'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

TAPPER: "Find that pervert and get his card," says Karl Rove. And we'll get to Michael Steele and the RNC in a second.

But first, we're going to start with jobs. We're going to talk to our roundtable, George Will, as always, Matthew Dowd, former Bush strategist, Robert Reich from the University of California, Berkeley -- that's a mouthful. I'm just going to say "Berkeley" from now on -- and former Democratic strategist -- or current Democratic strategist, former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney.

Thanks so much for joining us.

George, the president says he's encouraged by the job numbers. Are you?

WILL: He's easily encouraged. The economy began to grow nine months ago. The usual pattern since the Second World War is that a sharp downturn is followed by a sharp upturn, including a sharp upturn in hiring. It takes more than 100,000 jobs just to stay even in this country because of immigration and natural growth of the workforce.

So of the 162,000, subtract maybe 110,000 just to cover natural growth, then subtract 48,000 temporary census workers, and what you get is, nine months into a recovery, essentially no meaningful job creation. Furthermore, the average unemployment today is 31 weeks, much the highest since that record began to be kept in 1948. TAPPER: Matt, this is a -- it was positive news. It might not have been as positive as some would like or all of us would like, but it was positive news. Is it good politics for Democrats?

DOWD: Well, it was positive news. Obviously, job gains -- no matter how small or better job loses -- the problem is, the country doesn't believe that there's good news right now, that they have a total disapproval of the president on the economy, which is a really big problem he has going into the midterm elections, let alone going into 2012. They don't believe their own finances have recovered.

They don't see any private-sector jobs having gotten created, even though this was the first time that some private-sector jobs have gotten created. And the other political problem he has is, of all the 51 jurisdictions in the United States, the only jurisdiction that has actually gained jobs in a year is the District of Columbia. And in the public mind, that is not necessarily a good thing.

And so I think it's still a huge political problem for the Democrats. I don't think they have time for any real, meaningful economic growth to happen to change the public's view on confidence in the economy before the midterms. So I think it's still a huge albatross around the Democrats' neck.

TAPPER: Bob, Summers and Greenspan seemed to be rather bullish, but there are economists who feel like we still might be headed towards a double-dip recession, especially as stimulus money runs out. Are you concerned at all about that?

REICH: There is reason to be concerned, Jake, that as stimulus money runs out and also as the Fed naturally begins to tighten, because the Fed has got to reduce the money supply and raise interest rates at some point -- otherwise, there is going to be a fear of inflation out there -- that you don't have enough demand in the system to keep any kind of a recovery going.

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