BIDEN: Well, first of all, if you're referring to "The New York Times" article from Friday, it's not accurate. Parts of it are accurate; some parts are not.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Actually, on my own reporting, I've talked to several people on Capitol Hill who say that your team is talking about a package in the $700 billion range, it could rise. But in the $700 billion range.
BIDEN: Well, you're saying two different things. I sat for four hours with our team in Chicago last week, and what we're doing is putting together what we think will be the economic package that will do two things. One, stem the hemorrhage of the loss of jobs and begin to create new jobs, at the same time we provide continued liquidity for the financial markets.
This is like a scooter. You need two wheels in this scooter.
Up until now, all we've been focusing on is liquidity and what people -- average people talking about bailing out Wall Street, about making sure the banks have the money to lend and people are willing to borrow and lend and so on. That's one piece of it.
The piece we've been pushing for, Barack and I during the campaign, as you'll recall, is that we needed an economic recovery package we thought back in September, October, November. And we still think we really very badly need it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But then you were talking about $150 billion, $200 billion.
BIDEN: We were. We were. We were.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what have you learned? What exactly have you learned?
BIDEN: What have we learned? Is the economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in. This is a spiraling effect, and what you're seeing now is a whole -- every economist that I've spoken to, George, from well-known economists on the right, conservative economists, to economists on the left and everyone in between, says the scope of this package has to be bold, it has to be big.
But here's how we look at it. Anything we put in this economic recovery plan has to be designed to create jobs, to stimulate the economy quickly, get jobs moving quickly. And it has to be for something that has a long-range impact on our economic health.
Case in point, we want to spend a fair amount of money investing in a new smart grid. That is, the ability to transmit across high-tension wires in the minds of most people in the public, or underground in these wires, wind and solar energy. You can't do that now.
That would create tens of thousands of new jobs, high-paying jobs. It needs to be done and it will have a long-range payoff not just for next year and the following year, keeping the economy from nose-diving, begin to turn the nose of that aircraft up, but it will also change our energy picture. It will deal with global warming.
They're the kind -- for example, weatherization. The biggest bang for the buck you can get right now to deal with global warming, but also create thousands of new, decent jobs, is weatherization, paying for everything from public buildings and schools, to homes to be weatherized. Save a lot of energy, create a lot of jobs. What we're not going to do is come up with make-work jobs.
And the second thing we're going to do, George, is that the president-elect meant what he said. That's why we came up with Mr. Orszag, who is a very...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The OMB director.