Transcript: Sebelius, Specter and Hatch

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.


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.


(UNKNOWN): Including the health care.

TAPPER: You've been on some winning sides, as well. Absolutely true.

GILLESPIE: But it does. And I'd, by the way, make a point about Palin's death panel comment. It's worth noting the Senate Finance Committee dropped the provision...


TAPPER: They said they -- they dropped it weeks before, they said.

GILLESPIE: They came out and said we're -- made clear to the public that we're not going to have it in our markup, so I think she deserves, you know, should get a little credit for having moved the debate.

Let me go back to this, though. This does have a feel of -- it reminds me a little bit of President Bush's push for Social Security reform, by the way, in terms of town hall meetings. There were a lot of folks from, a lot of folks from the labor unions, a lot of folks, obviously, from Code Pink who protested a lot of town hall meetings over time, didn't get as much attention as these are, but it does have that feel. They are having a hard time.

But I think it's not just a communications problem. I think it is a policy problem. People are concerned, as Ron pointed out, about the size of government, about the deficits, about the debt. It's not just the conservative base, by the way. Independents are showing real concern over that, and they're moving away from this White House as a result.

And they have a problem explaining how it is they're going to spend $1.6 trillion and bring down costs. They have a problem explaining to people how they're going to increase the deficit, according to the CBO, by over $250 billion, how they're going to get savings out of Medicare and not affect the quality for Medicare beneficiaries, so they've got a real policy problem that they're having to deal with here.

And they have to explain how it is that they're not going to end up transferring tens of millions of people, as Senator Hatch pointed out, from their private insurance that they're comfortable with into this government-run plan.

BRAZILE: But the CBO estimates, revised estimates is $1.045 trillion, not -- not $1.6 trillion.

GILLESPIE: I'm happy to debate $1.6 trillion versus $1 trillion in new spending.


BRAZILE: It's sausage-making. But -- but what's not in dispute is the fact that most Americans with health insurance are concerned about the rise in cost, the rise in premiums that exist. Most self-employed Americans are worried about whether or not they have more market options. So I...

TAPPER: So why is President Obama losing the debate?

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