White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that despite losing a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, the party was still "inside the five-yard line" in attempting to reach its goal of passing healthcare reform.
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Gibbs was asked by host John King -- on the day of the Pro Bowl, no less -- how the statement of White House senior adviser David Axelrod, who said before Christmas that backers of health reform legislation were "right on the one-yard line," had changed with the election of Republican Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat in Massachusetts.
Gibbs sounded an optimistic note that Republicans and Democrats could work together to advance what he said was a priority for the American people.
But even with the five-yard-line analogy, Gibbs wouldn't predict how much longer it would take to get to the goal line.
"If the House would take up the Senate bill then that bill would go to the president's desk," Gibbs said.
Gibbs kept his eye on the ball in regards to the renewed administration focus on jobs and the economy, emphasizing bipartisan cooperation in passing a jobs bill that would extend tax credits to small businesses to spur hiring.
The press secretary estimated that sweeping jobs legislation would cost "somewhere in the hundred billion dollar range."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), also on CNN, said "as long as it creates jobs were willing to take a look at it."
But when pressed on bipartisanship, McConnell said it was "silly talk" to charge the Republicans with not having viable ideas.
"The president chose the course and unfortunately he chose to go really hard left," McConnell said.
Part of the problem, McConnell said, was the healthcare reform bill that's still afloat. The minority leader said businesses weren't hiring in part because they feared new healthcare taxes.
So to stimulate jobs, McConnell said, lawmakers should put the current bills "on the shelf, go back and start over."
This post was updated at 10 a.m.