Right now, it's as if the country says "a pox on everyone," including the Republicans, who, as the graph shows, are in third place.
What can Republicans do to affect that and get -- have a better place in the American public?
MCCONNELL: Well, look, you're talking about the election in November. I'm talking about the policy in the country now. What the American people would like us to do is not make this gargantuan mistake, in spite of Secretary Sebelius's best efforts. What we're talking about here is a $2.5 trillion spending program, brand-new entitlement.
We are drowning already in a sea of debt. The Congressional Budget Office numbers just came out Friday. We're looking at $10 trillion in new debt in the next 10 years, Matthew.
People are very, very skeptical about starting a whole new government program when we're drowning in a sea of debt.
DOWD: Well, you know, if you take a look at what the American public's perception on this is, it's hard for them to trust either side on debt and on the deficit and on spending.
They saw the deficit rise dramatically during President Bush's presidency and while you were majority leader. And they see it rise even more today. And in their view, neither party can be trusted on this.
So what makes it -- what makes you seem to feel that they'll trust the Republicans when they talk about the debt as opposed to the Democrats?
MCCONNELL: Well, again, you're talking about what may happen in November. I'm talking about what's happening now. We are -- we are spending -- we are on a gargantuan spending spree. The American people would like for us to stop, quit doing it, quit spending this massive amount of money and racking up these tremendous debts.
That $10 trillion figure added to the debt over the next 10 years -- half of it, over $5 trillion, will simply be interest on the debt.
So what I think the American people are saying to us -- stop this job-killing health care bill; we know it will drive taxes up and that will not be good to help us get out of the recession; step back and terminate the spending spree.
DOWD: Well, do you think the Democrats, at this point, will push through that bill by any means necessary?
So is your expectation that you're going to try as you might to kill the bill but they will end up passing the bill by any means they can?
MCCONNELL: Well, it seems that they're certainly trying to do that. I mean, as everyone understands, if the House passes the Senate bill, it goes straight to the president for signatures. So all of this discussion about the second bill, the reconciliation bill, is really, kind of, irrelevant. If the House passes the Senate bill, it goes to the president for a signature.
That means that every single member of the House who voted for this will have voted for the kickback, the purchase, the gator-aid, all of that, and the Medicare cut.
DOWD: That's an interesting question. So how does -- if the House Democrats pass the Senate bill, it basically, at that point, can go to the president.
How -- what is the procedure, then, that would prevent that from happening?
The House Democrats, I guess, have to trust the Senate Democrats that they'll take it up again?
MCCONNELL: Yes, the House has to trust the Senate that we'll go back in and fix the most egregious political problems.