Transcript: Axelrod

AXELROD: Well, they should do that. I think that -- I think what they need to understand is, on the same day that you saw stories about these bonuses, you saw a story about how wages are at a 19-year low. The American people have limited -- limited tolerance for this. They want -- they don't begrudge success, and we ought not to be in the business of micromanaging how companies compensate their people. But they ought to do the things that they should to help this country, and that's lending, and that's -- and that's standing down on financial regulatory reform and letting -- letting us move forward on the reforms we need.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question. Your colleague, Anita Dunn, told the New York Times this week that Fox News was undertaking a war against the White House and said the White House would treat Fox the way we would an opponent. Here's what Rupert Murdoch had to say about that.


RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWSCORP: There were some strong remarks coming out of the White House about one or two of the commentators on Fox News. And all I can tell you is it has tremendously increased their ratings.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANOPOULOS: That does seem to be true. Are you worried that your strategy is fortifying your enemy? AXELROD: Well, I don't -- you know, I'm not concerned. Mr. Murdoch has a -- has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. All -- the only argument Anita was making is that they're not really a news station, if you watch -- even -- it's not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming, it's really not news. It's pushing a point of view.

And the bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way, and we're not going to treat them that way. We're going to appear on their shows. We're going to participate, but understanding that they represent a point of view.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. David Axelrod, thanks very much.

AXELROD: Good to be here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go straight to the roundtable. So as our panelists take their seats, take a look at how "Saturday Night Live" handled the toughness question.


(UNKNOWN): So are you going to get angry with them?

ARMISEN: Now, Katie, no. You know I don't get angry.

(UNKNOWN): It's not that we want health care to fail. We don't. We just want you to fail.

(UNKNOWN): Oh, my god. What happened?

(UNKNOWN): When you make him angry, he turns -- he turns into "The Rock" Obama.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let me bring in the roundtable. I am joined, as always, by George Will, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, our chief White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, and Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

And, George, you just -- you heard David Axelrod deal with this question, which really has picked up here in Washington and -- and around the country. Does the president have to do more to demonstrate toughness?

WILL: I hope not, because -- we have a record on this, and that is, when Jack Kennedy, President Kennedy, in his first year, went to Vienna and was treated badly by Khrushchev, he came back and told James Reston of the New York Times...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Khrushchev cleaned his clock.

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