TAPPER: On Thursday you guys are going to Iowa to — the president's going to talk about health-care reform, and I know you recall 2007 — when the president, then senator, was there, he introduced his health-care proposal. If you look at what he announced in 2007 and what is law or will be law as of tomorrow, there are a lot of similarities, but there are also a lot of striking differences in terms of, you know, whether or not there's universal coverage, whether or not every individual family premiums — if family premiums will go down $2,500. Is this just what happens when ideals meet the pragmatic politics? Or why are there such differences between what the president proposed two years ago –
GIBBS: Well, look, Jake, obviously what you — what you propose and what goes through the system sometimes change. I think the promise that the president laid out in May of 2007 and talked about even before laying out a specific policy was that we should not, in a country like the United States of America, have to have people deciding between keeping their house and keeping their health care, or we shouldn't live in a country where people don't have access to affordable health care. So look, I think always in this, it always goes through the legislative process. But I think what the president promised that day and what the president will sign tomorrow — very much the promise of affordable, accessible health care that puts people back in charge of their health care, rather than insurance companies — I think something that will have lasting benefit for tens of millions of Americans for many years to come.
TAPPER: Is there going to be follow-up legislation, since the president had the goal of universal coverage in 2007? CBO says the current legislation will leave uninsured 23 million Americans. Is there going to be a follow-up attempt?
GIBBS: Look, I don't know if there's been any discussions about that this morning. The coverage — I think CBO said somewhere between 94 and 95 percent of Americans will have coverage. And obviously we will, after the president signs this into law, get about to the important process of ensuring its efficient and speedy implementation.
TAPPER: Does the president feel any — it was a very long, hard fight, very bitter and divisive in a lot of ways. Does the president feel any obligation, as a man who campaigned on bridging the partisan divide, to reach out to Republicans for future legislation, for improving the spirit in Washington that has now been so poisoned by this very vicious debate at times?
GIBBS: I don't know that — we'll be able to look back and see whether the debate itself poisoned the atmosphere. I think that the president will do on financial reform, on campaign finance, on getting our economy moving again — all of the host of issues that — immigration reform and energy — that we've talked about, still being on the docket — I think the president will continue to reach out to Democrats and Republicans that want to make a positive effort on these issues. Jake, I — you know, the president — you know, I'm — you're – I'm a little struck by the fact that, you know, everybody seems on one side to be talking about repeal today. So I'll let them answer why, as Mitch McConnell put it in his profile in The New York Times, the anecdote of him having a plan, even before the president came to the Congress with an economic recovery plan last January, that he had a plan to simply say no to each and every thing that the president proposed. I think that's a little bit about what elections are ultimately going to be about. And I think if people want to campaign on taking tax cuts away from small business, taking assistance away from seniors getting prescription drugs, and want to take away the — a mother knowing that their child can't be discriminated against by an insurance company — if that's the platform that others want to run on, taking that away from families and small businesses, then we'll have a robust campaign on that.