'This Week' Transcript: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

WILL: '94, sorry. What happened then, 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives ended because the entitlement mentality had become so strong that they had the House banking scandal, and things like that colored the election.

REICH: I find it very, very hard to believe that even the past week is on par with Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff and the moral and ethical turpitude spread over the Republican Party before 2006.

I do think that there is an ethical issue here--

DOWD: Some might say there's still plenty of time.

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: I think it's a bipartisan ethical issue. When the Ethics Committee in the House said recently that it doesn't matter if there are earmarks that look to everyone as if they are payments and paybacks for political campaigns, whether it's Republicans or Democrats getting those earmarks, that, to me, is really offensive. I don't know how you guys feel, but that to me is the biggest moral and ethical problem we have.

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: Why do we have these earmarks?

CLARKE: Neither party has the monopoly on corruption and sleaziness. The Democrats are making a very hard run for it in this last week. I think more interesting is the long-term effects. I think it adds to the cynicism about Washington. It's Washington and they play by different rules and they set up rules for themselves. I think you're going to see more of what happened to Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry. If you're not from Washington or you can pretend you're not really part of the Washington culture, you're going to do better. And it's sad more than anything else.

DOWD: Well that brings up an interesting spot -- Senator Lincoln in Nebraska -- I mean in Arkansas is in a very tight race in the primary and the general election and she just put a spot on the air, which is an amazing spot for an incumbent to run, which is basically not lauding what she's done in Washington, but stopping what she's done even though she's part of the majority. Let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is why I voted against giving more money to Wall Street, against the auto company bailout, against the public option health care plan and against the cap and trade bill which would raise energy costs on our kids. None of those were right for Arkansas. Some in my party didn't like it very much. But I approved this message because I don't answer to my party. I answer to Arkansas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOWD: George, to me, that is an amazing ad that an incumbent Democratic senator as part of the majority would run in their home state?

WILL: It's cognitive dissonance on a grand scale. Until recently it was said the Republicans are wicked because they're the party of no. She just put up an ad saying I said no to bail outs, this, this, this, and this. No is a lovely word.

Except for that last line, almost any Republican could run that ad this year.

DOWD: Well Donna --

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