'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

ELLISON: You used it at that occasion in 2011, August, to basically say, we are going to let -- we're going to default on the country's obligations or you're going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That's how we got to the Budget Control Act.

But let me tell you, you know, the bottom line is, this sequester is going to put a million people out of work -- no, 600,000, excuse me, got to get my numbers right -- 600,000 people out of work, and this is going to increase unemployment, it's going to increase the deficit, because people paying taxes means that we're lowering the deficit. It's going to do -- it's going to do everything opposite to what your party says that they want. It's going to create uncertainty. It's going to increase the deficit. It's going to increase unemployment. It's going to be a problem.

COLE: That's -- that's why we've twice put out proposals that deal with it, Keith. We don't have a presidential proposal.

ELLISON: Take-it-or-leave-it proposals. Those aren't proposals.

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: We don't have -- even have a proposal from the president.

ELLISON: You got a proposal from the Progressive Caucus.

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: Well, you're not...

ELLISON: Let me tell you about the Balancing Act.

(CROSSTALK)

ELLISON: This is a great piece of legislation.

COLE: That's fine, but we don't have one from the Senate...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let him finish.

COLE: And I don't think you speak for the president, so let's see.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl, take that up, though, the question -- the president has given a couple of speeches where he says wants a balanced approach, but no line-by-line proposal on the table right now.

KARL: Yeah, and there's been internal debate in the White House on this. But I've got to tell you, you know, at the White House, they seem like -- to think that there will eventually be a compromise here to avert these cuts. I see...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not before -- not before the sequester starts on March 1st.

KARL: Not before March 1st. Eventually, the pressure comes, the negative consequences, but I see zero chance of a deal on this. I don't see any chance, because -- you know, you have Republicans, and Republicans have done a great job of saying this was the president's idea, they point to Bob Woodward's book, it was clearly the president's idea, but I've -- I've talked to Republicans -- and not just the radical House guys, but a prominent Republican senator this week told me that he loves the sequester, because it's actually real cuts.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to -- I want to bring that to Nicolle Wallace. I do think that's a pretty widespread sentiment right now. On the other hand, you hear from the White House and Democratic operatives who say that all may be well and good, but Republicans are going to get blamed for this.

WALLACE: Well, Stephanie talked about where the country is. The country is pretty strongly in support of big cuts to a bloated federal government. And I think if you take it to the whole country, that would include the defense budget. I think that no one is interested in cutting anything that would impede our military readiness. No one wants to take anything at all from any of our troops on the front lines. But to say that in the entire Pentagon budget there isn't an iota of room for cuts like this, for meaningful cuts would be lying.

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