WALTERS: President Obama has asked for a spending freeze on almost everything except matters like the military, Social Security, and Medicare. He says he's going line by line through the budget. Now, you have said that's not enough for you; that you want to cut spending and not just freeze it.
So what are the first 3 items that you would cut?
BROWN: The problem with what the president said is he's not doing it until 2011. We need to do it immediately. We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts.
I'm in favor of, you know, Judd Gregg's proposal, the bipartisan effort, almost like a BRAC closure...
WALTERS: Which was defeated.
BROWN: ... the base closing. And I thought the president did the right thing by saying through executive order he's going to bring it up. I would have supported the ability for him to do that.
WALTERS: On Friday, President Obama announced what he called the "best way to promote hiring," talking about jobs especially for the small businessmen. A $5,000 tax credit for each new employee added and tax relief for those companies that add to their payroll. A total cost is $33 billion dollars.
If and when this became a bill, would you vote for it? Yes or no?
WALTERS: Health care. Massachusetts requires that all residents purchase health insurance. You voted for that plan.
WALTERS: So why doesn't it make sense that all Americans have health insurance? Why isn't what's good for Massachusetts good for the whole country?
BROWN: In Massachusetts, the free market, the free enterprise has taken control, and they're offering a wide range of plans. I've never ever said that people should not get health insurance. It's just a question of if we're going to take a one-size-fits-all government plan or we're going to do something where the individual states can tailor their plans as we've done.
WALTERS: Do you think the whole plan should be scrapped?
WALTERS: The whole plan?
WALTERS: You don't...
BROWN: We need to go back to...
WALTERS: ... see that there could be some things that could be -- goodbye to the whole plan?
BROWN: I think it was on its last legs before I even got elected, because the Democrats even were upset at the backroom deals, for example, in Nebraska. And they want a chance, I believe, based on just what I'm hearing -- and I can't -- I'm not going to quote anybody directly -- that to go back to the drawing board and do it in a transparent, bipartisan manner --that's the big difference between Massachusetts and Washington.
WALTERS: And then would you want it state by state?
BROWN: I have to see what's being proposed. A lot of states want that flexibility. They do not want the federal government always being in their business saying you have to do it this way, this way, and this way.
But other states may not have that ability. They may want more government involvement.
WALTERS: There has been a good deal of criticism of President Obama's economic team. Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, was, after a great deal of…
BROWN: I would have supported him.
WALTERS: You would have?
WALTERS: Well, he had a lot of criticism, but he's in. OK. Now, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is on the hot seat. Should Tim Geithner be replaced?