'This Week' Transcript: Christina Romer, George Will, Liz Cheney, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff and Robert Reich

Transcript: White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer

ByABC News
December 20, 2009, 6:03 AM

Jan. 10, 2010 — -- STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

Hopes dashed.

OBAMA: The road to recovery is never straight.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another 85,000 jobs gone, more than 15 million Americans unemployed.

(UNKNOWN): The hardest thing is not knowing three months down the road where you're going to be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When will the jobs come back? What more can the president do? Are we headed for a double-dip recession? Questions this morning for our headliner, the president's chief economist, Christina Romer.


OBAMA: The buck stops with me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Obama takes the blame for the Christmas bomb plot.

(UNKNOWN): How long did it take you to realize the system failed?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Team Cheney and the GOP take him on.

That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Liz Cheney, Robert Reich of the American Prospect, Bloomberg's Al Hunt, and Judy Woodruff from the PBS NewsHour.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

LENO: I don't think there's any truth to the rumor -- see, it's always been my experience NBC only cancels you when you're in first place, so we're fine.


ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, "This Week" with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House was hoping that some good news in last Friday's jobs report would help turn the corner on what's been a tough first week of 2010, but it wasn't meant to be. The jobs engine stalled again. We'll get to the political fallout from that downside surprise, the failed Christmas bombing, and the rash of Democratic retirements in just a bit on our powerhouse roundtable.

But we begin with the White House take on why the economy is still losing jobs with the president's top economist, Dr. Christina Romer, chair of the Council on Economic Advisers.

Welcome to "This Week."

ROMER: Great to be with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what went wrong? Most economists were expecting either very small job loss in December or a slight increase.

ROMER: Well, I mean, I think what is true is it was somewhat of a setback. We now know in November we actually added some jobs and, in December, we lost, as you put, 85,000.

You know, I think it is important to put them in context, because they are, I think, still part of this overall trend towards greatly moderating job losses. I mean, I'll give you one statistic. In the first quarter of 2009, when we first came in, we were losing on average 691,000 jobs per month. With these new numbers in the fourth quarter, we were losing 69,000 jobs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's true, but we still saw 660,000 people leave the workforce. And we have a real problem now of long-term unemployed. Forty percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than two years. The long-term consequences of that are devastating, aren't they?

ROMER: Oh, you will get no argument from me. When I was just saying, you know, the job losses are moderating, that's still -- you know, it's still terrible. We're still losing jobs, and we absolutely have to go from losing any jobs at all to -- to adding them at a -- at a robust rate.