'This Week' Transcript: Gene Sperling and Sen. Kelly Ayotte; Plus Dennis Rodman on His Trip to North Korea

Gene Sperling and Sen. Kelly Ayotte are interviewed on 'This Week'

ByABC News
March 1, 2013, 1:50 PM

NEW YORK, March 3, 2013— -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to This Week. Washington fails.


OBAMA: I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld, and convince them to do what's right.



BOEHNER: It's about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: The sequester kicks in. Sweeping cuts in spending. How long will they stick? What impact will they have? Answers today from our headliners, including top White House aid Gene Sperling, who tangled this week with legendary reporter, Bob Woodward.


WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Plus our powerhouse roundtable on all the weeks politics. Stunning change for the Catholic church, and in this week's biggest surprise.


RODMAN: I love him. The guy is awesome.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Dennis Rodman meets King Jong-Un. No America has spent more time with North Korea's new dictator, and he joins us for his first interview.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Reporting from ABC News headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard that right, in the week's most surreal encounter, one of the world's most notorious basketball players spent quality time with one of the world's most dangerous dictators. And Dennis Rodman is here to share what he learned about Kim Jong-Un in just a bit. But we begin with the budget battles that have crippled the Capitol. President Obama signed the order on Friday to execute those $85 billion in across the board spending cuts, and with both sides locked into their positions, it looks like those cuts are here to stay.

For more on what that will all mean, we begin today with the president's top economic adviser, Director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling. Good morning, Gene. Thanks for joining us.

SPERLING: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's very clear -- very clear from Speaker Boehner, the leader of the Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, that the Republicans are not moving on taxes -- taxes. So does that mean that these cuts are going to be in place for the rest of the year?

SPERLING: You know I certainly hope not, George. These were harsh cuts that were put into place to be so harsh, on defense, and national security, on education on, you know things that matter to children in our country, and most of all to jobs, that -- it was considered to be so harsh, it would force both sides to come back to the table, and negotiate on the type of bipartisan compromise, everyone...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, that's not happening.

SPERLING: ...knows we need. Well, you know George, it hasn't happened yet, but I will tell you something. This is not a win for Republicans. You know Republicans are supposed to be for stronger national defense. This cuts our military preparedness dramatically. They're supposed to be for border security? These sequester cuts will end up meaning enough reduction in hours that it would be the equivalent of 5,000 border patrol agents being cut.