Transcript: Axelrod

But right now, he's about to get the health care reform. He's about to get the biggest change in our system since -- since Medicare. That's not the mark of a president who's showing himself insufficiently tough. Sure, he doesn't swagger. He doesn't say, "I'm going to get -- I'm going to get Osama bin Laden dead or alive," and, eight years later, neither, you know, this is -- he's not talking tough, but he's actually getting stuff done now, which is what matters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jake, David Axelrod kept his cool under the question. He just sort of brushed it off. But this -- this is a narrative that kind of irritates the White House. Do they think they have to do anything about it?

TAPPER: No, I don't think so. What you hear from -- from them, when you ask them about this narrative, is, yes, we've heard this before. Is he tough enough to beat Hillary Clinton? Is he tough enough to beat John McCain? I think they think that they proved -- I think empirically they proved that -- that he was able to do both those things.

I will point out, in addition to the pirates, there are a number of people associated with the car manufacturer restructuring, both Rick Wagoner, who was deposed, and a lot of the people who own stock and bond in those car companies who would say that this White House was perhaps bullying.

That said, there are a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill who want the president, if not to be tougher, to at least be clearer about what he wants. Now that the five bills have passed committee, they want President Obama to say, "This is what I want, and this is not what I want." They are calling out for that sort of leadership.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it's -- and it's pretty clear David Axelrod at least in public is not prepared to do that yet, even though Rahm Emanuel is in all of the meetings in both the House and the Senate.

I want to come back and talk about that and the economy. And we might even get a little balloon boy after this break.



(UNKNOWN): We're about to hit 10,000. I mean, do you hear...


(UNKNOWN): Here we go.

(UNKNOWN): Here we go.

(UNKNOWN): You should put your hats on, guys.

(UNKNOWN): You should put your hat on now.

CAVUTO: Ten-k is back.

(UNKNOWN): A blockbuster day on Wall Street. The Dow back about 10,000.

(UNKNOWN): The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 10,000 this afternoon.

KUDLOW: It is a milestone.

(UNKNOWN): It's really one of the most remarkable rallies we've ever seen on Wall Street.

(UNKNOWN): It's an amazing snap-back.

(UNKNOWN): When you see people beating raised forecasts, that's good news.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, it didn't last long. The Dow slipped back to 9,995 on the final day, but still a huge gap between Wall Street and Main Street. We want to talk about that now on the roundtable with George Will, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, Jake Tapper, chief White House correspondent, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

And, George, we did see something pretty remarkable this week, that that 10,000 barrier blown through again, not the kind of celebrations you saw -- like we had back in 1999, but a remarkable comeback for the Dow in the face of persistent long-term, high unemployment.

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