'This Week' Transcript: Axelrod, McConnell and Queen Rania

(UNKNOWN): I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I -- I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people, and I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting.


AMANPOUR: A lot of people are waiting, Mr. Axelrod. How is the president -- how are you going to jazz your -- your -- your electorate, your base ahead of these elections?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, let's understand that we've gone through a terrible time in this country. I understand what she was saying. The middle class has taken a terrible beating, not just in the last two years of this recession, but over the last 10 years. We learned in the -- in the last few days that the middle class lost 5 percent of their income from 2001 to 2009, and of course that period ended with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The key here is to keep moving forward, to keep doing things that have at its core -- that has at its core the economic security of the middle class, which is key to our economic growth, not to go back to the policies that created the crisis in the first place.

AMANPOUR: All right. But really a lot of people -- I mean, people from all over the world, frankly, say to me here comes a president with a huge mandate, a huge reservoir of goodwill, huge promises to change, and with all of that, his popularity is down. People don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that he's accomplished. Is this a failure of leadership? Has he allowed the opposition to define him?

AXELROD: I don't think you -- I don't think, Christiane, that you can say he's accomplished all these amazing things and it's a failure of leadership.

AMANPOUR: But the results.

AXELROD: It was leadership that produced that. We are in the -- we have endured the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It took a decade to build up to that. It'll take more time than anybody would like to -- to deal with the remnants of it. There's devastation as a result of that.

And we're working every day -- I mean, we're obviously in a different place from January of 2009, when we were losing 700,000, 800,000 jobs a month. Now we've had job growth all this year, private-sector job growth, but we have to accelerate that, and the president's made a series of proposals to do that. Hopefully we can get some cooperation on the other side to make that happen.

AMANPOUR: Well, the other side, as you know, has brought out their Pledge for America. The Republicans are feeling very confident right now. And people are looking at, you know, what happened in 1994, when President Clinton lost Congress to -- to the Republicans then.

And he actually had some advice for President Obama, which he told George Stephanopoulos. I'd like to play that right now and get your reaction.


CLINTON: I'd like to see him say, "We couldn't get out of this $3 trillion hole in 21 months. Give us two more years. Don't go back to the policies that dug the hole. But if we don't do better" -- this is the last thing -- "if we don't do better, you can vote against us all, and I'll be on the ballot, too. Vote against us all if it's not better."


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