SEN. KYL: Christiane, I haven't seen the polls you're referring to. The last poll -- in fact, I looked for polls that backed up the president, didn't find any. The last poll, if I could, just three days ago -- this is the Rasmussen poll -- the question was do you think that a tax hike should be included in any legislation to raise the debt ceiling; 55 percent say no, 34 percent say yes. And even independents, a majority of independent, say no.
MS. AMANPOUR: OK. Well, let me just -- we could play polls all the time, but quite a lot of the established ones like the Quinnipiac says that 67 percent of Americans say debt reform should involve a balance of cuts and tax increases, especially for the corporations and the wealthy. And, indeed, as I said, not even a majority of Republicans say that there shouldn't be any tax increases.
So you have said that you don't want to do anything to jeopardize the country's standing and that there won't be a default. You said that the House may have a different attitude to this. Can we just play what Michele Bachmann has been saying? And she is a leading member, as we all know, of the Republicans and is a presidential contender.
(Start video clip.)
REP. BACHMANN: I'm no on raising the debt ceiling right now because I've been here long enough that I've seen a lot of smoke and mirrors in the time that I've been here. But I haven't been here long enough to forget who I serve or where I come from. People across America are saying the spending is what has to be addressed. It's too much. It's got to be limited.
(End video clip.)
MS. AMANPOUR: Do you agree with her that it is all smoke and mirrors, the warnings from economists, from the Treasury secretary, from the chairman of the Fed?
SEN. KYL: I don't agree with that, but I do agree with her that spending is the problem. Let me just show you this chart. The very end here where the spending goes way up demonstrates that it's spending that's the problem. And that's why Republicans are so insistent on addressing the cause of the problem, namely, too much spending.
MS. AMANPOUR: So you should be pleased then that your negotiating and your position has actually moved the president towards necessary significant proposals --
SEN. KYL: I wish I could say --
MS. AMANPOUR: -- on spending cuts.
SEN. KYL: I wish I could say that's true. Did you notice that Jack Lew did not answer your question? The president did not answer Jake Tapper's question, the question first question at his news conference; what exactly would you do with regard to Medicare to effectuate savings?
We've identified over a hundred billion dollars a year in savings just from Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment compensation overpayments. This isn't hurting anyone who's entitled to it. These are payments that shouldn't be made and yet all the president would say is he was willing to look at unspecified reforms.
MS. AMANPOUR: You also heard what Jack Lew said if there was part of a big deal, it would involve entitlements -- SEN. KYL: But we have no idea what he's talking about. That's the problem. Republicans are not willing to make a deal based upon some vague commitment that, sometime in the future, the president might be willing to look at something that he won't identify.