STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Conrad, let me bring it back to these bipartisan negotiations you talked about, because that really is the big game in town right now to the Senate Finance Committee. You've got three Democrats, three Republicans, but a Republican senator, Orrin Hatch, dropped out of the negotiations this week. And you've got a dilemma. Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican ranking member in the committee says he's going to need some guarantees that the deal you strike here is going to survive all the way to the president's desk. You've got your own Democrat warning you not to give away the story. Chris Dodd in the "New York Times" this morning saying "If they overstep the line in these negotiations," talking about his fellow Democrats, "to bring three or four Republicans along, there will be a reaction among Democrats unlike anything you'll hear among Republicans." So how do you solve that dilemma?
CONRAD: You know, you've got to keep putting one foot in front of the hour and try to have a plan to propose to our colleagues that can win their support, Republicans and Democrats. Look, there are not the votes for Democrats to do this just on our side of the aisle. This is going to require...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's not possible to have a Democrat-only bill.
CONRAD: No, it is not possible and perhaps not desirable either. We're probably going to get a better product if we go through the tough business of debate, consideration, analysis of what we're proposing. It is so important we get this right and that it's sustainable.
If I can just come to back to Jim's point, the $5,000 voucher as he has proposed, he says there are a lot of plans out there that have $5,000. Yes, there are, but what are they? They don't cover much of anything. In fact, they work not to provide you coverage. That's why they only cost $5,000. And his plan is to provide you $5,000 out years from now, when the cost of health care will have gone up even further. So that really is not a serious option for American families.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator DeMint, is there a chance that these bipartisan negotiations can get broader Republican support? There are three Republicans talking with the Democrats in the Finance Committee. What if the broader pool of Republicans are open to the kind of bipartisan compromise they're working on?
DEMINT: Well, Republicans want to protect the right of Americans to make their own health care decisions, to pick their own doctors and their own plans. We can do that and I'm afraid the senator is not representing my ideas correctly, but we could have a plan in a few weeks, George, if the goal is not a government takeover. We've never seen the government operate a plan of any kind effectively and at the budgets we talked about.
This is about the most personal service that Americans have. We don't want to put a bureaucrat -- as the president talked about the other night, he was talking about taking a red plan, a red pill or a blue pill. He was accusing doctors of taking out children's tonsils just to make a profit. He doesn't have the right respect for doctors and how the industry works.