Transcript: Obama Adviser David Axelrod

This Week: George and incoming White House senior adviser David Axelrod.

ByABC News
November 23, 2008, 9:48 AM

Nov. 23, 2008 — -- GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: With staggering losses in the stock market and all signs pointing to the worst recession since 1982, President-elect Obama moved late this week to take control of the economy, leaking word Friday that New York Fed President Tim Geithner is his choice for Treasury secretary. That sparked a 500-point rally on Wall Street.

And announcing in his Saturday radio address -- also on YouTube -- a brand new plan to jumpstart the economy.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have already directed my economic team to come up with an economic recovery plan that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011 -- a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face, that I intend to sign soon after taking office.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And for more on this, we're now joined from Chicago by the president-elect's new White House senior adviser, incoming senior adviser, David Axelrod, in his first Sunday interview since being appointed.

Congratulations, David.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get into -- right to the economy. We saw part of the president-elect's radio and YouTube address right there. He says he wants a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face right now.

In the campaign, Senator Obama talked about $175 billion stimulus package over two years. But recently, several of his economic advisers -- Larry Summers, Robert Reich, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey -- have said that you need a package in the $500 to $700 billion range.

Is that the range the president-elect is thinking about?

AXELROD: George, I'm not going to throw a figure out here. What he said is, he wants a plan big enough to deal with the large challenges we face.

And I think there's a growing consensus across the spectrum among economists that we're going to have to do something big.

He wants to put people back to work repairing bridges, repairing schools, working on those alternative energy projects that are going to make us energy independent. And, you know, we'll do what needs to be done to get this economy moving again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But clearly, the $175 billion he talked about in the campaign would be insufficient. That's not the kind of scale he's talking about?

AXELROD: Well, again, I'm not going to get into numbers. But we have to do a lot to get -- you know, we're in a growing hole, as you mentioned in your intro. We've lost 1.3 million jobs already this year. The unemployment claims last month were the highest in 16 years. And it looks like it could get worse before it gets better.

And we need to -- we need to start digging our way out of this hole here -- or climbing our way out of this hole, and stop digging. And that's our objective, and that's what we're going to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it's fair to assume that, since the economic conditions, the president-elect is being told, are worse than what he faced during the campaign, he would scale up the package.