Transcript: George Stephanopoulos' ABC News / Yahoo! News Exclusive Interview With President Obama

Read the transcript here.

ByABC News
October 3, 2011, 6:30 PM

Oct. 3, 2011— -- GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for joining us live on and for this exclusive interview with President Barack Obama and thanks for having us to the White House.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Great to be here.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There has been a huge response since we announced this interview. 40,000 questions have come in. As you might imagine, most on the economy. And a lot of anger out there. There's so many people who simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. How do you convince them that they are?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. They're not better off than they were before Lehman's collapse, before the financial crisis-- before this extraordinary recession we're going through. I think that-- what we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy. But the unemployment rate is still way too high. And that's why it's so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work. And the American Jobs Act, the bill that I put before Congress three weeks ago puts construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, it puts teachers back in the classroom, teaching our kids, makes sure that veterans-- are getting a break-- if they come home and are looking for a job with a small business, provides everybody a tax cut, small businesses and middle class families alike so that we've got more consumers out there with a little more confidence, a little more money in their pockets. You know, these are ideas that historically have been supported by Democrats and Republicans.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: As you might have heard in the last hour, the Republican leader in the house, Eric Cantor, said he's not going to schedule a clean bill-- this all or nothing approach, he said, is unreasonable.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look, what he needs to do is to tell us what exactly he's for. Because what I've done is put forward what economists say can increase our growth by close to two percent and put 1.9 million people-- ultimately back to work. Now if he's got other ideas, we're happy to look at those other ideas. But what-- what I think the American people cannot abide by is us doing nothing. We can't sit here and pretend that somehow-- you know, Washington just cutting spending, in and of itself, is going to be putting people back to work.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: ...pass the tax cuts and the trade bills, is that enough?