'This Week' Transcript: EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Joe Biden

But I want to go back to Vice President Biden's interview now. A fairly significant concession there from the vice president, we "misread the economy." And that could end up being, if it doesn't start to get better, the Achilles' heel of the Obama administration.

TUCKER: Absolutely. I think, first of all, that the Obama administration deserves to be hammered, and they are being hammered, for having so misjudged on the economy.

Back in January, the president said, unless we pass this stimulus package, the economy -- unemployment rate might be as high as 9 percent. Well, now, it's about 9.5 percent. And so, he's rightly being hammered on that.

It's also true that his approval ratings are softening a bit. And I think part of that softening has to do with the economy.

When Ben Bernanke was saying, about a month or so ago, that there were now green chutes, suggesting a recovery, the simple fact of the matter is, for most working folks, there were no green chutes.

And so, unless we see something that turns around in the economy significantly by the end of the year, this is going to be a major problem for the administration and perhaps keep them from accomplishing those other big-ticket items they're trying to push through, like health care and climate change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the question, George.

You know, the vice president didn't want to bite on this idea of a second stimulus package, now, and he's already on the line with the first one.

WILL: The first one that you're calling a first one was the second stimulus package...


... the Bush -- the Bush-Pelosi stimulus package, that people perversely saved instead of spent, in February 2008, when the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. They actually said, Cynthia, that, unless you pass our stimulus package immediately, by 2010, the unemployment rate might get to 9 percent. Now, it's halfway to 10 percent. And we're halfway through 2009.

DOWD: You know, it's interesting to me, when I watch these figures, there's been 2 million jobs lost under the Obama administration. Since he took office, 2 million jobs have been lost.

And I remember the intense criticism, working on the Bush campaign, and President Bush took, that in March of 2004, 2 million jobs had been lost over 3 years. And it was the Herbert Hoover -- worst economic recovery since Herbert Hoover. What has he done? He hasn't done -- he lost over 2 million jobs.

He has done -- Barack Obama, whether or not he's trying to blame Bush or not. We tried the same thing. Oh, it was Al Gore. We inherited this bad thing and all this, but you couldn't...

But I don't think...

STEPHANOPOULOS: It worked for Reagan for a while, President Carter.

DOWD: If he is faced -- he is faced, now, with the fact that he has to find 2 million jobs to go back to zero, which is where he started, that's a very difficult prospect to be in at this point.

PURDUM: The one thing I'd say is, he does have what Matthew said, which is was enormous discipline. And when he saw, all during the campaign, when he seemed to falter; when there seemed to be trouble, he could refocus; he could recalibrate. He could put his shoulder to the wheel and come back.

So I suspect they're far more worried at the White House than we are about it here at this table. And I don't know if they can do anything about it. But I'm sure they're not...


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