

AXELROD: Health care I think will be the first thing on the agenda. Both the Senate and the House are well down the road on that.

But, George, understand that both of these issues, energy and health care, have languished for a long time. And the president believes that we have to deal with these issues in order to build a stronger foundation for our economy in the future.

And so he is taking the long view about how we get our economy moving, not just in the short term, but the long term. And he is asking Congress to join with him in this effort.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... with that, especially on health care, excuse me, is figuring out where the revenues are going to come from. And, you know, a lot of talk about taxes in the House and the Senate as well.

And I want to show our viewers something the president said during the campaign back in September.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase, not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not any of your taxes, a firm pledge. Does that mean the president will veto any health care bill that includes a tax increase on people earning less than $250,000 a year?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, George, let's make a few points. The president has said whatever is done has to not add to the deficit. So that's one of the prerequisites for this bill. We've got issue with our budget. Everybody is aware that we don't want to add to our deficit.

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