'This Week' Transcript: President Barack Obama

But I -- what I also think we should be doing is eliminating corporate tax breaks that nobody can defend, but keep on reappearing each year in the budget. If we are serious about it, there's no reason that we can't do it, and do right by --

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about --

OBAMA: -- by the -- by the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about beyond the deficit? You were, you know, reelected a little more than a year ago, 332 electoral votes --

OBAMA: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- 51 percent of the vote --

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- first president since Eisenhower to do it twice.

You put gun control at the top of the agenda, immigration reform, climate change, all of it stalled or reversing.

How do you answer the argument that, beyond the deficit, this has been a lost year? And how do you save it?

OBAMA: Well, on immigration reform, for example, we got an -- terrific bipartisan vote out of the Senate. You had Democrats and Republicans in the Senate come together, come up with a bill that wasn't perfect, it wasn't my bill, but got the job done. It's now sitting there in the House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not going anywhere.

OBAMA: Well, but what I will say is this: If Speaker Boehner put that bill on the floor of the House of Representatives right now, it would pass. It would pass.

So the question then is not whether or not the ideas that we've put forward can garner a majority of support, certainly in the country. I mean gun control, we had 80-90 percent of the country that agreed with it.

The problem we have is we have a faction of the Republican Party, in the House of Representatives in particular, that view "compromise" as a dirty word, and anything that is even remotely associated with me, they feel obliged to oppose.

And my argument to them is real simple: that's not why the people sent you here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're out of time. Final question: your vice president is at Tom Harkin's Steak Fry in Iowa --

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- this week. And clearly, Secretary Clinton is positioning for a possible run for president, too.

You chose both of them.

What do you say to your fellow Democrats when they're thinking about that possible choice?

And are you determined to stay neutral throughout this whole process?

OBAMA: What I would say to folks out there is we are tremendously lucky to have an incredible former Secretary of State, who couldn't have served me better, and an incredible vice president who couldn't -- who couldn't be serving me better.

And I suspect if you asked both of them, they'd say it's way too premature to start talking about --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he's in Iowa.

OBAMA: -- 2016. Well -- you know, Iowa's a big state, and he's an old friend of Tom Harkin's.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're staying completely neutral?

OBAMA: Listen, I think, as you pointed out, I just got reelected last year. My focus is on the American people right now. I'll let you guys worry about the politics.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President, thanks very much.

OBAMA: I enjoyed it. Thank you, George.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we come back, our panelist roundtable here with their take on the president's interview.

And what's next on the crisis in Syria and the looming showdowns in Washington?

Plus "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston has taken on a new role as President Lyndon Johnson. That's our Sunday spotlight.

And we'll have the latest on those floods in Colorado that have claimed four lives.

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