'This Week' Transcript: Stephanie Cutter and Eric Fehrnstrom

Stephanie Cutter faces off with Eric Fehrnstrom.

ByABC News
June 1, 2012, 2:21 PM


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

As Romney clinches the nomination...

ROMNEY: Let's keep America strong. Let's have a president that knows what it takes to get America to work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and each team invades rival turf...

ROMNEY: Heads and his cronies win, tails and the taxpayers lose.

(UNKNOWN): The Massachusetts record was alarmingly weak.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Grim news on jobs rocks the presidential race.

OBAMA: Our economy is still facing some serious headwinds.

ROMNEY: The president's policies and his handling of the economy has been dealt a harsh indictment this morning.

OBAMA: Is Obama to blame? Can Romney do better? The campaign strategists come to "This Week" for their first debate, Stephanie Cutter for Obama and Eric Fehrnstrom for Romney join our powerhouse roundtable, with George Will, Paul Krugman, and Donna Brazile.

Plus, John Edwards gets off.

EDWARDS: Finally, my precious Quinn, who I love more than any of you could ever imagine...

OBAMA: George W. Bush gets some laughs.

BUSH: What would George do?

OBAMA: And Mike Bloomberg starts a soda war. All that right now on "This Week."

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from ABC News election headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.



Just about five months before Election Day, that jobs report on Friday was a gut-check for President Obama. It reminded all of us what this campaign is really about and just about guaranteed the race will be a nail-biter all the way.

The latest polls show a dead-even contest, a country on edge, anxious and divided as ever, not thrilled with President Obama's leadership, not sure Governor Romney has any better answers.

Here to make the case for their candidates this morning in their first debate from the Romney campaign, senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter. They join our regulars George Will and Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning author of new book "End This Depression Now," just told me it's a best-seller in Spain.

KRUGMAN: Indeed, it is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congratulations.


And, Stephanie, let's get to the economy, and let me begin with you. Right after that jobs report came out on Friday, Governor Romney did respond. He said, "This president is responsible for the fact that this recession has gone on so long and is hurting so many people." Your response?

CUTTER: Well, George, I think the president said it best on Friday that, you know, we are still in a recovery period. Over the past 27 months, we have created 4.3 million private-sector jobs. The issue is that we're not adding jobs fast enough.

If you looked at the report on Friday, the areas where we are doing well are areas that we've been able to affect policy. Manufacturing jobs continue to rise. And that's precisely because the president stepped in and did what nobody else was willing to do to save the auto industry. And that has had a great impact on manufacturing jobs up and down the supply chain.