Karl vs. Earnest: Larry Summers Said Failed Trade Deal Would "Neuter Presidency For Next 19 Months"


ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl drills administration press secretary Josh Earnest on a statement by former National Economic Council head under Obama, Larry Summers, who said that if the president failed to pass his trade agenda through the House, his office would be "neutered" until 2017.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Do you remember Larry Summers?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Of course! Very well. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with him here at the White House.

KARL: Important advisor to the president over the years, member of the cabinet.

EARNEST: Widely regarded economist.

KARL: He said the repudiation of this trade deal would neuter the U.S. presidency for the next 19 months. Is Larry Summers right that that would neuter the U.S. presidency for the next 19 months?

EARNEST: That is his assessment to try to reach. The president's focus is on making sure we're doing everything we can for middle class families.

KARL: I didn't ask for the president's focus. Do you agree that this would neuter the presidency?

EARNEST: What I agree is that our priority here and what we are spending our time focusing on is helping middle class families...

We face these broader global forces, and the question is what are we going to do about it. The president has a clear strategy to allow the U.S. to use our influence in the world to level the playing field...

KARL: I didn't hear a no.

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