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

BIDEN: No, no. I did want an expansion of troops. There was a slight difference about how to layer them, how to proceed.

The president -- we all ended up in -- you know, this was an open discussion. And the thing I like about the president, he seeks everyone's opinion.

Well, we reached a consensus opinion, and the consensus opinion of the national security team, of which I'm a part, was to do exactly what's under way.

The point is -- I suspect the point that Jim Jones is making is, hey, it hasn't even been implemented yet. Troops are still on the way. Slow up, guys.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But to be clear, you're saying if the military believes there should be more troops, they shouldn't be afraid to give that advice. They should give that advice?

BIDEN: They should not be afraid to give whatever advice from the field or from the Pentagon to the president and the secretary of defense that they think they need.

STEPHANOPOULOS: While we've been here, some pretty grim job numbers back at home -- 9.5 percent unemployment in June, the worst numbers in 26 years.

How do you explain that? Because when the president and you all were selling the stimulus package, you predicted at the beginning that, to get this package in place, unemployment will peak at about 8 percent. So, either you misread the economy, or the stimulus package is too slow and to small.

BIDEN: The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there.

Everyone thought at that stage -- everyone -- the bulk of...

STEPHANOPOULOS: CBO would say a little bit higher.

BIDEN: A little bit, but they're all in the same range. No one was talking about that we would be moving towards -- we're worried about 10.5 percent, it will be 9.5 percent at this point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But we're looking at 10 now, aren't we?

BIDEN: No. Well, look, we're much too high. We're at 9 -- what, 9.5 right now?


BIDEN: And so the truth is, there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited. Now, that doesn't -- I'm not -- it's now our responsibility. So the second question becomes, did the economic package we put in place, including the Recovery Act, is it the right package given the circumstances we're in? And we believe it is the right package given the circumstances we're in.

We misread how bad the economy was, but we are now only about 120 days into the recovery package. The truth of the matter was, no one anticipated, no one expected that that recovery package would in fact be in a position at this point of having to distribute the bulk of money.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, but a lot of people were saying that you needed to do something bigger and bolder then, including the economist Paul Krugman. He's saying -- right now he's saying the same thing again -- don't wait. You need a second stimulus, you need it now.

BIDEN: Look, what we have to do now is we have to properly, adequately, transparently and effectively spend out the $787 billion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's your job. You're in charge of that now.

BIDEN: That is my job, and I think we're doing it well. If you noticed, George, I mean, there were other predictions. This was going to be wasteful and all these terrible projects were going to be out there, and we're wasting money. Well, that dog hasn't barked yet.

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