Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Sunday insisted that Republicans opposed raising taxes on the wealthy and supported cutting earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare because they were "the party of big ideas."
"Inside the [Republican] caucus, what people are looking at is how do we solve the system-wide problem," she explained to CNN's Candy Crowley. "And if you're going to talk revenues, you've got to talk cuts, you have to talk reform of your trust funds -- Medicare and Social Security -- and you've got to deal with entitlements."
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), however, advised Republicans to accept President Barack Obama's deal on raising rates on top earners "and just get that off the table" so that taxes would not go up on the other 98 percent of Americans.
"I have a different approach," Blackburn insisted. "The good thing is we are the party of big ideas. We are putting ideas out on the table and saying, 'This is how we solve this, let's talk about it.' Now, what I want to do is make certain no one's taxes go up. Let's look at cleaning up the tax code."
Crowley observed that it would be impossible to reform the tax code before the so-called fiscal cliff kicked in at the end of the year.
"You all lost the election," the CNN host told Blackburn. "Doesn't that put some limitations on what you can ask for here? You lost members of the House, you lost members of the Senate and you lost the White House."
"The president thinks he has momentum, I think he's running on adrenaline from the campaign," the Tennessee Republican replied. "Second thing, we won the House."
"The American people clearly said, 'We don't want our taxes to go up,'" she added. "You can not be practicing escapism and not putting these issues on the table. And it is an imperative to deal with the spending."
Watch this video from CNN's State of the Union, broadcast Dec. 9, 2012.