The following is a transcript of 10TV News anchor Jerry Revish's interview with President Barack Obama on July 20, 2011.
JERRY REVISH: Well, thank you Mr. President for seeing us today.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Absolutely
REVISH: Would you assess the budget and deficit talks for us right now? Are you close to a deal?
OBAMA: Well, I think we're moving in the right direction. As I've said consistently, we have to raise the debt ceiling so that we preserve the full faith and credit of the United States of America. But we also have to solve the underlying problem which is we've been spending more money than we've been taking in and that's creating debt deficits and debt that date back to 2000. The last time we had a balanced budget was when Bill Clinton was president. And so what I've said is we need a balanced approach, we've got to cut spending that's unnecessary, we've got to eliminate waste and fraud and abuse, but we also have to make sure we've got revenues to pay for things like student loan programs, make sure that our seniors are taken care of, and yesterday what we saw was Republican senators along with Democratic senators in a bipartisan way both saying that we need to cut spending, including on some entitlement programs, but we also have to add more revenues. And that kind of balanced approach I think offers a way out of this dilemma and hopefully stabilizing the economy in a way that will help us create jobs here in America.
REVISH: Let's move to the economy for a moment here, Ohio's economy in particular. Manufacturing helped build our state. What do you do to revive that part of our economy in Ohio when those jobs continue to fade away?
OBAMA: Well, I have to say the recovery has been obviously slower than we would like and we're doing everything we can to accelerate hiring. Manufacturing has actually been a bright spot in this recovery. We've actually seen more growth faster in manufacturing than in the rest of the economy. Now part of that is the work that we did in the auto industry, which is obviously very important to Ohio. We were about to see the liquidation of Chrysler and GM, they have come roaring back, they're now making a profit; they're actually increasing market share. Part of it is restructuring and better management but part of it is also starting to look at what are the products of the future? How can we build cars that are fuel efficient, how can we win the race for electric cars? And so this whole area of advanced manufacturing where we focus on the products that we're going to be using in the 21st century rather than in the 19th or 20th century, that's how we can create more and more manufacturing jobs and we're putting a lot of investment in that particularly on the research and development side where the federal government can do some things that typically the private sector is not going to do and I'll give you one example: Advanced battery manufacturing, the batteries that are used in electric cars, we've gone from a two-percent share of the worldwide market now to 30, 40 percent potentially over the next five years of the worldwide market. And those are all good paying jobs in Ohio, in Michigan in areas that have traditionally had a outstanding manufacturing track-record.
REVISH: You know how important Ohio was to your election, what's your strategy to win the state over in 2012?
OBAMA: You know, I'm not thinking about elections I'm thinking about all the families that I hear back from in Ohio and across the country who are, you know, struggling, maybe a spouse has lost a job, they used to have two paychecks, now they got one, trying to make ends meet. Their housing situation has not stabilized so they still have mortgages that may be worth or higher than what the house is worth. You know, young people who are trying to figure out how to afford college, so that's what motivates me on a day to day basis and my attitude is that if we're taking the right steps to improve our education system, if we're rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges and putting people back to work, especially construction workers who've been laid off, if we are getting our fiscal house in order, if we're investing in research and development for the kind of advanced manufacturing we just talked about, and the economy's growing, then politics will take care of itself. And that's going to be true in Ohio, that's going to be true across the country.
REVISH: You nominated Richard Cordray earlier this week. Senate republicans say they'll fight that nomination unless you can make the bureau more transparent and accountable, is there room for compromise to win his nomination?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, lets dispel this notion that somehow this agency is not accountable or transparent, it's completely transparent and completely accountable. It's working for consumers. The idea here is that we are going for the first time have a consolidated agency who's only job is to make sure that consumers aren't getting ripped off when it comes to applying for mortgages, applying for credit cards, any financial transaction, they're not having to wade through a bunch of fine print finding that their interest rates are getting jacked up after they've already signed an agreement, and Rich Cordray is a perfect candidate for this job. This is a guy who was one of the first on the scene in terms of dealing with this foreclosure mess where it turns out that a lot of services and mortgages weren't abiding by the law when it came to foreclosing people's homes, he has championed consumer protections in Ohio, he's been the treasurer of Ohio as well, you've got a lot of Republicans in Ohio who complimented the job that he did as a balanced thoughtful consumer advocate. And that's exactly what we need. So what we've had is a situation where some in the financial industry have been sending lobbyists and lawyers up to Capitol Hill spending millions of dollars to try to water down this agency. We're not going to let it be watered down because it was actually some of these abuses, for example in the sub-prime lending market, that helped create the financial crisis that led to the massive recession that we suffered and we don't want to go through that again and every American should know that they've got somebody standing behind them, protecting them from the kinds of financial abuse that we've seen in the past.
REVISH: There's still a lot of frustration from people continuing to wait for that change that you promised, they don't feel better off now than they were 3 years ago. How do you convince them we're headed in the right direction?
OBAMA: Well, look there's no doubt that we've gone through the toughest economic situation that we've seen since the Great Depression. I think the vast majority of people understand that this is something that we inherited and that when I came into office we'd already lost 4 million jobs and the few months after I got sworn in we lost another 4 million. We've created 2 million jobs, over 2 million jobs in the private sector over the last 15 months, the problem is that we got in such a big hole right at the start there in 2009 and we're still digging our way back. But what I think the American people want to know is there's a game plan for the future and what we've said is, if we're getting our fiscal house in order, if we're investing in the infrastructure of the future, not just roads and bridges but also broadband lines and a smart grid that makes sure that we don't waste energy, if we're developing a clean-energy and alternative energy future for ourselves so that we're not dependent on foreign oil, if we're making sure that every one of our kids is the best educated in the world so that they can compete in this new world economy, if we take those basic steps, I'm absolutely confident that America's going to not just bounce back but we'll be stronger than ever, what people want to know is that we're moving in the right direction even if they're frustrated with how fast we're moving, we need to speed it up but I think the trajectory's a good one.
REVISH: Mr. President, thanks so much.
OBAMA: I appreciate it.
REVISH: Thank you sir.