'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

And I agree with George on this. This is not a recovery yet. People are right now very scared, understandably, of getting their jobs back. And even when you have a full-fledged recovery of 2 million a year, think about how far behind we are. That's five years before we even get back to where we were before the Great Recession started.

TAPPER: And yet, Karen, you -- you feel like this is good news for Democrats as the midterm elections approach?

FINNEY: Well, I think it gives Democrats at least the starting point for a narrative that they can go to the American people and talk about job creation, the president can talk about tax cuts for small businesses towards hiring. We talk about the Hire America Act.

And I think one of the problems that the Republicans have had is they don't have a consistent narrative that they can talk about beyond the policies of George Bush as to what they want to do for the economy, moving it forward. So at least Democrats have something to hang their hat on. I agree that these numbers are, you know, cautiously optimistic and we need to see better growth, but at least -- it gives Democrats something to talk about heading into 2010 and some accomplishments to tout, whereas, again, I think all you're hearing from the GOP, it sounds a lot like what we already tried that didn't work.

TAPPER: But take a look at this number. We have these polls from Gallup that indicates that, for the first time in several years, Republicans actually lead Democrats when asked who in Congress would do a better job with the economy, Republicans leading Democrats for the first time in several years. So even if Republicans aren't making the arguments that you -- that you think would be compelling to the American people, the fact is, the voters seem to be turning towards them.

FINNEY: You know, it's interesting. I went and looked at the numbers from this period in 2006, when I was at the DNC, and actually, they were -- we were about even with Democrats and Republicans, and nobody at that point in time thought that Democrats were poised to take over control of the House and Senate.

I say that to say that there's a long time between now and November. A lot can happen. Certainly, I think it's a good thing that the president has been out on the stump talking about and trying to tout some of these accomplishments and trying to sell these programs. I think he didn't do that early enough, frankly, with the stimulus package, and that was a mistake that I think they've recognized.

So, again, I think there's a lot that can happen. We'll see.

DOWD: Well, I think -- here's the difficulty that the Democrats are in, I think, is the Republicans don't have to really have a proactive message in order to win elections in -- in this year.

TAPPER: (inaudible)

DOWD: All they have to be is not them, and that is a fine in the short term. In the long term, they definitely have to have a more proactive, more affirmative message.

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