Transcript: Sens. Kent and DeMint

Now, think I disagree with George. I think something is going to get passed. A lot of critics of the plan are doing end zones dances. I think the Democrats are so scared of failure, that they will pass something. Now, my question is whether they will actually control costs while they're doing it. You showed LBJ. When Medicare was pass they projected, what will this program cost in 1990? They came up with a budget of about $12 billion. It ended up costing nine times that, and we can't afford that. So the real question is, do they actually tackle costs. And that is something they have not done in a serious way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that is what Senator Conrad and his bipartisan group are trying to do. And let me bring Arianna in on this because David said something that is interesting. Democrats, he says, are so afraid of failure that they'll pass anything. It seems like the White House is actually banking on that, as well. That they work -- that they get behind the Senate Finance Committee deal, when there is one, eventually. And the rest of the Democrats, even if there is no public health insurance option, even if there is more Medicare cuts than they like, even if there is a tax on some health care plans, the Democrats will go along, because they are afraid of failure.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTON POST: And that would be a major problem. And that has been really a problem with the Obama style of leadership, which is let's pass something, even if it does not include the things that he considers most important; the public option, for example, or negotiating with the drug industry to bring down costs. His effort and his lobbying to reconcile everybody, and bring everybody together, sometimes makes it impossible to get what he needs out of the primary players here.

The drug industry gave up something, but they haven't given up on the negotiation for real lower prices with Medicare and Medicaid. And that's a major issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Donna, is it political necessity? I mean, can the president hold the Democrats together only if some of those moderate Democrats, Blue Dog Democrats, have Republicans covered?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, George, I think August was always the goal, but it wasn't the only goal. The other goal was to make sure that he would get a bill that was deficit neutral and reduce the costs. And the Blue Dogs will go along once the Blue Dogs feel that they have had sufficient cover with some of the concerns that they have. I think the president should use this opportunity to retool his message to convince the American people why we really need health care reform. Right now many people are worried they may lose something in this reform and therefore, I think, this is an opportunity for the president to go out there and retool and

STEPHANOPOULOS: So far he trained all of his fire on the status quo, making that a plan. That's really the goal of the press conference Wednesday night.

BRAZILE: And, as we all know, that press conference wasn't a game change, and some things happened later at that press conference that really just obliterated his message. But this is an opportunity for the president really come down hard on those wavering Democrats. And I do believe that he not only is providing that cover now, but is inside helping them negotiate.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...