'This Week' Transcript: Tim Pawlenty and David Axelrod

Tim Pawlenty and David Axelrod are interviewed on'This Week.'

ByABC News
August 9, 2012, 10:47 PM


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

ROMNEY: The next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Romney goes bold...

RYAN: Together, we will unite America and get this done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... delighting conservatives...

RYAN: If you have small business, you did build that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and Democrats. They've been targeting Ryan and his budget plan for months.

OBAMA: It is a Trojan horse. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The big questions. Will this high-risk gamble be high reward for Romney? Will it elevate the debate and raise the stakes of this race? Or will an already ugly campaign get worse? And is young congressman from Wisconsin ready for the national stage? We'll ask our headliners, Tim Pawlenty, the Romney campaign co-chair who was vying for the VP job, and for the Obama campaign, senior adviser David Axelrod. Plus, our powerhouse roundtable, with Howard Dean, Peggy Noonan, Gavin Newsom, Paul Gigot, and Cokie Roberts. Full debate and analysis of Romney's choice begins now.

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


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello, again. Mitt Romney's surprise pick of Paul Ryan to be his running mate shook up a summer Saturday and instantly changed the shape of this presidential race. How much? How long will it last? Will Romney's bold bet pay off? We're going to examine Mitt Romney's most consequential campaign decision from all the angles this morning.

But we begin with more on how the decision was made and how it's playing on the trial with ABC's Jon Karl, our man on the ground for the Romney-Ryan battleground bus tour.

And, Jon, thanks for joining us this morning. We're learning a lot more overnight about how Romney came to this decision and how he shrouded it in pretty extraordinary secrecy.

KARL: Oh, no doubt. And you know, in the end, he vetted extensively -- his team -- several candidates, but he only met one-on-one with Paul Ryan to discuss the job, none of the others. That meeting happened secretly at Beth Myers' dining room table in Brookline, Massachusetts, about a week ago. Romney made the offer. Ryan, of course, accepted.

After that, extraordinary measures for secrecy, culminating Friday with the press tracking Paul Ryan's every move and the other candidates' every move. What Ryan did is he went out his back door and snuck through a wooded ravine. At the other end of the woods, he was met by a car that drove him to the small airport in Illinois, flew from there to North Carolina, and then Saturday morning drove completely unnoticed into Norfolk, Virginia, for the announcement. Nobody had any clue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A secret held pretty well. And Paul Ryan did seem to energize Mitt Romney yesterday.

KARL: There's no question that he has brought energy into the campaign at least now and had an impact on Romney himself.


ROMNEY: The next vice president of the United States and I are going to lay out a vision for America of hope and opportunity and progress and achievement and individual accomplishment. We're going to stand for America, and we're going to win.

RYAN: And so President Obama is not going to be able to run for re-election on his record because it's a terrible record. He's going to divide the country to distract the country to try and win this election by default. Hope and change has now become attack and blame.


KARL: Late last night, Romney told us that it's now, instead of being two-on-one, it's two-on-two, and the Democrats have somebody else they can pick on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I was surprised to see this morning, Jon, that actually after today, the candidates are going to be splitting up, that Ryan will not be finishing the bus tour, not going to Florida with Romney?

KARL: Yeah, the idea here is they want to divide and conquer. So while Romney will go on to Florida and to Ohio, Paul Ryan's going to go to Iowa, a place where he's fairly well known and also his, you know, Midwest roots, they will be sometimes together, but often dividing and conquering, spending -- hitting different parts of the country, different battleground states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Let's get the first reaction now from the Obama campaign, senior adviser David Axelrod joining us again now. Thanks for joining us, David.

AXELROD: Thanks, George, good to see you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So reports this morning that the president was surprised by the Ryan pick. Why?

AXELROD: Well, because it is – you know, it is a pick that is meant to thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, but it's one that should trouble everybody else, the middle class, seniors, students, because of Ryan's record. I mean, he is a right-wing ideologue, the intellectual energy behind the Republican caucus there in Congress. He constructed a budget that, like Romney, would lavish trillions of dollars of tax cuts, most of them on the wealthy, would raise the burden on the middle class, would cut back things deeply like student loans, and research and development, and things we need to grow the economy. He's the guy who's the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program and ship thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens. He's someone who was the architect of a Social Security privatization scheme that was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible, and he believes that we should ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

He is outside the mainstream, but he – this was a defining choice for Mitt Romney, and now it's also a clarifying choice for the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Paul Ryan not shying away from the traditional role of attack dog as the vice presidential candidate. I want to show a part of a web video that the Romney-Ryan campaign is putting out today showing Paul Ryan on the stump.


RYAN: I hear some people say that this is just the new normal. High unemployment, declining incomes, no question that is not the new normal. And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney plan for a stronger middle class that will lead to more jobs and more take-home pay for working Americans.


STEPHANOPOULOS: He's young, he's articulate, he clearly gave a jolt of energy, as I said, to Mitt Romney yesterday. You worried this is going to be a booster shot for the Romney campaign?

AXELROD: Well, I think it will be a booster shot within his own party. I think the Tea Party is excited. I think the social conservatives are excited. But listening to that tape is sort of ironic, because Congressman Ryan was a faithful supporter of every bit of the Bush economic policies in the '90s, and now he and Governor Romney want to double down on those policies, and they think somehow that's going to – the middle class is going to fare better this time. Their plan would actually raise burdens on the middle class. The Romney tax plan would give the average millionaire a huge tax cut, and would raise taxes on the middle class by an average of $2,000. How is that going to help the middle class? So you can recite the words "middle class," but your policies have to follow, and theirs don't.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also brought up the point of the Ryan Medicare plan. You said it's going to end Medicare as we know it, but as you saw yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talked about the president's $700 billion in Medicare cuts under his health care plan. They say that under the Ryan plan, you can – traditional Medicare will be there as an option, and they kept overall Medicare spending at exactly the same level as President Obama. So how can you say they're going to end Medicare as we know it?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, they want to turn – let's talk about the $700 billion. Congressman Ryan, what he doesn't say is that he's incorporated that same $700 billion into his plan, so he's embraced exactly what the president's done. The difference is the president is trying to strengthen the Medicare program. Under the changes that the president made, seniors are getting more prescription coverage and preventive care. We extended the life of Medicare by eight years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Ryan-Romney plan would not do that. And in fact, by turning it into a voucher program, throwing seniors onto the tender mercies of the private insurance market and capping growth the way they do, ultimately they are going to shift thousands of dollars onto the backs of seniors, and Medicare itself will be in a death spiral because it will – it will be dissipated by seniors who – healthy seniors going into the private system, leaving sick seniors in the existing Medicare program.

They do not believe in Medicare, George, let's be clear. Congressman Ryan is an ideologue, who doesn't believe in the Medicare program. Wanted to do away with it. Newt Gingrich called it right-wing social engineering when he surfaced his Medicare plan, and he was right about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Polling shows that he could help in the state of Wisconsin. The Romney campaign also believes it's going to help in Midwest states like Iowa. That's one of the reasons Paul Ryan is going to go there. Bottom line, does Paul Ryan help the ticket?

AXELROD: Well, I don't – well, that remains to be seen. I think it helps voters clarify what this choice is about. And if what you care about is strengthening the middle class and building an economy that's meant to last, that is – that invests in the middle class and education and training and research and development, and the kinds of things we need to compete and give people a chance to compete, then no, I don't think he's going to help the ticket. If you believe in a woman's right to choose, he's not going to help the ticket. But I think he will help the governor have a more convivial Republican convention.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One other issue before you go. This ad controversy this week. Super PAC allied with President Obama, Priorities USA, put out an ad that seems to suggest that Mitt Romney is responsible for a death. It featured an employee laid off by a company owned by Bain, whose wife later died of cancer several years later. It's been roundly criticized. Your own home town paper called it a vicious and shameful ad. And it drew this response from the Romney campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it say about a president's character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman's death for political gain? What does it say about a president's character when he had his campaign raise money for the ad, then stood by as his top aides were caught lying about it? Doesn't America deserve better than a president who will say or do anything to stay in power?


STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundly criticized as crossing the line. Does the president stand behind that ad? Does he agree with what was in that ad?

AXELROD: I don't think anybody – anybody believes that Mr. Soptic's wife, that Governor Romney can be blamed for the death of Mr. Soptic's wife, and frankly, I don't think the ad says that either.



AXELROD: The irony of all this, the irony of all this, George, is that this ad is running at the very same time that Governor Romney's campaign is running an ad that he paid for – it's not running, by the way, the ad hasn't been on the air – but he's running ads, millions of dollars of ads, saying that the president wants to end the work requirement in welfare. Every single person who's looked at it said it's false. He continues to run it. He says I approve this message, and then he attacks others for ads that we didn't approve and that we didn't produce? I think he's the one who needs to explain—


STEPHANOPOULOS: And I'll ask Tim Pawlenty about that, but does the president think that this kind of an ad was appropriate?

AXELROD: Look, as I said, I don't think Governor Romney can be blamed for that woman's death. What he can be blamed for is taking that steel company to bankruptcy, walking away with millions of dollars and leaving workers without pensions, without the health coverage they were promised. That's a real issue. He has run on his business experience, and his business experience is things like the GST Steel story, where he took – where they loaded the companies with debt, profited from it to the tune of millions of dollars, and then left the workers and creditors holding the bag. That is a relevant issue in this campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've got Governor Pawlenty coming up. You thought he was going to be Mitt Romney's pick, that he would be the best pick.

AXELROD: Well, you know, I think Governor Pawlenty is a – is an able candidate, and you know, I really didn't think that Governor Romney would go so far to satisfy the most strident voices in his party, that he would pick someone who is so demonstrably a right-wing ideologue, but you know, I was wrong about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, David Axelrod, thanks a lot for your time this morning.

Let's bring in Governor Tim Pawlenty right now, former governor of Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty, thanks for joining us again this morning.

And you know, so much to talk to you about. I just have to get, though, first your personal reaction. I admire you for keeping your commitment to come on the program. This is kind of the second time around you've been runner-up in these vice presidential stakes. I know you were called by Governor Romney on Monday, but it's got to hurt a little bit, huh?

PAWLENTY: You know, I'm excited for the ticket. I'm excited for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. I didn't support Governor Romney because I expected to be vice president, so I'm not disappointed. I didn't get something I didn't expect, but it's a great ticket, it's a terrific pick by Governor Romney, and Congressman Ryan, as you've already seen, is bringing energy to the ticket, and he's got a clear, specific vision, an adult approach to solving the nation's problems, and you don't see that from the president and his team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Any comfort to know that both the president and his senior adviser, David Axelrod, thought you would be the pick?

PAWLENTY: I told David off air, I said I was reminded of the old phrase, "get off my side (ph)," because I don't think that helped, but –


PAWLENTY: But it was a nice set of comments that he made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about what else, we brought up in the previous interview. You've heard the case against Paul Ryan. They are saying now that having the Ryan budget front and center defines Mitt Romney, makes him own these plans by Paul Ryan on Medicare, on government spending, and they're going to end Medicare as we know it. You heard the case David Axelrod made. Respond.

PAWLENTY: Well, I think the American people are smart, and I think the American people respect people who have real solutions to big problems. And so Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney have put together a plan that actually tackles the problem in specific, preserves Medicare and other programs for people who are already on the program, but begins to change it in needed and realistic ways for the next generation, and it's a big debate, it's an important debate, but unlike the president, they are actually willing to lead, they're actually willing to put meat on the bones, and put specific proposals on the table, and I think the American public will respect and appreciate that. They know we've got a problem. They know the federal spending is out of control. For every dollar the federal government spends, George, they don't have 40 cents of it. People aren't stupid. They know that can't continue. It's reckless and irresponsible, so they look at Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney and say, hey look, we know we need some changes. They are being fair about it because they're protecting the current enrollees and those who are close to the programs. But for those who are coming up, they're going to preserve Medicare as an option, but give people some other choices too.


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- Congressional Budget Office says over the next 10 years, it could result in a decrease of about $6,000 for couples on Medicare.

PAWLENTY: There's only one candidate in this race who's actually cut Medicare and signed such a thing into law, and that's President Obama. $700 billion cut over the next 10 years. And Medicare and these other programs are going to be not available at all if we don't have some reforms. And so I think Congressman Ryan – and by the way, on a bipartisan approach, the Wyden, Senator Wyden and Congressman Ryan proposal is bipartisan. Democrats have supported that proposal as well, and the only person who hasn't put a specific entitlement reform proposal on the table that's a national leader is the president, and you'd think as the president of the United States and leader of our country, he'd have the courage and the wisdom and the intelligence to say, I know this is a big problem. I'm willing to put specifics on the table. But all he does and is duck and bob and weave on it. That's not leadership. That's not the kind of thing the president should be providing, and we need somebody who's actually going to get the job done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So even though the Democrats were kind of licking their chops yesterday when they heard about the Paul Ryan choice, and polling right now at least shows that his plan does not have majority support, you don't think it's a vulnerability.

PAWLENTY: Well, I think the plan is, first of all, one that Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney can explain and present to the American people as a needed and responsible plan, so I don't think it is going to be a liability. And plus, it's leadership. And if people hear the plan and see that it's bipartisan, I think you'll see it gain more and more acceptance.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other strains of criticism you're seeing crop up in these first hours is that this ticket is now lacking in national security experience. Also, they point out that Paul Ryan has only been a member of Congress, haven't had a member of Congress on the ticket since I think 1984, Geraldine Ferraro, limited national experience, and the experience he's had has all been inside the Beltway in Washington. No vulnerabilities there?

PAWLENTY: Well, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan have a terrific national security and foreign policy team around them. These are very accomplished and smart individuals. Governor Romney has traveled extensively internationally and understands these issues very well. And I think the ticket, as presented before the country, is going to -- you're going to see a strong foreign policy and national security posture.

But don't -- don't assume that Governor Romney doesn't have foreign policy and international experience. My goodness. He spent his entire career in global business arrangements, transactions, traveling, and understanding different countries, cultures, geography, and the like. So he gets these issues very well and probably better than the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about these ad controversies this week. You heard David Axelrod talk about the controversial ad by the Super PAC aligned with President Obama, also brought up that ad from the Romney campaign suggesting that President Obama would gut the work requirements inside welfare reform. They called it a bold-faced lie. You heard David Axelrod right there. Others agreed. And here's the ad that the Obama campaign played in response.


(UNKNOWN): Seen this? Mitt Romney claiming the president would end welfare's work requirements? The New York Times calls it blatantly false. The Washington Post says the Obama administration is not removing the bill's work requirements at all. In fact, Obama's getting states to move 20 percent more people from welfare to work.


STEPHANOPOULOS: They said they are just giving governors the flexibility to meet the work goals in other way under welfare, and it's exactly the kind of flexibility that you and other Republican governors were petitioning for.

PAWLENTY: Well, that's not true or accurate, George. Governors like me and other Republican governors wanted more flexibility generally, but no -- none of us wanted to waive or dismantle the work requirement within the landmark welfare reform legislation of the 1990s. And it would be very easy for the president to clear up this controversy. If he's saying he's not as part of his directive going to rescind or undermine the work requirements, then just clarify that part of it. But he refuses to do it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that's what they're saying. They're saying that the -- that the plans will be approved only if it increases overall the number of people going to work.

PAWLENTY: Well, what they're saying, look, we're going to take away the specific looking for work or work requirements by my order and, by the way, if down the road you happen to have some goals to increase employment overall, you know, maybe that'll be good enough. If he's saying he's not going to undermine those specific work requirements, then rescind that part of his order and make that clear.

And on this issue of ads back and forth, the president of the United States should have the basic decency and his campaign leadership should have the basic decency to step forward in the wake of these ads accusing Mitt Romney of essentially being a co-conspirator and killing this gentleman's spouse and say, you know what, that ad is out of bounds. And they refuse to even have that minimal level of decency in this discourse.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you just saw David Axelrod said he doesn't believe it.

PAWLENTY: It's very disappointing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you just saw David Axelrod...

PAWLENTY: I'm sorry?

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... said he doesn't believe that that's what -- that that's what Mitt Romney did, he doesn't agree.

PAWLENTY: Well, the -- the president himself has failed to disclaim that and his other campaign officials have been asked repeatedly, do you think the ad is fair? Should they disclaim it? The White House has punted it back to the campaign. And when you're a leader, you've got to step forward and take responsibility in key moments, so the president himself should have the basic decency to say, you know what, that ad's out of bounds. It's not what I promised in 2008 when I said we're going to have a new day in American politics.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the hopes is that the pick of Paul Ryan this week is actually going to change the tone of this campaign and get it off the kind of issues we saw in those ads before he was picked and much more on the substance of the plans of either side. Do you believe that's possible?

PAWLENTY: Well, I hope it's absolutely true. When you're the president of the United States and you've got all -- no accomplishments, and the ones you do have are unpopular, like a porky stimulus, like Obamacare, like relentless calls for tax increases, a foreign policy that, you know, was set based on the notion that we're going to have a reset with Russia that hasn't worked, you know, the strain that he has in his relations with Israel, pulling out the rug from underneath the Czech Republic and Poland on missile defense, what is he going to run on? He's got a record basically of things that are unpopular, didn't work, an economy that's sputtering, high unemployment.

So we'd like to see this get back to the issues and not have him just dangle shiny objects like 20-year-old tax returns or, you know, collateral issues like you've seen in these last couple of weeks. So we would welcome, especially with Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan having the advantage, a debate on the issues and the big challenges and the big solutions that these candidates are willing to put forward on behalf of our country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You did bring up the tax returns. How many years of tax returns did you provide to the Romney campaign?

PAWLENTY: Well, I don't know the exact number, George, but I -- you know, there were several years, I believe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Several years. So more than two?

PAWLENTY: Well, we don't get into the details of the vetting process, but I -- I gave them a bunch of tax returns. I don't remember the exact number of years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Pawlenty, thanks a lot for coming on this morning. Always good to have you on the program.

PAWLENTY: All right, George, thank you very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And coming up, full analysis of what the Ryan selection means for this presidential race with our powerhouse roundtable, Howard Dean, Peggy Noonan, Gavin Newsom, Paul Gigot, and Cokie Roberts.



ROMNEY: Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan. Every now and then, I'm known to make a mistake. I did not make a mistake with this guy, but I can tell you this: he's going to be the next vice president of the United States.

OBAMA: So let me introduce to you the next president -- the next vice president of the United States of America, Joe Biden.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Must me something in the water on those big announcements. We'll talk about all the implications on our roundtable now, George Will on vacation, but we're joined by Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair Howard Dean, our own Cokie Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, also host on Current TV right now, and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. So we've got two Wall Street Journal here. Good week for it, because...


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Paul, I mean, on Wednesday, April 8th, you write a long editorial, "Why Not Paul Ryan?" You get your wish.

GIGOT: Well, look, the Romney campaign has never considered me a confidante, so I can't take credit for this. But...

ROBERTS: Oh, go ahead.


STEPHANOPOULOS: They say you can, because they say the governor made the decision on August 1st, to offer it on August 1st.

GIGOT: So much the better. It speaks well, I think, this choice speaks -- well, you know, vice presidents don't determine elections, these choices, but they do reflect on the nature -- the political character of the candidate. And it speaks well of candidate Romney. Ryan is a serious, thoughtful man, a man of ideas. He's in politics for the right reasons. I've known him for 20 years. And he has always been focused on policy and doing the right -- what he thinks to be the right thing for the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you write he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election.

GIGOT: Well, I think you have -- he talks about it as a generational choice. And I think it's about the size and scope of government, how intrusive we want government to be, what grows an economy. Is it the private sector that creates jobs? Or is it the government through spending that creates jobs?

Ryan understands this. And I think the choice reflects the fact that Romney has concluded that he can't win this election only by attacking the president and the failed policies of this administration. People know that. But they need something positive, they need something hopeful. Ryan gives him that agenda and that energy and a set of policies that they can now promote.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Howard Dean, the Wall Street Journal, a lot of conservatives very happy, but Democrats -- many Democrats yesterday practically gleeful, as well.

DEAN: Yeah, I think this is the problem. I would agree with everything that Paul said. He is going to give a real choice. That's exactly what Romney was trying to avoid before. He was trying to move towards the middle, and Ryan makes it almost impossible for him to do that. Ryan wants a voucher program for Medicare. Well, that's anathema to some of the independents, seniors...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know he doesn't like that word. He calls it "premium support."

DEAN: Yeah, it's a voucher program. That's what it is. When you can -- you get a piece of paper from the government, you can use it to spend it on buying health insurance, and if there's any -- if you have to pay more, too bad for you. It's a voucher program.

This -- so the problem is, I agree. I don't know Paul Ryan, but I have heard very few bad things about him as a human being, other than his views, which don't seem to take into consideration there are a lot of people struggling who do depend on government. So this is going to be a referendum. Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, I don't think it's the kind of referendum that Mitt Romney would really like to have.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get more into the policy debate in a second, but also, Peggy, because this choice was made, you wrote something else. You said that -- talking about Mitt Romney, you said voters are looking for someone who's -- they're more interested in his confidence than in his own judgment or ease with the signals that the candidate has earned respect for his own instincts. This did seem to be a choice where Mitt Romney was following his instincts.

NOONAN: Yeah, it did. And, you know, many of those who have worked in the Bain companies, capital and consulting, have talked a lot the past few weeks about how Romney thinks very deeply about those he -- when he was in the company, those he brought in, those he raised, the CEOs he picked, that he had a great eye for talent. I have that a little bit on my mind when I was thinking the past few weeks about what he might do here.

It seems to me, this is -- you know, this whole choice of Paul Ryan has been called bold, it's been called very substantive and very serious. I think all of that's true. I also think it remakes the race a little bit, as Paul suggested. It recasts things. It gives a different heft to the entire race.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Gavin Newsom, even Romney will call it a game-changer, but that would suggest -- as our Yahoo colleague David Chalian pointed out -- that they believe the game needed changing...


NEWSOM: It did. I mean, he needed a pattern interrupt. Obviously, things weren't trending in the right direction. Public opinion polls came out recently as last week -- I think they're a snapshot of time -- were not moving in a right direction, so he needed to do something significant. He certainly did that.

But I'm honestly at a loss as, why Paul Ryan? I like him. I admire him. I like the generational shift. I think someone who steps up and steps into the debate and is willing to take the heat, all of those things that Paul said and others I think are valid.

But I don't get the pick from Romney's perspective. They already had an enthusiasm benefit, meaning there was a gap, Democrats and Republicans. So already the party was united against Barack Obama. He doesn't do anything for women, doesn't do anything for independents, and now three of the key swing states, notably New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Florida, are no longer going to be, I think, in the column of Romney...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because of heavy concentrations of senior citizens?

NEWSOM: ... because of heavy concentration of seniors. I don't get it.

ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean, that -- it is a bold choice, but bold is not necessarily wise. And it will be interesting to see if he can get away from the Ryan budget, which has been a boogeyman. And I think that the Obama campaign has already come out with an ad immediately attacking the Ryan budget as something that -- it hurts the poor. And even the Catholic bishops, who have been pretty Republican of late, said that that budget was -- it failed to meet the criteria of a budget that...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's talk about that a little bit more, but it's not only today that the Obama campaign has come out with an ad. President Obama has been going after Paul Ryan and his budget for the better part of two years.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a year ago, Democrats putting this ad up when trying to shape the congressional debate.

Not subtle, Paul Gigot.



STEPHANOPOULOS: But this is...

ROBERTS: And they won a congressional district that is a Republican district traditionally with this whole line of attack.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And partly because they can go to it, Paul, because there are so many specifics embedded in that Ryan budget that are out there for everyone...


GIGOT: Actually, I don't think that ad did work, and I don't think this campaign has worked so far, if you think about the congressional race. If they tried to change the congressional polling, it didn't work. Republicans are still even in the polls, despite this -- they've been hitting Medicare and the Ryan budget for a year-and-a-half. I think they -- the Republicans have to be prepared for the Medicare assault, and I hope the Republican -- Romney, if they want to win this, they're going to have to have -- they should have an ad in the can already defending against these attacks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the argument that President Obama cut $700 billion in Obamacare out of Medicare good enough?

GIGOT: It's not by itself good enough, but it's certainly a very good point, and it's also -- he wants to cut more, and he wants to cut -- because he said himself Medicare is unsustainable. But he said the way he's going to do it is with an unelected panel of 15 people, where their -- whose decisions will make the choice about what to cut...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you go straight back at health care.

GIGOT: And they're going to do it without judicial review, without legislative review.

ROBERTS: It's also intellectually dishonest, because the truth is, as you know, they say they're taking it away from providers. And every year, Congress votes to do what's called the doc fix, to give the providers back the money that has been cut. So, you know, that $700 billion, I won't look for it to be gone anytime soon.

DEAN: Well, here's the problem with talking about $700 billion that got cut out of Medicare, which was then transferred to Obamacare, which takes care of the same people, so it's -- the problem is that nobody believes it. You can't convince people that a Democrat's going to cut Medicare. They don't believe that.

It's the same problem Mitt Romney has with all his Swiss bank accounts and his Cayman Islands. People just don't think Mitt Romney cares about ordinary people. They just don't believe he does. And I don't think the addition of Paul Ryan is going to help that any. That's the problem. That's the core problem. People vote on whether you care -- this candidate cares about people like me, and I don't think this is going to change that very much in the Republican side.



NEWSOM: George, can I -- I mean, the $700 billion -- why aren't we focused on the $700 billion he wants to cut from Medicaid? Why don't we focus on what he wants to do to privatize...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're talking about Paul Ryan.

NEWSOM: Paul Ryan. I mean, these -- this is much bigger than just Medicare. It's about Social Security and privatization that even George Bush felt, as you heard in the top of the hour, was a bit extreme. In 2005, he was the biggest promoter of that initiative.

You've seen also a budget that dramatically is going to impact discretionary spending -- expenditures to a degree that we've never seen in the history of this country. This is serious budget, this is a serious time in this country to have a serious debate. But I'm not sure in the context of the campaign we're going to be able to flush these things out. And I think for Romney, that's not going to aid his efforts.

NOONAN: It's good to remember that the Republicans won in 2010 rather overwhelmingly, and part of the reason they won in the congressional races was that the American people have really become concerned about the future of their country when they think about the endless, hemorrhagic spending that is going on from Washington.

Now, Paul Ryan has been very associated, primarily associated on the Republican side with being someone who's come forward and said we have got to more align revenues with what we are spending. We've got to get a little more reasonable here.

The challenge for him and the danger, I think, of his nomination is that there are a lot of Americans -- we are in financial hard times, a lot of Americans are leaving near the edge, a lot of Americans -- perhaps half -- are receiving some money from the U.S. government each month.

ROBERTS: When you include Social Security.

NOONAN: Paul Ryan -- when you include Social Security -- Paul Ryan has to go to those people, I think quickly, and convince them, look, I am not trying to end the things you need. I am trying to save the things you need.

ROBERTS: Well, the problem with that...


NOONAN: The Democrats are going to say he is a shark. He's got to say he's a lifeboat.

ROBERTS: I understand that that's what he's got to say. The problem is the numbers in his budget. And the -- first of all, it doesn't get to a balanced budget for several decades, so...


ROBERTS: ... and we had a balanced budget...


ROBERTS: ... but we had a balanced budget, you know, in recent history, when Clinton when president. So, you know, that's a problem that he's got. But the bigger problem, I think, is the tax portion of it, because if, in fact, he was doing alignment, as you put it, of revenues with spending, then you would have more revenues in there. And you would also have taxes of the wealthier people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And then to bring that question...

ROBERTS: (inaudible) is -- is off the table, I think, becomes...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring that question to Paul Gigot, because there have been a lot of studies of this. Stan Greenberg did a lot of focus groups with swing voters, weak Democrats. But the kind of -- of voters who are now inching their way towards Romney, when you tell them that under the Ryan plan Medicare, there will be savings in Medicare, but there will be tax cuts for millionaires, they literally don't believe it. They say you are kidding, you are joking, that can't be true.

GIGOT: Well, he's talking about a reform of Medicare, first of all, and everybody knows Medicare is unsustainable. They've got to make that argument. On the tax front, it's not just a tax cut. It's a tax reform. And Romney has been explicit in saying, if you take down the rates, we're going to eliminate the deductions. Primarily on who? The well-to-do. So there's -- a lot of these numbers that they're using, the Tax Policy Center study, for example, is based on false assumptions, utterly false assumptions, to invent the idea that somehow taxes are going to go up on the middle class.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're saying that on the deductions that affect the wealthy can make up what he's giving out of revenue.

GIGOT: Because -- well, but they're imposing on Romney -- they're saying he's going to -- they're making assumptions about Romney that Romney doesn't make. So I think that's totally dishonest.


DEAN: Well, even Romney's own economists have said -- one of them that put together his plan -- is that this is going to raise taxes on middle-class people, to about $2,000 a family, in order to cut taxes on people who make $1 million a year. And that's the core problem with the so-called Ryan budget.

The problem with Paul Ryan is -- I think he's probably a very decent person who believes in what he says, but he's well outside the mainstream of where most Americans think we should go. They think we should raise taxes on rich people, and they think we should -- they understand there have to be some entitlement cuts, but they don't want to get rid of Medicare. I mean, that's just not what they want to do.

ROBERTS: He does say it with a smile on his face, though...


... and I do think -- and I think that that does -- I mean, I think that that optimism does make a difference. And his -- I thought the best line in his speech yesterday was about saying this is not the new normal. And that is -- that is a...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and that puts it back on President Obama's record.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And it's still the big anchor for him going into this election.

NEWSOM: Well, that's true. But, again, now we have a choice, and it's no longer referendum, and I think that was ultimately the decision, not just a tactical decision, but a substantive shift in the campaign strategy for Romney, acknowledgement that things were not going well in the trajectory of the campaign.

But I think the tax thing's important. People need to be reminded we're not only extending the Bush tax cuts under the Ryan-Romney plan, but they're going to double-down on additional tax cuts of 20 percent. Ryan wanted to go further at 30 percent. I mean, it's -- it's inconceivable to me in this day and age that we can ultimately balance budgets with a cuts-only strategy that ultimately is about the biggest devolution of federal investment...

ROBERTS: They're about to do that in California.

NOONAN: ... the states -- but what happens? When you cut Medicaid, in states like California, that ultimately is going to end up costing literally millions of people to drop off Medicaid. What happens in states? They're going to have pressure on their revenue, probably see tax increases in the states. So all they're doing is shifting the balance sheet from one balance sheet to another, rather, shifting the burden to one balance sheet and another. I don't think it's ultimately solution-oriented.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Peggy (inaudible) the column you wrote yesterday, I read yesterday, you said that the Romney campaign should not been arguing that America is going to be like Europe. They should be arguing it's going to be like California.

NOONAN: Yes, they should look at some of the local -- forgive me, Lieutenant Governor...

NEWSOM: I know. I'm ready.

NOONAN: ... they should -- they should look at some of the dreadful and predictable local bankruptcies that have taken place in cities and areas in California and talk about how that model, what got you in trouble there, promising so much to the municipal employee unions, everybody's going to have a lot of money, it's OK, the kids will pay for it, don't worry about it now, politician gets re-elected, the money keeps going -- eventually, they run out of money and the city goes down.

That's the sort of thing that I think all Americans, left and right, liberal and Democrat, they all know we are not on a sound footing in this country economically. They can look and see some problems in California, but they can look in other places and see it, too.

The great benefit, it seems to me, of -- of the risky, but bold Paul Ryan choice is that he is the most serious elected official in America talking about these things.

NEWSOM: But here's the problem.

NOONAN: And there's something that's to that.

GIGOT: The assertion that this is such a radical budget, the tax reform is so radical, I mean, Simpson-Bowles, the president's own deficit commission, proposed a tax reform not dissimilar to Paul Ryan's, with lower rates in return for broadening the base. And on Medicare, Ryan reached across the aisle and did a deal with Ron Wyden, the Democratic liberal from Oregon, basically saying here's a Medicare reform with premium support and the option to retain Medicare as we know it, if you want. So this idea that you're going to be thrown into the street is just ridiculous.

DEAN: I don't think it's ridiculous at all.

NOONAN: The question...

DEAN: This is -- this is a very clever thing, what Ryan did, and it's a bad idea for America's seniors. What he did -- right now, the federal government is at risk for these outrageous increases in health care for people over 65, that is, when the costs go up at three times the rate of inflation, the feds pay for it.

What Ryan wants to do is say, average individuals are going to pay for it, and they can't afford it. So this is -- this is not trivial. This is a radical change. And it is the end of Medicare as we know it, because it's now at the risk of the employee.

I think this -- here's what I think that Romney's done with this pick, and what he's done is transformed this from a referendum on Barack Obama to a referendum on Republican economic policies. I don't think that's a winning route for Romney.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Or a choice between the two paths going forward.

ROBERTS: And I think it really is a play to the base. I mean, the...

DEAN: But how could you -- why could you -- why would you do that? He's going to get the base.

NEWSOM: He already has the base. The base was already enthused.

ROBERTS: Because -- because we're -- we're in a funny year where people are pretty much decided, and the real question is getting them out and getting them excited and to the polls. And...

DEAN: That was our problem. I think we fixed that problem.


NOONAN: I'll tell you what my anxiety is. It -- this is how it looks to me. You sit and you -- you listen to Paul Ryan talk about his economic general assumptions, theories, recommended way of operating. You listen to the other side. I think you hear the logic of Paul Ryan, and I think that's fine. I'm just not sure that in a busy, bouncy, shallow, silly, electric popping, tweeting (inaudible) electoral environment that -- that the Ryan case can be made.


NOONAN: I'm not so sure of that.


NOONAN: That would be hard.

ROBERTS: Saying to people that he's going to end Medicare as you know it, without getting into all the nuances, you -- that's a tough political...

DEAN: Here's the problem.


NOONAN: It's very open to demagoguing.


DEAN: Gavin has actually run for office, so let me try this. I always have told people campaigns are not for educating. You do not educate -- people who use campaigns as a means of educating lose the campaign. Now, they may go on to win a bigger race later on, but campaigns are not made for educating. And Ryan has to educate the country, and I don't think that's possible.

NEWSOM: And that's where they've miscalculated. I think it's a tutorial that he's going come out with his PowerPoints in the next eight weeks. It's going to be about Romney. It's not going to be Ryan. And if it's about Ryan, then Romney is trouble, as well.

GIGOT: There's a gamble here that they're making, that the country is actually in this very serious time of anxiety and real sense of American decline. Are the people willing to listen to serious ideas? And the Obama campaign wants this to be a small debate about Mitt Romney's tax returns, about Bain Capital, what happened to his steel company two years after he left it. What Romney is doing is saying we want to make this about bigger ideas and the direction of the country and a philosophical...


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... let me just pose the question, because I want to jump off that, gets to the point that you were making, as well. We saw with all the ads that came out this week before the pick, you know, on the one hand, the Priorities USA ad, which accuses basically or suggests that someone died as a result of Mitt Romney's decisions. You had the Romney campaign ad which clearly went farther in suggesting that President Obama is gutting the work requirements in welfare than the facts, I think, would allow.

Is it going to be possible with this -- it seems like, Cokie, that the campaigns care less and less about what fact-checkers say about their ads.

ROBERTS: Oh, they could care less. They've absolutely have decided that it's clear that they're just going to run with it, and the fact-checkers, you know, can have a ball, but who cares? And that's what the companies are doing, and then, of course, Ryan gives more opportunity to do that.

But I do think that this whole sense that Governor Dean talked about, that -- that -- do people really believe that Romney is going to be good for them? That's going to be something that's going to be very, very hard to get passed in these ads...

STEPHANOPOULOS: How does he -- how does he do that?

GIGOT: Well, I think he has to talk about specifics. He has to talk about the nature of his tax plan. He has to talk about what he's going to do on specific policy areas and say, this is how it's going to affect you. And if he can do that, I think that's what -- one of the things the convention is for.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn't it -- isn't it something, Peggy, a little more personal? He seems to have a personal problem with the electorate right now. It's his personal unfavorability that is so high that puts him in the position of not being able to close this gap.

NOONAN: Are you talking Romney?


NOONAN: I don't know. He looked pretty great yesterday on the stump.


NOONAN: No, I've got to tell you, he's coming alive a little bit. I mean, that piece I wrote said fight. Whoa, he was full of fight yesterday and having a -- having a good time. It seems to me, though, that with Ryan, one thing -- I'm thinking the Democrats are saying, "Kill this guy quick. Don't let him make a good impression over the next few minutes or week. We've got to get him now." That means they are going to demagogue and Mediscare. It seems to me...

ROBERTS: Joe Biden -- Joe Biden called him up to congratulate him, and they actually like each other.


NOONAN: But they're likable men.

ROBERTS: But then, you know, uh-oh, wait, wait, but I'm not endorsing him.


NOONAN: What Ryan ought to be doing is going out there, I think now, and showing himself in very long and thoughtful interviews and talking about exactly what he thinks and why and what his intentions are.

GIGOT: That's exactly right.

NOONAN: Let the American people look at him literally over the next few days so that when the Dems come with Demiscare and he'll take -- Grandma is being thrown off the train or off the sled or whatever the metaphor is...


NOONAN: ... think, my goodness, he doesn't look like the type of young man who would throw Grandma off the sled.

NEWSOM: By the way, the grandma piece was not done by the Obama campaign, for that record. That said...



NEWSOM: It's an important point.


NEWSOM: Nor was the, quote, unquote, "ad" that never appeared on television done by the Obama campaign that Romney's so indignant about. But, yes, the welfare ad, they spent close to $8 million, and the campaign did support that ad.

That being said, look, this has been a negative campaign. All campaigns are negative. We always get outraged of the other side's political tactics. It's hardly a news story that this campaign's been going in that direction.

That said, I don't think this -- this Mediscare and all this, just tell the facts. The facts should scare the heck out of folks. And when people hear the facts about the Ryan budget, it's not going to go well for the Romney-Ryan...


ROBERTS: ... living in Washington, Washington, D.C., we get all the Virginia ads, right? And the main one that the Obama campaign is running now over and over and over again is aimed at women, and it is all about women saying that they're worried about their reproductive rights and all that, I actually find it a somewhat offensive ad. I think that it is pandering and -- and, you know, kind of obvious.

And I think actually, if he really wants to be aiming at women, particularly given the Olympic season we've just had, he should be talking about Title IX, because it's actually a policy that the people who benefit from it know about. That's highly unusual, you know, that the female athletes actually talk about the government policy that made it possible for them to compete. And -- and that's what he should be out there emphasizing, and then we get something positive instead of all negative ads.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Howard's going to take it to the campaign.

DEAN: I am. That's my next call.


This is a -- it's a very good idea, because you have these incredibly popular young women who have just had this enormously successful -- I think the women's Olympic team has actually won more medals -- the American women have won more medals than most of the other countries in the world. And, you know, can you imagine Gabby Douglas on there talking about Title IX and why that's important and, you know, Paul Ryan wants to do away with Title IX or whatever?

ROBERTS: Young women don't know that the civil rights bill got them jobs, but they do know that Title IX got them sports opportunities.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has been talking about the Olympics on the stump. What's your take on the last two weeks?

NOONAN: The last few weeks? Well, you know how I felt about the opening ceremonies, in which I felt England actually felt it had to say, "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for watching. We don't like -- like ourselves very much, and you won't like us, either."


NOONAN: Here's our dark, horrible history with our smoking stacks and our satanic mills, and now we're throwing the queen out of a helicopter.


That having been said, we all...

DEAN: Well, Romney criticized that, didn't he, in advance?



NOONAN: That having been said, we all get sucked into watching it. At a certain point, you put on the TV and somebody's doing something so extraordinary. My favorite moment, Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic won the gold for the men's 400-meter hurdle. I can't believe I said that right. He had been brought up by his grandmother, she had died. He had run with her picture on him. He won. He wept. I wept.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I wish we had more time to talk more about the Olympics. We don't. Your voice this week is coming right up. Thank you all.

But first...


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Three moments from "This Week" history. What year was it? Nancy Pelosi made history.

PELOSI: I'm very proud of them that they had the courage to vote for a woman for speaker of the House.

BUSH: The situation in Iraq is unacceptable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Bush gambled on a troop surge in Iraq.

MURTHA: If we have our way, there will be some substantial changes and tremendous pressure put on this administration.

JOBS: Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the debut of the iPhone.

JOBS: A device like this is, you know, an order of magnitude more powerful than any mobile device or any cellphone that's ever been created.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Was it 2005, 2006 or 2007? We'll be right back with the answer.



STEPHANOPOULOS: So what year was it? When did President Bush start the surge in Iraq and Apple release the first iPhone? Five years ago, in 2007.

And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week, the Pentagon released the names of eight servicemembers killed in Afghanistan.

And finally, your voice this week. Today's question comes from Kent Tankersley, who asks, if Romney wins, will he be the first president to be sworn into office on a book other than the Holy Bible? If so, it would be historic.

Actually, Kent, there is no requirement that the president be sworn in on the Bible. John Quincy Adams used a law book. Franklin Pierce probably didn't use the Bible. And all they could find on Air Force One for Lyndon Johnson in those chaotic hours after the Kennedy assassination was a Catholic missal.

The Romney campaign is not presumptuous. They're not taking anything for granted. They wouldn't even take a question about the inauguration. But here's a good clue. When Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, he did use a Bible. It was his father's.

We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Another special edition of "This Week" next Sunday. We're going to go with the Miller Center at the University of Virginia and take an in-depth look at the nation's financial trajectory and ask, is America the next Greece? You can bet there's going to be a lot of discussion there of Paul Ryan and his budget coming off his pick this weekend.

And that is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News with David Muir" tonight, and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."


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