'This Week' Transcript: Karl Rove and David Plouffe

KARL: Let's look at the political pressure these wavering Democrats are. And, look, let's face it. This is all about convincing Democrats now, because you won't get a single Republican vote. But you have one of your strongest union allies, SEIU, running this ad against those who are voting no.


(UNKNOWN): By voting for health care reform, Arcuri will reduce health care costs for families and small businesses and stop insurance companies from getting rich by denying coverage and hiking premiums. Call Congressman Arcuri. Tell him to stand up for us, not the insurance companies.


KARL: Now, Congressman Arcuri is a Democrat who has said he is going to vote no. Isn't it a little bit kamikaze for your allies to be going out and targeting Democrats who are going to face very tough races in the midterms?

PLOUFFE: Listen, people feel very strongly about this issue. And we sadly are going to have to do this alone as a Democratic Party, but it's our moment to lead. And I do think, in the short term and in the long term, this is going to be seen most importantly for the country, but the politics for our party -- because, again, politics are about comparisons.

And so I think that we are going to -- listen, for a variety of reasons -- we've got a tough economy. We've run a lot of races, so we've got a lot to defend. We're going to have a tough election. But I think our election outcome in 2010 can be a lot better than a lot of the pundits think by passing health care...

KARL: But is it -- would you ask your union allies to back off and not to target -- these are the most vulnerable Democrats in the House right now, and tell them not to be running against them? I mean, you have already threats to rescind endorsements, to endorse independent candidates. Is it time for the unions to back off?

PLOUFFE: Well, listen, I think we're trying to get the votes to pass health insurance reform. And we're not there yet. Obviously, we've still got the vote to take place, but it looks like we're getting very close.

I think, once the vote's over, obviously, we're going to go out there and figure out how to help Democrats win elections, and I think we're going to have a much better election...


KARL: Including those that voted no? Are you going to help those that voted no win the election?

PLOUFFE: Of course we are. A lot of us supported on the Recovery Act, on the energy bill. They'll have to make their own case to their constituents and volunteers in their district about why they...


KARL: So you'd be going up against the unions in some of these races?

PLOUFFE: Listen, I think we -- you know, it's going to depend race by race, but I think we're committed -- a lot of these people who don't vote for health care -- by the way, we're getting a majority of the Democratic caucus in both the House and the Senate for health insurance reform, as we did for the Recovery Act, as we did (inaudible) and, by the way, this is a big moment in our country.

Economic calamity, we've got these long-term problems like health care and energy that will determine our future. The Republican Party for the most part is not lifting an oar to help row. And I think...


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