'This Week' Transcript: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Photo: This Week guests

DOWD: Good morning and welcome to "This Week."


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I asked Congress to finish this work.


DOWD: The final act for health care reform.


MCCONNELL: This is politically toxic in the extreme.


DOWD: Can Democrats round up the votes?


(UNKNOWN): Assume (ph) nothing.

(UNKNOWN): We will not compromise.


DOWD: Can Republicans keep up the (inaudible) defense?


(UNKNOWN): This bill can be defeated.


DOWD: Questions for our headliners, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Only on "This Week."



REP. ERIC MASSA, D-N.Y.: Did I use salty language? Yes.


DOWD: Culture of corruption. Is history repeating itself, this time for Democrats?

That and Oscar picks from our roundtable, with George Will, Donna Brazile, Republican strategist Torie Clarke and Robert Reich of the American Prospect.

And as always, the Sunday Funnies.


DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: They are trying to get Paterson to leave early, and I said to myself, well, that sounds like a job for Jay Leno.


DOWD: Good morning, everyone. Joining me now, Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius.

Welcome to the show.

SEBELIUS: Thanks, Matt.

DOWD: Well, it's your anniversary of your nomination to the Cabinet, so happy anniversary.

SEBELIUS: Oh, thank you.

DOWD: You're ready for a vacation?

SEBELIUS: Well, it's been a very exciting and interesting place to be. I wouldn't have missed it.

DOWD: Well, I wanted to sort of start out broader, about 10,000 feet, and have you reflect back on the last year. A year ago, if you think about where things stood, the Democrats were enthusiastic, everybody was engaged, the independents were totally on board, people were (inaudible), Democrats in the administration were riding a big wave, and today a year later, things aren't as they were back then. And we put together some glass to sort of show the graph of that. If you can see from these graphics, president's approval is way down from a year ago. His approval on the economy is way down from last year at this same time, and his approval on health care reform is way down from where it was back then. And so the question I have is -- it's Oscar night today, so I'm going to paraphrase from a movie, "Wizard of Oz," we're not in Kansas anymore. And I just want to know, what do you think happened over the course of this year and why we are where we are today?

SEBELIUS: Well, Matt, I think that a lot of Americans are worried about what happens next, worried about jobs and the economy, worried about their health security, want to know, you know, will they be able to protect themselves and their families? And certainly the current situation is shaky.

The first thing the president did was a big job spill with the Recovery Act, and that is beginning to pay off. Stabilize the economy. We're seeing finally a stop in the bleeding of job loss, and hopefully we'll see a pickup in -- we've seen a huge pickup in productivity; we're going to see that followed by jobs.

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