'This Week' Transcript: David Axelrod and Sen. John McCain

David Axelrod and Sen. John McCain are interviewed on 'This Week.'

ByABC News
May 3, 2012, 1:02 PM


TAPPER (voice-over): Good morning. Welcome to "This Week." The president comes out swinging.

OBAMA: We are not turning back the clock. We are moving forward.

TAPPER: With his first official re-election rallies, the battle has been joined.

OBAMA: Corporations aren't people. People are people.

TAPPER: But a faltering economy here at home...

ROMNEY: It's unacceptable in this great country that we have this kind of president who's failed us so badly.

TAPPER: And a tug of war overseas...

ROMNEY: If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom.

TAPPER: ... dominate the headlines. Topics this morning for our exclusive headliners, the president's chief campaign adviser, David Axelrod, and the man who ran against President Obama last time, Senator John McCain. Plus...

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Seau has deceased. This case is being investigated as a suicide.

TAPPER: Tragedy again strikes the NFL. That and all the week's politics with our powerhouse roundtable, George Will, Bay Buchanan, Tavis Smiley, Austan Goolsbee, and Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from the Newseum in Washington, Jake Tapper.

TAPPER: Good morning, everyone. George Stephanopoulos has a well-deserved morning off.

We're exactly six months from Election Day, and in case you had any doubt, the presidential campaign is now officially in full swing, with President Obama holding his first two re-election rallies yesterday in the critical battleground states of Ohio and Virginia.

The president was a wee bit rusty at first, nearly forgetting his wife, Michelle, as he walked off Air Force One in Columbus. Oh, there she is. And after that, the first lady introduced him at Ohio State.


M. OBAMA: We just cannot turn back now, right? We have come so far, but we have so much more to do.


TAPPER: And then the president stepped up and made his pitch.


B. OBAMA: If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it's still about hope. You tell them it's still about change.


TAPPER: And let's now bring in the president's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod. David, thanks for joining us.

AXELROD: Sure. Good to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: The president kicked off his campaign in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. And here are the headlines in the newspapers that greeted him, which were reporting on Friday's jobs report. The Columbus Dispatch, "Job numbers don't mirror hope." The Richard Times-Dispatch, "April job growth slight, portion of Americans in labor force falls to lowest level since 1981."

The headlines say it all, don't they? The economy just isn't strong enough, and what the president has been able to accomplish has not been enough.

AXELROD: Well, Jake, let's consider where we were when the president took off. We were losing 800,000 jobs in one month. We lost 4 million in the six months before he took office, or nearly 4 million. In the last 26 months, we've gained 4.2 million private-sector jobs. The last six months, we've gained nearly 200,000 jobs a month.

And you have to look at the trend, not one month or short periods of time. Now, we have a lot of headwinds. The president said yesterday we have to be vigilant, we have to be persistent. We've got headwinds from Europe and the Middle East and so on.