'This Week' Transcript: Geithner

(UNKNOWN): The full speech has been released by the NAACP, and it backs up Ms. Sherrod's version.

TAPPER: Apparently she's watching this briefing, Shirley Sherrod, on CNN right now. Is there anything you want to say to her?

GIBBS: On behalf of the administration, I offer our apologies.

VILSACK: I asked for Shirley's forgiveness, and she was gracious enough to extend it to me.

(UNKNOWN): He jumped the gun.

SHERROD: To have people think that I was a racist really, really hurt.


TAPPER: L'affaire Sherrod, one of the many topics we'll talk about on our roundtable today with Stephen Hayes from the Weekly Standard and Fox News Channel, Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist and our dear friend, and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson, and, of course, Cokie Roberts.

Thanks, all of you, for being here.

We'll get to Sherrod in a second, but first I just want to talk a little bit about the Geithner interview. Secretary Geithner said he hopes there isn't going to be much of a fight over trying to keep the tax cuts for the lower income, under $200,000, $250,000 for a family, but repeal them or let them expire for wealthier Americans. Is there going to be a fight?

HAYES: Yes, hope will only take you so far. I think there will be a fight, and I think one of the main constituencies in the fight is going to be moderate Democrats, as you pointed out in your questioning of him.

I think you're going to see moderate Democrats who walk back from the administration's eagerness to see this tax hike on what they're calling the wealthiest Americans.

TAPPER: Donna?

BRAZILE: The 2011 budget anticipates that we can close the deficit largely by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. I think the president should not get into the argument should he, should he not, but rather to present a series of -- a new tax package. Don't call it Bush tax cuts, but a new tax package that is aimed toward the middle class, towards small businesses, that will close tax loopholes, and to ensure that the -- whatever package we put forward is fiscally prudent, it's paid for, and that it helps spur economic growth.

TAPPER: Sam, where do you think this is going?

DONALDSON: Well, of course, they should continue those tax cuts for 95 percent, as Secretary Geithner said. And as far as the wealthy are concerned to go from 35 percent as the top rate before the deductions to 39 percent is not going to kill them. It really won't. They're going to have something to eat the next day.

But here's my proposal. There is a point...

TAPPER: A proposal from Sam Donaldson.

DONALDSON: Here's my proposal.

(UNKNOWN): I like that.

DONALDSON: There is a point that at this moment perhaps we should continue to extend the tax cuts across the board, but put in a trigger. When our national product gets better, when our unemployment gets better, use some other indexes. Then the trigger automatically raises it for the wealthy back to 39 percent.

ROBERTS: Triggers never work. We've put in triggers -- Congress puts in triggers all the time. It's basically fig leaves, and then they don't -- they don't ever do it.

DONALDSON: The reason it doesn't work, Cokie, is that Congress doesn't follow through.

ROBERTS: That's my point.

DONALDSON: I don't think there's a chance that Republicans would agree with my modest suggestion.


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