David Plouffe on 'This Week'

The White House senior adviser on President Obama's second term.
13:42 | 01/20/13

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Transcript for David Plouffe on 'This Week'
good morning and welcome to "this week" at the inauguration. The second term. I, barack hussein obama, do solemnly swear. As president obama prepares his inaugural speech -- my fellow citizens -- what comes next? We have to come up with answers that set politics aside. A new spirit of compromise or more partisan confrontation. They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy. We talk to white house strategist david plouffe and our powerhouse roundtable, abc's george will, matthew dowd and cokie roberts plus former michigan governor, jennifer granholm, for the democrats and former presidential candidate rick santorum for the republicans. ♪ plus, how will the inaugural set the tone for the second term? We ask the star co-chairing the president's committee. Eva longoria joins us live. Hello again, and welcome to inauguration day. It is, in fact, today. The constitution says a president's term ends at noon on JANUARY 20th, AND THE OFFICIAL Proceedings have already begun. Just moments ago, vice president biden took the oath at the naval observatory. Supreme court justice sonia sotomayor swearing him in and just before noon chief justice john roberts will swear in president obama, a small private ceremony at the white house in advance of tomorrow's public event. About 800,000 expected right there at the national mall tomorrow far fewer than turned out four years ago for the first inaugural for president obama even everything just about set on the capitol where the president will deliver his inaugural address. Our powerhouse roundtable standing by on what to expect in that speech and the sec term, but first we're happy to welcome david plouffe to "this week." Thanks for having me. Lay out the vision the president expects to deliver to the nation tomorrow. Well, I think he is going to talk about how our founding principles and values can still guide us in today's modern and changing world. We do look at this in the state of the union as a package, so i think in the inaugural he'll allow his vision for a second term. The detailed blueprint and ideas will be in the state of the union so I think you have to view this as a package and say that our political system does not require us to resolve all of our differences or settle all of our disputes but it is absolutely impative that our leaders try and seek common ground when it can and should exist. An important part of the speech. You've been with the president all through this journey and I was struck something his biographer david marannis noted. He said in the second term, it is less likely to contradict his will to do good. He's going to act with more assurance, and he's going to show who he really is in his second term. Is that what you see? Well, I think one of his great strengths is his authenticity, so he's always been the same person, but I do think that it's clear, there's a huge consensus in the country about how we ought to approach e deficit and issues like immigration and gun safety and i don't think he's going to be very frustrated if washington is completely divorced from the reality in the country, so he's going to seek common ground. He's going to find every way he can to compromise, but he's going to be pretty clear and we're also going to bring the american people mo into th debate than the first term. What's the big difference in the president obama who took the oath four years ago and the one that will take the oath tomorrow? There's atmospheric differences. We had an economy collapsing all around us and he was a first term president and still putting together his team and agenda and cabinet and still the economy is too weak but recovering and the question is right now building on that as opposed to simply trying to stem the bleeding. There's a big difference and i think the experience of the office, as you know, you know, that helps a lot and so I think he does have even more sure-footedness in his approach. It can become a bit of a burden. Historians write about the second term curse and I know you and your team spent a lot of time studying how to avoid that. What's the key? Well, I think, listen, if you look at president clinton's second term, he made significant progress on balanced budgets and ronald reagan accomplished tax reforms. Even if they're dealing with other problems. And we have been fortunate to be scandal-free and we want to continue that, but if you look, it's not like we're roaming around the west wing looking for things to do. Right now in front of congress and the country you have the need to reduce the deficit and continue to grow the economy, energy and climate change, immigration, gun safety. Things are stacked up. And so I think that that is going to provide the sort of focus and energy you need and i think his intention is to run through the tape all the way through. Gun safety has jumped to the top of the president's agenda since newtown and this week the president promised that the weight of his office behind these proposals, but we're already seeing a lot of resistance from democrats and I want to show some of the reaction this week. Senator max baucus "before passing new laws we need a thoughtful debate that respects responsible law abiding gun owners in montana instead of one side fits all directives from washington. Senator tim johnson, democrat of south dakota, "it makes common sense to not have one size fits all. Senator mark begich, democrat of alaska, "i feel like it's going to be hard for they of these pieces of legislation to pass at this point." These are democrats. What is he going to bring to bear on that? It is a tough issue. I will say this, these are commonsense proposals that respect the rights of gun owners. Let's start there. And I think if you look at high-capacity magazines, assault weapons, universal background checks, the progress we can make on mental health and school safety, all of these enjoy enormous support of the american people. Democrats and republicans, so i think that putting together the legislative coalition is going to be hard obviously but we're very confident. I do think things have changed since newtown, you know, senator manchin and republicans and democrats are thinking anew about this issue. But senator harry reid, the democratic leader in the senate, and those senators I just mentioned all signaling that the assault weapons ban is not likely to get through and will vote against it. Will it be a success for the president if the assault weapons ban doesn't pass? I'm not going to predict what may or may not happen. The president put forward a package and has taken actions on his own on mental health and background checks but legislative proposals that will protect our kids and gun safety. We don't expect it all to pass in its current form but think there's elements that are critical. I think there will be a big spotlight shone on this. I think the american people are paying a lot of attention to this debate. And he will twist the arms of democrats? We will twist them, democrats and republicans, engage the american people and at the least have votes on this in the house and senate. I'm confident some of the measures you mentioned, universal background checks i think there are enough votes -- that COULD BE THE TRADE-OFF Democratic senators vote againstthe assault weapons ban but vote for the magazine clips and for the universal -- we think the assault weapons ban is important. As you know you were involved in passing this in '95 and senator feinstein is looking at how to improve it and deal with some of the loops that were in that legislation so think all these deserve votes and a lot can pass. You bought a little more time perhaps now on the big fiscal issues, taxes and spending and house republicans signaling this week that they would approve a three-month extension of the debt limit without anending cuts and simply want to have a restriction on congressional pay. now I KNOW THE PRESIDENT HAS Said that he didn't want to sign any more short-term exceptions. Will he make an exception in this case? We have to see what they're proposing. We haven't seen what they're proposing, and they're going to have to pass it but, no, we don't think short term is the way to go about this. But on the other hand, this is a big departure for them, you know. They were saying the only way they would pay the bills they racked up is to basically hold -- yeah, I think they have on this principle and that's very important. So, listen, the question is, on the big fundamental issue of can we come together on a fiscal package that reduces the deficit in the long term and then helps us grow the economy in the short term, I think the answer is yes. We're doing this in stages as opposed to one big package. The president likely to accept if they do indeed pass it and said he doesn't want to negotiate over the debt limit but if they pass it, there's a breathing space and will he start negotiations right now on the big budget issues after they pass this? We've been clear. We made public our offer to speaker boehner, over a trillion dollar in additional spending cuts, $400 billion in entitlement savings. This is really serious stuff on top of the over trillion dollars we signed into law. So the barrier to progress here isn't our position or the president. is a fair definition of compromise. And we are going to require some more revenue. John boehner himself said, he thought there was $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes. We dealt with the tax rate issue. Now it's about loopholes, and i think the country would be well served by tax and entitlement reform because it will help our economy. That's what I was going to ask you because both john boehner and republican leader in the senate mitch McConnell said the revenue debate is over. No more taxes. Are you saying that the president will only sign a budget deal if it includes new revenues? Yes, it's got to be balanced. And, by the way, they weren't saying that a matter of weeks ago. Speaker boehner said 800 billion from closing loopholes. What's changed in the last four weeks? Nothing. So there's plenty of loopholes whether it's people shipping jobs overseas who get preferential tax treatment. The subsidies to the energy companies. Loopholes for, you know, billionaires, there are things we can close here to make -- you're saying no deal if they don't -- we need balance, george. We need spending cuts and revenue. Entitlement reform. Have to have that. Let me talk about immigration. The president has identified immigration reform as another top priority of his second term. You just mentioned it again. The republican senator marco rubio has been taking the lead and j carney, the white house press secretary had positive words about his proposals this week. But marco rubio said this week on bill owe rile we'll show the president hasn't reached out. Take a look. They never talked to us about it and the truth is the way our republic is designed the president can design whether to sign or not. But you're a leader. Shouldn't the president be conferring with leaders in the house and senate? Well, we'll be more than happy to talk to him and explain my principles. He hasn't called. No. Why not? There's going to be a debate and process over immigration reform and I think during that process, I think there will be discussions we, the president's administration have with members of congress and congress among themselves, but what's clear is the stars are aligned for immigration reform. By the way, it needs to be real immigration reform. But aren't you going to team up with marco rubio to get it done? There will be a process and do think there's broad republican support around the country. Not as much in congress, but maybe we're beginning to see a change there. The stars are aligned for progress here on, you know, building on the border security progress we've made. Holding businesses accountable in terms of hiring legal immigrants, in terms of a pathway to earn citizenship, so I do think the moment is here right now to finally get this done. High-skilled workers for our businesses. There's a lot that we -- those are all things he's talking about, as well. Wouldn't it be more powerful if the president and key republicans had a united front? Well, george, this process will begin shortly. Another effort here to finally get immigration reform and at that point I think you'll see us working with democrats and republicans, people outside of washington, there's a huge consensus in the business community, in the faith community for immigration reform. So, yeah, our hope is that we can do this. Maybe this is an issue that doesn't have to be as hard as it should -- as it needs to be. Should be something where there seems to be a consensus in the country. I think there is a political necessity for the republican party to do this and we believe it's the right thing to do for our country and our economy. I know you want to put the weight of the president's campaign behind all these issues, new organization, organizing for action, a new political action committee. Unlimited donations from corporations, but the president will disclose all donors. Yes, we will voluntarily disclose all donors and we're very excited. The people who made the president's campaign in both '08 and '12 are great grassroots volunteers, and we're pretty clear after they want to be out there organizing, driving message, holding people accountable on issues like immigration, you know, the deficit, jobs. Gun safety, a lot of passion out there and so I think one of the lessons from the first term that we want to do better is, yes, there has to be an inside game. There also has to be an outside game. It's not either/or, and you put them together, and, as you know, times that you really get fundamental progress and change in washington is where the american people focus and pushing and want to make sure we're in communication with them. I know you're advising organization for action, but this is your last week at the white house. What will you miss most? It's just a privilege as you know to work in that building AND YOU GET A Ph.D. ON EVERY Issue facing the country and an awesome honor to spend time there and for me it's been a remarkable journey. Six years ago today we were the longest of long shots running for president. Now tomorrow he'll be giving a second inaugural address. And so I'll miss -- this is a great moment where all of us who wanted to work in a campaign with grassroots energy for a candidate like this with amazing colleagues, so it's been a remarkable journey. But what I'll miss most is just, you know, the president each and every day, you know, the integrity he brings to decision-making, the focus he has, the vision he has, and that's why this second term, I'll tell you, you know, in my remaining days, he made it clear there's going to be no let-up. He's going to push as hard as he can in the second term to continue to move the country forward building this progress and as I said the issues are stacked up. And now we just have to get them done. So you'll work hard but savor that moment tomorrow. Absolutely. Really soak it in. David plouffe, thank you very much. Take care.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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