'This Week' Transcript: House Speaker John Boehner
Oct. 6, 2013
A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, October 6, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Overnight, two daring raids. Under cover of darkness in hostile terrain, U.S. commandos target two of the world's most wanted terrorists, capturing one alive. We've got the latest details on the secret strikes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: This isn't some damn game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Six days in, one man stands at the center of the showdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: John Boehner can't take yes for an answer.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Boehner won't let the bill get a yes or no vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, the speaker responds. His first and only interview since the government shutdown. Is he ready to change course, put his speakership at risk? Or hold firm and put America at risk of default. House Speaker John Boehner live. It's an ABC News exclusive.
Plus, instant analysis and answers from our powerhouse roundtable.
It's all right here this Sunday morning.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is day six of the government shutdown. And House Speaker John Boehner is here live for his first interview. But we begin with the dramatic day in the war on terror -- two raids, two targets, one for the bombings of the U.S.embassies, and one for that deadly attack on the mall attack in Kenya. So many details still coming in. And U.S. officials, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, are claiming mission success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror and those members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, literally can run but they can't hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz has been tracking all of the developments. And Martha, officials claiming success, but the target that raid in Somalia, they can't confirm what happened to him.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They cannot confirm the target was dead. We don't know who the target was. But this was SEAL Team 6 going in on a raid in Somalia south of Mogadishu. They came in from the Indian Ocean, they approached the seaside home of this target, an al Shabaab target, opened fire, but they met more much, much resistance than they thought they would, so they had to withdraw, the SEALs withdrew. They didn't know who was in there at that time. They can't confirm it yet. They'll start talking to human intelligence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the hope was they were going to capture this target, but they clearly didn't do that.
But meanwhile in Libya, a clean capture.
RADDATZ: A clean capture in an incredible raid, right in downtown Tripoli. They went in, teams of CIA, FBI and American troops, went in and grabbed this man, Abu Anas al Libi. He was considered the mastermind of the Kenya bombing, the U.S. embassy bombing in Kenya.
We've been looking for him for 15 years, $5 million reward on his head.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, he's going to be brought back to the United States?
RADDATZ: He will be brought back to the United States to face trial. He has actually been indicted, but we believe he's on a navy ship right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Martha Raddatz, thanks very much.
Let's get more on this now from a man who has been an raids like this, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.
And Eric, thank you for joining us this morning.
As I said, you've been on raids to capture al Qaeda leaders. You actually commanded a special operations task force based in Kenya. Take us inside an operation like this.
ERIC GREITENS, FRM. NAVY SEAL: So inside an operation like this, George, there are a couple of elements you have to bring together. The first is really you have to get actionable intelligence. So, when you're following a target like al Libi, when you're looking at al Shabaab, you've actually had intelligence analysts who have been watching them for years.
As your intelligence picture develops, you'll begin to develop scenarios and contingency plans for actually executing an assault. In the days leading up to an assault like this, the assault teams would engage in relentless preparation, rehearsal after rehearsal, doing after-action reviews every time to learn as much as they can.
So that on the day of the operation they're as prepared as possible for the contingencies they might face on the battlefield.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Prepare, but in this operation, as we've just learned, it certainly appears as if they met a little more resistance than they expected, had to call in reinforcements.
GREITENS: Yeah, absolutely.
One of the things that you know is that your intelligence picture, no matter how good it is, is never going to be perfect. And in this case, it sounds like they met more resistance than they expected. It's a very complex, difficult situation, fighting on the ground.
And one of the reasons why you use a SEAL team in a situation like this, is not just because of their tactical proficiency, but you are also looking to have an on the ground commander who can exercise their judgment about the best course of action. And in this case, in the al Shabaab raid, they decided to pull back and reengage another day.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I would imagine that at some level, they have to be colored by the experience 20 years ago on Blackhawk Down, when so many Americans lost their lives in that raid.
GREITENS: That's exactly right, George. 20 years ago, we had that raid in Mogadishu. And one of the things that goes into every raid, every planning is you assess the risk. You're both assessing the risk that you're going to face on the battlefield, and the commander also wants to be clear about what risks they want to take.
In this case, they wanted to make sure that there were not a lot of civilian casualties. They wanted to make sure that there was not collateral damage. They might not have been sure about the exact intelligence picture.
And so in a situation like this, again very complex, dynamic situation situation, you want the commander on the ground to make an assessment at the moment.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Two raids on the same day. U.S. officials call it a coincidence. Do you buy that?
GREITENS: I think one of the things that's happening in a situation like this is that perhaps coincidental that both of these targets were actionable. But what happens, George, is that you actually want to maintain the element of surprise. By executing both of these operations at the same time, they made sure that either target was not going to know that American forces were active, that they were responding at the time.
So, there's actually a lot of advantages to conducting the raids at the same time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Eric Greitens, thanks very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's turn to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. He's with us right here live in the studio. And I want to talk about the government shutdown. But first, of course, you've been briefed on these operations. I know you can't release any details, but are you confident this was a success?
BOEHNER: I'm very confident that both of these efforts were successful. I'm going to congratulate all of those in the U.S. intelligence operations, our troops, FBI, all those who were involved.
Listen, the threat of al Qaeda and their affiliates remains. And America has continued to be vigilant. And this is a great example of our dedicated forces on the security side, intelligence side, and our military and their capability to track these people down.
STEPHANOPOULOS; And it happened despite the government shutdown. We're now in day six of the government shutdown, as you know. And Democrats have been saying that you are the man, you are the one man in Washington who has the power to reopen the government. All you have to do is schedule a vote for a clean government funding resolution. Will you do that?
BOEHNER: George, the House has passed four bills to keep the government open and to provide fairness to the American people under Obamacare. And even after the Senate has rejected -- they've rejected all four of them. And even after the four rejections, we asked to sit down with the Senate and have a conversation. They said, no.
Listen, Obamacare is a law that's going to raise the cost of health insurance premiums and make it almost impossible for employers to hire new people. It's a law the American people do not want and cannot afford.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's also the law of the land, as you've said on many occasions. It's also you've tried many, many times to defund it. It's simply not working. So, I guess the answer to my question is--
BOEHNER: But why wouldn't the president provide fairness to the American people? Giving exemptions and waivers to all kinds of groups and people, but he hasn't given one to the American people, who are going to suffer under this law.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He has not, perhaps, but I take it from your answer that you're not prepared to schedule a clean bill on government funding.
BOEHNER: There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you sure that's true? The Democrats say they have 195 Democrats who have already signed a letter saying that they would vote it. 21 Republicans, 21 House Republicans have said they are for it, as well. And Democrats are confident, you add those Republicans to the Democrats, a few more would come along and they have the votes.
BOEHNER: The American people expect in Washington, when we have a crisis like this, that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation. I told my members the other day, there may be a back room somewhere, but there's nobody in it.
We're interested in having a conversation about how we open the government and how we begin to pay our bills. But it begins with a simple conversation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you had a conversation at the White House. The Democrats, including Senate Democrat Harry Reid, has said he's more than willing to have a conference, more than willing to have a negotiation, but not under the threat of a government shutdown, not under the threat of a default.
BOEHNER: So it's my way or the highway. That's what he's saying. Complete surrender and then we'll talk to you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not--
BOEHNER: It's about having a conversation. I gave the Senate majority leader some advice at the White House about how to proceed. I gave him some advice over a week ago about how to avert this. And yet they refuse to do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Mr. Speaker, he says -- and he said it publicly on many occasions, that you came to him back in July and offered to pass a clean government funding resolution, no Obamacare amendments, that was $70 billion below what the Senate wanted. They accepted it. And now, you've reneged on that offer.
BOEHNER: No, clearly there was a conversation about doing this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Several conversations.
BOEHNER: Several. But--
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you offered a clean resolution.
BOEHNER: But I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you decide it or was it decided for you?
BOEHNER: I, working with my members, decided to do this in a unified way. George, I have 233 Republicans in the House. And you've never seen a more dedicated group of people who are thoroughly concerned about the future of our country. They believe that Obamacare, all these regulations coming out of the administration, are threatening the future for our kids and our grandkids. It is time for us to stand and fight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Mr. Speaker, this is clearly not what you want. I want to go back to several points you've made about this over the last few -- here you were right after the election with Diane Sawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: It's pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land.
If we were to put Obamacare into the CR and send it over to the Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: So right there, you say that's not your goal. You don't want to put Obamacare on the CR. You did it.
BOEHNER: George, I have made it clear to my colleagues. I don't want to shut the government down. We voted to keep the government open.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said you didn't want to put Obamacare on the CR.
BOEHNER: But providing -- providing fairness to the American people, under Obamacare, is -- all we're asking for. My goodness. They give big businesses a waiver. They give all these unions a waiver. And yet they're forcing the American people to buy a product, buy a product that they do not want and cannot afford.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is -- the president has pointed out, it's the law of the land. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It was ratified in a presidential election. And perhaps more important to the moment right now, you have tried this several times, it hasn't worked. So, there's no change in your position?
BOEHNER: Absolutely not. It's time for us to sit down and have a conversation. That's what the American people expect. That's what I've offered for the last ten days. Let's sit down and have a conversation. You know, we've had conversations before. Why can't we have one here?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even some of your own members are saying this is not your strategy. One of your colleagues, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California, was asked, what is the House strategy right now? He said, "listen, you really have to call Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz. I'm not even joking about that. He is the one that set up the strategy." Even one of your own colleagues is saying this is not your strategy, Speaker Boehner. It's the strategy of Senator Ted Cruz and other House (inaudible).
BOEHNER: I thought the fight would be over the debt ceiling. But you know, working with my members, they decided, well, let's do it now. And the fact is, this fight was going to come, one way or the other. We're in the fight. We don't want to shut the government down. We've passed bills to pay the troops. We have passed bills to make sure the federal employees know that they're going to be paid throughout this. We passed other bills.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why should the federal government employees get paid if they're not going to work? Wouldn't it be better for them to come to work and have the government open?
BOEHNER: The last 17 times the government was shut down, the federal employees were paid for the time they were off. This is all about fairness. It's not their fault that the leaders in Washington won't sit down and have a conversation. So why should they be punished?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You told me a couple of years ago that members of Congress shouldn't be paid during government shutdowns. Yet, they are being paid.
BOEHNER: Listen, I've asked my pay to be withheld during this. And so have a lot of my colleagues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How is this going to end? You're clearly not budging right now, even though you are taking -- even though polls show that most Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown right now. How long is it going to go on? Is the government going to stay shut down until we reach the debt limit deadline of October 17th?
BOEHNER: Listen, the debt limit is right around the corner. The president is saying, I won't negotiate. I won't have a conversation. Even though, President Reagan negotiated with Democrats who controlled the Congress back then. Even though President George Herbert Walker Bush had a conversation about raising the debt limit. During the Clinton administration, there were three fights over the debt limit. You and I participated in several of those. And even President Obama himself in 2011, went through a negotiation.
Now, he's saying no. I'm not going to do this.
I'm going to tell you what, George. The nation's credit is at risk because of the administration's refusal to sit down and have a conversation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They're saying it's at risk because of your refusal to pass a clean debt limit. There have been some reports--
BOEHNER: We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Under no circumstances?
BOEHNER: I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So under no circumstances will you pass a clean debt limit?
BOEHNER: We're not going down that path. It is time to deal with America's problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?
George, we've spent more than what we've brought in for 55 of the last 60 years. This year, the federal government will have more revenue than any year in the history of our country, and yet we're still going to have a nearly $700 billion budget deficit. We're squandering the future for our kids and our grandkids, by not dealing with this problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The deficit, as you know, has been coming down this year, but I want to press you on this issue of the risks of not passing a clean debt limit. The Treasury Department put out a report just the other day, where they said it would be unprecedented and catastrophic, that would be the impact of failing to pass a debt limit. They're going to say, credit markets could freeze. The value of the dollar could plummet. U.S. interest rates could skyrocket. The negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.
Do you agree with that assessment?
BOEHNER: I do. And the president is putting the nation at risk by his refusal to sit down and have a conversation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As -- we're going to go back on this. He says you're putting it at risk by refusing to pass a clean debt limit, so just let me -- let me press that, because there have been some reports that you have told your own members that you would be willing to put a debt limit on the floor that would pass with Democratic votes, even if it didn't get a majority of the Republican caucus. Is that no longer true?
BOEHNER: My goal here is not to have the United States default on their debt. My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up. And the president's refusal to sit down and have a conversation about this is putting our nation at risk of default.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So are you saying that if he continues to refuse to negotiate, the country is going to default?
BOEHNER: That's the path we're on. The president canceled his trip to Asia. I assumed -- well, maybe he wants to have a conversation. I decided to stay here in Washington this weekend. He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's October 17th, 8:00 p.m. The clock is ticking towards midnight. The country is scheduled to run out of money, won't be able to pay its bills anymore. What do you do in that moment?
BOEHNER: No family in America can spend more than what it brings in for 55 of the last 60 years. No family or business in America can survive a $700 billion budget deficit in one year. It is time for us to deal with our underlying spending problems.
I'm willing to sit down and have a conversation with the president. But his refusal to negotiate is putting our country at risk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So the clock is ticking on October 17th. You're not going to put that bill on the floor?
BOEHNER: I want to deal with our underlying problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes or no, would you put that bill on the floor?
BOEHNER: I don't want the United States to default on its debt. But I'm not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up. It would be irresponsible of me to do this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's also been reported that you're going to guarantee that we do not default. It sounds like you're not prepared to offer that guarantee, you're not prepared to promise you would actually put the bill on the floor.
BOEHNER: I've been willing to sit down with the president and have this conversation. His refusal to negotiate is what's putting the government at risk of default.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you sit down with the president. What would you offer him in that conversation?
BOEHNER: Let's look at what's driving the problem. 10,000 baby-boomers like me retiring, every single day. 70,000 this week. 3.5 million this year. And it's not like there's money in Social Security or Medicare. The government, over the last 30 years, have spent it all. And so now, we're in this whipsaw effect. This is only year three. This is going to go on for another 22 years as baby-boomers retire. We know these programs are important to tens of millions of Americans. But if we don't address the underlying problems, they are not sustainable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're saying you want a conversation now about changes in Social Security, changes in Medicare, changes in entitlements? Would you be willing to accept what the president has demanded for that kind of a negotiation, having new revenues as part of the discussion?
BOEHNER: The president got $850 billion -- $650 billion of new revenues on January the 1st. He got his revenues. Now, it's time to talk about the spending problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that's a no?
BOEHNER: Very simple. We're not raising taxes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You see, I'm not hearing much new here this morning. I don't think the country is hearing much new here this morning from either the president or from you and House Republicans. How is this going to end?
BOEHNER: George, it's going to end when the president decides they'll allow Harry Reid to talk to me, or allow Patty Murray to talk to Paul Ryan. The president just can't sit there and say, I'm not going to negotiate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What the president says is he believes that the consequences of negotiating again over a debt limit and re-creating a cycle of crises are worse.
BOEHNER: Every president in modern history has negotiated over a debt limit. Debt limits have been used to force big policy changes in Washington. And guess what, George? They're going to be used again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there a way for this to be solved in some kind of parallel tracks? Both of you say you're not going to be giving in on your conditions, but basically, you both do.
BOEHNER: George, I'm ready for the phone call. I'm ready for a conversation. I'll take anybody on the Democrats' side who wants to seriously sit down and begin to work out this problem. I'm a reasonable guy. I'm a reasonable guy. But I didn't come to Washington to be a congressman. I came here to do something on behalf of my country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So bottom line, you're saying this is your absolute position. If the president continues to refuse to negotiate over the debt limit, if Democrats refuse to continue to negotiate over the government shutdown, the government is going to remain closed and the United States is going to default?
BOEHNER: The president -- the president, his refusal to talk, is resulting in a possible default on our debt. All he has to do is pick up the phone. This is the most reasonable thing in the world. I think the American people understand, why wouldn't they talk to each other? I'm ready to talk. I've been ready to talk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When is this going to end?
BOEHNER: If I knew, I would tell you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for your time this morning.
BOEHNER: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, our powerhouse roundtable is ready to weigh in.
And later, now Reddit became the Internet's front page. That's our Sunday spotlight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The "Roundtable" is coming up. We'll get their take on the speaker's strategy and the best way out of this latest mess in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This government shutdown is ridiculous. And it's bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear Congress, I think that you should write a check out of your own personal paychecks to pay back the $300 million a day that you're losing the American people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to tell Washington, from the president to Congress, get their job done. We voted you in there not to sit around and get paid to do nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the people in Washington, D.C., grow up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: All week long, we've been asking what you would tell Washington. We're going to get the "Roundtable's" take in just a moment. First, let's get a response to Speaker Boehner from Senator Chuck Schumer, part of the Democratic leadership team in the Senate.
Senator, thanks for joining me this morning.
SCHUMER: Good morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Speaker Boehner right there. He is not going to put a clean vote for a -- a clean government funding resolution on the floor, not going to put a vote for a clean debt limit extension on the floor unless the Democrats start to negotiate.
SCHUMER: Well, first, the speaker said there aren't the votes on the floor to re-open the government. Let me issue him a friendly challenge. Put it on the floor Monday or Tuesday. I would bet there are the votes to pass it. We have just about every Democrat, 21 Republicans have publicly said they would. There are many more Republicans who have said that they privately would.
So, Speaker Boehner, just vote. Put it on the floor and let's see if you're right.
On the debt ceiling, I think there's a bit of posturing going on here. To have us default could, and there's a pretty high chance, send us into a recession deeper than the one in 2008, George, for a very simple reason.
Once the markets have to mark down a major security they hold, in 2008 it was housing securities, now it's U.S. Treasuries held more widely, then, banks' balance sheets get all out of whack. People stop lending. Interest rates go up. Lines of credit freeze. And you risk a depression.
I believe Speaker Boehner will not do that when push comes to shove.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn't the posturing, Senator, on both sides, perhaps? I mean, the president is pretty -- is saying at this point that negotiating over the debt limit is worse -- the consequences are worse than actual default. He's playing with fire there, isn't he?
SCHUMER: Well, I think they're playing with fire. You don't negotiate over something like the debt ceiling because...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Other presidents have done it.
SCHUMER: No. The one time that it was really done in this kind of way, not just, well, it was a deadline and you had to decide abortion or something else, was in 2011. We went right up to the deadline. The stock market lost 2,000 points, $18 billion was lost by the American people.
And in that case, the markets didn't believe it was true. Now, they are, because of their brinksmanship on federal spending and because the kind of language Speaker Boehner used.
So this could -- you could actually have the consequences of default a day or two before it actually occurs. This is playing with fire. And we are happy to negotiate. But we want to negotiate without a gun to our head.
Speaker Boehner comes in and he says, basically, it's sort of like this. Someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage and then, says, let's negotiate over the price of your house.
You know, we could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, we're shutting down the government, we're not going to raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform. It would be governmental chaos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you believe, Senator, that the speaker is going to blink, that the House Republicans are going to blink.
SCHUMER: I do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if they do not, then what happens on October 17th? Is it really preferable to have all those consequences of default than to have a negotiation?
SCHUMER: Well, the kind of negotiation you have is one with a gun held to your head. And you just can't do it. And it will lead to a future negotiation like that and a future one.
If you go for this hostage-taking once, and the president did in 2011, it doesn't go away. It comes back worse and worse and worse. And the whole full faith and credit in the United States currency, in the United States dollar, goes down the drain.
It's the damage that's far greater than the damage that Speaker Boehner seeks so undo by somewhat reducing the budget deficit. And we're willing to talk to him about budget deficit. Leader Reid already gave him his budget number when we talked about the resolution about funding the government.
We gave in to his number. And then he said, Obamacare. He keeps throwing different things at the wall. And we know the reason why. Ted Cruz and the hard right Republicans are holding him hostage, in effect. And right up until now, he hasn't had the courage or strength to resist them.
Sooner or later, he'll be forced to, particularly on the debt ceiling because the business community, which still has some weight with mainstream Republicans, if not the tea party, will put a huge cloud on him. And as we get closer, the blame will fall on Speaker Boehner and the Republican Party for this upcoming disaster.
SCHUMER: They will have to back off.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that could go on for several days. Senator Schumer, thanks very much for your time this morning.
SCHUMER: Thank you. Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get the "Roundtable's" take on all this. I'm joined by Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal; Steve Rattner, former counselor to the Treasury Department; ABC's Cokie Roberts; and Jon Karl from the White House; and Soledad O'Brien, the CEO of Starfish Media Group, formerly of CNN.
Thanks for joining us this morning. And, Paul, I have got to tell you. I'm a little bit surprised by what I heard this morning. I was expecting about six days in, a little more give, maybe just a little more give from either side. Nothing.
PAUL GIGOT, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think the speaker is being honest when he says he doesn't want a default. I don't think he wanted a shutdown, either. He got a shutdown. We got a shutdown.
Why? Because he's caught between the president's refusal to negotiate at all, and his part of his party base which looks at that and says, well, why should we then negotiate? So he's caught in the middle.
And I think what you saw there was a negotiating position, but a firm one. And I think that the president...
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's a negotiating position now six days in and closing in fast on a default.
GIGOT: I agree. He's playing with fire. But so is the president. I mean, as you said, the president -- the presidents in the past have negotiated. There have been 53 debt limit increases since 1978, and 27 of those were not clean. They were not just raise the debt limit. They included reforms, often important budget reforms.
That's what this speaker wants. If the president refuses to negotiate, he may think, boy, this is great, the Republicans are going to get the blame. But if we go over that edge, he will, too.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cokie, the president is not moving.
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: At least at the moment, he's not moving. At the moment, neither side is moving. And that's where we are. And the American people think that they're a bunch of kids playing in the sand box. And neither side is covering itself with glory.
I might say this whole business of, you know, we won't negotiate with a gun to your head, actually I would prefer to negotiate with a gun to my head rather than have somebody shoot me.
And I think that's where they could end up if they don't sit down and talk. And so both sides really do need to some, now, I've got to believe that there is (inaudible) nobody in a back room with something in a back pocket.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We want to let everybody in on that, but Jon Karl let me, you're at the White House every single day. From the reporting I've done on both sides, I don't think there is a back pocket here.
KARL: No, no there isn't. Look the White House view on this is that they can get complete and total victory on this. That the Republicans frankly misbehaved, they have mishandled the politics. Look what is the great Republican accomplishment so far? They've managed to pay 800,000 federal workers for not working. The White House believes that they can have basically demand unconditional surrender on the part of the Republicans. And politically they will, the danger here George though is, that at the end of the day if the consequences are as great as the White House says--
KARL: If this really could put us into a recession as bad as 2008, then at the end of the day Republicans may take the political blame in the short-term but it's the president's economy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring in Steve Rattner on this. You work inside this administration, the Treasury Department, also spent many years on Wall Street. One of the things that's also surprised me is that Wall Street, at least not yet, just doesn't believe we're going to default.
RATTNER: Correct, Wall Street doesn't believe we're going to default. Wall Street doesn't believe shutdowns are that consequential economically and so Wall Street has been relatively sanguine about it. But as you heard Senator Schumer say, if you go back to 2011 when we almost did default, ultimately got downgraded by S&P, the stock market did drop by 16% over a very short period of time. There are demonstrable examples of where business confidence, consumer spending, things like that, were effected.
Let me just say two things. First one of the things I find interesting about the Boehner interview was in the middle of it somewhere he stopped talking about Obamacare and started talking about debts and deficit. And so he seems to be pivoting and saying we want to have a conversation now about debts and deficit.
KARL: Without moving off the Obama position.
RATTNER: Well without moving off it yet. But then you heard Senator Schumer make the point I would have made which is you can't negotiate when somebody is kidnapping your children. In other words, Obama was not going to negotiate about Obamacare. Talking about debts and deficit is a conversation you can have. You have 11 days. You're not going to have the serious conversation in 11 days.
ROBERTS: But you can agree to have a conversation about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile Soledad O'Brien, the country just getting completely fed up.
O'BRIEN: Oh it's ridiculous. Absolutely. I mean you saw those little clips of people really frustrated because nobody's talking. But I do think it comes to, who's going to get the blame finally. And if in fact you go into catastrophe right, everybody gets the blame. And maybe that's what will propel everybody to start working together.
But it was interesting to hear Boehner say, you know, that in fact, you pushed him hard on this, that it was really his decision, the whole idea was not Ted Cruz's decision, this was his decision.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of evidence countering that.
O'BRIEN: I'll bet a ton of evidence countering that. So I thought that was really interesting that he was saying this is my decision here and you're right a pivot.
KARL: The other big news in your interview is he confirmed that he had a deal with Harry Reid to have this temporary funding bill. Clean. I mean that there was their intention. That was the Republican leadership's contention. They now George, the Republicans own this shutdown. You have never seen a situation where you have a short-term stop-gap spending bill that just is supposed to give more time for them to do their job and then demands major policy change.
GIGOT: If we get a default it will be merger. Believe me there is a way out here George. You heard, I think, the Speaker say, he mentioned Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.
GIGOT: The Budget Chairman in the House and the Senate. They have been talking behind the scenes. And they have been saying, basically not a lot of negotiations but there is a path there of regular order if the president would agree to say look, I will talk to you about entitles in return for getting rid of the spending sequester on discretionary spending. Which the Democrats hate because it's pushing down spending on education and Women Infants and Children.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say it's a way out, I'll bring this to Steve Rattner. What the White House says is there no way they're going to get into a real conversation that includes entitles unless new revenues are on the table and you heard the Speaker right there, that's not going to be part of the conversation.
RATTNER: You took the words out of my mouth George. That's exactly what I was going to say. There has to, if you're going to have a package it has to be a package. It has to include everything.
And by the way on this issue of who's not negotiating with whom, let's remember the House passed a budget in the spring, the Senate passed a budget in the Spring. The Republicans refused to allow that to go to conference and have this negotiation which we could have had starting last spring perhaps not been in a position we're in today.
ROBERTS: But did you know when he gets this question of who's winning, which of course is part of what's driving the American people crazy, (inaudible) who are objecting in the House are doing just fine in terms of their own districts.
O'BRIEN: Well the demographics don't match with the country.
ROBERTS: And they won elections too. And they won elections by bigger margins than the president did. So as far as their concerned, they're doing what their voters want. And now they're putting all these things on the floor where the Democrats are having to vote against veteran's benefits and all of that.
So they feel like they're also making great ads for the fall campaign and the very few districts where there are competitive races. So you know, from their perspective, it's not so terrible.
O'BRIEN: But many of them are also saying that they feel okay about not raising the debt ceiling right? So you're going to have a problem, I mean who was that, Congressman Yoho, I think from Florida. Who said something like it would bring stability to the marketplace if we defaulted on our debt. Which is kind of insane.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But so clearly the Republican leadership does not agree with that. And that's what I want to bring back to Paul Gigot. You heard Senator Schumer say that when big business really kicks in that's going to force the Republicans to move. I share your skepticism.
GIGOT: Well I don't think big business really counts all that much for those folks.
GIGOT: What counts for something is what the marginal seat Republicans will say and what could happen to them if the Republicans get the blame for an economic problem. They're the ones who could cost the House, the Republicans their majority in the House and that's where I think some of these people, Peter King, but it's also people in Wisconsin, Sean Duffy in Rhinelander. Those are swing seats. They will pay the price if Republicans lose this showdown in the public opinion.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl, let me press you on what might be a way out, Paul Gigot for one possibility. You've raised the prospect of a kind of Cuban Missile Crisis-style solution and I tried to get it to Speaker Boehner a little bit. Where both sides figure out a way to move off their positions even when they're not admitting to it.
KARL: Yeah the Cuban Missile Crisis, of course, the firm position of JFK's. Unconditionally those missiles must leave Cuba. And they did leave and 6 months later some U.S. missiles moved out of Turkey.
KARL: So you need something. Look the Republicans at this point have gotten themselves into this dark alley, into this box canyon. They need a way out. They cannot unconditionally surrender. I mean the White House I think that the danger for the White House is they are so convinced that they have the upper hand. And they do right now, absolutely have the upper hand. But they will overplay that and force the Republicans to a self-destructive move.
ROBERTS: What is the point of that by the way? What is the point of that? What is the point of the White House pushing them so hard that they have cry uncle?
KARL: The point is they believe that this whole brinksmanship, the whole notion of threatening default has changed the balance of power. And it makes it so if one party in Congress, if one in Congress can force the president to make big concessions because they're threatening to blow up the economy, you've now shifted the balance--
They almost think that it is worth going into default--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Their position is that it is worth going into default.
RATTNER: I'm not sure the White House thinks it's worth going into default. The White House position is, the Republicans have asked for ABCDE all the way down to Z is what they want, from the XL Pipeline to some issues around abortion, obviously deficit, all the stuff.
And the White House says what's in it for us? All we want to do is keep the government running and if you want to have (inaudible) fine, you put some stuff on the table, we'll put some stuff on the table. But not sort of unilaterally give the Republicans a bunch of stuff simply to avoid default.
O'BRIEN: And I think you can hear that in what Speaker Boehner said, or you both said, listen we had to stand our ground, and then at the same time say, but Harry Reid really is the one who's not moving. You can't argue both of those things simultaneously. It's completely contradictory.
GIGOT: George I think there's another part of the calculation here from White House's point of view and that's the 2014 elections. When I was here last time I said I think the president may want a shutdown.
GIGOT: Because his agenda--
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's got the shutdown. He cannot want default. He cannot want default.
GIGOT: He does not want default but I think he does want to go right up to the edge of default. Because I think he needs something to, I think he feels, my agenda's going nowhere, I'm down in the polls. I've got to do something. What can I do? I can take back the House for 2014.
GIGOT: He's going to go out in liberal blaze of glory.
RATTNER: You're saying that the president went to Ted Cruz and said I want you to get House Republicans--
GIGOT: Well not that--
RATTNER: (inaudible) demand on the table so we can shut down the government and I can win an election.
KARL: What are we really talking about? This was the week that Obamacare, the rollout. Huge problems with the website, with the exchanges. And it's like a third-tier story it's been completely overshadowed.
O'BRIEN: Do you think that (inaudible)?
KARL: No but what I'm saying is, this just gets to how the Republicans have mishandled everything. I mean they could be scoring points over and over again talking about the problems with Obamacare.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have to take a quick break. I want to come back and get a prediction from all of you on all this. We also want to talk about the Redskins, the president weighed in on whether the Washington Redskins should be called that. We're going to talk about that when we come back in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, TONIGHT SHOW: You can see the effects of the shutdown all over town. It's terrible. President Obama now down to just one teleprompter. At the TSA, they're making passengers fondle and grope themselves. It is so bad Iran will now be forced to negotiate with Dennis Rodman.
SETH MEYERS, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: A new Fox New poll shows the disapproval of the Republican Party during the shutdown has jumped to 59%. And that's a Fox News poll. That's like the real news saying it's 3,000 percent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): This is not Armageddon. This is a pinprick.
STEPHEN COLBERT, THE COLBERT REPORT: Yes a government shutdown is no more damaging to the economy than a pinprick, OK? For instance, here's the economy, here's the shutdown. See?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh my gosh, the government shutdown T-ball for late night comics, a pretty easy one. You know since we've been talking here the White House has already responded to Speaker Boehner's interview and the contention that there aren't enough votes in the House to pass a clean C.R.
The president's senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeting to our own Jeff Zeleny either he is all wrong or all his members are lying. So one more piece of evidence that neither side is prepared to budget just yet.
Let me try to ask all of you then what I asked Speaker Boehner just a little bit ago. It does seem like this is going to go on for at least a few more days. If we get up to that deadline on October 17, we're in the final day. Which side is going to blink? Are there going to be negotiations? Are we going to go into default? Who will get the blame?
GIGOT: If we get up to the limit, the Speaker will put on the table probably an extension of the debt limit, raising it for 5, 6 weeks and he'll then probably attach something to it so he can get it through his members. Maybe the president's entitlement reforms and his own budget. See if the Senate Democrats will vote for that. Try to get this extended. But say, look Mr. President, we're being reasonable, come back to the table.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's at the last minute. There's no time for negotiating.
GIGOT: He may start a couple of days early. But that's I think how things are going to go here in the short term. Then we can redo this all again.
RATTNER: Actually I'm in heated agreement with Paul. I think that's essentially what happens. First of all I've been doing negotiations for 30 years, they always go to the deadline.
RATTNER: We will be here at 8:00 on October 17th I think. And then I think there will be some short-term extension coupled with a little bit of give on both sides and a serious, an announcement of a serious commitment to have some conversations about the whole budget picture and then we'll see in six weeks what happens.
ROBERTS: So that nobody is accused of blinking. And that's what these scenarios lay out. Is that people have a face saving way to move on and not go to default.
KARL: But there's no reason to have total confidence in that George. I agree that's the likely scenario, but there's no reason to think that it's necessarily going to be that way. I mean I think the Republicans will try. Maybe only a 2 or 3 week extension in the debt ceiling. And I don't know that Democrats are going to go along with that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just to be clear, the president gave an interview to A.P. over the weekend where he appeared not to rule out some sort of action on his own, citing the 14th Amendment to unilaterally continue to honor America's obligations. But everyone in the White House and the Treasury Department says no, he is out of unilateral.
KARL: And Jay Carney has said emphatically no and he has also said the White House believes that they do not have the power to do that. And they also believe that it would not work. So it will be an interesting dance if they try to do that.
And you know George, here's the thing. They may be able to blame the Speaker on this but if it brings this recession, if it brings something catastrophic, who was the Speaker of the House in 1929?
KARL: I mean Paul knows that it was Longworth.
KARL: Ultimately the president owns it.
O'BRIEN: Blame will go everywhere. You know when you read Pfeiffer's tweet, you know, is he lying or is he just wrong? It's sort of like come to the problem. Not very mature right? And it is, it's going to go right to the end, everyone's going to have to save face so they can end with this back and forth. And they won't go into a catastrophic--
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think I agree with all of you. But I'm a little bit more with Jon. I think the chances of actually tripping over into default are higher than they've ever been.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One other subject before we go. President in that A.P. interview also weighing in on this whole controversy over what the Washington Redskins should be called. A lot of sports writers no longer use the term, the Chairman of the NFL, Roger Goodell said, perhaps the Redskins should take a look at it.
Here was the president, yesterday, "If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team... that was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it... all these mascots and team names related to Native Americans, Native Americans feel pretty strongly about it. And I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns... "
Cokie, you're a season ticket holder right?
ROBERTS: I am.
ROBERTS: My big objection is they lose. But look we wouldn't call a team the Yellowskins or the Brownskins. It would be absolutely unacceptable. And if people who are Native American are offended by it, we should pay attention. But basically, they need to start winning.
O'BRIEN: The way to gauge if it's offensive enough right, is to walk into a bar full of Native Americans and yell out, Redskins! Here's what's going to happen, you're going to be beaten up, to near death. Right? So it's offensive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know the owner of the Redskins, his attorney, Laney Davis has said that he keeps citing a poll that says 9 out of 10 Native Americans weren't offended by it.
O'BRIEN: And they poll all Americans and also overwhelmingly also not offended. The bottom line is, I think that if you actually did that test, and walked into a bar and say that, you would find that people have strong opinions on it.
And you can't just say, well it's been a long time. Or listen it's being shouted with joy and pride. The people are offended are offended. I think that matters.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think I'm going to take your test.
KARL: Yeah I won't try that either.
KARL: As a Dallas Cowboys fan I hope the change the name--
KARL: I am happy to give a lot of suggestion. But if it's offensive and it clearly is offensive to a group of people, I mean you've got to look at changing the name.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think, you know, so many people weighing in Steve Rattner but you know Dan Snyder the owner of the Redskins pretty much holding firm even though he's getting all kinds--
O'BRIEN: Money. Money. Money.
RATTNER: Dan Snyder's a very tough guy. But it might be a little bit like John Boehner, you hang tough until you can't anymore. The name that's available that crossed my mind is the old baseball name, the Washington Senators. But that might be even more--
GIGOT: It'd be one thing to change it from Redskins. You'd offend a lot of people, paying customers just by that but then to name it after politicians? I mean they boo politicians when they throw out the first pitch and deservedly so. So and as for the president weighing in, I mean obviously people want to know what he would say. But I would say that right now he's got a day job he should pay attention to. Where he's not really managing it all that well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well he was asked the question.
GIGOT: Yeah well thanks for the advice sir, how about your own problem?
STEPHANOPOULOS: The bigger problem these days might be the word Washington in front of it.
O'BRIEN: Right. You could change that too.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not going to change anytime soon. Thank you all for a great conversation today. We're going to come back in a minute with the mayor of the Internet, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian in our Sunday Spotlight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And our Sunday Spotlight shines today on Alexis Ohanian you may not have heard his name before but if you've ever (inaudible) there's a good chance it began on the website he created, Reddit. It's taken the web by storm and it all started in Ohanian's dorm room.
ABC's Rebecca Jarvis brings us his story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA JARVIS: Reddit calls itself the Internet's front page. Where videos go viral. Where the president will agree to answer anything. All brought to you by the man dubbed "the mayor of the Internet" Alexis Ohanian who with cofounder Steve Huffman started the website eight years ago while roommates at the University of Virginia.
ALEXIS OHANIAN: Reddit a platform for online communities to share links and have discussions.
JARVIS: Does it look today like you envisioned it years ago?
OHANIAN: I just wanted to make something that worked. It started with you know, me and Steve in a little apartment with laptops who were told by lots of important people that we were rounding errors. And you know what? We ate it up. We ate it for breakfast and it was motivation.
JARVIS: Motivation that sparked an Internet sensation. Reddit's signature is the AMA or "Ask Me Anything" session. Attracting stars like Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston and Seth Rogan. Who would you like to see do one?
OHANIAN: I would love, love, love, love to get Jay-Z.
And Reddit recently broke through the 80 million user mark, giving Redditors incredible power to turn a link or video viral in seconds. Just by voting it to the site's front page.
So what's the secret to getting there?
OHANIAN: The secret is good content. At the end of the day, it's having great content.
JARVIS: But Reddit has come under fire for allowing users to post elicit photos and after the Boston Marathon Bombing, several combed through online video to search for a suspect and identified the wrong person.
Who's responsible for that?
OHANIAN: Those people. I think--
JARVIS: You don't think that the companies that create the forums for those people are responsible?
OHANIAN: We always have to hold those people accountable, not the platforms themselves. Unfortunately, this is a problem of humans. Right? Journalists, the best trained (inaudible) people in the world have made the same mistakes before. I'm happy with Reddit's stance in coming out and apologizing for it.
JARVIS: Ohanian has sold his stake in Reddit but he continues on the company's board. He also invests in and advises more than 50 start-ups. His new memoir, part autobiography, part how-to guide for those looking to join him in the Internet boom.
What do you think is the biggest mistake people trying to start companies today are making?
OHANIAN: They got caught up in the idea, it's sort of called wantreprenership. I don't think I've ever had a totally original idea. It's all derivative. Everything's a remix. And everyone has great ideas. And what matters is execution. And so, so many people who decide, all right I'm going to start this thing, never actually get to building something and presenting it to users.
JARVIS: You've said this is just the tip of the iceberg though, in terms of the Internet.
JARVIS: So what does the future look like?
OHANIAN: I wish I knew. There are people right now all over who are just a step away from actually getting started on the next great thing. And I really want them to because I want better stuff.
JARVIS: For this week, Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Rebecca for that. And you can read an excerpt from Alexis Ohanian's new book, "Without Their Permission" on our website abcnews.com/thisweek.
And now to news from Afghanistan, the Pentagon did not announce any deaths of service members killed in Afghanistan this week.
That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News with David Muir" tonight and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."