Below are some of the notable comments made Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Guests included Obama supporter and Democratic Governors Association chair Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md.; Romney supporter and potential vice presidential nominee Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.; ABC News’ George Will; Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, author of the new book “Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent;” PBS’ “Washington Week” moderator and managing editor Gwen Ifill; former Counselor to the Treasury Secretary and Obama administration Lead Auto Adviser Steven Rattner; and Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.
Gov. Martin O’Malley
O’MALLEY: This is a choice between two gentlemen. President Obama’s talked about what we need to do as a nation. It’s what our parents and grandparents did, to invest in our country, to believe enough in her to invest in education, in our infrastructure, and also in innovation. That is not the proposal that Mitt Romney has. He wants to make it even easier for very wealthy people to avoid paying taxes, to offshore American jobs, and to maintain their Swiss bank accounts while our roads and bridges and levees crumble.
O’MALLEY: President Obama is not running against the almighty. He is running against the alternative. And the alternative in this case is Governor Mitt Romney, who had the 47th worst job creation rate as governor and also has a — a penchant, a talent for offshoring American jobs, sending them overseas, and also maintaining offshore bank accounts in Bermuda, Swiss bank accounts.
O’MALLEY: This is a fundamental disagreement between two different candidates and their vision for our country’s future. Barack Obama believes enough in our country to be willing to work for and invest in it. Mitt Romney bets against America. He bet against America when he put his money in Swiss bank accounts and tax havens and shelters and also set up a secret company, the shell company in Bermuda, which, by the way, in order to avoid disclosure, he put in his wife’s name right before he became governor of Massachusetts. These are legitimate questions that a man who is holding himself out as wanting to lead our country forward needs to answer. He doesn’t have an economic policy. And his track record in business was to offshore American jobs and to set up secret bank accounts offshore to shelter his own fair share of paying taxes to make our country stronger.
Gov. Bobby Jindal
JINDAL: Kids come out of college, half of them are going to be underemployed, unemployed, 23 million underemployed, unemployed Americans. However you measure this, this economy is not growing. This president’s policies simply aren’t working.
JINDAL: This election, this is a choice between President Obama and his failed policies and Governor Romney. This past week, David Axelrod tried to run against President Nixon. This is not about the past. This is about the future. Governor O’Malley is angry at Congress. He needs to be angry at the American people. They elected this Congress to stop some of these Obama policies.
JINDAL: I think voters will consider all of the distractions thrown out by the Obama campaign. But at the end of the day, this election is about two fundamental choices. It’s about President Obama, who wants to continue to spend money we don’t have. We’re going the way of Europe. You may have noticed a couple of weeks ago, the German finance minister actually lectured the American president about borrowing. He said, don’t tell us what to do until you get your house in order. It’s pretty embarrassing when the Europeans are telling us we’re spending and borrowing too much.
IFILL: In the end, no one really cares about the numbers and the excuses. That’s why that Romney ad is actually kind of useful, because no president wants to be put in the position of always looking like he’s on the defensive. People care about whether they feel anxious or not, and people feel a great deal of anxiety. The choice they’re making now isn’t between whether they’re going to have a job next month or their kids are going to have a job. Their choice is whether either of these guys is going to make their lives better. And if they don’t — if Romney can’t convince them that their lives will be made better, they’ll just stick with the one they know. But if Obama seems like he’s always on the defensive and can’t — no matter what we keep digging deeper, he is in peril. So that’s — that’s how voters talk to me about this. They don’t talk about the numbers. They’re thinking, what about me? Did they save my kids’ future?
IFILL: Both sides want to talk about taxes. And as long as they can take this health care debate and turn it into a debate about who will raise your taxes, that wonderful, old story that they drag out every four years, then that’s what this debate is going to be engaged on. It was interesting this week to see the president actually step out on his campaign to start to defend his health care plan. He actually started to say what it would do and how it would help, instead of being on the defensive. So clearly they think they have an upper hand here
ZUCKERMAN: The great American job machine has now broken down. We are four years into a so-called recovery, and it is the worst recovery we’ve ever seen, and now we are — we are looking at the possibility of a double-dip recession. This would be disastrous.
ZUCKERMAN: Romney has done a lot of things that shows that he knows how to manage situations. And this is one of the problems we have with a president who’s never run anything. There are astonishing parts to that, including his inability to communicate with the Congress, which is just astounding when you meet people there who say they’ve never met with him in three-and-a-half or four years, since he’s been president. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, with a front-page story in the New York Times, he hadn’t had a single meeting or conversation with the president in 18 months. Government doesn’t work that way. This president does not know how to work government. And that is critical.
DIONNE: Class is always used in American politics. And I think George underscored the essential point, which is Mitt Romney hoped that his experience at Bain Capital would be a political asset. Well, guess what? After all of this argument and all of this advertising, it’s turned into a liability. And it’s especially a liability in the swing states. And it’s partly because there are different ways of having capitalism in our country, and there are aspects of the way the private-equity business works, the way Mitt Romney’s business works that don’t sit well with Americans. And that’s why we’re having this big argument.
DIONNE: The Wall Street Journal editorial paper attacking the Republican nominee, it’s like George Will attacking baseball. This isn’t supposed to happen. That’s a bad week for a Republican nominee. And I think, on the one hand, George is right. There is a risk aversion there. He just thinks if he just keeps talking about how bad the economy is, he’ll win. But there’s also a problem for some of the conservatives making this case, which is they want Romney to go all the way over to the right where they are. The Romney campaign knows that if they go that far right, they’re going to lose some of the middle ground voters that they need to win. So there’s a kind of — they’re both right and both wrong about this one.
WILL: It’s bad, bad, bad across the board. We’re now in the fourth year of a recovery, which if 7 million people had not left the workforce, so the workforce participation is way down, we would have 10.9 percent unemployment and no one would be talking about a recovery. It’s quite clear the president got terrible advice early in his administration. First, his advisers said we’ll do this stimulus and it will never reach 8 percent; 41 weeks now — 41 months over 8 percent. But beyond that, they assured him that this was going to be a V-shaped recovery. Precipitous downturn, but a commensurate upturn. It turned out to be not quite an L-shaped, but more like a hockey stick, so that we’re in what is now called properly a growth recession. We’re getting some growth, but not enough to accommodate even the growth of the workforce.
WILL: Governor Romney seems to be risk-averse. He does seem to be in something like a four-corner stall in basketball, which almost killed basketball, and they put in a 30-second shot clock to change that. But you can’t get to the NCAA championship, you can’t get to the presidency running out the clock. So he’s going to have to do something more than say Obama’s not working. And he said to CBS News this week, as long as I keep talking about the economy, I’ll win.
RATTNER: If Romney actually starts talking about his economic plan and lays out clearly for the American people what he’s in favor of, 20 percent across-the-board tax cuts that aren’t paid for, privatizing Medicare and turning it into a voucher program, sending Medicaid back to the states as a block grant program, cutting a whole series of programs like food stamps by 33 percent, I’m not sure he’s going to win the election if people actually understood what he’s in favor of.
RATTNER: I think the only real issue here is whether he picks something that is a mistake, like Sarah Palin, because, frankly, I don’t think it matters that much. I think if you look at history, fewer and fewer times has a vice president actually helped a presidential candidate, even in his home state.