MORAN: I do have a question here. What do you think of the idea that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are cooking up that you could essentially strip the Senate bill of a few provisions on a parliamentary maneuver requiring only 51 votes and then getting the bill through the House? Do you, A, think that's possible? And, B, getting the original $800 billion bill that the voters of Massachusetts soundly rejected, do you think that's a good idea?
AXELROD: Terry, again, I think you're misreading the Massachusetts poll. I think people want action on health care. In fact, the bill that the House and the Senate passed, which are largely the same in the main, were patterned in many ways on the Massachusetts health care plan, which is a unique plan in that state. And 68 percent of the people who voted last week said they liked the Massachusetts plan. Senator Brown said he wouldn't change it.
So I think you're misreading the results out of Massachusetts. The president will not walk away from the American people, will not hand them over to the tender mercies of health insurance companies who -- who take advantage. He will not walk away from people with pre-existing conditions. He will not walk away from senior citizens in Medicare. He's just not going to do that.
And let me tell you, as a political matter, the foolish thing to do would be for anybody else who supported this to walk away from it, because what's happened is, this thing's been defined by insurance company -- insurance industry propaganda, the propaganda of the opponents, and an admittedly messy process leading up to it.
But the underlying elements of it are popular and important. And people will never know what's in that bill until we pass it, the president signs it, and they have a whole range of new protections they never had before.
MORAN: All right. And the president and you sounding a lot more populist these days. The president on Friday in Ohio using the word "fight," fight for Americans more than 20 times. And the State of the Union address coming up this Wednesday. Is this really what we're going to see on Wednesday, what some are calling Barack Obama 2.0, the populist crusader?
AXELROD: You know something, Terry? I -- I would be happy to sit down or you or anyone -- I traveled with the president across this country for two years. I heard all of his speeches. And the -- what he -- what he said in Ohio on Friday is completely consistent with what he's been saying for two years. We have to make this economy work for all Americans and not just for a fortunate few. We've got to make sure that work pays, that people who work hard and meet their responsibilities get ahead, and we have to insist on responsibility from our institutions, whether it's on Wall Street or in Washington.
And we have to push back on special interests. We have to push back on partisanship and meet the problems that are important in people's lives. And that has been what he's been saying, really, since the -- 2004, when he spoke at the national convention.
I think that, you know, in Washington, people look for signs, cues for their script to say, oh, you know, here's Obama 2.0. This is Obama -- this is the Obama who ran for president.