TOOMEY: That's right. It will devastate this economy. It will be devastating to our prospects and -- and it will prevent us, really, from solving the other problems that we have.
So I'm sitting there thinking, how do we avoid this?
Now, if anyone could show me how we can, with certainty they), have the votes and the ability to completely avoid this tax increase, then that's what I'm for. But I haven't been convinced that we've got that completely wrapped up. So I was willing to put a bit of revenue on the table in order to avoid a much, much bigger tax increase.
But let me say something that's unequivocal to -- to the question you raised earlier. Absolutely, we can solve this problem without raising taxes. And that's the optimal way to do it. Absolutely, we cannot solve this problem without reforming the entitlement programs.
VAN HOLLEN: Well, look, Jake, the -- the fundamental choice the -- the Romney-Ryan ticket makes is to provide another round of big tax brackets to the very wealthy at the expense of everybody else. And it's based on this trickle-down theory. The idea is if you give people like Mitt Romney another tax break, the benefits will bubble -- trickle down and it will lift all the boats.
This theory has now been tested by reality. At the end of eight years of the Bush administration, we had actually lost net private sector jobs. The only thing that went up was the deficit.
TAPPER: Well, Grover...
TAPPER: -- first of all, is he -- when he makes the offer of putting revenue on the table, isn't he making the offer to break the pledge?
NORQUIST: Two things. I -- I'm not in favor -- I'm not opposed to more revenue coming in. If we grew -- if we grew at 3 percent a year instead of 2 percent a year out a decade, you know, $2.5 trillion more revenue...
Jake Tapper: But I think (INAUDIBLE)...
NORQUIST: -- coming in...
Jake Tapper: It's not just revenue.
NORQUIST: -- from growth.
Jake Tapper: When you talk about tax...
Grover Norquist: No.
Jake Tapper: -- tax increases.
Grover Norquist: I'm all in favor of stronger economic growth. I want more people working and have the federal government...
Jake Tapper: But that's not what I'm talking about...
Grover Norquist: -- be able to get more...
Jake Tapper: -- when Democrats say they...
Grover Norquist: And a tax...
Jake Tapper: -- want more revenue, they mean...
Jake Tapper: They mean taxes.
Jake Tapper: -- we want to raise taxes.
Grover Norquist: And they don't want to say -- they don't want to say taxes, so they say revenue.
Jake Tapper: OK. So I'm saying it.
Grover Norquist: Yes.
Grover Norquist: OK.
Grover Norquist: Yes.
TAPPER: Is he talking about breaking the pledge?
Grover Norquist: the suggestion, what if we raise taxes in return for significant spending cuts?
That offer was never on the table from the other side.
TAPPER: So, Kim, there -- there was a question during a presidential debate, during one of the Republican primary presidential debates, obviously, which was would you accept $1 in tax increases for $10 in spending cuts?
And no -- and every Republican said they would oppose it.
STRASSEL: Right. Correct.
TAPPER: That doesn't seem to be a reflection of the political reality...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
TAPPER: -- of what you need to get Democratic votes.
STRASSEL: Here's -- here's the political reality.