This Week Transcript: Peter Orszag and Eric Cantor


MARCH 1, 2009




[*] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The time to take charge of our future is here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Obama's ambitions.

OBAMA: Health care cannot wait. Double this nation's supply of renewable energy. Make sure that you can afford a higher education.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the president's bold agenda achievable? Will Congress choke on the cost? We'll ask the cabinet member who wrote Obama's budget and the congressman who's now the president's sparring partner.

OBAMA: I'm going to keep on talking to Eric Cantor. Some day, he's going to say, "Boy, Obama had a good idea."

STEPHANOPOULOS: Republican Whip Eric Cantor, OMB Director Peter Orszag, only on "This Week."


OBAMA: Our combat mission in Iraq will end.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... a promise kept. But why are Democrats more skeptical than Republicans? That and the rest of the week's politics on our powerhouse roundtable with George Will, Katrina vanden Heuvel, plus, Bill Clinton's pollster Stan Greenberg and George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

BILL MAHER, TALK SHOW HOST: It was a powerful speech. Joe Biden said it made the hair that was transplanted from the back of his neck stand up.


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.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. The headlines screamed out all this week, each day another sweeping proposal from President Obama and each day more signs of just how sick our economy is, with warnings that another depression is increasingly possible.

The key question: How should government respond to this economic emergency? We'll hear from both sides this morning, starting with the key player crafting President Obama's budget, Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Welcome to "This Week," your first Sunday show appearance.

ORSZAG: Good morning. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me begin with the budget, $3.6 trillion on Thursday, you said you could cut the deficit in half over the next five years, based on reasonable but somewhat optimistic assumptions. Then, on Friday, we learn that the economy dropped more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. Does that mean you have to go back to the drawing board?

ORSZAG: I think what it means is it just underscores that we've inherited these pair of trillion-dollar deficits. Remember, that was a very negative number for the end of last year before we took office. It just...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it affects this year.

ORSZAG: It does. It just -- it -- and that's why we have these two problems that we need to face, the trillion-dollar gap between how much the economy is producing and how much it could produce and then these trillion-dollar deficits under current policies.

The first thing we had to do was get the recovery act enacted. We did that. That's intended to address that first gap, the GDP gap. As we go out over time and the economy recovers, we need to get those out-year deficits down, and that's what this budget does.

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