Transcript: Sens. McConnell and McCaskill

STEPHANOPOULOS: So much of this is centered right now, so much of the debate is centered right now on this issue of the public option. The latest iteration that Senator Reid is working on is that he would set up a national program, but states would have the ability to opt out of the program, and it comes as the New York Times is reporting this morning that small businesses are going to face an increase in their health insurance premiums of 15 percent next year, 15 percent on average for small businesses. Given that, doesn't it make sense that there be a public health insurance option to compete with the private insurers?

MCCONNELL: No, it doesn't make any sense at all. In fact, I think 100 percent of Republicans have indicated they don't think having the government in the insurance business is a good idea.

What we do know about this bill, though, George, aside from whether or not there's a government insurance company in it or not, we do know it's half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. We know it's $400 billion in tax increases on individuals and businesses. And we know the CBO says that insurance premiums for everybody will go up, that's 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance.

So, wholly aside from the debate over whether the government gets into the insurance business, the core of the proposal is a bill that the American public clearly does not like.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It comes, though, at a time when also it appears that your party is facing more political trouble that you have had in years. We had a new poll out of ABC News this week showing that only 20 percent of Americans now call themselves Republicans. When we asked the question, who do you trust to take the country in the right direction? 49 percent of the country said President Obama. Only 19 percent said they trust congressional Republicans to take the country in the right direction. If only 19 percent of the country believes that you can take them in the right direction, isn't that a sign you're doing something wrong?

MCCONNELL: Look, the Gallup poll, which is out there every day, the oldest poll and the most respected poll in America, asked the question that really makes a difference, and that is the question, if the election were held tomorrow, who would you be more likely to vote for, the Republican candidate for Congress or the Democratic candidate for Congress? Last November, not surprisingly, my party was down 12. Two weeks ago, we were down 2. So the issue is not so much whether they're identifying with Republicans or Democrats, but how would they vote. And I think you sense over in Virginia, for example, the candidate for governor on the Democratic ticket in Virginia is complaining about the atmosphere in Washington causing him problems.

MCCONNELL: I think if you just want to talk about the politics of all of this, George, I think it is clearly not working for the administration or for the Democratic majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At a time when only 19 percent of the country believes that congressional Republicans are taking the country in the right direction?

MCCONNELL: I think something like 22 percent like Congress, and it's run by the Democrats. I think people are disaffected right now. But the fundamental question, George, is not whether they are disaffected. It's how will they vote, and we'll have an early test case of that over in the Virginia governor's race here in just a couple of weeks.

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