updated 7/28/2009 10:28:55 AM ET 2009-07-28T14:28:55

Guests: Jeff Rossen, Norah O‘Donnell, Bill Press, Roger Simon, Gary Peters, Rosemary Shahan, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Bill Press, Michael Medved, Roger Simon, Doris Kearns Goodwin

(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.  And it‘s also Friday.

Well, here we go.  Sarah Palin, she stepped down for Alaska.  That‘s what she said. 

I think she stepped down for Sarah.  I‘ll tell you exactly where she‘s going and why.  We go north to Alaska for the latest on that story.

President Obama‘s getting beat on health care because he‘s not answering what the righties are saying.  I think he needs to come out swinging for a public option before the recess. 

Give the liberals some direction on this, Mr. President.

Senator Sherrod Brown will be joining us at the bottom of the hour on that one.

Now, the president is trying out beer diplomacy.  Now, there‘s a long history of that in the White House.  Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will join me in my “Playbook” tonight. 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.”   Another dandy from “The Drugster.” 

And get your cell phones out tonight because we want to know what you think about Sarah Palin‘s next move. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.” 

This is just a love-hate relationship, not just with the Republicans, but with everybody.  Do we really like her in the news all the time? 

Sarah Palin throws the governorship of Alaska under the bus and heads for the big stage.  She called it the unspecified stage.  Well, you‘ve got to give her credit.  To get 5,000 people anywhere in Alaska is a big number to her credit.  But what‘s next? 

I‘ll tell you what‘s next.  It‘s a run for the White House.  What else could it be? 

The political maverick from the frozen tundra knows one thing, and that is Alaska is too far away from the GOP mainland for her to really mount a serious charge in 2012.  Palin‘s favorability ratings, I wouldn‘t pay much attention to it.  OK, so she sits at 40 percent.  Unfavorably, she‘s at 53 percent.

Folks, it‘s early on in the game.  She wants to write a book, always par for the course.  She wants to build a right of center coalition.  Seems pretty reasonable.  That‘s where she is. 

But first of all, she has to prove that she can go out and do the magical thing, and that is give a great speech, be schooled up on the issues, raise the money.  If she can raise the money, she can do anything.

Who is going to be the first congressional candidate to call up Sarah Palin and say, Sarah, a lot of my constituents like you.  Do you think you can come for a fund-raiser?  That‘s going to tell everything, because if she knocks it out of the park the first few times with a few people that are either running, or low name recognition and want to run, and she raises a bunch of money, that will catch on like wildfire. 

Now, get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think. 

Is Sarah Palin gunning for the 2012 nomination?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

For more on the controversial ex—governor, let me go to MSNBC Chief Washington Correspondent Norah O‘Donnell.  She has now taken up residence in the state of Fairbanks, Alaska. 

(LAUGHTER)

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  That‘s right. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, how come I didn‘t get this assignment?  You know, the salmon fishing is fantastic this time of year. 

O‘DONNELL:  No doubt. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Norah.  What do you make of this?

First of all, I‘d like to know what Alaskans are saying about this.  Do they give her a chance, a big future, possibly? 

O‘DONNELL:  You know, I did talk to a number of Alaskans.  And while they are disappointed that she‘s leaving office early, they are supportive of her decision.  So that‘s pretty interesting. 

What she said in her speech yesterday was that she plans to guard the interests of this state like a grizzly guards her cubs.  But what she didn‘t say was how she‘s going to do.  What‘s next for her?

She says she wants to effect change from outside the governor‘s office because she‘s fed up with all these ethics complaints, but she hasn‘t said what she‘s going to do next.  I‘m not sure she knows what she‘s going to do next. 

She‘s been invited to speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.  They‘re expecting her.  They‘ve sold out, sold more than 900 tickets.  That‘s in two weeks from now, so we‘ll see if she makes that trip.  But she‘s also raised more than $1 million in her PAC, and that can fund a lot of political travel. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘ve often wondered, Sarah Palin‘s strategy, you know, to win friends and influence people?  She‘s off to a roaring start. 

Yesterday she goes after the media in a way I‘ve never heard of before.  Let‘s play this sound cut.  She really goes after the media and connects it to the troops. 

Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKAN GOVERNOR:  First, some straight talk for some, just some, in the media. 

Democracy depends on you.  And that is why—that‘s why our troops are willing to die for you.  So, how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up?

And one other thing for the media.  Our new governor has a very nice family, too.  So leave his kids alone.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

So, Norah, tell us, what‘s the media making up?  What was she referring to there?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, I think she groups the whole media as one big monolith, that we‘re all the same, whether it‘s the liberal bloggers who attack her and questioned her pregnancy and birth of the child during the campaign with mainstream journalists like myself.  So, she views everybody the same in the media.  And you know what?  It‘s good red meat for her.

She throws it out at a crowd in a speech like this and people love it because they think the media is unfair.  But it‘s interesting. 

She really has this “us versus them” mentality, that everyone is out to get her.  And that‘s why she‘s so fed up, I think, and why she wanted to get out, why she wanted to be free.  That‘s the word that she used. 

Why she announced, remember, right before July 4th on Independence Day? 

She chose that for a reason. 

So, I think she‘s got a real chip on her shoulder about the way she‘s been treated over the past year.  You mentioned it.  She got really low approval ratings.  I think that bothers her.  She does monitor the media out there, and she wants those things to change. 

SCHULTZ:  Norah, thanks for your time tonight. 

O‘DONNELL:  My pleasure. 

SCHULTZ:  MSNBC‘s Norah O‘Donnell with us here on THE ED SHOW.

Let‘s turn to our panel tonight—Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Roger Simon, chief political columnist for “Politico.” 

Well, Bill, let‘s just say that she‘s very easy show prep when it comes to doing a radio show.  We know about that.  But she really also knows how to attract the television cameras. 

Now, I think that she a viable candidate.  I think she‘s a commodity.  I think she could develop into a political industry.

What do you think?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think she‘s a flash in the pan, actually.  I really think she‘ll have a great short run.

Look, she‘s going to make a lot of money on a book.  She‘s going to make a lot of money giving speeches for a short while, Ed.  But looking at 2012, don‘t get me wrong.  I am going to Lords (ph) and make a novena that Sarah Palin is the Republican candidate in 2012, because I want it to be.  But I really think these are serious times with serious issues, ,and when it comes down to who is going to take on this very strong presence with a big agenda, I think the Republican Party, to come back, is going to want somebody with more substance than Sarah Palin. 

SCHULTZ:  Roger, have we seen a bigger ego in contemporary times in political lives? 

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS:  No.

ROGER SIMON, “POLITICO”:  Well, Ed, you know, accusing a politician of having a big ego is like accusing a ballerina of dancing on her toes.  It sort of defines the job.  It goes with the territory. 

I‘ve got to tell you, I must in part disagree with Bill.  You know, Sarah Palin, I think, will not be a flash in the pan.  And the Republican party Pay indeed decide that it‘s going to be such a tough fight against President Obama, that they‘ve got to go with someone stronger intellectually. 

They may also decide, look, nobody is going to beat this guy.  Let‘s go with somebody we like.  Let‘s go with someone who is ideologically pure.  Let‘s go with someone who represents the Republican Party.  We‘re not going to beat Barack Obama anyway.

In that case, I think Sarah Palin looks pretty good.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Let‘s go to the core of the Republican Party here for a moment. 

David Frum, who is well connected to the Bush administration, thinks it‘s impossible for her to win the presidency. 

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID FRUM, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Between the time she was announced at the end of August of 2008, on Voting Day, Sarah Palin has the steepest decline in approval of any national politician ever in American polling history.  She could not explain what she believed, who she was.  She had a very slight record of achieving. 

It is not impossible to me that she could win a Republican nomination.  But the presidency, impossible, and the rest of us will pay the price. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Roger, we‘ll stay with you on this.

What do you make of her approval rating going down?  Any merit to that?  I mean, there‘s plenty of time to bring it back. 

SIMON:  Well, you know, there‘s plenty of time to bring it back.  And all governors have low approval ratings this month.  Check out Deval Patrick in Massachusetts.

You know, it‘s a terrible time to be a governor.  That‘s why it was a good time for Palin to leave.  But I think the lead in what you just saw from Frum there was, she could win the nomination but she can‘t win the presidency.  Well, in just a few weeks of time we‘ve gone from Sarah Palin is through, she‘s a quitter, she deserted the people of Alaska, to, wow, she could win the Republican nomination.  That‘s a pretty good amount of territory to make up in a few weeks. 

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead, Bill. 

PRESS:  Ed, look, I just think people are jumping over too easily the fact that she did quit.  I mean, I don‘t see how the Republican Party can get over the fact here‘s a woman who couldn‘t stand the pressure of being governor of Alaska not even for one term, and she‘s going to present herself and they‘re going to back her as someone who can stand the pressures of the White House. 

SCHULTZ:  But this is a big—but Bill...

PRESS:  Roger, I think that‘s a real problem.

SCHULTZ:  But Bill, money talks.  And the fact is, if she can go out and she can raise money, and she can be a real target, I don‘t think there‘s any question that she‘s going to be a viable player.  And the book‘s going to take off, she‘s going to make a lot of money, she‘s going to get a lot of allies. 

And that‘s what I want to ask you, Roger.  Who is working with her right now?  Who is counseling her?  I mean, is she winging it right now? 

SIMON:  I think she‘s winging it.  I don‘t know of anyone who‘s really working with her.  I know a lot of people who would like to work with her now, and I bet you as the months go by, even more will want to work with her. 

But you‘re absolutely right about the money.  And the importance of money to her future, it‘s going to be a money primary.  And as Norah O‘Donnell just pointed out on your show, you know, you have an event for her at the Ronald Reagan Library coming out.  They sell out of 900 tickets in two weeks.  I‘ll bet you she could fill almost any Republican venue in the country right now. 

Her PAC is doing well.  If she continues to raise money, she will continue to look like a good candidate.

And I‘ve got to say about her not being able to stand up under pressure, she ran in a national campaign.  She had three pressure points—the convention.  She gave a good speech.  Speaking to crowds, she gave good stump speeches, energized the crowds, and where she was supposed to fall apart, debating Joe Biden.  You know, she did fine against Joe Biden.

SCHULTZ:  Well, you know, you make a great...

PRESS:  But she quit, Roger.  But she quit.  And listen, I‘ve got to tell you...

SIMON:  Bob Dole quit.

PRESS:  But she will raise...

SCHULTZ:  But Bill, don‘t you think she‘s going to be able to sell this, hey, it‘s a higher political calling and the Republican Party‘s in bad shape?  Somebody‘s get to get out there and get it done and I‘m the one with the message?

PRESS:  No.

SCHULTZ:  I think she can sell that. 

PRESS:  No.  I honestly don‘t think so, Ed.  We disagree on this. 

I‘m telling you, I think she‘ll have a huge success for a little while.  This is only 2009.  By the time we get to 2011, I mean, she‘s going to be who?

She has no platform, no agenda, no substance.  She‘s famous for being famous.  Even the Republicans will want somebody who has got some more heft than Sarah Palin. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I disagree with you.  I mean, I think that she can rehabilitate—you know, first of all, she‘s got one thing no politician has in the party right now, and that‘s name recognition.  She‘s big on name recognition.

I mean, everybody in the country knows who she is.  Now, if she does the due diligence and goes around, and helps out people raise money, they‘re going to see a different Sarah Palin.  She‘s going to vilify the media—see, I wasn‘t really like that when I was in your town.

I think that‘s going to work.  I think that‘s the strategy.

(CROSSTALK)

SIMON:  ... do the Republicans have besides Sarah Palin?  Arnold Schwarzenegger, who can‘t run for president. 

In politics it‘s OK to despise your enemies, but it‘s a mistake to underestimate your enemies.  It‘s a mistake to underestimate Sarah Palin.

PRESS:  How much name recognition did Barack Obama have, right, four years before he ran for president?

(CROSSTALK)

SIMON:  He was already a superstar when he ran for president.  He was one of the superstars of the Democratic Party ever since he gave that speech to the Democratic Convention.

PRESS:  And he was a U.S. senator, Roger.  He had been an Illinois state senator.  And he never quit.

SIMON:  Bob Dole gave up his U.S. senatorship in 1996 to run for president. 

The party did not care. 

PRESS:  And he didn‘t make it, did he? 

SIMON:  But you missed the point.  He got the nomination.  You missed the point.  He didn‘t get the presidency.

I‘m not saying Sarah Palin will get the presidency.  I‘m saying, as Ed says, ,she is very well positioned to get the nomination. 

SCHULTZ:  I think she is, too.

PRESS:  Roger, and I want to say even the Republican Party is not that dumb.  And that‘s hard for me to say. 

SCHULTZ:  Watch it, Bill.  I don‘t know about that.

Bill Press, Roger Simon...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  ... great discussion tonight.

And let‘s throw it out there.  I‘ll throw it out there.  I mean, there are some Americans out there who think that Sarah Palin is an airhead, but I‘m not going to use that text ball (ph) tonight. 

All right.  Coming up, this is a story that really surprises me.  You know, the car business has had a lot of bad news in recent months.  But this, of all things, Cash for Clunkers deal, folks, it‘s a hot ticket.  But I think the Obama administration is missing an opportunity here. 

I‘ll talk with Michigan Congressman Gary Peters about that next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.  And so much more coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

I went back to the Midwest this weekend, and this is what people are talking about.  The new “Cash for Clunkers” program officially kicked off today. 

Now, the program has been in effect since the beginning of July, but they couldn‘t get all the rules together until Friday.  So they‘re out now.  So here‘s how this thing works.

You can bring in your old clunker to a dealer.  It can‘t be older than a 1984.  It also has to get a combined average mileage of 18 miles to the gallon or less.  And when you bring it in, you can get up to $4,500 towards buying or leasing a new fuel-efficient car or truck.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that 1,600 auto dealers have applied to participate in this program. 

I have to tell you, I was at a couple of car dealerships over the weekend just checking this thing out.  The place was packed.  The guy said to me—

Nereson Motors in Detroit Lakes, he said, “Ed, we haven‘t seen this kind of activity in months.”

Joining me now is Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan. 

We‘ve finally got a positive story for the sales folks in the car business, but, ,you know, they are saying that this is going to be $1 billion. 

Now, how fast is this money going to go?  The way it looks right now, it‘s going to go pretty fast.  But why wouldn‘t the government put more to it if it‘s going to work, Gary? 

REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN:  Well, we may.  We‘ll take a look at this.

As you know, Ed, when we originally had this bill, it had a much larger number.  We settled eventually for the $1 billion mark, which is about 250,000 vehicles. 

But you‘re right, I‘ve been hearing that from my auto dealers as well.  In fact, I just talked to an auto dealer before I came on the air here tonight, and he said his showroom has been packed.  I mean, they are ecstatic with the type of volume that‘s coming into auto dealers, and this is what we need.  This is the way to get our economy going. 

As I‘ve said on this program many times, and you‘ve said, Ed, the best way to get the American economy moving is to start selling automobiles.  It just permeates through the whole economy.

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s amazing what cheap money will do.  They ought to do that for small businesses. 

But here‘s the thing—why wouldn‘t they extend it to a full year if you‘ve got a quick response on this?  Because they‘ve got a lot of units that have got to go out there and this could be a job creator. 

PETERS:  Yes, it is definitely a job creator by getting these cars sold, moving it forward, not only for the auto manufacturers, but all the auto suppliers, all the parts that go into it.  So far it is a big success, so we‘ll see how it continues to move forward. 

But we know now, especially with both Chrysler and General Motors, have gone through the bankruptcy, they‘ve dealt with the cost side of the equation.  Now it‘s all about revenue.  It‘s revenue for Ford Motor, GM, Chrysler.  And this is a way to really jump-start the economy.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

PETERS:  And we‘ll revisit it, but I would say to your listeners—or your viewers right now, there‘s only 250,000 cars for this deal.  If you‘ve got a clunker that qualifies, you better get out to your auto dealer right now. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, the other thing is, is that it‘s going to have us driving fuel-efficient vehicles, and that‘s where the country wants to move. 

PETERS:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good work on this.  Thanks for joining us on this tonight. 

PETERS:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan with us.

Joining me now is Rosemary Shahan, the president and founder of the CARS, or Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.  That‘s the official name of the Cash for Clunkers.  And she joins us tonight advocating, saying that this is not a good deal. 

Tell us, Rosemary, why is this not a good deal for consumers?  What‘s happening here? 

ROSEMARY SHAHAN, PRESIDENT & FOUNDER, CARS:  Hi, Ed.  Thanks for inviting me. 

And it is a bit of a boondoggle for consumers.  And it‘s not as strong for the environment as it should be. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, what do you mean?  Why is it a boondoggle?

SHAHAN:  When you look at, like, Feinstein‘s bill, the way it started out, there would have been much better emissions and fuel economy for vehicles to qualify for.  If you were going to buy them, you would have had to get a vehicle that had at least 25 percent more fuel economy.  And this bill, you could buy an SUV, a gas-guzzler, under this bill.

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s true, but it has to meet certain fuel efficiency standards which were set by the Congress.  And the people are responding to it, so I‘m failing to see where the downside here is, Rosemary. 

SHAHAN:  Well, what we‘re urging consumers to do is do better than Congress did.  If Congress would let you buy a car that has just one mile a gallon better than the car you‘re trading in—and we‘re urging consumers to, A, make sure that the car they get is really safe.  That should be number one. 

And also, go for a car that has better fuel efficiency.  There‘s no ceiling on how high you can go in the fuel efficiency under this Cash for Clunkers program. 

SCHULTZ:  Rosemary Shahan, thanks for joining us tonight.  I can tell you one old thing about sales and business, is sales solves a lot of problems.  And that‘s what the car industry needs right now.

Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.”  “The Drugster” says his radio show is a positive force that inspires Americans?  It‘s almost too easy.  It‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, tonight in “Psycho Talk,” one of my favorites, America‘s inspirational radio host, “The Drugster,” Rush Limbaugh.

That‘s right.  He‘s marking his big anniversary for himself.  On August 21st, it will be his 21st anniversary of spewing the hate on the air.

Congratulations, Drugster.

To mark this big date, Rush gave an exclusive interview to Greta Van Susteren.  She asked him, what‘s the “secret” to his amazing longevity?  The answer is just great. 

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  People want to be inspired.  People want to be motivated.  They want their positive thoughts validated.

They don‘t want to hear every day how everything‘s going to hell in a hand basket and there‘s a shortage of hand baskets.  They don‘t want to hear this.  That‘s what gates ratings on television.

I have shown you get ratings on radio being positive, respecting the audience, being inspiring and motivational at times when it‘s necessary. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So positive during the Clinton years.  Wasn‘t he?

I love it.  One of the most racist, homophobic, sexist men in entertainment says he‘s inspirational.  He‘s motivational.  He‘s shown you get ratings in radio by being positive. 

Is this man completely nuts? 

In that very same interview, Rush said, “We don‘t have anything positive happening.” Nothing positive happening?  I‘d agree with that. 

He also talks about his favorite topic, why Obama must fail.  Limbaugh: I‘m a positive guy.

That was what you‘re talking about is serious, delusional “”Psycho Talk.”  

And coming up, conservative Democrats are trying to kill the public option for a co-op program run by insurance companies.  I don‘t recall Barack Obama using the term “co-op” on the campaign trail. 

We‘ll talk about that when we come back with Sherrod Brown here on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. 

And I want to know what you think about Sarah Palin.  Is she gunning for a 2012 nomination?  Text “A” for yes, “B” for no to 622639. 

THE ED SHOW returns right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC.  Breaking news right now on Michael Jackson.  Let‘s go right to NBC‘s Jeff Rossen in Los Angeles for the latest.  Jeff, what can you tell us?

JEFF ROSSEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Ed, good to see you this evening.  What we‘re hearing right now—there is an AP wire copy that just crossed saying a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation says that Dr. Conrad Murray did, in fact, administer that anesthetic, that very powerful anesthetic, Propofol, also known as Diprivan, to Michael Jackson the day he died. 

NBC News has now confirmed that information with another law enforcement source.  So, once again, NBC has learned from a law enforcement official that Dr. Conrad Murray did, in fact, administer that drug, Propofol, to Michael Jackson the day he died, June 25th

What is still up in the air and what sources will not tell us or confirm at this point it whether it was Propofol that did, in fact, kill him.  Full toxicology reports aren‘t back yet.  It‘s unclear if it was that drug.  It‘s unclear if it was that drug plus another drug, or something else entirely. 

But we can now tell you that law enforcement officials are connecting Dr. Conrad Murray to that drug and Michael Jackson on the day of his death.  And also that Jackson regularly used this drug in his life to get to sleep.  Ed, that‘s what we have for now.  Following this story; the latest as we get it. 

SCHULTZ:  And I would imagine, Jeff, the big question is, when did the doctor administer that drug, and connect that to when 911 was called when they knew there was a real problem here.  Do we know anything about that?

ROSSEN:  Right.  As we‘ve been reporting, there‘s a time line issue here.  The 911 call came in at 12:21 pm.  There are reports that the doctor and the security guard at Jackson‘s house that day waited half an hour to call the police.  Now there is new doubt that they may have waited longer, because three hours before that 911 call came in, two women identifying themselves as working for Dr. Murray were actually in Houston, Texas, accessing Dr. Murray‘s private and personal storage unit.  And the woman who works there, who manages that storage facility, says she saw these two women unloading three to five boxes from Dr. Murray‘s facility. 

That was three hours before the 911 call came in.  TMZ is now reporting that when paramedics arrived at Jackson‘s home, he was already dead.  He was flat lined.  And it was Dr. Murray who insisted that they take Michael Jackson to the hospital. 

So all we know right now is when that 911 call came in.  We don‘t know exactly when Jackson died and that will certainly be part of the investigation here. 

SCHULTZ:  Jeff Rossen from Los Angeles here on MSNBC, thanks so much. 

Jeff, thank you. 

Turning to politics right now.  The Republicans I think are winning on this issue.  President Obama is losing the health care fight.  Don‘t get mad at me.  It‘s just my opinion.  We‘ve got 40 Republicans who are going to screw this thing up for 48 million Americans.  The righties were on the offensive over the weekend.  Senator Jim Demint, who says health care would be Obama‘s Waterloo, now says the president is out of control. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  He‘s out of control and he‘s been leading a stampede of more spending and debt and taxes and government take overs.  He‘s taken a bad economy and made it worse.  He‘s used a lot of false promises and bogus numbers and panic to push through the stimulus.  And the promises have not panned out.

Now he‘s trying to use the same strategy on health care. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK, let‘s go to culprit number two.  Senator Chuck Grassley is talking about his private talks with President Obama regarding a public option.  Listen to this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY ®, SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE:  That‘s not going to get bipartisan support.  It would have been good if he had said to the entire country what he said to me privately, that he would look to alternatives for that.  We have a very good alternative by going with cooperatives. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Co-op, that is the buzz word going into this August break for the Congressional members.  It‘s being pushed as a possible bipartisan alternative to a public option.  I want to know if progressives in the Senate are going to stand their ground and fight for real reform. 

Before we go to my next guest, I just want to point out that the White House this afternoon is saying they don‘t know anything about any discussion with Senator Grassley and the president, when it comes to the president going, I‘m going to go for something else, other than public option. 

So the story is the developing.  Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a member of the Senate Health Committee.  Senator, what do you know about this?  I have to point out that the president has been very quiet.  In fact, today at the briefing, Robert Gibbs shied away from using the term public option.  The president didn‘t it in the press conference last week.  He didn‘t use it in your state of Ohio, when he went out on the stump. 

What is happening here?  Is the White House backing away? 

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  No, I don‘t think the White House is backing away.  I know what the president tells me personally.  I know what he said publicly, that you need a strong public auction to keep the insurance companies honest.  We‘re going to enact—as you know, Ed, we‘re going to enact strong insurance reform rules so they can‘t game the system, the community rating system and preexisting conditions, ban all of that. 

But we still need the public option to keep the insurance companies honest.  We‘re going to insist on it in the Senate.  We‘re going to get it in the Senate.  They are going to do it in the House.  We‘re going to have a strong public option.  That‘s going to be a major part of our health care bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, a public auction is a government run program that would offer up insurance to those who can‘t afford it in the private sector.  How does a co-op come into play that would stand suffice for something like that? 

BROWN:  We don‘t know quite how a co-op would come into play.  First of all, how would you form the co-ops?  There are a few co-ops that have worked in some regions around the country.  But they took many, many years to develop.  They have not ever worked nationally.  They‘ve worked in some urban areas, but more sparsely populated areas.  There‘s no real record that they know how to work, that we can make them work. 

Plus, they don‘t have the market ability to compete directly with the insurance industry.  I don‘t—I think the insurance industry competing with the public option makes both of them better.  I think the insurance industry will be more honest.  I think the public plan will get better because it‘s competing with private insurance. 

But it‘s clear that‘s what a huge majority of the American people want.  That‘s what President Obama says.  I take him at his word.  We‘re going to keep pushing for the public option.

SCHULTZ:  How do we know the president is not double talking here.  I‘m just playing Devil‘s Advocates here.  You have one United States senator, who happens to be the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, saying, behind closed doors, he was told something else.  You‘ve been told by the president that public option is right there.  But we do see the president deleting—he‘s not using that vernacular anymore.  What do we make of this?

BROWN:  I don‘t know if I‘d say he‘s not using it anymore.  That‘s a couple of examples recently.  I was not here when he went to Cleveland, when he was in my state.  I couldn‘t go because I had votes here.  But it‘s clear to me—look at this way, Ed, the president knows. just like Ed Schultz knows, just like I know, that if we had waited to get Republicans in any significant number to vote for Medicare, we never would have got Medicare.

I want a bipartisan bill.  But, first of all, I want a good bill.  I‘m hopeful that Republicans join us in that.  I don‘t want us to see us compromise this away to get 25 Republican votes, and have a bill that doesn‘t fix things.  We got to come back in 10 years and do it again.

SCHULTZ:  I totally agree.  But Mitch McConnell is saying a public option is a non-starter.  That‘s filibuster talk. 

BROWN:  It is filibuster talk.  Mitch McConnell leads the party of no in the Senate.  We‘ve had—since I‘ve been in the Senate two and a half years, we‘ve had, I don‘t know, 110 -- I don‘t know what the most recent number is—filibusters, some huge number of filibusters. 

They may try it again.  But we are going to stick together.  We‘re going to get the public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  Sherrod Brown, from Ohio, you bet.  Thanks for joining us. 

Going to our panel.  Let‘s go to Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Roger Simon, chief political columnist for “Politico,” and Michael Medved joins us tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host. 

Roger, let me ask you; it sounds to me like the White House is backing off on public auction. 

ROGER SIMON, “POLITICO”:  I think the public option is about to get strangled in its cradle.  First, we heard that we were going to have triggers to the public option.  We wouldn‘t get it right away.  It might take a year, it might take two years.  Things might never happen to have a public option. 

Now we hear public option may not even be on the table.  We‘re talking about co-ops, you know, charter public option, not really government-controlled.  Still privately controlled.

SCHULTZ:  Bill, how is that going to fly with liberals in the country? 

This is a disappointment, if that‘s the case. 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  They‘re going to feel betrayed, Ed.  Let me tell you, I was at the briefing today.  Robert Gibbs said at the briefing today that the president is open to co-ops and he is open to public option, and he has no preference at this time between the two.  That is way back to—that‘s backing up so far, Ed.  I have to tell you, I honestly think the Democrats are at a risk of blowing it, and having no health care reform this year. 

SCHULTZ:  I do, too.  I don‘t remember Barack Obama talking about co-op on the campaign trail.  Michael Medved, your thoughts at this point?  You are winning this thing? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  We are.  And I‘ll tell you why.  We understand—our side understands the real issue for most Americans is not the 47 million uninsured.  It‘s the high cost of medical care.  And I think finally it is dawning, especially with the new CBO report over the weekend, from the Congressional Budget Office, that somehow if you are going to focus—and he should focus like Bill Clinton‘s laser beam—on actually reducing the cost of medical insurance for most ordinary Americans, then you‘re going to have to focus on things like co-ops and put the public option dreams aside. 

SCHULTZ:  But Michael, co-ops leave the insurance companies—it‘s like the fox guarding the hen house.  There‘s no change there. 

MEDVED:  There‘s a very big change, particularly with all of this extra regulation that they are planning to do on the insurance companies. 

Look, there‘s a problem with the Obama-care altogether, which is you‘re creating a huge new demand for medical services without any new supply for it.  That is going to lead to rationing.  It is going to lead to higher prices.  And that message is coming through. 

SCHULTZ:  Roger, -- go ahead, Roger.

SIMON:  I tell you one reason we are going to get some kind of health care and probably this year, it‘s because the medical industry wants it.  And they want it because they are going to get 47 million new customers.  A lot of them are young and healthy.  They don‘t have insurance because they don‘t want to pay for it because they‘re young and healthy.  They‘re going to be made to pay for it.  Everybody really wants this except politicians who think they can use it for political ads. 

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead Bill.  I‘ve got to say, the Obama team, they‘ve turned the hour glass on liberals in this country.  They better not be backing off a public option.  There‘s going to be some hell to pay politically, I think. 

PRESS:  First of all, I have to say, think they are making a big mistake by letting these guys go off for August.  Let me tell you, it‘s going to be a lot harder to get health care in September than it is in July, because the Republicans and the nay-sayers are going to be using the month of August to try to kill this thing.  They‘ve got no alternatives on the table. 

SCHULTZ:  The commercials have already started.  You bet.  Gentlemen, stay with us.  Great panel tonight. 

Coming up, if you know what it is, beer diplomacy; President Obama is hoping that a couple of cool ones with these guys is going to solve all the bad blood, if there is any, between the Harvard professor and the police officer who arrested him.  We‘ll talk about that next in my playbook.  Stay with us.  We‘re back on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, we‘re talking beer diplomacy.  I happen to try it every weekend.  I told you Wednesday, last week, that the president had stepped on his own headline answering the question about the Cambridge Gates incident.  Now, the president may now have a beer with the two men this week.  Joining me to talk about that, and how past presidents have mixed drinks and politics from time to time is presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. 

Doris, good to have you with us tonight.  This actually is a page out of a lot of playbooks from old presidents, isn‘t it? 

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  Absolutely.  There is a great history of presidents understanding the way in which relaxing nights at the White House, with liquor involved, can be a way to diffuse tensions.  FDR during World War II had a cocktail party every single night.  And it was so important for him to relax.  And he would make these crazy martinis for the guests.  He wanted the guests, who would be  party of the cocktail party, to actually live in the White House. 

So the White House became the most exclusive residential hotel you could imagine.  Churchill would come over from England.  And the of them would diffuse tensions about the cross channel invasion by staying up not only for the cocktail hour, but until 2:00 a.m., drinking and smoking.  So there‘s a good history here. 

SCHULTZ:  Is this a benchmark time in the Obama administration?  I mean, obviously other presidents have done it.  And how effective do you think it could be in this situation? 

GOODWIN:  I think what makes it effective is when you come to the White House to have a beer or you have a cocktail hour, you‘re not sitting around a table.  There‘s not that fixed kind of unrelaxing setting.  You‘re in a chair probably.  You‘re sitting on a couch.  It does allow you to have a conversation that wouldn‘t be had in a normal setting.

Teddy Roosevelt once said the importance of relaxing people—perhaps when he used to go to a club meeting with the Republicans at a saloon—was that you could somehow undo the moral defect of being a stranger by talking the same language.  So I think the hope is they can talk the same language that night, come out at least agreeing that something happened that night, but that they can both hear each other.  If Obama can do that, he will have done something positive.

SCHULTZ:  And was Lyndon Johnson the best at all of this?  Or in the top five?  What do you think?

GOODWIN:  Absolutely.  Lyndon Johnson would have those Republicans over.  Dirkson came night after night.  They shared the Bourbon, share the scotch.  He somehow got Dirkson to bring the Republicans to break the filibuster on the Civil Rights Bill.  He was the best. 

He learned it from Rayburn, who in the House used to have what they called a board of education meeting.  And all the House barons would gather in an unmarked room on the ground floor of the Capital, and the colleagues who were special would have a key to that room.  There they would play poker and make deals for the House and the Senate to get along. 

SCHULTZ:  Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much for you insight to this, Doris. 

GOODWIN:  You‘re very welcome. 

SCHULTZ:  A last page in my playbook tonight; Michael Vick is back in the NFL.  He‘s being reinstated with conditions.  He‘s allowed to take part in pre-season practices, workouts and meetings, and can play in the two final pre-season games.  That is, if he can find a team.  He can start the regular season games as early as October. 

I will have more on this tomorrow.  Look, America is about second chances.  America has to realize that this guy has done everything that he is supposed to do, to the letter of the law, to a T.  He‘s gone through everything.  And he‘s not getting off lightly.  He‘s been definitely from the NFL since August 2007, served 18 months in prison for running a dog-fighting ring.  Once the highest paid player in the league.  Right now, he‘s broke. 

He wants a chance to start over and this is going to be an issue with the NFL player‘s union as well.  A lot of players are being quiet about this, because it‘s such a toxic subject. 

Coming up, Hillary Clinton‘s critics just want her to say no to another presidential run.  But she keeps leaving the door open.  So Clintonian, isn‘t it?   She did it again on “Meet the Press.”  We‘ll talk about that when we come back here on THE ED SHOW, on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  There‘s a lot of buzz out there about Hillary Clinton‘s “Meet the Press” interview.  She was on for the full hour and gave us a rare glimpse into her psych, how she feels about the campaign and about Obama‘s performance in office.  We‘ll get to that in just a minute. 

First, she was asked again if she has any plans to run again.  She gets asked about this everywhere she goes around the world.  Here‘s what she had to say to David Gregory. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE:  The answer is no. 

DAVID GREGORY, “MEET THE PRESS”:  But you didn‘t say never.

CLINTON:  I say no, never, not at all.  I don‘t know what else to say.

GREGORY:  Are you saying you wouldn‘t entertain another run?

CLINTON:  I have absolutely no belief in my mind that that is going to happen, that I have any interest in it happening. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Some people think Mrs. Clinton can‘t just say no.  For more, let‘s put it to our panel tonight, Bill Press, Roger Simon, Michael Medved.  I think and I really admire the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, former senator of New York, former first lady.  But Bill Press, I have to say that I think if she‘s above the grass at 90, she‘ll be thinking about running for president.  What do you think? 

PRESS:  No way.  I‘ll tell you right here and now, the next Clinton who runs for public office will be Chelsea.  It will not be Hillary Clinton.  I think you just heard a denial there, Ed.  and let‘s put the conspiracy theory aside.  She‘s not going to run in 2012 and certainly not in 2016.

SCHULTZ:  There‘s not a conspiracy about it.  It‘s just that I think she‘s going to run again. 

PRESS:  I know. 

SCHULTZ:  She wouldn‘t say absolutely emphatically not.  Roger, how do you play this? 

SIMON:  This reminds me of what Ted Kennedy used to say.  I don‘t think about running for president anymore, but I don‘t think about it any less.  She‘s certainly not going to run in 2012.  In 2016, she‘ll be only 69 years old.  That‘s not too old.  Then again, Joe Biden will be only 74 years old in 2016 and he might want to run. 

SCHULTZ:  Here is Secretary of State Clinton talking about President Obama and the job he is doing in office.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  Having worked with him for six months, what I see is his decisiveness, his discipline, his approach to difficult problems. 

GREGORY:  During the campaign, you questioned both his experience and his toughness.  Are those issues that you don‘t feel as strongly anymore? 

CLINTON:  I don‘t feel them at all.  I think that those were appropriate issues to raise in the campaign.  I have no problem with having raised those, because he hadn‘t yet been on the national scene.  Look, I‘m here to say, as someone who spent an enormous amount of time and effort running against him, I think his performance in office has been incredible. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, is she just being a team player?  Or do you think that she‘s thinking about the future? 

MEDVED:  I think she means it and she is thinking about the future.  Let‘s face it, she is the only other person in the administration, other than President Obama, who has maintained popularity.  Joe Biden is very, very down in approval ratings.  Timothy Geithner is not laying any fires.  Bob Gates is a Republican. 

So really it‘s Michelle Obama, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  I don‘t think you‘re going to see Janet Napolitano launching any kind of national campaign.  Hillary Clinton could.  By the way, 69 years old, for that lady, is not going to be too old.

SCHULTZ:  Roger Simon, could Secretary of State Clinton really help Barack Obama going through this health care battle right now?  What do you think? 

SIMON:  Oh, sure.  She still has credibility on health care.  She was an expert at one time on health care in America.  And, you know, obviously she and her husband failed in their attempt to get it through, but she could provide a strong voice.  I‘m not sure President Obama wants to go there.  She‘s pretty busy as secretary of state.  And even though we haven‘t been concentrating on it, we‘ve got two fighting wars out there.  We‘ve got problems in the Mideast.  We‘ve got problems in North Korea. 

She‘s got a lot on her plate. 

SCHULTZ:  What does it mean—staying with the health care issue, because the Clintons, of course, tried to do this years ago, and it didn‘t work out.  But now you have Mitch McConnell, who was saying that the public option is a non-starter.  Give us the Washington speak on that, Bill Press.  Just exactly what does that mean?  I take that as a shot over the bow.  It is filibuster talk.

PRESS:  I think that means there will not be one Republican vote for the health care reform legislation, I don‘t care how many amendments they make or what they put in it.  Which is why, Ed, I believe that Max Baucus and Ken Conrad and Harry Reid should stop talking to the Republicans, accept the fact, and just push this through with 50 votes in the Senate, and get it done. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, it‘s great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks for joining us, Roger Simon, Bill Press and Michael Medved. 

Earlier in the show I asked you what you thought; is Sarah Palin gunning for the 2012 nomination?  Ha, 79 percent of you said yes; 21 percent of you said no.  It‘s all about Sarah. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW tonight.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  We‘ll be in Portland, Oregon this coming Friday night at the Baghdad Theater.  It‘s a town hall meeting this Friday night.  Capacity crowd.  It‘s going to be great.  We‘re going to be talking about health care reform, and also the creation of jobs.  We‘re looking forward to that. 

For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check you my radio website at WeGotEd.com.  Chris Matthews with “HARDBALL” starts right now, here for the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘re back tomorrow night, same time, right here on THE ED SHOW.

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

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