DOWD: To me, in having been through this with President Bush, it reminds me a lot -- many of this reminds me a lot about Iraq, because what you had there, the first thing that happened was, you took your eye off the ball. Instead of being Afghanistan, it became Iraq. So instead of being about the economy, we're now talking about health care, which is where I think Barack Obama should be focused on, is the economy.
And then you have a situation where people say it's going to pay for itself, like Iraq. Iraq was going to pay for itself. Health care reform was going to pay for itself. And then the American public begins to go bad on you, and then what you do is you start attacking the opposition. This has very similarity to what's happened, and I think...
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well, then, let's -- let's extend the metaphor. What's the equivalent of the surge in health care?
DOWD: Well, I think what he has to do is he's got to go back. I think where he lost this message debate was when he -- it became all about covering people who were not covered as opposed to what it was in it for people that had coverage where the cost was too high.
And I think he has to go back and say, "This is about people that have coverage and how we're going to lower their costs," because that's where the American public is right now.
ROBERTS: And get your insurance company out of the middle between you and your doctor, because that is what people mind. I mean, people mind the cost and they mind having to hassle their insurance company.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're afraid the government is going to come in between them and their doctor.
ROBERTS: Well, but that's -- but that's the message that the opposition has managed to get out there, without the people who support health care reform answering it by saying, "But the person who's there right now is your insurance company."
STEPHANOPOULOS: And it does seem, Richard, that the thing -- when you add up this concern about government, along with the bailout of the banks, the bailout of the auto companies, a lot of this resistance is purely just, "We're seeing too much too fast"?
HAASS: Seeing too much too fast, not a clear sense of priorities, but also there's a critique that's being to crystallize out there, and I think the administration has got to be awfully careful about it, because you add up all the spending on the stimulus and not perhaps that much stimulus, you add up health care, you add up the cap and trade, which people haven't really yet focused on...
HAASS: ... on, on the climate change bill, you add up the deficits, and then you look at the federal debt, which is soon going to be greater than 100 percent of what America produces every year, and there's a sense that somehow we've got it wrong, we're going off the rails, we can't afford it. The growth in concern about the size of our indebtedness... (CROSSTALK)
HAASS: ... is now, I think, something to really watch, for the future of America politics.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... president has a majority against him on dealing with the deficit.