CHUCK TODD: NBC NEWS: Jay, you guys used a lot of hostage metaphors. Has there ever been a hostage negotiation situation where the people doing the negotiation have refused to accept any hostages being released? The reason I say that is, you can put some people back to work today. You can save the government some money today by signing these piecemeal bills. Why not?
JAY CARNEY: This is a gimmick and all they have to do is open the government.
TODD: -- when you sign the bill and get some people back to work?
CARNEY: Ask Republicans why they won't put a bill on the floor that would get Republican and Democratic support.
TODD: We've asked the question many times. What's wrong with taking the high road here?
CARNEY: Because it is essential that the government itself open and, again, these are levels that Republicans not only agreed to but celebrated. So, if we agree on, for a modest term C.R., what the funding levels ought to be, why are they refusing to open the government? And you know why, because they continue to throw out demands that are associated with the simple proposition that the government of the United States ought to be open for business.
TODD: I understand but why refuse to do this piecemeal? Why do you believe that?
CARNEY: Because it's inappropriate and bad for the economy and bad for our democracy to negotiate over the fundamental responsibility Congress has to keep the government running and for the United States to pay our bills.
TODD: Do you believe it's less likely to act? Is that the real issue here? That it's less likely to fund the entire government if you do it through piecemeal?
CARNEY: Chuck, I think Republicans in the House need to open the government. The president's not asking for anything in return. Nothing. Nothing. No partisan strings attached. Why won't the Speaker of the House, someone I've known for a long time, and many of you have known, do what everybody thinks is the right thing here, virtually everyone, which is just put a bill on the floor...