Transcript: Sebelius, Specter and Hatch

She's not the only Republican who was for so-called death panels, which, by the way, does not exist in the bill. The Republicans supported it as part of their Medicare reform effort back in 2003. That was 204 Republicans, 42 in the United States Senate.

So I think, again, this misinformation has sort of got the White House now getting the facts out, spinning as much information on Facebook, tweeting and everything else out there. By the way, Al Gore invented all of these things when the Internet was created.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I come back to your point about the message, the White House message? Because I agree. And they've had a fundamental conflict between their inside strategy and their outside strategy, trying to learn from Bill Clinton, who was -- when you look back on health care in '93 and '94, one of the principal complaints was that he handed up tablets to Capitol Hill. So trying to respond to that, they are giving the legislators in each chamber maximum flexibility to figure out what the water line is.

I mean, they are not drawing hard and fast lines. They're saying, "You put in the bill what you need to get it through your chamber, to get it to conference, and then we can try to shape it."

The cost of that -- because that's been the inside strategy, and they've had some success with it. The cost of that is in the outside strategy. They have not had a specific bill that they can go to the country with and say, look, if you pass health care reform, you're going to get X, Y and Z.

Now, as Donna says, they've begun to rectify that, because now they're focusing on one piece that is a common element of almost all bills, which even Orrin Hatch endorsed when you were talking about him, and that is the idea of trading fundamental insurance reform for a mandate on individuals to buy insurance.

That's an idea that's now supported even by the insurance industry all of the way over to Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama. So it's given them something to talk about, but there's no question they've been hurt by the -- the public consequence of their internal strategy.

And right now, we are in a situation where I think the one thing that's clear about these town halls and that is true about the town halls is there is more intensity in the opposition than there is in the support.

TAPPER: Absolutely.

BROWNSTEIN: And that's clear even in the polling.

TAPPER: And the poll indicates that, as well. Speaking of Bill Clinton, he did weigh in this week on -- on health care reform, speaking to the Netroots convention in Pittsburgh, liberal bloggers and activists, and -- and we have a clip of that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: It is not only the morally right thing to do. It is politically imperative for the Democrats to pass a health care bill now. One thing we know and that I have lived through is that, if you get out there and then you don't prevail, the victors get to rewrite history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now, he also talked about -- he also talked about the substance of -- of -- of the bill, we should point out, but that's the raw politics of it.

And, Ed, you've been on the losing side on some of these big debates, both working in Congress and in the White House. Does this remind you at all of President Bush's push for Social Security reform?

GILLESPIE: Yes, a little bit. I've been on some winning sides, too.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): Including the health care.

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