Transcript: Kerry, Hatch

CHENEY: Well, this was H.R. 3200 they were talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: But there's a deeper problem here, which is that the American people fundamentally are scared about, you know, whatever bill is being proposed, and they, sort of, look to their president, particularly one who has been such an effective communicator in the past, to be able to give them some comfort.

And when they see such a difference between the president's rhetoric and blanket assertions and the specifics in any of the pieces of legislation...

DONALDSON: You're right, in...

CHENEY: ... I think it gives us some concern.

DONALDSON: We talked about it before. This president, by July, should have said "This is what we should do. You cats have been herding yourselves; now it's time someone's got to herd you; and this is what I think we should do; Move on that" -- to his party. Be Franklin Roosevelt. Be a tough guy, no more Mr. nice guy. Instead he still wanted them to figure it out. (CROSSTALK)

IFILL: Sam, I don't know that he was going to win, no matter what he decided to do.

DONALDSON: Well, he's got to win, Gwen. If he doesn't win on this one...

(LAUGHTER)

IFILL: That's your opinion, Sam.

(LAUGHTER)

My point is that he's making everybody unhappy. The headline in The Washington Post today, the op-ed, which said, OK, we bought into the hope; where is the audacity?

Liberals are not happy with him right now. Conservatives are not happy. What will be interesting to watch, after the holiday, is what is the line that he can force? (CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: It's more than a technical problem, though. You know, the White House is now facing a really tough choice, which is, are you going to not get anything on what the president has said is his central domestic policy issue, or are you going to push it through with the Democrats.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and that's a -- that's a -- there's a tactical problem there. Go ahead.

DIONNE: Well, I was going to say, people are torn because they're always afraid that if government does the wrong thing, they're going to lose something. But the conservatives won this debate in August because they focused on that.

Everybody has forgotten what they don't like about the current health care system. They don't like that people go bankrupt. They don't like that you can be denied coverage because you have a pre- existing condition. And Obama's task is to move the conversation back to, wait a minute, there's stuff here you don't like and we're going to fix it. (CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: That's right. But what's happened, though, now -- sorry -- but what's happened is that people are realizing that what is being proposed, no matter what the bill is, is actually worse or will make things worse than things they don't like.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those who have insurance are worried about that right now. WILL: First, on a point of order...

(LAUGHTER)

... Brother E.J. says the Republicans are guilty of hypocrisy for now defending Medicare against cuts. The president is guilty of cognitive dissonance on Medicare. DIONNE: Which is worse?

(LAUGHTER)

WILL: He says to the elderly, fear not, Medicare is a government health program that works well. Next breath, he says, it's going broke and in deep trouble. Now, which is it? DIONNE: Well, it's both. I mean, in fact, you cannot sustain Medicare over the long haul, and he's trying to fix it. (CROSSTALK)

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