Ponnuru: If you could get the Democrats to agree, or at least to come to the table on entitlements or on tax simplification, are those circumstances under which you’d be willing to accept a tax increase?
Sen. McCain: No; no.
PONNURU: No circumstances?
Sen. McCain: No. None. None.
MCCAIN: I am a supporter of sitting down together and putting everything on the table and coming up with an answer. So, there is nothing I would take off the table. There was nothing I would demand.
I think that’s the way that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did it. And that’s what we have to do again. . . . I have said and will say, I will say that everything has to be on the table, if we’re going to reach a bipartisan agreement. I’ve been in bipartisan negotiations before. I know how you reach a conclusion. We all have to sit down together with everything on the table.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, that means payroll tax increases are on the table, as well?
MCCAIN: There is nothing that’s off the table. I have my positions, and I’ll articulate them. But nothing’s off the table.
I don’t want tax increases. Of course I’d like to have young Americans have some of their money put into an account with their name on it. But that doesn’t mean that anything is off the table…