'This Week' Transcript: Axelrod

Things like patent reform are things that -- is something that we want to pursue so that small businesses and start-up businesses with a good idea can -- can -- can move without the kind of bureaucratic obstacles that the current patent system provides.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about the business community, because you're talking about things that they would like. But in the last few days, in the last few weeks, the business community, members of it, have been voicing concerns about the Obama administration.

Here's the CEO of Verizon and the chairman of the Business Roundtable, Ivan Seidenberg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEIDENBERG: By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: And the Financial Times reported that a member of the White House recovery board, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, in a private dinner recently, quote, "had harsh words for Barack Obama, U.S. president, lamenting what he called a terrible national mood and expressing concern that overregulation in response to the global financial crisis would damp a tepid U.S. economic recovery. 'Business did not like the U.S. president, and the president did not like business,' he said."

Now, I know you reject the notion that the White House and the president is anti-business. But if that -- that perception's out there, and it's having an effect on the business community's willingness to create jobs, is that not a failure of the Obama administration?

AXELROD: Let me -- let's just review history here. When we took office -- no, no, no, this is important.

TAPPER: Don't go -- don't go that far.

AXELROD: This is important, Jake, because you -- you have to recognize what the kind of -- you know, there's no doubt that there was a kind of "Katie, bar the doors" philosophy in Washington during the eight years previous to us. And what it led to was a financial disaster.

And all these companies were -- were in very difficult straits. In fact, their -- their profits are up 65 percent since -- since that time, over the last two years. Our financial system is now stable instead of collapsing, which would have been a devastating thing for every business in this country, large and small.

But, yes, and we're working closely with business and we want to continue to work closely with business, but working closely doesn't mean that we -- that -- that we simply turn away from the kinds of corrective measures that are necessary to prevent that kind of disaster from happening again, and that's what we're pursuing.

We need a financial reform that -- that is commensurate with the challenges that we saw, and we pushed for that. We need commonsense environmental policies to -- to prevent what happened in the -- in the gulf, and you can't simply let industry in each and every case self-regulate. We're not micromanaging anything, but we are looking after the public interest.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the BP oil spill, as long as you brought it up. BP is attempting this weekend to replace one cap with a more secure cap, but right now, the oil is spilling into the gulf unabated. Is the president worried -- is he watching what's going on in the gulf right now, this weekend, and is he worried it's not going to work?

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