Republican Congressman: Health Care Summit Like a ShamWow Infomercial

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 24, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter says the 2/25 summit is a ShamWow infomercial and Republicans should not go. Why? Well, let's ask him. Congressman McCotter joins us live. What is a ShamWow infomercial? Where'd you get that, by the way?

REP. THADDEUS MCCOTTER, R - MICH.: Well, we keep hearing that this is going to be a stage production. It's going to be an infomercial for one side or the other. And the public knows it. So to try to bring attention to the fact that this isn't a real summit, it's not a real negotiation going on, generally, an unfortunate misuse of congressional time and energy, the phrase "ShamWow" came to mind because it's a wildly popular product that is sold on an infomercial.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK. So you think it's just an infomercial. In fact, you take it one step further. You think Republicans should boycott it, am I right?

MCCOTTER: Yes. I think the Democrats should, too, if you think about it. Rasmussen has a poll out that shows that only 21 percent of Americans think they're being governed with their consent.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does that mean? I saw that. I mean, I didn't quite get that. I mean, I read it from your -- your -- something you wrote.

MCCOTTER: Yes, what it means is that people are very -- the cynicism about their representative institutions actually functioning as their servants, trying to do the right thing and go forward. They think the politicians and the government has a special interest. And what they're very afraid of is that more politicking, more posturing, more preening, as opposed to actually admitting either you can agree to something, if not, take it to an election and get down to the issue of the economy or something where you can agree.

Within the paradigm of this, as I said, ShamWow summit, what you have are two fundamentally divergent views of how health care should be done. They can't be papered over. They can't be taking a part over here and sprinkling it onto a bill that you fundamentally disagree with, and I think that everybody knows that. Most...

VAN SUSTEREN: So what, give up?

MCCOTTER: Oh, no, but don't have a TV...

VAN SUSTEREN: ShamWow infomercial?

MCCOTTER: ... a ShamWow infomercial and tell the public that somehow, this is going to do anything except...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, let me -- just give (INAUDIBLE) viewpoint. I mean, everyone's been accusing everybody else of things. Republicans say that the Democrats won't let them participate. The Democrats say the Republicans are the party of no and they're obstructionists, won't do anything. And we hear it's supposed to be transparent, but everything's done behind closed doors. And nobody's talking to anybody.

When I talk to perfectly -- I talk to Democrats, Republicans, they all seem perfectly nice and interested. Yet I don't get the sense that anyone's really talking to anybody. So at least now, we're sort of putting your feet to the fire and saying, Talk to each other. Maybe there is something that can be accomplished here. Maybe not. But at least for -- you know, at least talk to each other for once.

MCCOTTER: There are a lot of things that people in Congress work on all the time. There are great friendships that are built up, and things get done. The problem that we have, though, Greta, is this is one where there are fundamentally principled disagreements. And one of the things you do in politics or in any type of life is you can have fundamental disagreements with friends. The beauty of our free republic is where the Congress has a fundamental disagreement, there's an election that can settle that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Or a compromise.


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not suggesting necessarily that this should be a compromise here, but at least that's something people should talk about because this really is life or death. Republicans say, We want reform. Democrats say, We want reform. They don't seem to talk to each other. Maybe there is some common ground that -- maybe not everyone's going to get his wish list, but maybe we can get some improvement.

Watch Greta's interview

MCCOTTER: Well, one needs a common principle and a common goal to try to achieve a compromise. On some issues, obviously, Congress has that. But on this one, you have two fundamentally diametrically opposed versions of what health care should look like. And the one underlying principle is that the government can control the supply of health care to reduce the costs and expand coverage, and the other is that we need a free market patient-centered system that will reduce costs, and hopefully, expand coverage.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right...

MCCOTTER: Those are divergent and they can't be bridged or papered over with what, again, is not something that is going to be a real attempt at compromise.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so play it out for me. Suppose that the Republicans did do, and even the Democrats did as you suggest, everybody just boycotts this. President Obama dines alone tomorrow. How does this play out, then, under your scenario?

MCCOTTER: Well, I think that what we've seen for 14 months is that the Republican Party is not the problem in this. We've been in a distinct minority. The voters did not like how we governed. They punished us. Accept that. We have to redeem ourselves. But the Democrats have had total control until the election of Scott Brown. The reason health care isn't passing is the public and centrist Democrats did not want it to pass...


MCCOTTER: ... in the forms that came forward.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what would happen?

MCCOTTER: So I think that the first step has to be whether the Democrats are going to look and see, Do we want to operate on a fundamental principle based upon the centrist Democrats, centrist Republicans, and most importantly, something palatable to the public? And all we keep hearing from the public is, Deal with specific individual items in a helpful way that you can agree on, as opposed to, again, a fundamental difference of opinion over whether there should be a massive comprehensive reform or targeted ameliorative steps to make sure that people can get better health care.

VAN SUSTEREN: We only have 10 seconds left. Are you going to watch tomorrow?

MCCOTTER: No, I'm going to be signing constituent letters.


VAN SUSTEREN: You're not going to watch?

MCCOTTER: (INAUDIBLE) watch a hockey game. No, but I got to work tomorrow.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you're going to sign letters and not watch.

MCCOTTER: It's part of my job. The mail doesn't sign itself. Well, in Washington it does, but not in my office.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you.


Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.