REICH: I'm sorry. The Republican plan, and it is the AMA plan, the Chamber of Commerce plan, it's the same plan they've used since 1944. Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with the first idea for national insurance. They said, no, it's socialized medicine. You're going to take over government. You're going to interfere with the patient/doctor relationship and you are also going to bust the bank. This is the same... (CROSSTALK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is the same argument. But here's the I guess the problem...
REICH: It's not true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... because you write about this. I know a lot of Democrats are banking on this, but I'm just not sure it's possible. They say they look at this and say, wait a sec, you know, we don't really need the Republicans. We can alter these budget rules and put it through on this so-called reconciliation measure that would allow you to get -- with the majority vote. The more you look at that, the less viable that plan actually is, both for political reasons, because it's not going to have political durability, but also a lot of the experts say you put the plan through that process, and it's going to be full of holes.
ROBERTS: And at that point -- at that point, the president absolutely...
ROBERTS: ... owns the deficit. You know, at this moment, Americans are still blaming George Bush for the deficit, at least according to the Wall Street Journal poll. But if the Democrats do this all by themselves, then at that point, the deficit becomes the Democrats'.
DONALDSON: If this president loses this health care fight and we emerge with practically nothing, the blood in the water is going to be terrific. The loss of powers and everything else.
REICH: It's very important to keep the threat of the 51-vote reconciliation measure out there. Whether it's actually used or not is another issue.
But, Cokie, on the deficit, there's so much demagoguery going on right now.
REICH: We are in an economy in which people don't have money to keep the economy going. Consumers aren't. Businesses are not going to invest as long as there aren't customers. Exports markets are drying up because it's a global recession or worse. And so, government has got to run deficits. This is Keynesian 101.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me bring in...
ROBERTS: I'm just saying what the public opinion is on it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And let me bring that back in, because it's your New York Times poll, again, Bill Keller. We asked a couple of questions -- you asked a couple of questions. Number one, has President Obama made the economy better? Two to one, 32 to 15 percent say, yes, his policies made the economy better.
But then you get to that question Cokie was talking about. Does Obama have a clear plan on the deficit? Two to one, the other way. No clear plan to deal with it...
KELLER: What both of those answers tell you...
ROBERTS: Even about making the economy better is down from the last New York Times.
STEPHANOPOULOS: From where it was before.
KELLER: What both of those answers tell you is that Obama has come to own the economy. At the point when he can keep saying over and over again, that he inherited all of these problems, although that's true, that's the point -- he has reached the point of diminishing returns there. People now think it's his economy.