updated 10/6/2009 11:07:36 AM ET 2009-10-06T15:07:36

THE ED SHOW

October 5, 2009

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Guests: Linda Douglass, Jonathan Alter, Zaneb Beams, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Bob Shrum, Mayor James J. Schmitt, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Michael Medved, Bill Press

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Good to have you with us tonight, here on THE ED SHOW. I hope you had a great weekend.

All right. A quick update. No vote today in the Senate Finance Committee. Harry Reid and Max Baucus, they're at odds. Reid wants to go to the floor debate, Baucus wants to wait for the CBO to score the Senate Finance Committee bill so they'll tell us how much this whole thing is going to cost.

You know, everybody is so worried about the money. The money, the money, the money.

I want to talk about the human cost off the top tonight.

We went home this weekend to Lake County, Minnesota. There's a guy I've known there for a while. His name is Dennis, a good guy.

He's had a construction company for some 30 years. Small business owner. You know the story. He pays his taxes, plays by the rules.

Smart guy. Good reputation. He's built a number of homes around the lake.

So, Sunday morning, I am enjoying my coffee and reading my local paper, "The Fargo Forum," and I see that in the classified section, that there's going to be an auction at noon for Dennis. He's selling all of his stuff.

So, I called around to find out what the heck was going on. It turns out that Dennis, well, he had a brain tumor and he had surgery in February. I didn't know that.

Like a lot of people who work in a small business in America, he didn't have health insurance. So, let's see-he's closed his business. You know the story. He's filed for bankruptcy.

Now he's selling off his construction equipment, his fishing gear, his guitar, his motorcycle. You know how near and dear that is to these guys, right? And he's trying to, you know, navigate through this illness.

Now, think about this. Think about how long it took him to work that business to where it was, to build a good life for himself and his family, and now he's completely wiped out. I think the term he used today when I talked to him was "rock bottom."

He didn't ask to get hit with this. He's got the Republican plan.

He's just unlucky. It could have happened to anybody.

You know what? I think Americans understand this. And I wonder if it would be different if the Republican congressional members had to auction off their stuff and go through what Dennis has to go through.

This is what middle America understands. And this is what middle America is frustrated about. They have to do something about the catastrophic clause and so much more in all of these health care proposals.

Now, "Consumer Reports," they normally don't dive into this stuff. A trusted resource for American consumers for more than 70 years just released this poll. Seventy-three percent of Americans fear major financial loss due to illness or accident. Seventy-three percent of Americans are worried about being able to afford health care coverage in the future with the skyrocketing prices. And 73 percent of Americans are worried about needed care being denied or rationed by insurance companies.

These are staggering numbers that have prompted "Consumer Reports" to release their first ever advocacy ad backing health care reform.

Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, health care costs too much. Many Americans are one pink slip or one major illness away from losing their coverage.

We at Consumers Union say this problem must be fixed this year for everyone's sake. Washington, the time for health care reform is now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, Republicans claim that Americans don't want to pay for health care. You're already paying for it with health care.

A small business owner can catch a tumor early; right? Get it treated early. He can probably keep his company and he can pay his taxes for years to come, and all those guys he had to let go, well, they would still have a job.

Without health care, the guy goes bankrupt, his company folds, the dozen of workers who worked for him for a long time lose their job, collecting unemployment. Now they're on the dole, right? All paid for by the American taxpayer. That's you and me.

Now, that's the status quo. That's what Republicans support.

And over the weekend, I did find the Republican vision and strategy for an efficient cost-you know, cost-effective 21st century health care system. This was sent to me again. I went through it, and that's where they're at. The Republicans say that it would be a government takeover if we were to try to help this guy out.

Now, we know that there are solutions here. It's not beg for charity.

The lines are drawn. The Republicans want to do nothing.

President Obama, three-quarters of the doctors of the country, and the most trusted consumer source in America want a real solution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. It will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most. Insurance companies will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on how much coverage you can receive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So, I wondered how the auction went. And as all auctions do, they didn't get as much money as they thought they should have gotten.

And it should be pointed out that in that 7th District in Minnesota, Colin Peterson is a Blue Dog and he's not for the public option. I wonder if he'll ever have an auction some day. Probably not. He's great health care, great benefits as a congressional member.

Joining me now is Linda Douglass, the White House communications director for the Office of Health Care Reform.

Ms. Douglass, good to have you with us tonight.

I'm reading about this rift between Harry Reid and Max Baucus on the public option and about how they're starting to part ways.

Where's the White House going to go on this, for sure? Where is the White House going? Are they ready to tell Max Baucus, Max, you're on the wrong side of this?

LINDA DOUGLASS, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF HEALTH

CAR REFORM: Well, you know, as you know, Ed, there's a process that's going on now. First of all, the Senate Finance Committee, which has put in the longest period of drafting a bill that is built on the president's principles, took them, you know, more than 15 days, you know, to work this through, they haven't voted yet. They've still got to vote on what is going to be in their bill.

Then Senator Reid, who is the leader of the Senate, is going to pull together the committee bill from the HELP Committee, Senator Harkin's committee, this-Senator Baucus' committee, put the common elements together. There is tremendous agreement among all of the bills. They're all built on the president's principles-lowering costs, expanding coverage, deficit-neutral, protecting you against unfair insurance practices.

Every one of these bills has got these components in it. So, they're going to merge these bills and they're going to vote probably sometime in the middle of the month.

SCHULTZ: But when it comes to a guaranteed mechanism to give the private sector competition, the Democrats, not all of them are on board. And I want to know, is the White House-when is the White House going to tell some of these conservative Democrats, you're on the wrong side of this, it's time to move on, and let's get it together and let's go to reconciliation?

Where is the president going to be on all of this?

DOUGLASS: I think I've gotten that question from you before, Ed. But let me explain to you again that the president has been very, very clear.

There's no question where he's coming from. There's got to be more choice and competition in the market for people who don't have health insurance, are underinsured, work for small businesses where there are markets all over this country, where one or two insurance companies dominates the entire market. That has to change. He's made it very clear there has got to be an approach in the bill that he signs which will finally provide that choice and competition for people who are locked out of the market now.

SCHULTZ: OK. Does the president believe that co-ops will provide that competition?

DOUGLASS: What the president has said is there are approaches to this. He certainly has said the public option is a very good approach to this. He's made that very clear.

But the key here is choice and competition for the people who are locked out of the health insurance market now because of cost. That's got to change. And he's made it clear that's got to be in any legislation that he signs.

SCHULTZ: And what was the purpose of having all these doctors at the White House today? I had one doctor tell me it was nothing but a photo-op.

DOUGLASS: Well, you know, the doctors all around the country, these are doctors from 50 states. We hear from doctors all over the country that they believe that this year, it is urgent to have some kind of health reform legislation.

They are on the front lines. They treat people who don't have health insurance. They battle with the insurance company.

The average doctor spends something like 150 hours a year battling with the insurance companies on the phone. They see people who don't have preventive care, so they come in much sicker than they should be.

So, these doctors came to say, we've got to get this done this year.

Inaction is not an option. And members of Congress know that.

SCHULTZ: I'm going to keep asking you those questions, Ms. Douglass. I just have to. I'm waiting for the president and I think the American people are waiting for the president to tell those guys over on the conservative side, you're on the wrong side, this is where we're going. Maybe that moment will be soon.

Linda, I appreciate your time tonight.

DOUGLASS: Thank, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this.

Is President Obama doing enough to close the deal on health care reform? Text "A" for yes and "B" for no to 622639.

Joining me now is John Alter, senior editor at "Newsweek" an MSNBC analyst.

All right. "Consumer Reports" comes out.

JONATHAN ALTER, SR. EDITOR, "NEWSWEEK": It's a big deal.

SCHULTZ: They're jumping into it. What do you make of that?

ALTER: Well, this is huge. This is a tremendously reputable publication for many, many years. And they are getting off the sidelines and into the debate. It's that important that we have some kind of a bill.

I've had it with the delays. You know, there was a great line on "Mad Men" last night where January Jones, her character, Betty, says, "If you don't have power, you delay in politics." That's something that she learned.

Well, that's what's happening now, is the people who don't really have power are trying to delay this. And the power is seeping out of Max Baucus' hands right now. So he wants to delay a little bit.

For many, many months, Harry Reid was giving him a break. There were people all over town...

SCHULTZ: Harry's talking tougher right now.

ALTER: ... they were urging Harry Reid, take Ted Kennedy's committee and Chris Dodd's committee, take that bill directly to the floor, go around Max Baucus. In order to stick with Baucus for a while, he gave him a chance. But he's had enough and he wants to move this legislation. And it's time for the obstructionists to get out of the way so the American people can see this get done.

SCHULTZ: We've seen this Olympics talk over the weekend. The conservatives, the GOP, being very negative, pinning it on Obama as a failure.

ALTER: Right. Very patriotic of them.

SCHULTZ: Yes, very patriotic of them. I can just imagine what it's going to sound like if he doesn't get the kind of health care reform that he wants-meaning the public option and meaning some kind of guaranteed competition for the private sector.

So, with that, and the jobs numbers not where they want them to be-and it may go to 10, it may go to 10.5. Greenspan's talking about that into next year. How much political capital, how much arm-twisting does President Obama have to do at this particular time down the stretch on health care?

ALTER: As much as he can. I mean, this is for all the marbles right now. This is extraordinarily important.

The Olympics is not important. This is. And he will do what it takes.

He's very engaged. He's going to expend whatever political capital he can.

But you've asked Linda Douglass the right questions. We need to know whether now that they're getting down to, you know, brass tacks, this is the time when he-we're going to see what Barack Obama is made of, how hard he's willing to push, and how effective he is.

At this point, there is momentum for the bill. See, earlier in the summer, when you and I were arguing, it was because I wanted to make sure that this bill was on track and that we were going to have legislation. Now it looks like we are going to have legislation, so it's time to fight as hard as we can for effective legislation.

SCHULTZ: My point is the president, eventually, is going to have to

tell Max Baucus, you're on the wrong side of the issue. We're going co-op

we're going to the public option. The co-op isn't going to make it.

And I think his base is waiting for that. I mean, they've given up single payer, so...

ALTER: Well, see, at this point, what's changed recently is that Kent Conrad had a chance to show that a co-op option could actually work. But he didn't ever come up with a real plan for how it would be effective in providing this kind of choice that the president has indicated that we need. So, you know, he's lost his chance. So now we should be pack to the public option, ,because the alternative there hasn't been fleshed out and apparently won't work.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan, good to have you on.

ALTER: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

Coming up, some Righties are just taking great pleasure in America not getting the Olympics. They think it's funny that the president couldn't close the deal. Congressman Chris Van Hollen is going to be here to set them straight.

Plus, there is a big battle in the NFL tonight. Brett Favre of the Vikings taking on the Cheeseheads from Green Bay. It's going to be a dandy. We'll be talking about that in our "Playbook." We've got the mayors from both cities.

I wonder if Green Bay would like Favre back?

Stay with us. We're back on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Today, President Obama went to the front lines of health care. That debate taking place. He met with doctors from every state to talk about reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Every one of you here today took an oath when you entered the medical profession. It was not an oath that you would spend a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies. It was not an oath that you would have to turn away patients who you know could use your help. You did not devote your lives to be bean counters or paper pushers.

You took an oath so that you could heal people. You did it so you could save lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president talking to doctors today.

Joining me now is Dr. Zaneb Beams, a Maryland pediatrician and member of Doctors for America. And she was at the White House today.

Dr. Beams, thanks for your time tonight.

Is the president being strong enough?

DR. ZANEB BEAMS, MARYLAND PEDIATRICIAN: I think it's time for the president to get a little stronger. I think he's being strong enough. He's got a lot to handle, especially with-as you guys were talking earlier, Senator Baucus not really going far enough, I think, with the Finance Committee bill and doing what's right for the American people, and putting a public option into the proposal, and really making a real change in the system that we already have that's going to help the 47 million uninsured Americans that are suffering today.

SCHULTZ: Dr. Beams, do you think that congressional members are listening to your organization and listening to doctors? Can you see some of the things that you're advocating in some of the bills that have been written as they get ready to go to the floor to debate all this?

BEAMS: Sure. There's a lot in the bills that's really great and that we've advocated for. We've advocated for patients to not suffer because of pre-existing conditions. We've advocated for changes in the way that reimbursement is calculated so the SGR that people hear about if they're kind of familiar with the way that these things are calculated, and that's a big step. We heard from the president today that he is asking on a state-by-state level for some way of addressing this whole idea of the practice of defensive medicine so that doctors can practice medicine and take care of their patients, which is what we all went into medicine to do.

SCHULTZ: And what are your patients telling you? What do your patients say to you when you meet with them?

BEAMS: Well, I do mostly-you know, we don't talk a lot of politics in the office, but I do have patients telling me they have difficulty getting medications, they have difficulties meeting with specialists. They certainly worry about whether their insurance company is going to let them stay with me as their child's provider.

So, patients are very insecure right now in the system that we have, and I think we have to change that. Doctors are insecure, too.

SCHULTZ: Yes. The president brought the doctors into the political arena today and talked about the GOP lies. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: These men and women here would not be supporting health insurance reform if they really believed that it would lead to government bureaucrats making decisions that are best left to doctors. They wouldn't be here today if they believed that reform in any way would damage the very critical and sacred doctor/patient relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And finally, Dr. Beams, are you afraid that the government's going to come into your office and dictate to you how to do medicine?

BEAMS: No. I think the government has better things to do than worry about getting into my office and telling me what to do.

And, in fact, the thing that, you know, doctors like to point out when this idea is brought up is that there's already someone standing between me and my patient, and that's an insurance company executive. And I have to deal with this every day in my office. The manager deals with it all day long, being told how the medicine is going to be practiced and how my patients are going to be treated by people who don't study medicine and who are not physicians. They're executives working for the bottom line.

SCHULTZ: Dr. Beams, appreciate your time tonight on THE ED SHOW.

Thanks so much. Thanks for being involved.

BEAMS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, I've got a bone to pick with Billy Kristol. Not the Hollywood dude. I'm talking about the guy that's inside the beltway who's calling the president a bully for going to Copenhagen.

That's coming up next in "Psycho Talk," and it is so deserving.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. "Psycho Talk" tonight.

I've always wanted to get this guy in the zone. And, well, he's there, the editor of The Weekly Substandard, Bill Kristol.

Now, this is the guy whose newsroom cheered when Chicago lost its Olympic bid. Then Kristol goes on TV this weekend with some more anti-Olympic sentiment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": We don't need the Olympics. We've had them a million times. Our economy doesn't need the boost of the Olympics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Hold it right there. Kristol must have been living underneath a rock for the past year.

Our economy is not in good shape. We need work; right?

OK. The Olympic games would have brought $22 billion of economic activity, and a minimum-a minimum of 315,000 jobs. Full-time jobs.

But wait a minute. That would have made Obama look good.

We absolutely need a boost like the Olympics. And that wasn't all he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTOL: An American president in a sort of George W. Bush-like way goes and tries to bully the International Olympic Committee. Can you imagine if some Republican-if Bush had done this and we hadn't gotten the typical Bush heavy-handedness, cowboy, unilateralist, hegemonic, imperialist action?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Kristol, I remember you being a big Bush boot licker.

So he shouldn't think that Obama acting like Bush is such a bad thing; right?

More importantly, calling Obama's Olympic pitch an imperialistic action is absolutely ridiculous. And, of course, you can't trust anybody who authored The Project for the New American Century.

All the other candidates, by the way, sent their leaders to Copenhagen, too. Even the winners had their leader there.

The GOP's joy in the failure of Chicago's Olympic bid is flat-out anti-American. Rooting against the Olympics proves that these guys are more interested in taking down the president than seeing their country succeed. And that is flat-out "Psycho Talk."

Up next, the right-wing celebration of Chicago's loss doesn't end with guys like Kristol. Righty politicians are putting politics ahead of patriotism.

Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen wonders if they're actively rooting against America. Well, they are.

Plus, the cheesers versus the geezer. Sorry, Favre. It's going to be a dandy tonight on "Monday Night Football." Favre and the Vikings tonight taking on the Packers. We've got the mayor of Minneapolis and the mayor of Green Bay for a little pre-game action right here in my "Playbook" coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: The same minority who happily pumped one fist when Chicago-when America lost its bid to host the Olympics is the same minority that disputes indisputable evidence about how our health care plan will help seniors, or disputes indisputable evidence about our president's birth records.

It is the same minority that relies on distortions, distractions and deception to change the subject away from health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You can tell that Harry's been watching THE ED SHOW. That was my op-ed on Friday. The Republicans have shown us their playbook. They are basically going to stand against everything that could possibly help President Obama and this country, from health care reform to the Olympics.

Joining me now is Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Can you capitalize on all this negativity that was spewed out at the end of last week and then through the talking heads this weekend? Do you think this is really who the Republicans are?

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Look, Ed, I thought this was a very revealing moment. It was a very sickening moment. It does show the Republican right for what it is. Because, for months, they've been saying they're not against Obama; they're against Obama's policies.

But when they come out and root against America's getting the Olympics, it's pretty clear that this is not about policies. This is about being against whatever the president is for, wanting the president to fail, wanting-relishing America's loss of the Olympics.

So when Jim Demint, Senator Demint, said some weeks ago that they wanted to use health care to break Obama, we know what they're saying. They want him to fail. They want our country's health care policies to not succeed, because, in this sense, they're putting politics over country. And what happened over the Olympics I think was a great eye opener for the American people. They got to see, once and for all, that these guys were rooting against the country, and relishing a loss for the country over the Olympics. That's pretty scary.

SCHULTZ: If there was an election right now, would you lose any seats in the House?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I might have said something different about a month ago. I do believe that now people are beginning to see that this is not about-this is about trying to break the president. This is not about trying to improve health care in this country, that the Republicans have turned this into totally political warfare.

SCHULTZ: Sure, they have.

VAN HOLLEN: When you're taking on America getting the Olympics, this is not about what's best for the country. This is about pure, raw politics and trying to bring the president down. Jim Demint said it. And what he said publicly is what the Republican leadership has been thinking privately.

SCHULTZ: I mean, this is a pretty bad day in America, when we can't getting together on amateur athletics. What about the athletes? What about the American athletes? Anybody take them into consideration? What about the kids that could have gone to this competitive atmosphere, which is-you know, could give you memories for a lifetime? I don't know where the Republicans are coming from. They constantly say, we're going to get a repeat of 1994, when there was a shift in the House.

I want to go to some numbers here. In 1994, it was 49-51 when it came to favorability. Of course, the Democrats were at 49. The GOP was at 51. Right now, the Democrats are at 56. The GOP is at 27 percent when it comes to favorability.

It looks like, by those numbers, cap and trade is not going to hurt you. There was a pretty courageous vote taking place over in the House when you didn't have the votes in the Senate. Have you overcome that? What do you think?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think we have overcome it. What's happened is that the American public is finally seeing the Republicans for what they are, that they're just against everything that Obama's for. Most Americans, as we know, Ed, are for reforming America's health care system. They want to make sure we fix what works-keep what works, but fix what's broken. The fact of the matter is there's a whole lot broken out there.

So for the Republicans to say they want us to fail on that issue, and to use that as an issue to break the president, has been a great eye opener for the American people. That's why this Olympics issue is so revealing, because every American is for bringing the Olympics to the United States. That was a loss for our country. To see people relishing in that loss exposed these guys for playing the cynical politics. It really did.

When you see people erupting in cheers because America lost the Olympics at places like the "Weekly Standard" and Rush Limbaugh and all these places the right wing talk show hosts, who are proxies for the Republican leadership-and I have to say that we haven't heard the Republican leadership condemn them.

We saw what happened last time they came out and condemned them. All of a sudden, they had to apologize to Rush Limbaugh. You remember that?

SCHULTZ: I do.

VAN HOLLEN: He said, I hope the president fails. And a few of those Republicans got up their courage-

SCHULTZ: I'm glad you're wound up about this. I'm glad you're wound up about this, because on Friday I thought I was going to be-on Friday, I thought I was going to be the only one. I'm glad you're cranked up about it. Chris Van Hollen, thanks for joining us tonight.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Joining me now is longtime Democratic strategy Bob Shrum. Bob has been around the block a long time on stuff like this. Can Obama-can the president capitalize on all this negativity that's been thrown out there? What should be his next move?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, I think he ought to just keep working on health care and try move this forward. You know, these guys revealed last Friday that they'd root against Michael Phelps if they thought it would hurt Obama.

It's not just on health care. It's not just on cap and trade. Go back to the stimulus package. Republicans want this economy to fail. They want it to fail for political reasons. They had no answer to what we were supposed to do about joblessness. They had no answer on how we were supposed to save companies like General Motors.

Just let the whole thing collapse and we'll repeat 1994. They revealed themselves. They're not going to get away with it.

SCHULTZ: Bob, in the meantime, the job numbers don't look good. They weren't good for September. We could be looking at 10 percent, 10.5 percent unemployment. When does that start to haunt the administration?

SHRUM: I think there's more time. People are smart about this. They know he inherited a mess. My colleagues at NYU-the economists would all say unemployment or employment is the lagging indicator when you're having a recovery. So I think it's going it take a while.

Let me tell you something, the Republicans made a huge mistake here, because if things didn't go well next year, if, say, a year from now we were 10.5 percent, 11, 12 percent unemployment, they'd get all the benefits anyway, without ever acting like bratty schoolboys, who wanted to be negative about everything the president was trying to do.

So what they've done is sent the country a message. The Republican message is we want Obama to fail, even if it means America fails.

SCHULTZ: So what do you think the Republicans' next move is going to be? Is it just going to be more of the same? Are they going to get on to anything? I understand there's a lot of pressure being put on Olympia Snow right now. Don't go over there with them. Let's make sure we just don't have one or two Republicans going into the health care debate. Let's just draw the line and see where we go from here.

What do you think their next move's going to be?

SHRUM: Well, Olympia Snowe will do what she wants to do. No one's going to tell her in that Republican leadership that she can't do something. They've decided to double down or triple down on the strategy of this summer.

I talked to a friend of mine who is a Republican conservative, who says, we desperately need ideas. We desperately need something to say to the American people. He said, we're not going to do it. He said, our folks decided that the Tea Parties are the wave of the future. They're going to try to ride that wave next year.

SCHULTZ: I wonder if all these people at the Tea Parties, they've all got insurance? Did they not get the double digit increases? I don't know how the Republicans are going to navigate out of this, when there's auctions taking place in the heartland. You know the story that is out there. How are they going to navigate around that?

SHRUM: The curve of this story turned. And it was predictable that it was going to turn. It's a little like Obama in September of 2007, when some of his finance people got all upset, said you're behind Hillary. The conventional wisdom was that she had the nomination sown up. He got them on the phone, said, I have a plan. I have a strategy. We're going to stick to it.

He's been very steady in this. I think this thing is coming around. I suspect, within a week or two, Linda Douglass will be answering your question.

SCHULTZ: I hope so. I'm going to keep asking it.

SHRUM: She's great, though, the way she does it.

SCHULTZ: She's terrific at it. Network correspondent knows exactly how to answer, not only ask the questions, which she's been doing her whole career. But, sooner or later, the president is going to have to publicly say, Max Baucus, you're wrong on this. We're going public option. I mean, I hear Tom Harkin. It's definitive. I hear Harry Reid. He's getting stronger. When does the White House move in that direction?

SHRUM: You have to be careful, because, unless you're going to go to reconciliation, you can't order these folks to do things. Some of these Blue Dogs don't understand, if they break with the president, like some of their predecessors did in '93 and 94, they're the ones likely to pay the price at the polls, especially the Blue Dogs in the House.

So I think the president is going to try to negotiate this. I'm for a public option. I think what we'll end up with is some kind of trigger on a public option, or, in the alternative, giving the states the choice of setting up a public option, which means we'll have it in most states. In Alabama, 95 percent of people will still be stuck with one insurance company.

SCHULTZ: Before you go, Bob, I have to play this sound cut of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on Iran. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: If sanctions fail and Iran's going down the road to get a nuclear weapon, every Sunni-Arab state that could would want a nuclear weapon. Israel would be more imperiled. The world would change dramatically for the worst. If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities, we should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I mean, I was stunned when I heard that this weekend. That's World War III. That's diplomacy totally out and a bunch of strawmen being built up.

SHRUM: It is strawmen. Isn't it great that at just the moment when Obama's diplomacy is succeeding, when his openness to negotiation is actually bringing the Russians along, even seems to have had some effect on the Chinese, has united our allies, Republicans want to go out there and blast them and say, look, what we need to do is attack Iran.

It's just what they're going to do on Afghanistan, by the way. They're sitting there waiting. If he doesn't put in the troops, they're going to accuse him of cutting and running. If he does put in the troops, they're going to wait a year or two and then they're going to start talking about Obama's war.

SCHULTZ: What kind of conversation do you think General McChrystal and President Obama had?

SHRUM: I hope they had a full and frank discussion, especially since General McChrystal doesn't seem at all shy about taking his case to the newspapers, which nobody, by the way-very few people-I think you mentioned-pointed out we ought to have civilian control of the military in this country. When Douglas MaCarthur took his case outside of the chain of command, he got in some trouble.

SCHULTZ: He got fired. Bob Shrum, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us.

Up next, it doesn't get any better than this, Monday Night Football. If Brett Favre and the Vikings get after the Packers tonight, he'll be the only player ever to beat every team in the NFL. That's right, all 32 of them. The mayors of Minneapolis and Green Bay go head to head next in my playbook. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In my playbook, in less than two hours-it's almost like a blastoff. They've had like an 18 hour pregame show. In less than a couple of hours, Brett Favre, can he do it against his old team, the Green Bay Packers? The border battle goes on, Vikings and Packers tonight, kickoff 8:30.

If the Vikings win, Favre is going to be the only player to have beaten all 32 NFL teams in his career. Here with me now, the mayors of both cities of those teams, Mayor James J. Schmitt of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and also Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Gentlemen, don't come to blows. It's only a football game. OK. Mayor Schmitt, I'm curious, is anybody buying any steak at Brett Favre's Steakhouse in Green Bay? Is anybody eating over there now? Or have they shut the doors on that?

MAYOR JAMES J. SCHMITT, GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN: There's a big group of people that still love Brett Favre for all he's done for the community. Although, he's broken all these records, there's one tonight we would rather he not break. That's to be the quarterback that beats all teams. But there's a lot of support for Brett in Green Bay.

SCHULTZ: Do you think there are a lot of-maybe some Packer fans rooting for the Vikings tonight? Is it about the jersey and see you later, Brett? What do you think?

SCHMITT: No, there's some people who are following Brett. My sister, for example, I mean, she's been a longtime loyal Packer fan. And she's a Jets fan last year, and a Viking fan this year. There are people who just love Brett Favre for all he's done for the game and for Green Bay. So I don't know. I'm a Packer fan and I think we're going to see a great game tonight.

SCHULTZ: R.T., I know the Vikings have lost four Super Bowls. Any time you can start out undefeated, you don't care who's playing quarterback, right?

MAYOR R.T. RYBAK, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: We don't count-the mayor got a good one on me today. I was dissing the Packers and he said, gee, it's nice to win a Super Bowl. So I'm slightly humble.

SCHMITT: Three.

RYBAK: Well, who's counting? The Packers are great. Wisconsin's great 363 days a year; we're all buddy buddy. I'm telling you, there's been a border breakdown here, because too often in Minneapolis, like tonight, with the purple out on the street, you see all these people in green. Night of the living dead, where the zombies suddenly appear in front of your eyes.

SCHULTZ: R.T., did you ever think, in your wildest dreams, that Brett Favre, after all those years of beating the Vikings, he would actually be taking a step for you team?

RYBAK: Never. I know how I would feel if Joe Mauer was playing for, say, the White Sox. I get it. You know, I was skeptical when Brett first came in. Hey, he's whipped the thing up. It's a phenomenal team. They needed a good, strong leader at the helm. He's been great. Hey, I'm more than happy. Cheesehead once in your life doesn't mean you can't take it off and get real sometimes.

SCHULTZ: Mayor Schmitt, did the Packers do the right thing letting Brett Favre go? He's three and zero two years after you let him go.

SCHMITT: I'm well aware of that. You know, I don't know. The Packers took the long view on this decision. They have a great front office. I really think that when they looked at Aaron Rogers and signed him, you know, Brett-there was a lot of, you know, waffling in this. I think the Packers stuck with their decision. I hope it's the right decision. I think it is. You know, we'll see tonight.

SCHULTZ: All right.

RYBAK: Let me bail out my friend the mayor here. Let me, if I could, bail out my friend the mayor here. I think there are some times when the fit doesn't work with the team anymore. Randy Moss may be the greatest receiver anywhere around, but I don't want that guy to ever come back into the city of Minneapolis again. He was a jerk when he was here. And Brett wasn't a jerk over there. There's a different deal. But sometimes fits don't work in football.

So hey, he fits beautifully here. We're happy to take him.

SCHMITT: Long season.

SCHULTZ: Put your coaching hat on now. R.T., what do the Vikings have to do tonight?

RYBAK: They have to have all the attention go to Brett Favre before the game and none of the attention go to Adrien Peterson, who hopefully will dominate the game.

SCHULTZ: Major Schmitt, I hope your team worked on tackling this week.

SCHMITT: We have to protect Aaron Rogers. We have to protect our quarterback. Our offensive line-I do think the defense is pretty hungry. These guys, even though they played with Favre-I do think our defense is going to go after-after him pretty hard.

But we've got to protect our quarterback. And that's been a little bit of a struggle this year. I hope tonight they really step it up.

SCHULTZ: All right. This is one time when all politics is put aside. Let's just have a great football game. Mayor Schmitt and Mayor Rybak, we should point out that this is going to be the most watched regular season game ever. That's what the experts are saying. It should be a great one tonight. May the Vikings win. No offense, mayor.

SCHMITT: Oh, what?

SCHULTZ: We'll see you guys. Thanks so much.

SCHMITT: November 1st coming up, too.

SCHULTZ: That's right. Always play twice.

All right. Coming up, Harry Reid just stepped into a mission impossible. He's got to find a way to combine two big health care bills into one and keep 60 egos on board. That would be senators. Go get them, Harry. You're watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Panel coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I'm glad there's trouble brewing amongst the Senate Dems. Harry Reid reportedly willing to go to the floor for a public option against Finance Chairman Max Baucus, who is not going to get there. Reid may be getting some help from the president. "L.A. Times" reports today that the White House is privately lobbying Senate Democrats hard for a public option. Although we really couldn't get Linda Douglass to really confirm that tonight.

OK? For more, let's bring in our panel, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Michael Medved, radio talk show host, nationally syndicated as well, and author of the book "The Ten Big Lies About America."

All right, gentlemen. First of all, Bill Press, when does Max Baucus get the memo or the phone call from President Obama telling him he's out of touch-he's not a happening dude on this? What's happening here?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. I wish he had gotten it yesterday, Ed. Look, I think they get the bill out of the Finance Committee and then Barack Obama and Harry Reid both call up Max Baucus and say, you know, Max, good job; you got a bill out of the committee. Now get lost.

I really think that Baucus and Kent Conrad have already lost this battle, Ed. I think it's moving in our direction. I think Chuck Schumer is going to be the key person, with Harry Reid. He's very close to Harry Reid. When Harry Reid sits down to put those bills together-and Reid has already said it-there will be a public plan option in the bill that goes to the floor of the Senate. Good-bye, Max Baucus.

SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, this is not the way the Republicans wanted it to play out. They wanted a big fight here. What's going to happen?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think the way the Republicans wanted it to play out was not to have a big fight and not to have a public option. The problem here for Democrats is it's so difficult for Democrats to get together on this, precisely because the American people aren't together on it.

The American people are worried. They're worried about the fact that it's a lot of backstage wheeling and dealing and internal conflicts in the Democratic party that's going to end up taking over one-sixth of the American economy, and saddling us with more debt than we can handle.

SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, let's switch gears and talk about some military issues; 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. That's what the generals want, General McChrystal. What do you think, Michael Medved? How tough is Obama? How tough a call of this for the president of the United States? His base doesn't want to go to Afghanistan. Me calls it still a war of necessity. What's going to happen?

MEDVED: I hope that my fellow Republicans will support the president 100 percent on this, and to show that we don't want America to fail. We want America to win this war. The only way to win this war is to support our military, which is the best in the world, and some of these outstanding generals. President Obama appointed General McChrystal. I'm hoping that he will have unanimous support from Republicans in the Congress for sending the troops that our generals need.

SCHULTZ: Bill, is the president a little upset that McChrystal has gone out and been saying things to the public? What do you think?

PRESS: I think he is. The White House won't say that, Ed. But he's got to be. The general's job is to be there leading the troops. His job is not to be giving speeches in London, disagreeing with the vice president and maybe even the president of the United States. So when they were together there on Air Force One, Ed, I wish you and I could have been a fly on the wall.

SCHULTZ: The picture didn't look good. The body language was not good. The question is, do you think President Obama would actually fire McChrystal if he didn't do, you know, what he wants?

PRESS: I think he would. He fired other guy and he put McChrystal in there. I think he's capable. Here's what troubles me: I was at the White House briefing today. Robert Gibbs said they're weighing all the options. Thank god they're taking their time on this decision. Gibbs said that pulling all troops out of Afghanistan, leaving Afghanistan, is not one of the options.

SCHULTZ: All right. Gentlemen, got to play this sound bite for you quickly. Here's Lindsey Graham yesterday talking about Iran. I want your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: If the sanctions fail and Iran's going down the road to get a nuclear weapon, every Sunni-Arab state that could would want a nuclear weapon. Israel would be more imperiled. The world would dramatically change for the worse.

If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, Lindsey Graham looked pretty normal there, but if it had been the audio, I would have thought he would have been drinking before that interview. Michael Medved, what do you think?

MEDVED: Lindsey Graham is an honorable person, who has served our United States in the-

SCHULTZ: He's talking World War III, man.

MEDVED: He is not. He's talking about hoping diplomacy works, as all patriotic Americans do, but being prepared for doing precisely what President Obama said in the campaign, which is if diplomacy doesn't work, as Senator McCain said-

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: Quickly, Bill, was he off his rocker?

PRESS: Ed, you're right, World War III. Let me tell you, when I saw that clip, I thought to myself, thank god John McCain didn't win, because Lindsey Graham would be calling the shots. Their method is bomb first and then talk later.

SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much. Appreciate your time as always.

Earlier, I asked you is President Obama doing enough to close the deal on health care reform? Seventy eight percent of you said no; 22 percent said yes, he is.

That's THE ED SHOW. I'm Ed Schultz. We're back tomorrow night. For more information on our program, our radio website, WeGotEd.com. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is coming up next, right here on the place for politics, MSNBC. We'll see you tomorrow night. More on health care. More on jobs. And do we send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan? Have a great one.

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

END

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