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Guest: Obama Advisor David Axelrod

By Fox News Sunday, Fox News Sunday - September 2, 2012

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Special Guests: David Axelrod, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," September 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.

The Republicans make their case. Now, it's the Democrats' turn here in Charlotte.

Can Barack Obama recapture the magic of his convention four years ago? We'll discuss the plan for this week with David Axelrod, top strategist for the Obama campaign. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Then, how will Democrats defend the president's economic record? We'll ask the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Plus, the Romney/Ryan ticket takes its convention momentum on the road. We'll ask our Sunday panel if they've been able to shift the dynamics in the campaign.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News, today in the Queen City, Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the Democratic National Convention.

Our Fox News skybox is high up in the Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the pro basketball Charlotte Bobcats. Starting Tuesday, the first two days of this convention, and happy Labor Day weekend, everyone.

Well, this holiday used to signal the start of the fall campaign, both sides have been hitting each other hard for months. As Democrats prepare to nominate Barack Obama for a second term, we are joined by top strategist, David Axelrod.

And, David, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

DAVID AXELROD, TOP STRATEGIST FOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.

WALLACE: Anyone who is at that Democratic convention in Denver four years ago remembers the magic there, the sense of hope and endless possibilities. How do you recapture that magic this week?

AXELROD: Well, I'm glad you have such warm memories of that convention, Chris, first of all. I share them.

I think we are going to have a good week in Charlotte. Our party is -- we don't have the problems that the other party has. We're not divided. We don't have to worry about, you know, what people are saying on the side or about their affection for the president or -- we don't have those problems and we don't have the reinvention convention.

We are a unified party. We believe strongly that we have to move this country forward around policies that lift the middle class, that that's how you grow the economy, and we're going to point the way to the future this week and everybody is very excited about it.

WALLACE: But at the Republican convention, Mitt Romney said the president's real problem is his record. And let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term can look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction, you're better off than you were four years ago -- except Jimmy Carter, and except this president.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: David, can you honestly say the average American is better off today than four years ago?

AXELROD: Here's what I can say, Chris -- I can say that we're in a better position than we were four years ago in our economy in the sense that when this president took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. The quarter before he took office was the worst quarter that this country has had economically since the Great Depression, and we are in a different place, 29 straight months of job growth, 4.5 million private sector jobs.

Are we where we need to be? No. But the problem with what Governor Romney said is for three days, they never offered anybody a plausible alternative. He spoke for 45 minutes and never really offered real ideas for how to move the economy forward, for how to lift the middle class and in that sense, I think his convention was a terrible failure.

They -- he never talked about the principle planks of his own plan. He never talked about his $5 trillion tax cut skewed to the wealthy, never talked about turning Medicare into a voucher program.

There are so many things that he didn't talk about. And people walked away, those voters who are trying to decide, and they said, what alternative exactly is he offering?

WALLACE: But you keep talking about Romney. I'd like to talk about the Obama record and I want to put statistics up on the screen.

Unemployment was 7.8 percent when the president took office. It's now 8.3 percent.

Median household income was almost $55,000. It's now less than 51,000.

Gas was a $1.85 a gallon when he took office. Now, it's $3.78, almost doubled.

National debt was $10.6 trillion and it may go past $16 trillion this week.

So, just looking at the president's record and those statistics, David, is the average American better off than four years ago?

AXELROD: Chris, as I said to you before, I think the average American recognizes that it took years to create the crisis that erupted in 2008 and peaked in January of 2009. And it's going to take some time to work through it.

So, you know, you say I talk about Mitt Romney. I keep talking about Mitt Romney because all Mitt Romney does is it talk about Barack Obama. And this election is a choice.

What you're going to hear this week in Charlotte is a president who is going to present a clear agenda for the future talks, that talks about how we build a sound economy and lift the middle class in this country. You didn't hear those kinds of things from the Republican Party. Their platform was locked up in the same vault as Mitt Romney's tax returns. They simply don't want to talk about their ideas, because their ideas are not ideas about the future. They are derivative of what we did in the last decade, that brought our economy to its knees.

WALLACE: But, David, again, going back to the president's record. He's the one seeking reelection. He famously said, if I don't turn this thing around, I'll be a one-term president. The economy has 300,000 fewer jobs, net-net, 300,000 fewer jobs now than in February 2009.

AXELROD: Every single month for the last 29 months, I've heard Republicans give that talking point, and every month, that number gets smaller and smaller, Chris, because we gained 4.5 million jobs in the last 29 months.

But let's talk specifically about you say -- are people better off? I think those autoworkers whose industry would have collapsed if the president hadn't intervened are certainly better off. I think that the millions and millions of young Americans, young Americans, who have health care today, who wouldn't have had it if the president hadn't acted are better off.

I think the millions of people who had been able to renegotiate their mortgages so they are paying lower interest rates are better off.  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

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FNS Transcripts

September 02, 2012

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