Transcript: President Barack Obama

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me -- let me (inaudible) on that, because you said get out of the twigs. And you write, one, get out of the twigs on the policy side, also on the political side. When Democrats, Peggy, take a step back, they say, "We're not going to fail because we can't fail. It's simply too catastrophic to the president to -- to fail on health care."

Yet you get into the weeds of the -- of the actual detail line by line of the policy, and you don't see something that there's a majority support for, at least not yet.

NOONAN: I think what normal people watching what is going on in Washington think, to step back, is that, oh, they -- the people in Washington -- are going to make government bigger now. They're going to make it more expensive now. And they're going to make it more intrusive in my life, forcing me to buy, say, insurance if I don't want to or a penalty if I don't. Do I want that now, with the economy in the shape it's in and with being worried about my nephew, who's over in Afghanistan and is he coming back? No, I don't think that's where people are.

I think the president will get something. I think he will win. There will be a headline that says, "Obama gets health insurance," or whatever he gets, however it's put, but I think it will be a sort of victory that makes people think, "That's not what we need." BRAZILE: Well, you know, the other flipside of that, of course, is that the status quo is untenable. We're paying more in premiums -- I think the president said $900; I've seen estimates at $1,100 -- additional dollars in uncompensated care, 45,000 people lose their health insurance -- 45,000 -- Americans are dying each year because they lack health insurance, just 1 out of 12 Americans.

We need to convince the American people that this is in their best interest, that this is good in the long term, because whether we do -- do something this year that might be incremental, may not be as -- as expansive as the House bills, but if we do nothing, Peggy, we pay up -- we pay a dear price in the deficit...

NOONAN: How about you do portability and tort reform and the Republicans are on board, and it's bipartisan, and the American government did it, and Obama still gets, "Obama wins"?

REICH: Because, Peggy, with due respect, that does nothing about the fact that most Americans are paying through their nose now for co- payments, deductibles and premiums on a scale that they cannot possibly afford in the future.


NOONAN: Then why are they saying in polls, "Oh, my goodness, I'm afraid of the change"...


REICH: It's not just costs. It's also making this the most -- the most inefficient insurance system in the world. We all know that.

Now, look, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided not to add health care to the New Deal. Why? Because he said to his colleagues, "I can't explain it. It's too complicated."

STEPHANOPOULOS: We just heard President Obama say something similar...


REICH: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, this -- this -- we have now one of the best communicators we've ever had, the educator-in-chief. That's why he's all over the media. We haven't listened to him.

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