Transcript: Senior WH Adviser Valerie Jarrett

JARRETT: Oh, George, listen. He is constantly reaching out to Republicans. Both he and his team. And he will continue to do that. But ultimately it's up to the Republicans to decide if they want to be a constructive force and come to the table and work with us in a positive way.

We want to hear good ideas. The president is known for listening most closely to those with whom he disagrees. So the door is always open.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that mean, for example, that Speaker Pelosi should give the Republicans a vote on an alternative in health care?

JARRETT: I'm not going to in any way comment on what the speaker should do. She is an extraordinary leader and she is going to continue to do that. And she is going to reach out in a way that she deems appropriate.

But your question is what is the president's leadership about it, and hearkening back to the message from last year, and I think he has been consistent not just here, domestically, but also around the world in the way he has reached out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, to follow through, shouldn't he ask the speaker then to give Republicans a vote?

JARRETT: To give them a vote and give them a voice. It gives them an opportunity to contribute constructively. That doesn't mean that you actually have to change what you think is in the best interests of the American people simply to get a Republican vote.

What you do is you reach out, you listen, you collaborate, but ultimately, the president is accountable to the Republican people -- to the American people, sorry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this election coming up Tuesday in Upstate New York. The president created a vacancy by making John McHugh -- Congressman John McHugh, the secretary of the army. And now there appears to be a bit of a Republican civil war going on there. The Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, was forced out of the race by a conservative challenger.

And I know that the president's political team is hoping to convince her to throw her support to the Democrat, Bill Owens. Any luck on that?

JARRETT: Well, we'll see. We would love to have -- of course, have her support. And it's rather telling when the Republican Party forces out a moderate Republican and it says I think a great deal about where the Republican Party leadership is right now.

So of course we would love to have her support, and those are the people who are going to vote for her.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What does it say about where the Republican Party leadership is?

JARRETT: Well, I think it's becoming more and more extreme and more and more marginalized. Look at the number of people who actually say that they are registered, consider themselves a Republican. And if that's the direction they want to go find, what we're going to do is what we've always done, and that is, we're going reach out, we're going to try to include as many people to be a part of our governing process, being open, being transparent, and we're going to let the American people decide.

And right now what you see is a great deal of momentum moving forward, for example, on health care. The American people want change. They don't want the same old health care system that is not affordable, that doesn't offer coverage to everybody, that keeps escalating in costs.

And what we've seen from the Republicans is really a desire to have the status quote. And, George, that's not acceptable anymore.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Kanye West accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images
PHOTO:Parker Posey, Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette in Wes Cravens Scream 3.
Joseph Viles/Dimension Films/Getty Images