Robert Gibbs on 'This Week'

The Obama campaign senior adviser on the first presidential debate.
3:00 | 10/07/12

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Transcript for Robert Gibbs on 'This Week'
good morning, and welcome to "this week." Romney rebounds. ? You're entitled, mr. President, to have your own airplane and your own house. It re-energizes his campaign. I enjoyed that debate a couple of nights ago. That was a great experience. And knocks the president on his heels. Four years ago I said that I'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president and that's probably a promise that governor romney thinks i kept. Now one month before election day, the big question, can governor romney double down on his debate win and take control of this race? Wiil friday's surprisingly strong jobs report -- the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office. -- Stop his momentum? We'll ask top advisers to both candidates, robert gibbs for obama, ed gillespie for romney. Then insight and analysis on our powerhouse round table with our favorite political odd couple, james carville and mary matalin, plus nobel prize winner paul krugman of "the new york times," peggy noonan from "the wall street journal" and abc's jonathan karl. Then -- and what would you like for christmas, little boy? Get off. The week's other political slugfest, bill o'reilly joins us live this morning. From abc news, "this week" with george stephanopoulos. It's "your voice, your vote." Reporting from abc news election headquarters, george stephanopoulos. Hello, again, just 30 days now until the final votes, and after the most intense week yet of this campaign, mitt romney has momentum. National polls show him gaining ground, and his crowds have picked up, and last night in florida, romney opened up telling about his last visit with an old friend paralyzed in a tragic accident. They pushed his wheelchair forward, and he came up, and i reached over and put my arm on his shoulder, and I whispered into his ear, and I said, billy, I love you, and god bless you. I got a call from a friend that visit. It's rare that you get the chance to tell someone how much you love them when you still can. Can romney keep gaining ground will president obama maintain his advantage in those battleground states that matter most? We'll look at the race from all angles this morning and we begin with the campaign's ed gillespie for mitt romney, robert gibbs for barack obama and, robert, let me begin with you. How much difference did governor romney make wednesday night? Well, look, george, I think governor romney had a masterful theatrical performance just this past week, but the underpinnings and foundation of that performance were fundamentally dishonest. Look, he walked away from the central tenet of his economic theory by saying he had no idea what the president was talking about. Ten minutes after the debate even his own staff is walking back his answers on health care and pre-existing conditions, so, look, I don't want to take anything away from what I think again was a masterful, masterful performance by governor romney but I don't think governor romney's positions have changed and fundamentally I don't think the campaign changed. What happened to the president wednesday night? You've seen all the reviews, and I'm sure the president has seen the reviews, as well. Let's look at that "new yorker" cover there, it shows the empty podium next to mitt romney. The basic line is the president didn't show up on wednesday night. I just want to know when did he know he was beat? Well, look, george, I think the president understood that he hadn't performed up to his own expectations pretty quickly into -- after he got off the stage that night, but, look, george, I think what's interesting, it's not -- I think it's who showed up on the republican side, you know, a clone that looked a lot like mitt romney that had walked away from fundamentally every position that he had taken. You cannot cut taxes by simply say, oh, I don't have that tax cut. I'm not going to cut taxes for the wealthy when the average high-income earner is going to get a $250,000 tax cut. Let me stop you right there because the romney campaign has a new ad out just on that point and say the president and his team are aligned when they call it a $5 trillion tax cut. President obama continues to distort mitt romney's economic plan. The latest, not telling the truth about mitt romney's tax plan. The ap says it doesn't add up. Abc news, "mostly fiction." Even the obama campaign admitted it it wasn't true. Well, okay, stipulated it won't be near $5 trillion. So does the campaign now accept that the cuts will be less than $5 trillion? No, absolutely not. I mean, look, if you're going to reduce the bush tax rates by 20% in the estate tax, in the amt, change the corporate rate and a whole host of other changes, that adds up in a reduction of revenue. The question for governor romney is what loopholes will you close supposedly to make up for that revenue, and if you don't close $4.8 trillion in those loopholes, two things happen, either the deficit goes up, or more likely is the middle class is going to see their taxes go up. But he's saying, as you know, robert, he's stating unequivocally that he will not push the tax cuts if they increase the deficit and that he will not push them if they force back increases on the middle class. Well, then he has -- then he's got no economic theory. Then he's walked away from 18 months of what the whole campaign has been about. But, george, we've seen this movie before where people say, oh, don't worry. It's all going to get paid for. It's fine. When you ask him what loopholes will you close specifically for wealthy earners to help pay for the $4.8 trillion in reduced revenue, there's no answer. I mean, let's be clear. Paul ryan a week ago was asked about the math for this, and paul ryan, said, look, the math takes too long. Well, mitt romney's solution is he just decided there wasn't math involved in this problem, and that's absolutely crazy. Look, the only thing he outlined that he would cut in the budget is big bird. You know, he's taken the battle straight to "sesame street" and let wall street run hog wild. I mean, again, it was a masterful theatrical performance. It was fundamentally dishonest to the american people, and let's be clear, f you're willing to say anything to get elected president, willing to make up your positiond walk away from them, I think the american people have to understand how can they trust you if you are elected president. The vice presidential debate. Joe biden coming up. He stepped in it a little bit this week with the comment about the middle class being buried the last four years. Take a look. How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that's been buried the last four years. How in lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts? Two questions, is there more pressure on the vice president now to be aggressive coming off the president's debate, and are you worried about gaffes like that? Well, look, I don't think that was a gaffe, george. I think what the vice president was talking about is what he's talked about every day, which is a series of eight years of -- he said they were buried the last four years. Well, we've been digging out for what was an avalanche of bad economic decisions over the past eight years during the bush administration, and what mitt romney and paul ryan want to do is take us back to that exact same failed economic theory, talk down tax cuts, eviscerating the investments we know we need to grow our economy from the middle out rather than from the top down. Look, I know vice president biden. I know he's looking forward to having a spirited exchange about ideas. I simply hope this, I hope what paul ryan does is something fundamentally different than what mitt romney does, and that is I hope he comes with just a modicum of truth and willing to defend their policies rather than to admit somehow they don't exist. And, finally, will we see a different game from president obama in the next debate? Well, again, I think now that barack obama has had the opportunity to meet both mitt romneys, I don't doubt that he'll make some adjustments. I know he's looking forward to the next debate. Robert gibbs, thanks very much for your time this morning. George, thanks for having me.

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

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