Below are some of the notable comments made Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Guests included Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel; Romney supporter and potential vice presidential nominee Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; ABC News’ George Will; Democratic strategist James Carville, co-author of the new book “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!”; Republican strategist Mary Matalin; Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile; and political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
EMANUEL: As president of the United States you can’t have a sign on your desk that says, “Gone fishing.” You can’t put that on that desk. It’s basically the buck stops there. You can’t say to the SEC, “I was the CEO, chairman and president, but I’m not responsible. I’m not accountable.” That’s what he likes you to think. But then he says, “I am — the reason I should be president is Bain Capital.” Let’s look at it. And then when you look at it, it’s not the record presented. And those are the policies that led to jobs going overseas rather than manufacturing jobs. And he has already said — and he told people, manufacturing is not part of our future. Five hundred thousand jobs have been created in the manufacturing sector in the last three years. It is part of our future. And if you’re going to build and make sure the 21st century is again the American century, you can’t take an entire sector of the economy and wipe it clean, like he wanted to do with the auto industry.
EMANUEL: He has made Bain Capital his calling card for the presidency. And when you look at it, it doesn’t measure up to what he claims. And, number two, on both of those filings, one is accurate and one isn’t, and they both have consequences when one is not accurate. And that is what she stated. And the second thing is, give it up about Stephanie. Don’t worry about that. What are you going to do when the Chinese leader says something to you or Putin says something to you? Going to whine it away (ph)? You cannot do that. And as Mitt Romney said once to his own Republican colleagues, stop whining. I give him his own advice. Stop whining. Defend — if you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened to Bain Capital and what happened to those jobs that went overseas, those jobs that were actually cut and eliminated, the companies that went into bankruptcy.
EMANUEL: We just came out of a decade that was a lost decade for the middle class. And in the next four years, we’re going to have to decide a set of policies and either make sure the middle class have a chance to raise their kids with middle-class economics, middle-class values, save for their college educations, save for their retirement, pay for health care, and own a home. And the question is, who — what president in that Oval Office will hear the voices, the concerns, and the interests of the middle class or hear the other interests, the ones that actually have checking accounts in the Bahamas, can use what goes on in the Cayman Islands, can use the loopholes that allow you to move money to Switzerland, and only pay 14 percent, while you’re making millions of dollars? And that is the question that will sit in the Oval Office. And which president behind that desk will hear the voices and the interests of the middle class or discard them and actually think about the Cayman Islands and Bahamas?
Senator Kelly Ayotte
AYOTTE: Mitt Romney’s addressed these attacks. They’re false and misleading. But, George, what’s most disappointing about this is the president, who ran as an inspirational leader, look where we are with him right now. Unfortunately, with these attacks, it shows that he’s just a small politician and running on small-ball politics at a time when our country is facing grave, grave challenges. And no ad is going to decide this election, whether the president likes it or not. The economy and jobs are going to decide this election, and his record on that is abysmal. We’ve had over 40 straight months of over 8 percent unemployment, dismal jobs reports, and his policies have been a failure when it comes to turning our economy around.
AYOTTE: By a commonsense standard, we all know that in 1999 he was working 16 hours a day to turn the Olympics around, which he did a great job with. So he’s addressed it. He wasn’t running Bain Capital then. He was working to turn our Olympics around. It’s the leadership that he showed at the Olympics and also as a strong governor. That’s what he’s going to bring to the White House to turn our economy around.
Thoughts on Condoleeza Rice as potential VP
AYOTTE: She’s very qualified. She’s excellent. She’s tested. Yes.
WILL: Mitt Romney is losing at this point in a big way. If something’s going to come out, get it out in a hurry. I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest. He’s done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that impolitic. And this is — and he’s now in the politics business.
WILL: Look, what Mitt Romney has said is he has released, and I quote, “all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.” Now, the something is a pregnant word. And people are going to say there’s — the cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.
WILL: Choosing Condoleezza Rice would inject tremendous excitement into the campaign and remove all suspense from the outcome. You would have such an uproarious convention in Tampa, you’d have perhaps a third party, you’d have a challenge to her on the floor, you’d have walkouts of delegations, and he’d lose 40 states.
DOWD: Mitt Romney knows that he can’t run on his record. He doesn’t have a Massachusetts record that he wants to run on because it wasn’t anything great there. Now Bain’s a problem, so he doesn’t want to run on his record. So what we’re going to have is 90 percent of what we’re going to talk about is about bad things about the other guy. And my fear, George — my fear, to project forward in the next 115 days on Election Day, my fear is this is going to be a very close election, could come down to a couple thousand votes, is whoever wins this election is going to have no mandate or no vision of where we want to take this country. And that’s the problem.
DOWD: I have seen this with candidates. I saw this with the DWI with President Bush that came out late in the campaign. I’ve seen it with a number of other candidates I worked for. I think it’s two things. First of all, there’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, “Have at it.” So there’s obviously something there that compromises what he said in the past about something. So that’s — but I think I think the bigger thing is, it’s arrogance. These — many of these politicians think, “I can do this. I can get away with this. I don’t need to do this, because I’m going to say something and I don’t have to do this.” And that in the end is the problem, is that they sort of say, I don’t have to do that, I can address it some other way, but he obviously — if he had 20 years of great, clean, everything’s fine, it’d all be out there, but it’s arrogance.
DOWD: The problem is the president is doing exactly what he needs to do because he wants to cover up on a failed record. He’s doing exactly what he thinks, the ends justify the means, I’m going to attack this guy, tear him down, and that’s what I need to do, because the direction of the country is bad. But Mitt Romney — this is like karma to me. Mitt Romney did the same exact thing that Barack Obama is doing to him. He did it to Newt Gingrich. And he — he’s saying the exact same thing that Mitt Romney is saying. It’s like, you’re taking my record out of context. I can’t believe you’re saying — he did the same thing to Rick Santorum. So now, all of a sudden, he’s running against a — in a general election against a very professional group of people, against a very astute politician, against a Chicago machine who’s doing the same thing he did, and now he’s sitting there saying, “I can’t believe you’re doing this. I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
CARVILLE: The Bain thing is mildew for Romney. For better or for worse, accurately, inaccurately, or whatever, Bain is being defined as some kind of a part of capitalism that got rid of jobs and offshore accounts and everything else. And it doesn’t mean he’s going to lose the election. The economy could — he could still win it there. He could still win it with other things, but Bain is going to be a net loser for Romney between now and the end of the campaign. I think the opinions have set in. I think the furniture — the Bain furniture is sort of mildewed. I’m not saying that that’s the end of the election cycle for Romney, but he’s clearly lost this argument. And I think he’s clearly going to continue to lose it. It’s better to get out of it.
CARVILLE: People that I really respect are talking about the death penalty for Penn State football. That is a really dumb idea. Lives have been ruined, so the answer to it, let’s go out and ruin more lives. Let’s take a kid who’s a football player who was in the second grade when this happened and let’s suspend the program. Who knows what he’s going to do with his education? Let’s take every contract that’s been signed, let’s take the Penn State-Wisconsin game, everybody that has a motel in Happy Valley, let’s ruin their lives as a retaliation. I mean, this is really a bad idea. Let Penn State football play, let them make money, bring the trial lawyers in, pluck that chicken clean.
MATALIN: The real issue here is lying to the American people about outsourcing is — is what this election should be about. Outsourcing is not a goal of private equity or — it’s — it’s a consequence of the global economy. And as one of your earlier guests said, if there were investments made with Bain that produced outsourcing, that — that was with those investors’ money. What Barack Obama has done is outsourced jobs with your tax dollars, with our money, and they’re complete failures. But that’s not what this election is going to be about. It’s not.
MATALIN: We all love Condi. She’s vetted. She’s tested. She’d be ready on day one. She doesn’t want to do it. And in the case of Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Rice, when she says I don’t want to do it, she doesn’t want to do it.
BRAZILE: If I was working for Mitt Romney, is, first, stop whining. Number two, get Bain to release all of the relevant documents, the minutes of meetings, board of directors meeting. Let’s see what’s on the record. And also, I think he could clear it up by releasing his taxes from that period. There’s a gray area, and maybe we can find out more.
BRAZILE: There should be some penalty, some acknowledgment that there was a gross abuse of children, neglect in their duties as officers of that university. You know, when I read that report, George, all I could — I thought about the Catholic Church, I thought about the boy — I thought about so many other institutions that’s been implicated in these kind of cases. But what I like about the report at the end is that he gave us 120 recommendations on how we can protect children in the future, what institutional leaders should do, what people in the community should do, board of trustees and others. So he gave us a blueprint of how to avoid this happening, but it’s a sad episode, and some heads should turn.