Transcript: President Barack Obama

STEPHANOPOULOS: He meets with Khrushchev. Khrushchev cleans his clock.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Kennedy walks out and knows that's exactly what's happened.

I know you -- there are no perfect analogies, but what's the moment, in the last eight months, where you took a step back and said: 'Wow, I'm going to have to step up my game'?

OBAMA: You know, it's an interesting question. I -- I mean I don't mean to be immodest here, but I don't think I've had that moment with a -- with a world leader, where I said gee, you know -- you know, we've got to really tighten things up.

I think there have been times where I have said I've got to step up my game in terms of talking to the American people about issues like health care. I mean I think during this whole health care debate, I've -- there have been times where I've said...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You lost control?

OBAMA: Well, not so much lost control, but where I've said to myself, somehow I'm not breaking through. And -- and it's not -- you know, I know my critics would just say well, it's because you -- you know, the plan is just, you know, the -- the wrong one.

But it's -- it -- that's not so much it. It's -- this has been a sufficiently tough, complicated issue with so many moving parts that, you know, no matter how much I've -- I've tried to keep it digestible, you know, it's very hard for people to get their -- their whole arms around it. And that's been a case where I have been humbled and I just keep on trying harder, because I -- I really think it's the right thing to do for the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks very much for sitting with us.

OBAMA: Great to talk to you. Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama trying harder to communicate on health care.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk to the roundtable about all this now. I am joined, as always, by George Will, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, Bob Reich of Berkeley and the American Prospect, former Bush strategist, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, and Donna Brazile.

Welcome to you all.

And, George, let's pick up on that last point with the president, a concession there from the president that he hasn't communicated as well as he'd hoped on health care. Is this blitz we're seeing the answer?

WILL: I don't think so. I mean, it was a concession to avoid a bigger concession. Every president, when he has trouble selling an idea, says, "Nothing wrong with the idea. It's the packaging that's wrong. People have seen too little of me."

And so he's -- he's acting in character with the office. But there is a fact -- there is an inverse relationship between the amount he speaks about health care and support for health care.

And this week, George, something immense happened, and that is we got a big number. Actually, we got a little number. We deal with hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars in talking about this. The number that came out this week is 13 percent.

They said 13 percent of a family's income, a family making $66,000 a year, about $15,000 over the median income, about 13 percent of their income under this plan would go for health care, not counting co-payments and not counting deductibles.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hence, the charge a middle-class tax increase from Democrats...

WILL: Correct.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... like Jay Rockefeller. I want to get to more on the policy on health care later in the roundtable.

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