'This Week' Transcript: Obama Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer; Two Powerhouse Roundtables

Obama Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer on "This Week" Sunday

ByABC News
April 5, 2013, 2:50 PM

NEW YORK, April 7, 2013— -- A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, April 7, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to This Week. On the edge.


HAGEL: Some of the actions they've taken present a real and clear danger.


STEPHANOPOULOS: North Korea's drumbeat of threats. Is their puzzling young leader spoiling for war? Can President Obama do anything to stop him? Our Martha Raddatz is just back from a tense border. Plus...


(UNKNOWN): 88,000 jobs last month.

(UNKNOWN): This is a punch to the gut. I mean this is not a good number.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Congress returns from Easter break to a grim jobs report. A new White House budget with cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and a showdown on guns.


OBAMA: We hear some of these quotes, "I need a gun to protect myself from the government." The government is us.

LAPIERRE: He said personally, I'll never try to ban your rifles, shotgun, and handgun. Now he's trying to ban all three.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll tackle all of that this morning with the president's new top strategist, Dan Pfeiffer. And our powerhouse roundtable with George Will, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman of the New York Times, and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.

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

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. This week began with new threats of war from North Korea, ended with President Obama apologizing for a compliment. In between, he pushed his plans on guns, and the budget, both uphill fights in Congress. And riding herd on all of it, the president's top senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer. Welcome to This Week.

PFEIFFER: Thanks for having me, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's begin with the budget. It's going to come out on Wednesday, and will include for the first time, cuts in Social Security and Medicare. The president's put them on the table in negotiations, never put them in a budget before. But already House Speaker John Boehner has dismissed them. And a lot of Democrats are worried that the president is turning his bottom line in negotiations into an opening bid. How do you respond to that concern? And do you really think that this budget is going to change the dynamic, increase the chances of a big deal?

PFEIFFER: Well it's important to understand that what's in the president's budget is the offer that he put to Speaker Boehner in December when we were trying to have a fiscal negotiation. And what this does, is it shows: One, that the president is serious about trying to find a balanced solution to our deficits, and have a comprehensive economic plan. And shows that we don't have to choose between deficits as far as the eye can see, and job creation, and economic growth. You can do both.

Our budget includes investments in infrastructure, bringing jobs back to America, you know, preschool for our -- for -- for everyone, while still bringing our deficits down to the -- our debts down to levels that are talked about by commissions like Simpson-Bowles.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it hasn't seemed to change the dynamic at all, at least so far. Here's what part of what Speaker Boehner said. He said, "If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That's no way to lead, and move the country forward." If they're good ideas, he says, why not just do them?

PFEIFFER: Well there's -- there are a couple -- couple things here, George. First is, the House has passed a budget, the Senate has passed a budget. The hope is that those houses can then come together and work to try and find a compromise. The president's focused, in addition to the regular order process that members of Congress say they want, is to try to find a caucus of common-sense. Folks who are willing to compromise, who don't think compromise is a dirty word, and try to get something done. And -- but, if Speaker Boehner's position, as he said in that statement, remains his position, then -- then we will not make progress.

Because what this president will not do is come in right after getting re-elected, and enact the Romney economic plan, which is what the Republicans in the House are proposing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you getting any feedback from these Senate Republicans, and the president is going to have dinner again with them this week, that suggests that this will create the possibility of a deal?