Interview with Robert Gibbs

Obama campaign advisor on the GOP field and Obama's 2012 prospects.
0:16 | 02/19/12

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Transcript for Interview with Robert Gibbs
President's former Press Secretary who just last month officially joined the Obama reelection campaign as a top advisor Robert Gibbs. Welcome back to this week thank you genetic variants I'm pretty good thanks so I wanna get. -- reaction to this comment from Rick Santorum in Columbus,. Ohio over the weekend they're beating up each other but there also beating up present Obama quite a bit and this is what -- had to say about the president's quote different. Theology. This is what the president is not IQ. It's not about. An accurate auto plants. Oh yeah I'm here. Some believe he almost. All -- -- from the -- the. By reporters as to what exactly he meant Santorum said the president is quote imposing his secular values on the church and I think that's wrong. Your reaction well look -- I think it is time and our politics in which we get rid of this mindset. That if we disagree we have to disqualify job. That if we not just on political positions -- -- question character and faith. If you all questioning its faith. I can't help but think that those remarks are well over the line. It's wrong it's destructive it makes it virtually impossible to solve the problems that we all face together as Americans. People are not sitting at home this morning Jake thinking we need more of this in -- politics or public discourse it's time to get rid of this it's time to have. A debate on our political positions but not question each other's character and thing. -- Rick Santorum denies that he was. Dog whistling about the president's faith suggesting that the president as anything other than a Christian you don't necessarily believe. Jake I think that the I I think this GOP primary is in many cases Jake has been erased some of -- We have seen nastiness divisiveness. Ugliness distortions of opponents' records of the president's records. You just heard John McCain say -- it's affecting. There are standing their own candidates standing with the American people we -- -- in their turnout numbers. Fewer and fewer Republicans are coming out that even participate in the process of nominating somebody to run against President Obama but I think. More importantly -- it's just time to get rid this mindset in our politics. That if we disagree. We have to question. Character and faith that those days have long passed in our politics our problems and our challenges. Are far too great the challenges that we face in the middle class through economic fairness and security. -- what we should be focusing on -- what the president is focusing on each and every. Let's talk about one of those issues having to do with -- economy oil is now. Over 100 dollars a barrel on the front page of the New York Times this morning high gas prices -- GOP issue to attack Obama and here's an AP story from this weekend quote. Gasoline prices has never have never been higher this time of the year at three dollars and 53 cents a gallon. Prices are already up 25 cents since January 1 and experts -- they could reach a record four dollars and 25 cents a gallon. By late April and here is Santorum again blaming the president for -- Have a president who. In my opinion this sees that energy consumption America is a problem not a good. That we need to have a less energy consumption and one way to do that is to make energy prices higher. His policies have done everything they can to slow down energy energy production. That's the Republican attack and that's what we're gonna hear. Probably for the next few months if not all the way until November your reaction well look -- -- It's clear that. Rick Santorum and another Republican candidates -- the president talk in the state of the union about an all of the above energy policy. Just on Friday the department of interior. That issued permits that will expand their expiration in the Arctic. The president has increased -- fuel efficiency in our energy efficiency standards so we do do do use less energy which will. Helped drive down the price. Our domestic oil production is at an eight year high and there you support oil is that a sixteen year -- so we're making progress there are no. Magic bullet stood to solve this problem what we're gonna have to do. All of these things we're gonna have to look for more energy here at home we're gonna have to conserve energy we're gonna have to make the energy we use more efficient. All of those things will help us get ahead of this problem. The president got something of a political victory this week when house and senate came to an agreement on the payroll tax extension. But it's not paid 40000. Billion dollars. That payroll tax money will not be paid into the Social Security trust fund one member of the president's own party. Called this bill a devil's deal and went on to say this. I'm dismayed. The Democrats. Including a democratic president. And a democratic vice president. Have proposed. And are willing to sign off on a deal. That could Begin the unravel. -- of Social Security. That's quite an ad against the -- the president's reflecting campaign from democratic senator. Tom Harkin is this the unraveling of Social Security now I strongly disagree with -- that characterization. This does not in any way threatened. The livelihood of social -- billion dollars not going into the trust what it does do is is help our economy gets stronger at a time in which middle class families we know continue. -- -- -- -- The high cost of a living these days and I think it was an important step and I'm glad that Republicans and in congress. Accepted the president's position that we can't raise taxes on the middle class right now. He was an important step -- -- help continue our economic recovery. And it in no way threatens the livelihood of solutions. The president's chief of staff Jack -- came on the show last week until George Stephanopoulos. Actually he admitted that the president's budget does not meet the president's pledge from early 2009. To cut the deficit in half. The White House says. Now that he didn't know them when the president made the pledge that the economy was in such bad shape he would -- -- muted but he was continuing to make that pledge has recently. As 2000 a Latin. I took office. I pledge to cut the deficit. In half by the end of my first -- Our budget meets that pledge and puts us on a path to pay for what. We spend by the middle of the Beckett. -- believe you were there are at the time. You guys did. Now sickened I was gone but I is that right I will last that about. I won't quibble with the -- -- whether I was there on the fifteenth of the eleventh -- But I will -- and who how deep the hole was back and budget act and I don't think anybody had. On either side of the political spectrum -- a and a real sense of not just how deep this was but how long this economic recovery would -- It in in quite frankly Dick we've we've made some good progress but it's gonna take some more time to get out of that hole let's be clear -- The president does have a budget that that puts in place some substantial budget savings going forward. I think the pledge the president made there if you extend that probably another year he'll meet that goal. The best thing we can do for our budget deficit -- -- to get our economy going. Even faster than it is right now and I think one of the things that we're gonna debate throughout this presidential election is a trillion dollar drop ever in our -- and our deficit. Is extending tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires -- gonna have that debate in this race and for -- -- make some serious progress on our budget deficit then let's not extend tax breaks for people that don't really need. Very quickly we have about forty seconds left Nancy Pelosi came -- and said she supports a plank in the democratic party's official platform that would say quote. We support the full inclusion of all families in the -- of our nation with equal respect responsibilities and protections under the law. Including the freedom to marry -- the president says he's quote unquote still evolving on this issue will there be a same sex marriage plank in the Democratic Party platform this summer. Dick I don't know the answer that and I don't know. And talked to the president at all recently on this issue I think we all. Look to -- and want to live in a world where. If you're applying for a job or or. Doing anything you're not judged or on your sexual orientation you shouldn't be. And I think living in a society where that doesn't -- happen is society we all -- Robert Gibbs thanks so much for coming in we appreciate it.

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

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