Transcript: President Barack Obama

Second, the president says it's -- it's not going to add to the deficit, because Congress is going to cut Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars. No, it isn't.


BRAZILE: Well, look, first of all, I think the Baucus bill is the floor, not the ceiling. And it's -- it gives the party a framework to make the bill better.

I agree that I would not give it a wonderful grade initially, as well. But it allows the Democrats to really have a framework to make it a stronger bill. And if the Republicans decide to continue to stay on the sideline, then the Democrats will have to really have a good inside game to get this bill through.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Republicans, all but one, Peggy, I couldn't help but notice in -- in the president's opening answer on health care, he -- he knew he was going to work in his courtship of Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the most powerful people in Washington right now.

NOONAN: She sure is. She's in an extraordinary position. It -- it is also probably a dangerous position for her. I don't know what she will do. I don't have insight...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think she knows yet.

NOONAN: ... into that. I -- I wonder. There is much to be gained if she becomes part of something that is good, but it is hard to believe a really good bill is going to come out of this.

GILLESPIE: Yes, let me just say, I think -- I have to say, I think they've been a little bit ham-handed, frankly, in their handling of Senator Snowe. I think they've been...

STEPHANOPOULOS: She's still in the game, no?

GILLESPIE: Absolutely, she's still in the game. I think others are still in the game, as well, by the way, Senators Voinovich...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Other Republicans?

GILLESPIE: Absolutely. Republicans would like to get something done on health care. They're for reform. They're just not for the reform that is coming from the left. And I think it'll be interesting to watch this bill as it moves through the committee. I suspect it moves further and further actually to the left. And we're going to...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it has to at this point, doesn't it? GILLESPIE: I suspect it does. And I think that brings us to a point, George -- I think it makes it very tough for Olympia Snowe at that point to try to stay with it. She has said in the past that she will not be the sole Republican to support legislation.

But let me just say, they seem to be heading toward the -- the so-called nuclear option, going to the floor and trying to jam it through in the reconciliation process. I think that is a huge threat to this president and his greatest attribute politically, which is this still aura of post-partisanship. He will become at that point a very partisan Democrat.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's not just the...


NOONAN: It would be a catastrophic...

GILLESPIE: Catastrophic, I agree.

BRAZILE: But -- but let me just say this. Bipartisanship was always the goal. When you accept Republican amendments in the House and the Senate and try to bring Republicans aboard, as Chairman Baucus has tried to do, look, he took out the public option to gain Republican support. He -- he gave them interstate marketability.

GILLESPIE: A little bit.

BRAZILE: He's doing everything to try to bring Republicans along, but the Republicans don't want to come along.

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