'This Week' Transcript: Karl Rove and David Plouffe

LOTT: And we passed it in the fall, went home, got an earful, came back the next year and -- and reversed it.

DONALDSON: But you remember that bill, don't you? It said that older people needed to pay if they wanted catastrophic health insurance if they had the money.


DONALDSON: And most of the older people who didn't wouldn't have to pay, but elderly people who were wealthy would have to pay, and they rose up in arms. "Don't you touch me."

KARL: Let me ask you, we've now just spent this entire show talking about health care, and we looked back at the president's speeches over the last month, and we put it in into a program that shows you a visual representation of how many words, the big major subject lines he uses. Take a look at this, if you can see. They call this is a word cloud.

And you can see, of course -- this is 35 speeches over the last month, health, insurance, the big issues. Try to find jobs on that little word cloud. I think we can help you if we have another graphic. It's right up there. I mean, this health care has completely crowded everything else out. You won't see a single mention in any of those speeches of Afghanistan, of terrorism.

Has this been a cost that this has dominated not only the last month, but it's dominated much of Obama's presidency so far?

DASCHLE: Well, it has, and it's by design. Clearly, this president cares deeply about this issue. He has said to me it's his legacy, and he understands the balance and the importance of this.

But he's also done an extraordinary amount of work in the other areas, as well. We've made progress on the economy. You know, we're doing very well in Afghanistan and Iraq right now. The elections just were held. I mean, you look at all the other aspects of his presidency, and I would say that, in spite of the fact that he may not talk about them to the -- in rallies around the country, the fact is that we're making progress.

This is where he's put his emphasis for a reason. Today is that day. Today is when we're going to see health care passed.

LOTT: But the pattern goes beyond health care. We see just last week there had been negotiations on so-called financial services reform. There's been a lot of bipartisan effort going on with Senator Corker, Senator Shelby, Senator Dodd, and others.

And all of a sudden -- under pressure, I believe, from President Obama and from his left flank -- Chris Dodd said, eh, no more negotiation, try to find bipartisan common cause. We're going to ram this through without any Republican participation.

There is a pattern here. And I think it's -- they're paying -- they're going to pay a tremendous cost...


KARL: And we've heard from Lindsey Graham, who...

DASCHLE: But that isn't what Chris Dodd. Chris Dodd actually said, I want to continue to work with Bob Corker and others, other Republican senators. I mean, they -- he thought that -- I mean, he had called them over to his home. He worked out details with task forces on a bipartisan basis. I mean, Jack Reed is working with the Republican counterparts.

LOTT: But why did they stop and you came up with a bill that clearly is not going to make it through the process?

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