This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: President Obama says that is it, no more debate. He tells Congress, Vote. In other words, reconciliation is fine with him. Meanwhile, Republicans are gearing up. Can the Republicans do anything to stop this health care bill?
Republican senator Jim DeMint joins us live. Senator, seems like the ball is now in your court. I know you don't like this bill. Are you stuck with it, or can you do something?
SEN. JIM DEMINT, R - S.C.: Well, I've actually been encouraged. And the battle is not going to be in the Senate. While the president's distracting us with one hand with this new bill, he was meeting with Democrats at the White House tonight, from the House, trying to convince them to vote for the Senate version of the bill, which they said they couldn't vote for. What he's trying to do now, Greta, is get the House to pass the Senate version of the health bill and promising to fix it later with reconciliation in the Senate. It's a very confusing process that he's talking about.
VAN SUSTEREN: So basically, are you telling me that what your hope is, in terms of fighting the bill, is you're hoping that the House just falls apart and they can't -- that it will not accept it. Do you have anything other than your wish or hope that the Senate -- or that the House falls apart?
DEMINT: Yes, I don't think the Blue Dogs in the House are going to go back on what they've said. They said they would not vote for this. And Bart Stupak and some other social conservatives are concerned about the abortion language.
VAN SUSTEREN: But so you're depending on them?
DEMINT: I'm dependent on the Democrats in the House not to be fooled by what the president's saying. What the president's saying, Greta, is if they vote on this and pass it, then all of this -- this problem with the health care will be behind them and then they can move on to the election. But we want to make sure they know, first of all, it's not going to get fixed in the Senate because we have 41 senators who will stop what they're trying do. They will go into the election with this albatross around their neck, and most Republicans will campaign on repealing it.
VAN SUSTEREN: But do they need 41 -- what do they need in the Senate?
DEMINT: Yes, there are points of order against what they're trying to do, which requires 60 votes to overcome.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you get it that way. But OK, so are you doing anything to convince the Bart Stupak Democrats and the Blue Dog Democrats (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you, like, calling them up and saying, If you -- you're out of your mind if you think we're going to do this?
DEMINT: Well, I have talked to a few of them. And they're smarter than this. I think the whole supposition of the president is that we're all stupid and that he can keep saying it's one thing and -- while it really is another. I think he wants to -- he's willing to sacrifice a lot of Democrats. I don't think the Blue Dogs and the Bart Stupaks of the world are going to go back on their word.
VAN SUSTEREN: So are you actually calling them?
DEMINT: Well, I've talked to a few of them.
VAN SUSTEREN: What does that mean? You pick up the phone and you say...
DEMINT: No, I bump into them a lot and...
VAN SUSTEREN: Purposely?
DEMINT: Yes. I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: So you're hustling them!
DEMINT: No, I'm -- they don't listen to what I say. I'm trying to find out what they're thinking. And the inclination I've gotten from them is that, certainly, they want to help the president, but they feel like he's leading them off a cliff on this. And I may be wrong, Greta, but I think the Democrats in the House will not vote for this Senate bill and they will not believe this idea, Oh, let's make this law and we'll fix it later.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did President Obama say anything today that you think, OK, I can live with that portion, so that you're at least moving close to agreement on some things?
DEMINT: No, what he did today, Greta, was like pouring one clean glass of water in a polluted lake. And so he took a few ideas and said, We'll try these in a kind of a limited form. But he kept his 2,700 pages of nonsense. So...
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he give you anything?
DEMINT: No -- I think -- I'm afraid something that sounded close to arrogance, that he knows he's right. He's going to go ahead. I don't think he did himself any favors today.
But we're very close to the final showdown on this health care. I think it's going to be in the next week or two. And a lot depends on the American people. If they have lost interest in this, it could pass the House. But if they call their Democrat congressmen all over the country, I think you'll see that the House will not pass the Senate version.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are the Senate Republicans sort of gathering in the last day or so, talking about sort of your strategy? I mean, do you have some sort of even strategy to reach out to the House Democrats to tell them that, Look, you know, we're not going to go your way?
DEMINT: Yes. We are. We're going to show them 41 names of Republicans who are not going to allow any changes if they put this thing into law. So if the House Democrats pass the Senate version, they're going to own it because this idea...
VAN SUSTEREN: So there's going to be nothing in -- basically, they won't get anything -- anything out of any later fix-up?
DEMINT: If the president's promising they're going to fix it later in the Senate, that promise is not going to come true. And we've got 41 Republicans who will say it isn't going to come true.
VAN SUSTEREN: When are you going to show the House that?
DEMINT: We'll probably show it to them this week. I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you actually show it to them, send them over a letter and say, Here it is?
DEMINT: We probably will, or do a press release, or whatever. But they'll know. And most of them have been around long enough to know. I was told so many times when we were in the majority, DeMint, vote for this bill and we'll fix it when it gets to conference. It never gets fixed. So if they pass this and the president signs it, they're going to be stuck with it in November. And so will the American people.
And this really is a bad bill, Greta, and we need to get on to doing some things that are step-by-step that make our system better. The president has not been willing to listen to it. He wants a big FDR-type health care takeover, and I hope the Democrats in the House won't give it to him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.
DEMINT: Thank you, Greta.
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