'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

PHOTO: Deputy Majority Whip (R) Oklahoma Rep Tom Cole, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair and Financial Services Committee Member Rep Keith Ellison, ABC News Political Analyst and Contributor and Republican Strategist Nicolle Wallace, Obama 2012 De


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The state of our union.

OBAMA: Bottom line is this, people: We got a lot of work to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama takes the stage. How will Congress respond?

BOEHNER: Washington has to deal with its spending problem. I've had enough of it.


FEINSTEIN: Please remove that woman.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... drone war drama. A new civil war in the GOP. And when have you heard presidential prospects talk like this?

RUBIO: Tupac's lyrics were probably more insightful.

CHRISTIE: I'm like, basically, the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We take on all the week's politics right now.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. Reporting from ABC News headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. Here in the Northeast, we are still digging out from that massive blizzard. New York spared the worst. More than three feet in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Forty million people affected. Over 350,000 homes without power.

ABC News will keep an eye on that all day long, and right here we're grateful that everyone on the powerhouse roundtable made it in, planes, trains and automobiles, through the storm, because we have a packed week of politics. Around the table, ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace, President Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, both White House veterans, and from the Congress, Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota.

Let's get right to it. Jon Karl, you've been digging into the White House right now. What are their plans for the State of the Union?

KARL: The White House -- the president wants to see this, the headline coming out of the speech as it was about jobs and the economy. That's going to be the focus here. They're a little stung, George, by some of the criticism of the inaugural, for not focusing on jobs and the economy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, fair criticism, of course.

KARL: They don't want to argue that it's not fair, but that's -- so this is going to have new initiatives on infrastructure, on education, on clean energy, and it's going to be all about the middle class, expanding the middle class, and a big warning on this, the automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1st.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do want to talk about that, that sequester, across-the-board spending cuts on March 1st. How about the tone, though? One of the things we've seen from the president since his re-election in November, fairly confrontational across the board.

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