'This Week' Transcript: Rahm Emanuel

TAPPER: Now Barton later apologized for his comments after some pressure from House Republican leaders. But the Svengali of the president's political arm, David Plouffe, has called for him to step down as ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Do you agree?

EMANUEL: That's for the Republicans to decide. What I think is more important, you can say it's a political gift for us, and it is. But it's dangerous for the American people, because while the ranking Republican would have oversight into the energy industry, and if the Republicans were the majority, would have actually the gavel and the chairmanship.

That's not a political gaffe, those were prepared remarks. That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here is BP, not the fishermen. And remember, this is not just one person. Rand Paul, running for Senate in Kentucky, what did he say? He said the way BP was being treated was un-American.

Other members of the Republican leadership have come to the defense of BP and attacked the administration for forcing them to set up an escrow account and fund it to the level of $20 billion. These aren't political gaffes. You know, I've been in hearings. Joe Barton was speaking from prepared remarks. Rand Paul, who is running Kentucky, a leading Senate candidate for the Republicans said BP, the way they were being treated was un-American.

That is an approach to -- they think the government is the problem. And in this balance, and the difference here is that BP made a mess. And the government, and also in the president's view, in certain areas like MMS, hasn't done its job.

TAPPER: Minerals Management.

EMANUEL: Minerals Management. But the approach here expressed and supported by other voices in the Republican Party, sees the aggrieved party as BP, not the American -- not the fishermen and the communities down there affected. And that would the governing philosophy. And I think what Joe Barton did is remind the American people, in case they've forgotten, this is how the Republicans would govern.

TAPPER: What do you say to -- when you hear criticisms that this administration has used too many strong-arm tactics when it comes to dealing with big business, whether it's in health insurance companies or Wall Street firms or the U.S. auto industry?

EMANUEL: Well, first of all, it has had a different approach based on the situation. And having seen a number of -- let me try to kind of walk through. In the case of General Motors, the prior administration wrote a check without asking for any conditions of change.

We said, without a check from the American people, get yourself right. You've got to make fundamental change. They've made changes and now, as you know, General Motors is going to have an IPO. And most importantly, they're going to keep open factories that they were planning on closing.

So we're righting an industry that was not doing itself, or the American people or its workers, the right thing. So it was a way of getting them to do the changes that they had postponed.

In the case of also the auto industry, for 30 years this country has debating whether we're going to raise the fuel efficiency standards. We finally broke that logjam, not just for cars, but for trucks, by bringing industry together and also all of the other players and we have now a consensus.

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