'This Week' Transcript: Larry Summers & Mitch McConnell

mcConnell_summers

ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS"

MARCH 15, 2009

SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., SENATE MINORITY LEADER

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

(UNKNOWN): We start with a -- just a (inaudible).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: After a scary Monday...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): I've never seen the (inaudible)

The Americans have just (inaudible) more fearful than this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Stocks climb, and the White House talks up the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're going to get through this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): What we need today is more optimism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): There's no safer investment in the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we closer to a bottom?

Will Obama's plan speed the recovery? And how will Congress respond?

Questions this morning for our headliners, the president's top economic adviser Larry Summers and the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell.

Then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST OF "THE DAILY SHOW": The financial news industry is not just guilty of a sin of commission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Has the financial crisis spread to journalists (inaudible)? That, and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Frank Rich of the New York Times, BusinessWeek's Jim Ellis, and Robert Kuttner from the American Prospect.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, "THE LATE LATE SHOW: Here's how bad the economy is. "Sesame Street" has had to lay off 67 people. Now all the characters are living in garbage cans.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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. Those glimmers of economic hope brought some relief this week. But this morning's headlines on the government bailout has the feel of Groundhog Day.

We learned, overnight, that the insurance giant, AIG, which has received $170 billion taxpayer dollars will start paying out today $165 million in employee bonuses.

The company says it has no choice. A contract is a contract.

For the first public response from the Obama administration, I'm joined by the president's top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

Welcome back.

So let's -- let's get this straight, here. AIG informed the government this week. We know that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner complained, on Wednesday, to the chairman, and was told basically there's nothing we can do.

And I think a lot of people simply don't understand, how can this be, especially when these bonuses are going to be going to the financial products division of the company which brought the company down?

SUMMERS: George, look, there are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what's happened at AIG is the most outrageous, what that company did, the way it was not regulated; the way no one was watching, what's proved necessary is outrageous.

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