Dan Pfeiffer on 'This Week'

Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer on the economy, budget, and North Korea.
9:35 | 04/07/13

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Transcript for Dan Pfeiffer on 'This Week'
Good morning, and welcome to "this week." On the edge. Some of the actions that they have taken present a real and clear danger. North korea's drumbeat of threats. Is there puzzling young leader swarming for war? Can president obama do anything to stop him? Martha raddatz is just back from a tense border. Plus -- 88,000 jobs last month. It's a punch to the gut. I mean, it's not a good number. A grim jobs report. A new white house budget with cuts to social security and medicare. And a showdown on guns. You hear some of these goetz. He said personally I'll never try to ban any rifle gun and shotguns. Now he's trying to ban all three. We'll tackle that with white house strategist dan pfeiffer and our powerhouse roundtable with george will, paul krugman of the "new york times" and greta van susteren of fox news. 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 the budget and guns. Both uphill fights in congress. The white house adviser dan pfeiffer. Let's begin with budget. It's going to come out on wednesday. It will include, for the first time, cuts to social security and medicare. 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? Do you think it will change the dynamic? It's important to understand that what's in the president is the offer that he put to speaker boehner in december. And what this does, it shows one, the president is serious about trying to find a balanced solution to our deficits and have a comprehensive economic plan. And it shows we don't have to choose between deficits and job creation and economic growth. You can do both. It includes bringing jobs back to america, preschool for everybody. While still bringing our debts down to levels that are talked about by the commission. It doesn't seem to change the dynamic at least so far. Here's part of what speaker boehner 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. If it's a good idea, why not just do them? First, the senate passed the budget. The hope is, the houses can come together to work to find a compromise. The president's focus, in addition to the members of congress, is to try a caucus of common sense, folks who are willing to compromise. They don't think compromise is a dirty word. And try to get something done. If the speaker's position remains his position, we will not make progress. What this president will not do is come in, right after getting re-elected, and enact the romney economic plan. Which the republicans in the house are proposing. Are you getting any feedback from the senate republicans, the president is going to have dinner with them again this week, that this will create the possibility of a deal? Good conversations with them. The white house has been in contact with a lot of those folks, lot of senate republicans, there's an opening there. Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. A possibility. It's going to require both sides to compromise. What are the odds that there's a deal this year? Based on my bracket, I don't think I should be in the prediction business. If the republicans particularly in the house, take my way or the highway approach, we're not going to get a deal. You're going to have a lot of resistant from democrats and republicans including bernie sanders, he was taking a lot of exceptions. Here's his tweet, he said two-thirds of seniors rely on social security for more than half of their income. And we're seeing this problem with the longtime unemployed. They're going to be facing a real squeeze in the next several years, and this will be an additional significant cut. A couple of things. One, sanders is a passionate advocate and has been a big supporter of the president. The cpi is something that the president will only change on two conditions, something that speaker boehner and McCONNELL ASKED FOR ON TWO Conditions, one, that it's part of a balanced package. And two, that it has protections for the most vulnerable, including the oldest seniors some carveouts there. Absolutely. Look, this is a compromise. Some folks on both sidesn't happy. This could be a decisive week on gun legislation. Already clear that the ban on assault weapons isn't going to get through and the ban on clips is in trouble as well. You have been strugg to come up with a compromise on background checks? It seems like the president's friend, senator tom coburn is no longer part of the compromise, is that true? No. They're still talking. Folks are still talking. But let's talk -- do you think that you're If he was willing to compromise, yes. What the president wants is, to sign a strong, bipartisan bill that has enforceable background checks. Some senate republicans are insisting on a filibuster. They're insisting on trying to make it harder to get 60 votes. If you remember during the state of the union, the families of newtown in audience, every member of congress stood up and applauded when the president called for a vote. Now, they want to make it harder and filibuster it. We can't have it. Lot of democrats, though, against the assault weapons ban. And another provisions as well. You talkedable background checks, the issue is recordkeeping. Whether records should be kept. The president wants a bill that record records guns sold at stores. The president wants to expand it to gun show. And paper record between private people. I'm not going to negotiate the bill right here with you, george. He'll be working with both sides to try to get the strongest bill we can, to ensure that you're going to get a background check. Whether you buy it at a gun store or gun show. Would he sign a bill that wouldn't include that? I'm not going to make any predictions here. But we're going to try to get the strokest bill we can. This is a 90% issue here. You can't get 90% of americans to agree on the weather. It has been difficult right now, and a lot of gun control advocates are worried that you're waving the white flag when you're saying that the president is going to sign the strongest bill he can. The president is trying to make progress here. He's going to push very hard. This is the right thing to do. This is nothing inconsistent between being a strong supporter of the second amendment. And wanting a strong -- these measures like universal background checks. Wouldn't it be a failure that in the end a bill come to the president that didn't include universal background checks, didn't include a large ammunition magazines? It's going to be disappointing to american people. There's absolutely no question about that. The president was in denver last week, meeting with some of the families who were victims in the aurora shooting of last year. And people in the country will not understand why congress would turn its back on a 95% issue. The president might sign the bill anyway? The president, let's focus on getting the best bill. Before you go, let's talk about north korea, how worried is the president, we have seen this escalation of threats and counterthreats. The president and the pentagon have moved assets into the region. How worried is the president? This is a concerning situation of concern. This is a pattern of behavior that we have seen from north koreans many times. But not from kim jong-un. But from north koreans for many years. Provocative actions and rhetoric. The key is, for north koreans to stop their actions. And meet their national obligations and put themselves in a position to achieve what is their stated goal, which is economic development. Does the president believe that kim jong-un is calling the shots here and acting rational? He believes that north korea needs to stop the actions. We have to protect our allies and homeland. The real focus is to do the right thing. Possible missile test within days will shay shoot it down? I'm not going to get into hypotheticals here. We have seen reports about north koreans moving missiles in, and we wouldn't be surprised if they did a test. As I said, this has been going on for many, many years. It wouldn't provoke a military response? I'm not going to make any predictions here on sunday, george. It wouldn't be surprise, no. Dan pfeiffer, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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