'This Week' Transcript: President Barack Obama

I think the president, he's a very big fan of history, understands that. He watched that go on with the president. I think that unless the president changes the trajectory he is on the road to irrelevancy and that's why your last question which went to 2016 president, which is what everybody now wants to talk about, even though there's all these huge issues. Understand that this president is fast becoming irrelevant in Washington.

GIGOT: I think his gamble will be, I'm sorry Cokie, just briefly, I think his gamble is to take back the House in 2014. Which is why I think he may be, he may want a shutdown. Because--

STEPHANOPOULOS: He wants a shutdown?

GIGOT: He wants a shutdown because that's a way he can blame it on the Republicans, blame any economic fallout on the House Republicans and say, you've got to give me the majority for the next year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Shutdown but not default. He can't--

GIGOT: Shutdown, shutdown.

ROBERTS: He can't go to default. But shutdown the government works for the president.

DOWD: I would have a hard time believing that the president would want that. I would say he's probably not opposed to it. But I would have a hard time saying he wants it.

ROBERTS: OK he hopes the Republicans are silly enough to do it.

GIGOT: That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's why he's going to hold on to this firm negotiating position right now. You know, we've got to take a break right now. Thank you all very much.

But before we do, I want to get the latest on those devastating floods in Colorado. They've already taken four lives. Hundreds may still be trapped and ABC's Ginger Zee is on the ground in Fort Morgan today.

Ginger this has been such a punishing storm, officials now are engaged in the largest air rescue since Hurricane Katrina. We were just talking about. And I see that river right there is about to breach.

GINGER ZEE, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah this is not even the river. This already breached George. This is actually the runoff. The river is actually a quarter mile back. This is the South Platte River and it's the one they're most concerned about today.

Because it's not done rising. We've seen it now feet above its record or historic levels. And let me show you, because you've got all the runoff, chunks of the road falling apart as we've been here. You can see it. All of the flood waters gnawing away at parts of Colorado.

So the rescues really are the part that's so dramatic. Yesterday we got to see some of them. We also got to meet people who were evacuating their homes. I want to show you the pictures though of all of those dramatic rescues. Some of the students that got caught up in the mountains, airlifted out.

You've got the rescues of the horses, because it's not just the people that are stuck, this is a lot of farmland out here. Farms that are now completely ruined. Everything that they had. And we're hearing a lot of that here in Morgan County.

So this has been watching the rivers rise and go into people's homes is painful. And that's where we're at with flood watches and warnings around.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right the president declared a disaster zone overnight, yet there's more rain coming.

ZEE: Right. We get another one to three inches widespread today. That's something we haven't seen for the last 36 hours. More rain, not only today but until early tomorrow. Finally drying out by Tuesday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK Ginger Zee, thanks for being on the ground there. And when we come back, one of television's hottest stars takes the stage as America's Accidental President. Bryan Cranston plays Lyndon Johnson. That's next.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And coming up, you know him as the high school teacher turned ruthless drug lord on "Breaking Bad." Now Bryan Cranston plays the president. His star turn as LBJ is next in our Sunday Spotlight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Time now for our Sunday Spotlight shining this week on Lyndon Johnson. In a new play about one of the country's most tortured presidents, "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston stars as LBJ portraying those moments in 1964, when a president anointed by tragedy achieved the goals of a lifetime.

ABC's Linsey Davis takes us behind the scenes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINSEY DAVIS: As recorded by history.

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: The greatest leader of our time has been struck--

BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: Struck down by the foulest deed of our time.

DAVIS: And now reenacted on stage, Lyndon Johnson was a man who suddenly found himself front and center during a turning point for the country.

CRANSTON: I'm an accidental President, Dick.

DAVIS: In "All the Way," Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Robert Schenkkan's highly anticipated new drama opening this week, the self-described "accidental president" is played by actor Bryan Cranston.

CRANSTON: So let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skylar, I am the danger.

DAVIS: Cranston has won three Emmys for his role as Walter White in the critically acclaimed AMC hit, "Breaking Bad," about a chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, who turns to a life of crime to ensure his family's financial future before he dies.

CRANSTON: Where, where did he keep it?

Maybe you think Goldwater ought to be elected, is that it?

DAVIS: And now another intense role. Our cameras were there as Cranston rehearsed for his latest turn as the country's 36th president.

Why'd you choose Bryan Cranston for LBJ?

ROBERT SCHENKKAN, PLAYWRIGHT: To have somebody who is funny and entertaining and endearing and then terrifying. And that's what LBJ was; he was all of those things.

DAVIS: The play takes us through a period of 12 months. Beginning with LBJ's swearing in as president in November of 1963 through the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

JOHNSON: Its purpose is not to divide but to end divisions.

DAVIS: He is responsible for some landmark legislation. Would you say then that he was a masterful politician?

SCHENKKAN: Oh without question. He loved the deal making. He loved the muscling and he was ferocious about it.

DAVIS: One major theme of the play is the morality of power and the lengths LBJ was willing to go to get Congress to act.

SCHENKKAN: We take pleasure in how he bullies and manipulates and lies in order to achieve passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. And then we watch him use the same toolkit to ensure his re-election and to take us into Vietnam. And we stop cheering. That's what this play is about. It's a bloody, messy business.

DAVIS: A business that's only gotten worse.

SCHENKKAN: At least before it was productive. Now it's bloody and messy and we're not doing anything. In 1964 there was no shame in crossing the aisle and making a deal.

DAVIS: In the end it's a story about a president, an "accidental president" who very purposefully managed to shift the politics of the day.

SCHENKKAN: What he did in terms of civil rights in this country was extraordinary. The Civil Rights Act broke the back of Jim Crow and changed this country forever. To me, that's heroic.

DAVIS: For "This Week" I'm Linsey Davis in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cannot wait to see that performance. Remarkable resemblance. And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week the Pentagon released the name of one soldier killed in Afghanistan.

And that is 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.

END

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