Obama Calls for ‘Grand Bargain’ on Economy: ‘Everybody’s Going to Have to Give’

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 10, 2009 2:25pm

In my exclusive interview with Barack Obama airing tomorrow on This Week, the president-elect told me that fixing our economy over the long term will require sacrifice from every American and scaling back some of his campaign promises.

"Our challenge is going to be identifying what works and putting more money into that, eliminating things that don’t work, and making things that we have more efficient. But I’m not suggesting, George, I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped," Obama told me in his first interview since arriving back in Washington, DC as president-elect.

I asked the president-elect, "At the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of grand bargain? That you have tax reform, healthcare reform, entitlement reform including Social Security and Medicare, where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?"

"Yes," Obama said.

"And when will that get done?" I asked.

"Well, right now, I’m focused on a pretty heavy lift, which is making sure we get that reinvestment and recovery package in place. But what you described is exactly what we’re going to have to do. What we have to do is to take a look at our structural deficit, how are we paying for government? What are we getting for it? And how do we make the system more efficient?"

"And eventually sacrifice from everyone?" I asked.

"Everybody’s going to have to give. Everybody’s going to have to have some skin in the game," Obama said.

Tune in Sunday morning for my entire interview with the President-elect. In his most comprehensive interview since the election, we discussed…

– objections to his economic stimulus plans from both Democrats and Republicans, and why Obama believes it must get done by President’s Day;

– his plans for the next $350 billion of the TARP

– the conflict between Israel and Gaza, and his plans for the Middle East, including a potential crisis with Iran;

–the potential for a Mumbai-style terrorist strike here in the U.S.;

–how and when the Obama Administration will revise U.S. counterterrorism policies and close the Guantanamo prison;

–Vice-President Cheney’s advice for Obama, and whether an Obama Administration will move to investigate and prosecute Bush Administration officials for war crimes;

–the controversy over Eric Holder’s nomination for Attorney General;

–how Obama is preparing for his Inaugural Address and his search for a church in Washington.

The big treat of the day was having Malia and Sasha Obama tour visit our This Week control room. The girls got on my executive producer’s headset and gave me the question they most want their Dad to answer. Find out what it was and how Obama answered tomorrow on "This Week."

–George Stephanopoulos

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