'This Week' Transcript: Larry Summers & Michael Steele

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS HOSTS ABC'S "THIS WEEK"

FEBRUARY 8, 2009

LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL

GOP CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to "This Week."

After bitter debate...

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Look at this bill. This bill has got to be done by tonight.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER, D-CALIF.: Holding up a bill, theatrical. Did you ever do that when George Bush was president?

STEPHANOPOULOS: A deal in the Senate.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: At a time of crisis, we can work together.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can Congress pass the president's test? Will the plan forestall more staggering job loss? And what can be done to shore up failing banks and save peoples' homes? Questions this morning for the president's top economic adviser and the Republican Party's brand-new chairman.

STEELE: Get ready, baby. It's time to turn it on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Michael Steele and Larry Summers, only on "This Week."

Then...

OBAMA: This is a self-induced injury. I screwed up. This is a bad mistake.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... President Obama's first setbacks. That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Robert Reich, Newt Gingrich, and Claire Shipman.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: You can tell a lot of these CEOs don't get it. They said, "Well, that's $500,000 a month, right?"

ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, "This Week" with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. It is all about the economy. Late last night, senators filed the latest version of the stimulus deal they hope to pass Tuesday, and that same day, President Obama's team is likely to unveil its latest version of the bank bailout plan.

Here to discuss all that this morning, the president's top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

Welcome back to "This Week."

SUMMERS: Good to be with you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me start out by putting up a little chart that shows the House and Senate versions of this stimulus package. Let me show our viewers that right now. The overall cost is about the same, the House $820 billion, Senate $827 billion, but the composition different. The Senate has about $100 billion more in tax cuts, but $40 billion less in state aid, $20 billion less in education, $15 billion less in payments to individuals, some other differences.

I know that, when the president was meeting with these moderate Republican senators this week, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine, he told them he endorsed their efforts to scrub the bill of what they called excessive spending. Does that mean the president prefers the Senate version to the House version?

SUMMERS: No, the president feels that, above all, we need a major program enacted very quickly that will create 3 million to 4 million jobs. He believes we need to perfect it in every way we can.

If there are programs that aren't going to serve important purposes, they should be -- they should be eliminated. He certainly believes that. He's open to good ideas from both -- from both sides.

But we're going to have to look at both these bills, assuming the Senate bill passes, as most people expect at this juncture, and craft the best possible approach going forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But some...

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