Entries in Diane Sawyer (7)


Boehner Exclusive: Raising Tax Rates 'Unacceptable' but New Revenue on Table

Martin H. Simon/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Raising tax rates is "unacceptable" to House Speaker John Boehner as he prepares to open negotiations on the looming "fiscal cliff" with the president and congressional Democrats, he told World News anchor Diane Sawyer Thursday in an exclusive interview.

"Raising tax rates is unacceptable," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in his first broadcast interview since the election Tuesday.

"Frankly, it couldn't even pass the House. I'm not sure it could pass the Senate."

That stance could set up a real showdown with the White House given that the president has said he will veto any deal that does not allow tax cuts for the rich to expire. But the speaker maintained that Republicans will put new tax revenue on the table as leaders work toward a deal.

"I would do that if the president was serious about solving our spending problem and trying to secure our entitlement programs," Boehner said. "If you're increasing taxes on small-business people, it's the wrong approach."


Nevertheless, Boehner added that he is willing at least to listen to the president's proposals, even if they clash with his party's principles.

"Of course, we'll talk about it. We talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on," Boehner said. "I'm the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The president knows it. He knows that he and I can work together. The election's over. Now it's time to get to work."

The fiscal cliff is a mix of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year that could sink the economy back into recession. Boehner told Sawyer he imagines that negotiations on a bipartisan deal will begin soon, although he did not reveal whether any talks are already scheduled.

Still, he said he hoped the framework of a deal could be completed by the end of the year in order to direct the next Congress to work out the details. "The American people elected new representatives," he said. "They're the ones who ought to be the ones to do this."

"There are things that we can do in the lame duck to avert the fiscal crisis, but we want to do this the right way. We don't want to rush through this the next two to three weeks. And what do you get? You can't rewrite the tax code the next two or three weeks. And, so, there's a lot of possibilities in terms of how we proceed, and I'm confident that we can."

Boehner said that once he saw that Mitt Romney would lose the race for the White House, he went to sleep at about 11:15 p.m. on election night with the realization that he would wake up to divided government, but still "slept like a baby."

"I may not like the five cards that have been dealt to me, but those are the cards I've got in my hand, and my job on behalf of the American people is to find a way to vote with my Democrat colleagues and a Democrat president to solve America's problems," he said. "If there was one mandate that came out of the election, it was find a way to work together to address our problems."

Sawyer asked the speaker whether Romney should take responsibility for those election results, but Boehner said he is proud of his campaign.

"I'll let all the political prognosticators figure out how the election went and why it went the way it did because Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did a very nice job carrying our banner," he said. "But we lost. The other side did a much more effective job in getting their votes out to them, out to the polls. And as I'm fond of saying, 'Polls don't decide elections, voters do,' and more of their voters showed up than ours."

Asked whether he will make another attempt to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, Boehner said "the election changes that" and "Obamacare is the law of the land."

Still, there are some parts of the law, he said, that should be on the table as lawmakers work toward a balanced budget.

The speaker also revealed that comprehensive, bipartisan immigration overhaul would be a top priority of his agenda during the 113th Congress.

"This issue has been around far too long," he said. "A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

The speaker also downplayed the influence of the Tea Party on his conference, even though at least 49 members of the Tea Party caucus won re-election.

"This has been the most misreported story of my two years' tenure. We don't have a Tea Party caucus to speak of in the House," Boehner said. "All of us who were elected in 2010 were supported by the Tea Party.

"These are ordinary Americans who've taken a more active role in their government. They want solutions, but we've all come a long way over the last two years. I think we all understand each other a lot better."

With minorities and women comprising of a majority within the House Democratic Caucus during the next session, Sawyer asked Boehner whether the Republican Party is too white, too old and too male. The speaker acknowledged that the GOP has work ahead to appeal to other demographics.

"What Republicans need to learn is how do we speak to all Americans. You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?" Boehner said.

"Listen, we believe in the American dream. We believe in individual freedom, and we believe in empowering all citizens. I think there's a message there that resonates with all Americans, but we need to do a much more effective job in communicating it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama: We're Better Off Today than Four Years Ago

ABC/Rick Rowell(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- As some Democrats waver over whether the country is “better off today than four years ago,” first lady Michelle Obama told ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer her answer is yes, and that Americans “are growing to understand just how much we’ve accomplished.”

The first lady pointed to the end of the war in Iraq, a planned departure from Afghanistan, and an economy “on the brink of collapse,” that’s “now consistently creating jobs.”

During an interview in Charlotte, the first lady also touted President Obama’s health care reform law.

“Our grandparents can afford their medicine,” she said.  “Our kids can stay on our health care until they’re 26 years old. I could go on and on and on.”

Democrats would like nothing more. Michelle Obama is, with former President Bill Clinton, among the party’s most popular figures. She also may be the president’s most powerful campaign surrogate.

“I didn’t think it was possible,” she said during her convention speech Tuesday night, “but, today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago, even more than I did 23 years ago.”

Tune in to ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline tonight to see Sawyer’s full interview with Michelle Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Talks with Diane Sawyer About Mitt Romney's Speech

Ida Mae Astute/ABC(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Paul Ryan says he hopes that when Mitt Romney speaks Thursday night America will "get to meet the man I know" from their time on the campaign trail.

"I hope people get to meet the kind of leader I know," Ryan told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. "We need someone who is going to give us honest leadership, courageous leadership, a man of achievement and integrity. A man you enjoy listening to because he is telling you the truth. That's the guy I know and that's what I think America will hear tonight."

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Ryan said he spoke to Romney about his speech Thursday and he's "excited about laying out his vision" as well as "excited just to introduce himself to the country."

The vice presidential candidate added that the top of the ticket was "very complimentary" about his acceptance speech Wednesday night.

"'Great job, you hit it at out of the park,'" Ryan said Romney told him.

An ABC News poll released this week found that only 35 percent of voters under 30 years old supported Mitt Romney, but Ryan, 42, insisted the GOP ticket can make a play for the youth vote, something he referenced in his convention speech, because he sees "younger people" as "more disaffected."

"There's a little disillusionment there I think," Ryan said. "And what we're offering them is a positive solution, specific reforms to get this economy going so we can turn opportunity back on."

The country's debt ticks upward on a clock on the convention floor, but what specifically would the Romney campaign cut in order to stop the ballooning debt? Ryan said the Romney/Ryan administration would cut spending in government agency budgets.

"All of the spending on these government bureaucracies has increased far faster than families' ability to pay for it, far faster than inflation and it's all borrowed money... By the way, this isn't selling pain, this isn't saying we are taking things away," Ryan said. It's all about getting "domestic spending down" and "reforming entitlements," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Tells Obama to ‘Start Packing’ in ABC News Interview

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(BOSTON) -- Acting very much like the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney sent a curt message to President Obama today:  “Start packing.”

The message, delivered with a chuckle, came in an exclusive interview with ABC’s “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer who asked the presumptive GOP nominee if he had something to say to the president.

Romney said Obama’s “policies have not helped the American people.  They have not helped get jobs, they have not helped raise incomes and they’ve added trillions of dollars of debt.”

He was backed by his wife of 43 years, Ann Romney, who told Sawyer she also had a message for Obama. “I believe it’s… Mitt’s time… It’s our turn now,” she said.

See the exclusive interview Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on ABC’s World News With Diane Sawyer and 11:35 p.m. ET on Nightline.

Last week, the Romney campaign was able to flip the Democrats’ so-called “war on women” strategy by highlighting a Democratic strategist’s attacks on Ann Romney for never holding a job. Ann Romney told a GOP fundraiser this weekend that the failed Democratic talking point had been a “birthday gift.”

“That wasn’t how I meant it,” Ann Romney told Sawyer. “It was a birthday gift to me because I love the fact that we’re talking about this.”

Following former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s exit from the race last week, a bruised but unbowed Romney has entered a new phase in his campaign.

So confident in his march to this summer’s convention in Tampa, Fla., Romney told Sawyer he had already taken steps toward selecting a running mate, relying on a long-trusted aide to head the search committee.

“I have selected someone who has been a counselor of mine for a number of years, Beth Myers, she was my chief of staff when I was governor,” he said.

Looking forward to the general election, Romney has both sharpened his attacks on the president and become a greater target.

Many of the attacks from the left center of Romney’s persona as an out of touch millionaire, so rich he not only owns multiple cars but is building a garage outfitted with an elevator to hold them at a home in La Jolla, Calif.

Romney dismissed a question about whether he could relate to working people, saying Americans don’t judge people based on class.

“We don’t divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature.  We’re one nation under God ….  This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together.  I happen to believe that I’m by far the best qualified in this race between myself and President Obama,” Romney told Sawyer.

When asked about Obama’s suggestion that Romney release 12 years of his tax returns, Romney said he had no intention of doing that.

“The president is going to try and do everything possible to divert from the attention being focused upon his record as president and the failure of his economic policies. So he’s going to try to make this campaign about the fact that I’ve been successful, that I’ve made a lot of money,” he said.

Dogged through the primary by his conservative challengers about his switch from being a pro-abortion governor to an anti-abortion presidential candidate, Romney honed his pro-life position, telling Sawyer he wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I would love the Supreme Court to say, ‘Let’s send this back to the states.’ Rather than having a federal mandate through Roe v. Wade, let the states again consider this issue state by state,” he said, effectively ending the federal ban on abortion.

Abortion is just one issue in which Romney has had trouble with women voters, a bloc that polls find him trailing behind Obama.

In a lighter moment Romney admitted to watching – even setting his DVR to record – Jason Sudeikis’ impersonation of him on “Saturday Night Live.” Romney said he’d consider appearing on the show, but it would “depend on the nature of the skit.”

“I just want it be funny,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ABC News Exclusive: Mitt Romney Kicks Off VP Search

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Mitt Romney on Monday revealed for the first time that he has put longtime adviser Beth Myers in charge of his vice presidential vetting process.

“I have selected someone who has been a counselor of mine for a number of years, Beth Myers.  She was my chief of staff when I was governor,” Romney told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.

“I’ve asked her to be the person who oversees the process of the vice presidential selection and vetting an analysis and so she’s begun that process and is putting together the kinds of things you need to do to vet potential candidates,” Romney added.

Asked whether there is a deadline for choosing his running mate, Romney said he does have a deadline in mind but would not reveal the specifics.

“It would certainly be by the time of the convention,” he said.  “I don’t think we’ve chosen the time we’d actually make an announcement.”

Romney's wife Ann said this weekend, which the couple spent in Florida fundraising, was the first time they had actually spoken seriously about a vice presidential pick.

“You know it’s been interesting this weekend was the first time we seriously really talked about it and there are some wonderful people out there,” she told Sawyer.  “So we’re thinking about it now and we haven’t allowed ourselves to go there yet and I think this is a time when we realize it’s very important and it’s time to think about it.”

“There are some pretty terrific people out there,” she added.

Romney, who recently spoke about the need to appeal to Hispanic voters, said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is “one of the terrific leaders” of the Republican Party, but wouldn’t go as far as to say whether he is on the shortlist.

“I think it’s way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice presidential nominees might be,” Romney said.  “But we’re beginning that process.”

See the exclusive interview Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on World News With Diane Sawyer and at 11:35 p.m. ET on Nightline.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama: I Want Second Term 'Badly'

ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- President Obama signaled an aggressive tact for his early re-election campaign on Thursday, critiquing his Republican opponents by name and insisting he's ready to "fight with every fiber of my being" for a second term.

"How much do you want it?" ABC News' Diane Sawyer asked Obama during an exclusive interview in Las Vegas.

"Badly," the president said, "because I think the country needs it."

"Whoever wins the Republican primary is going to be a standard bearer for a vision of the country that I don't think reflects who we are," Obama said.

"I'm going to fight as hard as I can with every fiber of my being to make sure that we continue on a path that I think will restore the American dream," he said.

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Obama pushed back against what he called Republicans' "rhetorical flourishes," including Newt Gingrich's oft-repeated contention that Obama is the "food stamp president."

"First of all, I don't put people on food stamps," Obama said.  "People become eligible for food stamps.  Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me.  Number three, when you have a disastrous economic crash that results in eight million people losing their jobs, more people are going to need more support from government."

"The larger point is this: that there's going to be a debate over the next eight, nine, 10 months about how to move the country forward," he said.  "They've got an argument.  They will make it forcefully.  I think it's an argument that is wrong."

Asked whether he believes there's an undercurrent of racial tension in the "food stamp president" criticism, Obama wouldn't say.  But he said the rhetoric from conservatives like that used by Gingrich illustrates an attempt by Republicans to engage in the same divisiveness that they profess to decry.

"The American people are going to make a judgment about who's trying to bring the country together and who's dividing it, who reflects the core values that helped create this country … and who is tapping into some of our worst instincts," he said.

Obama also used his first network interview since his State of the Union Address to single out three of his Republican rivals, jabbing Mitt Romney, Gingrich and Rick Santorum as adherents of a failed political philosophy.

"We've got a test of Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Santorum's theories.  We tried it for 10 years.  And it resulted in a huge crash that lost us the most jobs since the 1930s," Obama said of a push for less financial regulation and lower taxes.  "And why we would want to adopt something that we just tried and did not work, doesn't make sense."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Tells ABC News: ‘I Second-Guess Constantly’  

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama Thursday acknowledged that he has made mistakes during his presidency but defended the steps his administration has taken to create jobs and improve the economy.

“I second-guess constantly...I make a mistake, you know, every hour, every day,” he told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, laughing. “There’re always things that you’re learning in the job. And I have no doubt that I’m a better president now than the day I took office just because you get more experience. But when you look at the broad outlines of what we did, had it not been for the steps we took our economy would be profoundly weaker than we are right now.”

The president was responding to a question by a Yahoo! user asking him if there’s something he learned about himself and wished he had done in the first three years.

Obama, who is in Las Vegas Thursday promoting his energy agenda, didn’t give specific examples. Instead, he cited the auto bailout and the Recovery Act as examples of his administration’s successes. Addressing criticism that the economy hasn’t grown very quickly in the last three years, Obama said he laid out the foundations that will position the country to continue growing.

“The auto industry, which has now created 160,000 jobs, and sees GM as the number-one automaker in the world again, that didn’t just happen by accident,” he said. “We had a little something to do with it, to help that industry restructure and save about a million jobs, that would’ve had ripple effects all across the country. The Recovery Act -- what, you know, Republicans referred to as the stimulus package, well, most economists -- almost every economist -- will tell you that had we not put that in place we could’ve tipped into a great depression."

“So I think when the body politic goes through a trauma as great as the one that we went through in 2008, 2009, then everybody I think is gonna be frustrated that we don’t recover.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio