updated 7/7/2009 9:42:33 AM ET 2009-07-07T13:42:33

Guests: Courtney Hazlett, Steve MacDonald, Lyda Green, Karen DeSoto, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. John Barrasso, Roger Simon, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Sam Stein, Tim Griffin

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  I‘m Ed Schultz.  This is THE ED SHOW.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  Good evening, Americans. 

Live from 30 Rock in New York, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

It‘s quitting time for Governor Sarah Palin?  I don‘t think so.  I know what Sarah Barracuda is up to.  I‘ll have that in the “OpEd” off the top.

Senator Franken goes to Washington, and a top Democrat says no more excuses.  It‘s time for some real progressive action on health care.  I‘m all for it.

Senators Bernie Sanders and John Barrasso are going to be weighing in on that tonight here on the program.

And this is what really burns me up.  The health care lobby is spending over $1 million a day to stop the public option?  And many of these guys, they used to work for Democrats. 

What‘s going on here? 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.”  

We‘ve got a great panel coming up tonight. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.”

All I can say is, conservatives, get in line.  We now know who the real maverick was in the last election.  It wasn‘t the old guy, it was this flashy personality from the north country, Sarah Palin. 

Palin took back media attention with a very unconventional move which really borders on political stupidity.  Nobody quits like this.  Nobody just bails out like this.  Or do they? 

I mean, you know, people change jobs all the time.  But I think there‘s a political silver lining in all of this. 

Republicans, get in line.  You cannot deny the fact that Sarah Palin is the rock star of the Republican Party. 

Now, they don‘t have a lot of rock stars.  They‘ve got plenty of rocks and no stardom.  Here‘s my take. 

Somebody tell me where the downside is for the Republican Party.  She gets the media attention.  She can raise money.  Ah, that‘s what it‘s all about.  And base conservatives absolutely love this lady. 

Now, I think the Republican Party wins on this deal.  No one out there‘s raising any money of any significance right now for the conservatives.  This is vintage Sarah Palin—unpredictable, borderline unprofessional, but the key here is she is definitely not your quintessential politician.  It falls right in line with the radicals, in my opinion, who are out there doing these TEA parties, who are so disgruntled, who represent, you know, the disenfranchised in America, who just think that everything is going to fail under Obama. 

I love this story.  But most of all, I really love this sound cut. 

Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN ®, ALASKA:  As I thought about this announcement, that I wouldn‘t run for re-election, and what that means for Alaska, I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks.  They maybe travel around their state, travel the other states, maybe take their overseas international trade missions.  So many politicians do that. 

And then I thought, that‘s what‘s wrong.  Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, and they kind of milk it.  And I‘m not going to put Alaskans through that.  I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the key sound bite in all of this.  She‘s been widely criticized for a rambling press conference, but I think that really is the sound bite of significance, because you see, the Republicans are going to be coming after President Obama as this tax and spend liberal who just throws money at every problem that‘s out there. 

So, to distance themselves from that, they‘ve got to find somebody, because this is a party that is in the toilet when it comes to ideas, when it comes to originality, when it comes to polling with the American people.  You still have less than 30 percent of the people in this country who say, yes, I‘m a Republican. 

This is a breakout moment for her.  It is a political opportunity. 

Now, if you have the Mittster out there, or the Newtster out there, or maybe even if half the country knew who Tim Pawlenty was, maybe Sarah Palin wouldn‘t be doing this.  She has to strike while the iron‘s hot.  She can raise money. 

Now, put yourself in the position of a Republican in a district that is trying to win a House seat.  Who are you going to bring in for the big dinner? 

Is it going to be Mitt Romney?  He‘s old news. 

Is it going to be Sarah Palin?  Absolutely.  She‘s a rock star.  She can raise money.  It makes perfect sense for her to do this. 

And as far as, you know, well, gosh, she‘s cutting out because she‘s governor, and she‘s really shafting the people of Alaska, do you really think the people in the lower 48 care that much about Alaska politics?  They never did until Stevens had his problems.  They never did until she splashed on the scene.  And she‘s a personality, and we in the media love personalities. 

So, let‘s see, she‘s got possibly a big book deal.  She could do a talk show on radio.  She could do a television talk show.  You never know where this is going to go.

But the main thing is, she loves the limelight.  And the Republican Party needs somebody out there who will go after it. 

And I think one of the reasons why base conservatives like her so much, she‘s different.  She‘ll go do something.  So what if it‘s unconventional?  And besides that, it‘s great for cable news. 

Now, joining me is Steve MacDonald, news director at the NBC affiliate KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska, who has known Sarah Palin for a long time. 

Steve, what do you make of this.  Was this just totally goofy, or did anybody have any inkling at all as to what was going on? 

STEVE MACDONALD, NEWS DIRECTOR, KTU:  Yes, it pegged in the red on the goofy meter.  It really caught everybody by surprise.  Alaskans are pretty confused and some are even angry over this announcement that came on Friday. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, but it fits in her personality.  She loves the limelight.  She wants to lead.  Her life has totally been different in the last 18 months. 

Doesn‘t it fit her personality to do something like this?  And isn‘t this all about a higher political calling? 

What do you think? 

MACDONALD:  Well, I think it is.  I think most Alaskans over the last 18 months have been able to come to the conclusion that she definitely wants to run for the presidency in 2012. 

The problem here is, though, is there‘s also the state to run.  I know that people in the lower 48 think that the folks living up here amount to a couple of moose and a pack of wolves, maybe, but there‘s a lot more to Alaska than just that. 

She jumpstarted plans to build a natural gas pipeline, which many Alaskans look at as the future of this state.  We‘re a natural resource developing state, and that‘s very important to our economy up here. 

She got things going, but we‘re a long way from throwing dirt on that project.  She‘s not even what I would say a fifth of the way through that particular project. 

And she‘s leaving at a very key time.  And there‘s a few other issues that are on the horizon that is going to affect this state in a dramatic way.  And a lot of folks think that she‘s just bailing out on that right now. 

SCHULTZ:  But Steve, what do you make of her comment on Friday when she said that she can help Alaska doing other things?  And the other thing that struck me quite a bit was that when she told the kids, they were all excited, and one of them said, “Hell, yeah.”

Well, it would seem to me that a family that has been put out there in the limelight and gone through the national stage, it‘s not in a kid‘s nature to say, oh, mom, you‘ve got to stop this, you‘ve got to get out of this stuff.  Can‘t we imagine Sarah Palin saying, I‘m getting out of the governorship and I‘m going to run for president, and this is what I‘m going to do, and then all the kids just going nuts over this? 

That‘s how I envision this.  What do you think? 

MACDONALD:  Oh, I would think so, too.  If she would have come out and just said, look, I‘m going to run for president right now, start my run here very soon, I think people might have been able to grasp that a little bit better and understand.  But we were given this—a series of reasons as to why she was leaving.  As for she felt she could do a better job, or she feels she can do a better job for the state by concentrating her energies elsewhere, I don‘t know what better and what more effective bully pulpit there is other than being the governor of the state of Alaska in terms of drumming up support for Alaska issues. 

And as far as the comment about she didn‘t want to be a lame duck governor, no one says that you have to be a lame duck governor and travel around the state and make trips overseas and waste money and energy.  There could be some pretty effective decisions made by lame duck politicians, lame duck presidents, lame duck governors.  All bets are off.  You can kind of actually make a stand on the principles of an issue. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ve seen some lame duckers do some damage in the past, that‘s for sure. 

MACDONALD:  We have.  You‘re right.

SCHULTZ:  Steve MacDonald, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW.

MACDONALD:  My pleasure, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Lyda Green, who‘s a former Republican state senator from Wasilla, Alaska. 

Lyda, what do you make of this?  Is this typical Sarah Palin?  What do you think? 

LYDA GREEN, FMR. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR:  Oh, absolutely, although I think everyone was taken by surprise. 

What you‘ll find here are kind of three sets of people—those people who agree with Sarah and that anything she does is great, so they approve her decision; those people who don‘t agree with much of what she does, think her decision was great; and then people who voted for her to have her elected as their four-year governor are very disappointed. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I have to tell you, I have fished at least three times in Alaska, and that airplane that just went behind you, it really makes me want to go fishing.  That is a real Alaskan live shot right there, let me tell you, folks.  All right.  Now, it‘s the taxi of the north, is what it is. 

Lyda, let me ask you, you‘ve had some run-ins with Sarah Palin.  Do Alaskans feel like that she‘s throwing them under the bus, or do they understand this comment about a higher political calling? 

What about that? 

GREEN:  Well, it‘s funny you should mention being thrown under the bus, because we have a club called the Under the Bus Club, and it‘s getting very crowded under the bus because of Sarah Palin‘s victims and the people she‘s abandoned.  But I think that she probably has in mind, like you said earlier, a book tour, a speaking tour...

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes. 

GREEN:  ... something on network TV, or whatever.  They are not wealthy people, so to earn money for either a personal war chest or a political war chest are in their interests.   But I think her time to be in the spotlight for running for something would be more like 2016 or 2020.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  But does it fit her personality in your dealings in the past with Sarah Palin to do this and say, to heck with the Alaskans, to heck with this job, this is all about me, this is all about leading the Republican Party back?

I‘m hearing from you that this is exactly what she‘s all about.

GREEN:  Well, I think—to a certain extent I think you‘re right, but I think what her bigger goal is, is to advantage Sarah Palin.  And I‘m not sure that if people would look and see what she‘s done to the Republican Party in my home district, and in the state of the Alaska, how the Republican Party is fairly fractured over an acceptance of her and absolute, you know, dislike.  And so, if she has that effect on Republicans across the nation, I don‘t see how she could help folks get elected.

Most people figure out what she‘s really about.

SCHULTZ:  Sure.

Lyda Green, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

GREEN:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the flavor of Alaska right there.  That‘s exactly how it is, float planes going everywhere. 

I don‘t know if those are Democrats flying those planes tonight or not, but thanks for joining us.

Coming up on THE ED SHOW, California is broke.  We all know that.  But the city of Los Angeles may wind up shelling out over $1 million tomorrow for Michael Jackson‘s memorial service.

We‘ll talk about that next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Officials in Los Angeles are preparing for tens of thousands of Michael Jackson fans to descend on the city for tomorrow‘s memorial service.  More than 1.6 million registered to win the coveted free tickets.  Only 8,750 actually won the drawing.  Police are warning everybody who doesn‘t have a ticket to stay away.

Meanwhile, city officials are facing the hard reality of paying for all of this.  Reports of the event, that it‘s going to cost Los Angeles $2.5 million.

Joining us now live from the Jackson compound in California, Courtney Hazlett of MSNBC.com‘s “The Scoop.”

Courtney, how is the city going to pay for this?  Is this really a big deal with the residents out there in Los Angeles?

COURTNEY HAZLETT, MSNBC.COM‘S “THE SCOOP”:  It‘s an enormous deal to the residents out here, Ed.  There‘s a huge, huge concern about the city having this out of pocket expense. 

You know, I spoke with Jan Perry on the phone, and she said, “Let‘s be certain about one thing, be very clear.  The city of Los Angeles will not pay for this out of pocket,” is what Jan Perry‘s saying.  She‘s the acting mayor right now and current L.A. City councilwoman.  However, there‘s still a bill coming, so someone‘s got to pay for it. 

I was speaking to some people with the NAACP as well, and they‘re saying that they might reach out to some membership and have a larger campaign to get people to donate, say, hey, if you couldn‘t make it to the Jackson memorial, please consider helping out the city of Los Angeles.  And perhaps even the Jackson family.  They might be asked to contribute in some way as well. 

So that‘s all going to pan out.  I‘m literally waiting for a phone call now, Ed, from a meeting taking place at the LAPD to see where they stand.  They were supposed to have a slightly, more updated estimate, because just like everything in this story that changes minute to minute, so do the cops. 

SCHULTZ:  Not everybody is a Michael Jackson fan.  It was surprising to a lot of people that an elected official in the United States Congress, Peter King, came out and made this comment about Michael Jackson. 

Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK:  This guy was a pervert.  He was a child molester.  He was a pedophile.  And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? 

There‘s nothing good about this guy.  He may have been a good singer, did some dancing.  But the bottom line is, would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room with Michael Jackson?  What are we glorifying him for?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  How‘s that sound bite being received out there, Courtney?  There‘s a lot of people that loved Michael Jackson, but then again, you know, Congressman King must feel pretty compelled about his feelings to go on camera like that and say it so viciously the way he did. 

What‘s the response to that? 

HAZLETT:  Well, Congressman King is certainly entitled to his own opinions, just like everybody here is.  However, I would point out to Congressman King that, for better or for worse, Michael Jackson was acquitted.  So, to call him those things, you can‘t do that, because in a court of law he‘s not those things. 

The Reverend Al Sharpton made some comments addressed to the media yesterday during his sermon at the First AME Church, where he said that the media was creating a biased picture, and speaking basically exactly to what Congressman King was saying, and that it‘s not the time for that right now, it‘s supposed to be respectful to the family, respectful to the artist. 

My two cents is we‘ve been fairly evenhanded here in the media.  I don‘t think anybody‘s ignored the years 2003 to 2005, when Michael Jackson was in court facing some of those charges. 

I do think, however, right now it‘s appropriate to give him his due, which is he‘s a pop culture icon, the likes of which I don‘t think any of us will see again in our lifetime for the racial barriers he crossed, his impact on music, his impact on advertising, even.  He did more than any single artist.  And for Congressman King to say that, I think it‘s shortsighted. 

SCHULTZ:  Courtney, thanks for your time tonight. 

A judge ruled today Michael Jackson‘s longtime attorney and family friend should take temporary control of the pop singer‘s estate. 

For more on the legal issues involving Jackson‘s will, his estate, and his children, let‘s go to legal analyst and former prosecutor Karen DeSoto. 

Karen, great to have you with us tonight. 

KAREN DESOTO, LEGAL ANALYST:  Hi, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Tell us about this second will.  How much of an issue is that right now, and does it hold up? 

DESOTO:  Well, it does hold up, in fact.  I mean, you have to remember that Michael Jackson is a company.  And unlike you or me, Ed, this company is going to go on in death.  And this is going to be—generate millions and millions of dollars.  So, it makes sense that Michael put in his will that his longtime friend and attorney, Mr. Branca, and also Mr. McClain, who is in the record industry. 

Obviously, you want professionals.  I mean, really, do you want your mom to run your company if you pass away?  Obviously, you want professionals. 

So, all of this makes sense.  I mean, I know that Katherine Jackson tried to stop the court from going ahead and saying they shouldn‘t be the executors, it should be me.  However, those were his wishes. 

SCHULTZ:  As a former prosecutor, what‘s your take on the doctor?  Could there be some kind of charges coming as this investigation moves forward? 

What‘s your gut check on that?

DESOTO:  Absolutely.  In fact, Ed, this is so like the Anna Nicole Smith case, where the doctors were charged with unlawful prescribing, prescribing to an addict; conspiracy to furnish CDS (ph). 

These are all felonies.  Unfortunately, the problem is going to be, is that not only are those charges, those felonies, but also, what about involuntary manslaughter?  I mean, that is a very definite possibility. 

You know, the standard is not very high for involuntary manslaughter, just like vehicular homicide.  If he gave the shot like they‘re saying, any type of shot, or prescribed medicine, and he might have died—and he in fact did—that‘s involuntary manslaughter.  Very low standard. 

I think that this poor doctor got himself in a little bit too much hot water here, Ed.  And it looks like he may be taking a liability.  Not just him, but the other doctors, because remember, he was living with him for more than a month. 

I don‘t know about you, but my doctor, after five minutes, prescribes me at least two or three antibiotics.  This is a person who is living with him for two weeks.  So the liability is going to be pretty strong there. 

SCHULTZ:  Karen DeSoto, thanks for being here tonight.

DESOTO:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Good to see you. 

Up next on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.”  Senator Chuck Grassley needs to work on his—I guess you could say bedside manner.  You won‘t believe what he said to a constituent about health care at a town hall meeting.

It‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”  . 

Stay with us.  This is a good one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, you know, if you give a Republican long enough, they‘ll eventually get into the “Psycho Talk” zone.  I knew Senator Chuck Grassley was going to get there from Iowa. 

Now, Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee—they‘re doing this health care thing; right—otherwise known as the committee with their head in the sand, and they proved that all last week by talking about how they‘re against the public option. 

Now, the senator went home to Iowa, and he was hosting a town hall meeting in Waukon, Iowa, during the recess, and faced some tough questions from constituents.  Now, a man in the audience took the microphone and told the senator about his crushing health care bills that his family was facing. 

Then he asked the senator from Iowa, you know, a simple and fair question.  Why couldn‘t he get that same kind of coverage that he‘s got in the Senate? 

Grassley didn‘t like that too much.  Here‘s how it went. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why is your insurance so much cheaper than my insurance and better than my insurance? 

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think I should have the same insurance that you have. 

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY ®, IOWA:  I can tell you what percent.  I think 32 percent...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thirty-two percent?

GRASSLEY:  ... of the cost, yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of the cost.

GRASSLEY:  And if you want a better insurance policy, go work for John Deere.  They don‘t (ph) pay anything. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Go work for John Deere?  Not a very good and sensitive solution, since John Deere has been laying workers off in the state of Iowa. 

Now, the man in the audience didn‘t take that smoke.  He wasn‘t satisfied with that answer.  So he tried it one more time. 

This time, Senator Grassley, he came up with a dandy of an answer. 

Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How come I can‘t have the same thing you have? 

GRASSLEY:  You can.  Go work for the federal government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  If you want good health insurance, go work for the federal government. 

Now, hold it right there.  I thought the Republican Party was all about smaller government.  I thought that they wanted to shrink government, that they don‘t want to spend money on anything. 

So, if Senator Grassley, this fiscal conservative, he cares about families struggling to pay their health care bills, he‘s got a funny way of showing it.  Don‘t you think? 

Grassley has made it crystal clear that he will not support a public option, even though a majority of Americans and a majority of his constituents at 53 percent support such a plan in the state of Iowa. 

Now, telling Americans to go work for the federal government, it‘s a real flip-flop.  And especially—you can call me crazy, but that‘s just not a great plan for fixing the health care system. 

Senator Grassley, you are doing some “Psycho Talk.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  President Obama wants a health care reform bill on his desk by October.  I think he wants it sooner than that, really, in his gut, if they can get it done.  But you know, it‘s just not looking good right now, OK?  Resistance from the health care industry is a real big reason why. 

Insurance and drug companies don‘t want a public option.  And they have a lot of cash behind them right now to knock this thing down.  They‘re spending 1.4 million dollars a day to lobby the Congress.  And in case all that money isn‘t enough, they‘ve hired a slew of former government staffers and retired members of the Congress to influence the lawmakers. 

You know, they used to want it, but now they‘re getting paid so now they don‘t want it.  Let me bring in Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the independent, who tells it like it is on this issue.  Is this the biggest lobbying effort, senator, that you have ever seen on any issue, or does it at least come in the top three or four? 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Well, it‘s way up there.  Don‘t underestimate the power of our banks to force deregulation and the Wall Street bailout.  They‘re powerful as well. 

But the drug companies and the insurance companies have historically spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure we remain the only country in the industrialized world without a national health care program, and that we continue to pay the highest prices for prescription drugs. 

SCHULTZ:  So how many lobbyists are on the Hill working offices in favor of a public option, opposed to those who are trying to strike it out of the bill? 

SANDERS:  Well, the pro-public option are greatly outnumbered.  We have many organizations who are fighting the fight that the American people want.  Ed, what we can‘t forget is what polls show.  The last “New York Times” poll, 72 percent of the American people wanted a public option; 90 percent of the Democrats wanted a public option.  I think about half the Republicans did. 

It is incomprehensible that there should be any question about whether we have that. 

The real solution, of course, is a single payer national health care program, which is the only way, by the way, that you‘re going to provide universal, comprehensive, cost-effective health care for all of our people. 

SCHULTZ:  So this is going to take a mammoth lift on the part of the Democrats to get this done.  And maybe if you could, senator, cite another example where either party has ever beaten back the lobbyists the way they‘re going to have to beat them back on this issue, comparatively speaking. 

SANDERS:  I‘ve been dealing with the drug companies for many years. 

They have never lost. 

SCHULTZ:  Never lost?

SANDERS:  They‘re Rocky Marciano of lobbyists.  They never lose, never, zero.  That is why they can double the price of your prescription drugs tomorrow.  That is why they manage to get the Medicare Part D bill through that they wrote.  That is why they pay their CEOs tens and tens of millions of dollars.  That is why we don‘t negotiate prices with drug companies. 

They never lose.  The insurance companies may occasionally lose, but they‘re also very, very powerful. 

SCHULTZ:  Your colleague Chuck Schumer from New York has become pretty aggressive on this issue in the last few weeks.  In fact, he commented that now that Al Franken is in the Senate, there shouldn‘t be any more excuses.  You agree with that? 

SANDERS:  Absolutely.  We‘ve got 60 votes.  And while I can understand that there may be some Democrats who don‘t want to vote for final passage of legislation that has a strong public plan, every single one of those 60 votes should go to stop the Republican filibuster.  Republicans have broken all time worlds records in the number of filibusters they brought forth.  They are a do-nothing party. 

Every member of the Democratic caucus should say, sorry, you can‘t destroy our effort to bring health care to every American. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Bernie Sanders, great to have you with us tonight, keep up the fight.  I want to remind our viewers, as I‘ve said, I will try my best to bring health care to this show in some form or another, the issue for a few minutes every night during THE ED SHOW, because I think this is the issue of our time.  I‘m going to be doing a couple of town hall meetings, one in Madison, Wisconsin.  Go to our website at WeGotEd.com and find out more about that.  That‘s going to be on Sunday night, July 19th.  Then Friday night, July 31st, we‘re going to be in Portland, Oregon.  And this is the issue. 

For more on all of this, this health care issue, let me bring in Senator John Barrasso, Republican.  Senator, good to have you with us.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING:  Great to be back with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s spar one more time, my friend.  Let‘s get after it.  I mean, you guys have got the deck stacked against the American people.  You‘ve got big medical out there paying all these lobbyists.  I mean, how in the world are we going to get a public option when this is the way the card game‘s being played? 

BARRASSO:  You know, you read that “Washington Post” story today, and it looks like the lobbyists were all on Senator Baucus‘, a Democrat, staff, before they got these big jobs.  That‘s what it said in the “Washington Post” today. 

I listen to the people of Wyoming.  I was there last week talking to nurses, EMTs, ambulance people, folks who work at the hospitals, patients, people who want reform.  They want a system that works.  But they don‘t want this price tag and they want something that makes their lives better.  They want to be able to buy insurance across state lines.  They want to take care of things like pre-existing conditions so that that doesn‘t stop them from getting insurance. 

But they don‘t see that what Bernie Sanders was talking about, which is a single payer, government-run program—the people of Wyoming do not see that as the answer for our country. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, but senator, do you get a sense from your state in the middle of the country, in the west, Wyoming, that they do want a public option?  And you just said—

BARRASSO:  No. 

SCHULTZ:  Pre-existing conditions; that‘s not the situation it is right now in America. 

BARRASSO:  Things we improve.  You need to improve that.  You can‘t buy insurance across state lines right now.  If you‘re an individual and you buy insurance, you have to pay that with after tax dollars.  Individuals buying insurance ought to get the same tax breaks the big companies have. 

We need reform.  But I don‘t think a public—what you call a public, what I call a government takeover, a government option, is not something that I support at all.  And neither do the people of Wyoming who I talk to.  They want choice, but they don‘t want the government to be running the show.  They don‘t want the government making the decisions. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Barrasso, I don‘t want that insurance company in between me and my doctor.  Like if you were my doctor, and I know you were a doctor, I don‘t want the insurance company coming in saying, no, John, you can‘t help Ed on this one because we‘re not going to cover it.

BARRASSO:  Nobody, nobody should be between you and your doctor.  It should be between you and your doctor.  Not an insurance bureaucrat, not a government bureaucrat. 

SCHULTZ:  Is there any way any Republicans would go along with a public option, or is your line drawn in the sand? 

BARRASSO:  I‘m going to have—participate again tomorrow morning in a bipartisan breakfast.  Last Tuesday, we got together specifically to talk about this.  Senator Baucus was there, as well as Senator Grassley.  We had 16 members of the Senate, eight and eight.  We‘re going to do the same thing tomorrow, to talk for solutions that can reform health care in this country, which is what American people want. 

But I do not believe that a government-controlled plan is good for our country.  I think it‘s bad.  It‘s going to be very expensive.  It is not what this nation needs. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m going to do a field trip to Toronto, and I want to go up there and look at these long lines and see how they do things—

BARRASSO:  Go to Alberta, where they limited the number of cataracts, and now it‘s a year line.  Unless you‘re almost blind, you‘re not going to get your cataract operation, because they said we‘re going to pay for 2,000 fewer cataract operations this year than last year. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, I‘ll go to Alberta if you‘ll come with me. 

BARRASSO:  Let‘s see what we can set up. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m serious.  I‘d like to go to Toronto.  I want to talk to the folks that have some government involvement.  We know the American people are open to this, the majority of them.  Senator Barrasso, great to have you here with us. 

BARRASSO:  Great to be with you, Ed.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  I enjoy the dialogue.  I don‘t agree with you. 

But I enjoy and work on coming over to the good side on that.  Will you?

BARRASSO:  Don‘t count on it. 

SCHULTZ:  No, I won‘t.  For more, let me bring in our panel tonight, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation Magazine,” also Sam Stein, political reporter for the “Huffington Post,” and Tim Griffin, former deputy political director for George W. Bush and the White House there. 

Katrina, gosh, Senator Grassley goes down to Iowa and tells people to go to work for the federal government.  I mean, what does that tell you? 

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”:  I think we‘ve just come off Independence Day, Ed.  I think every member—every American should have the same health benefits their elected representatives enjoy.  I‘m happy you had on tell it like it is Senator Bernie Sanders.  Let‘s use this vote to knock out big pharma and the insurance companies and tell the corporate lobbyists their time is over in terms of setting the agenda.  And don‘t let them drown out the people‘s voices. 

We‘re going to get a weak plan out of Finance.  Maybe a better plan out of Health and Education.  The fight will be on in your voice, your town halls, part of the mammoth effort.  Not just to lift the Democrats but to lift people up, to push the Democrats. 

SCHULTZ:  Tim, tell us how does this work?  You‘ve got people in Washington who will do absolutely anything for money.  First working for folks over here, but now they‘re lobbyists, they‘re going to take that money, go down and shake down these senators.  Is this just standard operating procedure for any big issue? 

TIM GRIFFIN, FMR. BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  Well, I think lobbying and the opportunity to speak your voice and speak your mind is protected activity.  Now, the question is, who are the people they‘re influencing?  And what is the outcome of that? 

The people that we‘re talking about are Democrats.  I mean, there‘s nowhere to hide for you guys.  You‘ve got the House.  You‘ve got the Senate.  And the reason that things aren‘t moving right now is not because the Republicans are stopping anything.  It‘s because of disagreement between some of the more conservative to moderate members of the Democratic party and your more liberal wing. 

You‘ve got Senator Franken in there now.  I think we know where he‘s going to go.  But this is the situation, as we talked about a few days ago, where you have Democrat control of both houses of Congress and the White House, and nowhere to hide. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt about that.  Sam, is the 60th vote, is that just a number that‘s thrown out there, and now we‘re finding out it doesn‘t mean anything? 

SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  There‘s debate on that.  When I talked to Senator Schumer for that interview you referenced, he seemed to believe fully that with Franken seated, there was no excuse.  I know from reporting on the Hill, there is a movement, like Bernie Sanders said, to get Democrats to commit to not supporting a Republican filibusters. 

That said, the 60th vote is largely a symbolic number.  You do have to corral these conservative Democrats, the Nelsons, the Liebermans, the Feinsteins.  All of them are on the fence when it comes to public option.  The key debate right now is what the White House will do in order to get these people in full.  Kay Hagan came in from the Health Committee.  That was a victory for progressives.  Let‘s see if we can get one or two more. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, if this was the Bush White House with 60 votes, there wouldn‘t be any discussion with anybody.  Are the Democrats being too nice? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I think the Democrats are fractious.  You‘ve got the conservative Democrats running around and I think the White House—there as a story last week.  The White House doesn‘t want to use the good independent groups out there to mobilize pressure on these conservative Democrats.  Kay Hagan moved partly because of MoveOn, Health Care for America Now.  You need that independent mobilization, Ed, for real change.  It‘s not going to come straight out of the White House. 

And the Republicans going on about how they now own it all.  Hell, I mean, bipartisan—lobbying is a bipartisan blight.  Where are the Republicans in terms of any real lobbying reform?  The Democrats have done a little, not enough. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll come back with more of this.  Panel, stay with us.  Coming up, Sarah Palin says she‘s quitting her job as governor of Alaska because she doesn‘t want to be a lame duck?  I think she‘s setting the stage for her presidential run.  “Politico‘s” Roger Simon joining me next in my playbook.  Stay with us right here on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  Strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious that people can grasp it.  It is not clear what her strategy here is. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have no idea what the press conference meant, where it was starting, where it was going. 

GEORGE WILL, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I‘ve read it once and seen it twice and I still have no idea why she did this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It doesn‘t have to make sense.  It just has to be accepted by the people.  Right?  And nothing the Republicans have been doing has been accepted by too many people as of late.  Those obviously were Republicans talking. 

In my playbook tonight, what is Sarah Palin thinking?  I think she‘s thinking about 2012.  She trots out her family, tells her constituents, the world, that hey, these going to quit.  She‘s got a political higher calling I guess you could say.  I think this is her strategy.  I think she‘s got something up her sleeve. 

I mean, she says she‘s a point guard trying to pass the ball.  If you‘re a head coach, you don‘t give the ball to the center, you give the ball to the point guard.  I think she was saying something there.  Blind ambition doesn‘t give up on the game that easily.  This is about 2012. 

Joining me now is “Politico‘s” chief political columnist Roger Simon.  Roger, your take on this?  OK, we‘ll put it in the bizarre category.  What about this, what do you think? 

ROGER SIMON, “THE POLITICO”:  I think Sarah Palin has as much of a political future as she wants.  You‘re absolutely correct, though.  The pooh-bahs of the Republican party, the Mandarins, the people that you just saw talking, they have written her off because they want her out of the way. 

I mean, she speaks to an audience, rank and file Republicans, who like her, who are energized by her, who see her as a tough, fighting person who stands up for her family, stands up to the media.  And the professionals say, hey, she never hired us; she can‘t be smart.  She can‘t get this job done. 

I mean, you have Karl Rove on there.  Karl Rove ran George W. Bush‘s first presidential campaign, in which he managed to lose to Al Gore by 500,000 popular votes.  You know, this is the political genius that Sarah Palin should be listening to. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you know, I was thinking, Roger—Let‘s see, if I‘m a conservative, who do I want as the RNC chairman?  Would I take either Michael Steele or Sarah Palin?  Let‘s see.  Who can raise money here?  Correct me if I‘m wrong.  The Republicans aren‘t breaking any barriers when it comes to raising money, are they?  She can raise money and that is the key. 

SIMON:  She can raise money.  I think she‘s going to raise it for herself.  I don‘t think she‘s done enough to be party chairman.  She could be.  And Republicans would probably breathe a sigh of relief, at least some of them, if she did. 

But I think if she wants to run for 2012, she has put herself in a good place.  What does she really lack?  Everyone is saying, she‘s proved herself to be sort of wild and destroying.  She gave this rambling talk.  So I guess she doesn‘t have, you know, the golden oratorical skills of a Bob Dole, or the sheer intellectual genius of a George W. Bush, or that excitement of a John McCain. All of whom got nominated by their party. 

You know, what is Sarah Palin really lacking?  I think the Republican party is quite capable of nominating her if she wants it in 2012.  I‘m not saying they will. 

But as you pointed out in your op ed at the top of the show, who are her opponents?  Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Hailey Barbour.  Mitt Romney comes the closest. 

She would absolutely eat their lunch.  She‘s widely popular amongst the conservative base.  You don‘t have the base, you can‘t start from anywhere. 

SIMON:  Exactly.  And this is a party like a star that has gone Nova, has collapsed to its densest core.  The Republican party has lost the soft Republicans, a lot of libertarians, a lot of moderates, a lot of independents.  They are reduced to hard-core Republicans.  And hard-core Republicans like Sarah Palin. 

SCHULTZ:  Roger Simon, you‘ll write about this tomorrow in “the Politico.”  Thanks so much for joining us tonight. 

SIMON:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Coming up, our panel gives their take on Palin‘s surprise resignation.  Plus, the 60th Democratic vote arrived in Congress today.  Senator Schumer says there are no more excuses.  It‘s time to pass the public option.  It‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW with a discussion.  That‘s coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Here are my Ed Lines tonight:

the Obamas landed in Moscow today to start the tough job of thawing icy U.S./Russian relations.  So far, so good.  Obama and the Russian president announced an agreement to limit nuclear warheads, economic sanctions on Iran, and a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe going to be a tougher shell. 

The name plate finally went up on Senator Elect Al Franken‘s Senate office today.  Franken will be officially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden tomorrow, giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof super-majority in the Senate. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA:  A lot has been made of this number 60.  The number I‘m focused on is the number two.  I see myself as the second senator from the state of Minnesota. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Top Democrat Chuck Schumer doesn‘t see it that way.  He told the “Huffington Post,” now that we have 60 votes, it seems like the Democrats can get a public option for health care. 

It could be judgment day for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.  Tonight, the South Carolina Republican party will hold a conference call to decide what to do about the love-sick governor.  Several state Republicans have already called for him to resign.  Sanford returned to work today after spending the holiday weekend in Florida with his wife and family. 

All right, time to bring back our panel tonight, Katrina Vanden Heuvel of “The Nation,” Sam Stein of “Huffington Post,” and Tim Griffin, who worked in the Bush White House. 

Tim, what do you make of Sarah Palin‘s move?  Is it all about 2012? 

And does she have a shot doing this in a very unconventional manner? 

GRIFFIN:  Absolutely it‘s about 2012.  And first of all, she does have broad appeal to a lot of rank and file Republicans.  But I want to make it very clear, I heard what Roger Simon said; I don‘t think I‘m some sort of mandarin.  I am part of the rank and file.  I live in Little Rock, Arkansas.  And what I want is I want leaders within the Republican party to do well and to take steps that make sense.  And I simply don‘t think that quitting in the middle of her term as governor makes sense. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Katrina, what do you think? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  You know, my gut tells me I don‘t like quitters. 

Governing isn‘t sexy—

SCHULTZ:  You can change jobs. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  -- especially in tough times.  Got unemployment rising in Alaska.  They‘re trying to put together a pipeline.  She bails out.  She sets up her own personal bail out.  She‘s going to go on the talk tour.  She‘s going to get a book deal, and lay out the groundwork for 2012. 

Sure, she‘s going to be a movement conservative like a Goldwater—

SCHULTZ:  Nobody else in the Republican party is doing anything. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Can she expand the base?  You know what, one brilliant thing President Obama did was send one of the real contenders in 2012 to China.  Jon Huntsman of Utah would have had a real good shot. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam, it would be extremely logistically tough to be a national candidate, or to be the leader of a party—and nobody has broken out on the Republican side to take the bull by the horns, where anybody really considers the focal point of the party.  How could she do it from Alaska?  This is all about where she is.  Don‘t you think? 

STEIN:  Well, yes.  Geography obviously plays a huge role.  It‘s impossible to be a national figure when you‘re way up there in Alaska.  You just can‘t go around and raise money for other candidates like a Huckabee or Romney can.  You can‘t do national appearances as much, although that shouldn‘t be as much of a problem. 

I have to say, it‘s really difficult to look at the future.  I tend to look at the past.  I think this move, it says more about John McCain actually than Sarah Palin.  He finally found someone as impulsive as he is to be his running mate.  I can‘t imagine what a White House—a McCain White House would have been with him at the head and her as VP.  It would have been the most impulsive White House ever.  It would have been kind of scary almost. 

SCHULTZ:  Tim, how do you turn down the ability that she can go out and raise money, and that‘s something the Republicans got to be thinking about right now?

GRIFFIN:  Well, first of all, I had a client in Alaska last year.  And I went up there 20 something times in a year.  I can tell you that it is difficult.  It is out of the way.  But it can be done.  And she could have raised money from there. 

And, you know what, in terms of managing the legislature, the legislature‘s not going to be in through 2010.  There are just these small windows that she would have had to deal with.  So I think that—I think what we‘ve heard from a the lot of people in terms of the fact that she was frustrated by the investigations and some of these other things, I think that may be at the heart of it. 

But I got news, if she‘s going on the national—to the national scene, that‘s not going to stop. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I would not ignore that this announcement was to preempt some scandal coming down the pike.  The sports complex is not to be ignored.  There‘s been tough reporting on it.  In terms of history, the long-time managing editor of “The Nation” was the governor of Alaska, two-term senator, one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  And he did it.  He became senator out of Alaska.  Come on.  You can do it. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, Tim, Sam, thanks for joining us tonight.  Thanks so much.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, got to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out our radio website at WeGotEd.com.  Next town hall meeting in Madison, July 19 in Wisconsin.  “HARDBALL” starts right now with Lawrence O‘Donnell tonight here on MSNBC.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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