updated 12/21/2009 11:22:15 AM ET 2009-12-21T16:22:15

Guests: Natasha Patel; Katrina vanden Heuvel; Markos Moulitsas, Brent

Budowsky, Bill Press, Ron Christie, Karen Desoto, Lizz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW from Minneapolis tonight.

Disappointment in President Obama over health care is the real deal. 

Progressives are mobilizing to save—yes, save—the public option.  They are passionate.  They will not give up about this issue.  It‘s why they worked so hard to get this president elected, and nobody should be more disappointed than this guy...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The folks who are going to be offering insurance through the exchange are going to be private insurers.  Blue Cross/Blue Shields, Aetna, all these—well, I think one of the options should be a public insurance option.

(APPLAUSE)

What it would do is it would provide more choice and competition.  It would keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable, to treat their customers better.

I‘m not going to back down from the basic principle that if Americans can‘t find affordable coverage, we‘re going to provide you a choice. 

(APPLAUSE)

And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the coverage that you need.  That‘s a promise I will make. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Wow.  You know, that was three months ago, here in Minneapolis, in the middle of the country.  But now that we‘re back inside the beltway, things seem to be a little bit different. 

What happened, Mr. President? 

Here we are again.  Pull up a chair.  Thanks for watching tonight. 

Because I really want to you listen to this one, sir. 

You know, you have to take on the obstructionists.  You can‘t let them win.  I want to see, you, Mr. President, give it to Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.  Give them some of this...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  What is the price that you want from these working men and women?  What cost? 

How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business?  How many billion dollars more are you asking, are you requiring?  When does the greed stop?  We ask the other side. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, I played that cut today on my radio show.  It got unbelievable amount of e-mail. 

This is what the American people want—that passion and that authority and that push.  See, Ted Kennedy, he could always stand the moral high ground because he was all about the people and not about the corporations and the big money. 

Mr. President, I need to just get this off my chest.  I‘d really like to get in the mix on this.  I‘d like to offer my services, because after talking to Mr. Axelrod yesterday, I don‘t think you have got anybody on your staff that can go over to Capitol Hill, stand in that Democratic Caucus and give them hell. 

Give them hell.  Give them a taste of what the American people want right there in the Johnson room.  Get me a pass.  I‘ll do it. 

I‘ll tell the senators where middle America stands right now.  I‘ll tell them where the middle class is.  I‘ve done enough town halls, I‘ve been to these clinics. 

The people want a public option.  And basers, you can‘t give up on this. 

Now, look, check out the numbers, my man.  From a new Research 2000 poll commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, I‘m talking every gender, every race, every age group, every region, people want the public option.  Look at these numbers. 

Do people inside the beltway understand this?  This is not fuzzy math. 

Both men and women support the whole thing—whites, blacks, Latinos, others support it.  People under 30, people under 45, people under 60.  The only age group that is somewhat split on the public option are people over 60 because they‘ve got single payer with Medicare.

People in the Northeast, in the Midwest, in the West, guess what?  They support it.  Even more in the South.  More people favor the public option than they oppose it. 

There was only one group of that doesn‘t want the public option, and that would be a bunch of Republicans.  But luckily, you see, Mr. President, they don‘t like you.

Luckily, 88 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents, they‘ve got your back on this, boss, big time.  This isn‘t about Americans understanding the world inside the beltway and how it works.  This is about the people inside the beltway understanding how the rest of the world works.  You know? 

There is a disconnect. 

The people are ready to go to the firewall for you, Mr. President.  The people, clearly—they clearly—the people clearly want the public option.  Right now it‘s Washington I guess against the rest of us. 

See, Mr. President, you have said you were for change, and we all believed you.  You said that you were tough, and that we all believe you.  But after talking to Mr. Axelrod yesterday on “MORNING JOE,” I didn‘t feel the toughness.  I didn‘t sense that your team was out there saying public option, this is what we want, this is what we‘re going to deliver for the people.  I don‘t sense this Chicago politics. 

Rahm Emanuel, come on.  Let‘s sit down.  Let‘s do a one-on-one.  Tell us what your strategy is here—to cave in on the time?. 

Come on, Mr. Axelrod.  It‘s easy to go on “HARDBALL” because Chris is your buddy.  I want to go head-to-head with you on the real issue. 

I never got an answer.  Tell me where the competition is.  Tell all these people in these polls that are across the country that want the public option, answer the question that I‘m asking for them.  Where is the mechanism in place to give the private insurers of this country real competition to hold the rates down so we don‘t gut the middle class any further? 

All right, folks, I want you to get your cell phones out tonight and I want to know what you think about all of this, now that 87 percent of the Democrats are on board with all of this. 

How can you lose, Mr. President? 

I want to know what you think.  Our text survey tonight is: When it comes to health care reform, has President Obama disappointed you? 

Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later in the show. 

Don‘t mean to be too tough, but the rocks do go with the farm, you know, when you buy the whole thing. 

Joining me now is Natasha Patel.  Natasha was an Obama organizer in Georgia and is currently a campaigner with Progressive Change Campaign Committee. 

Natasha, nice to have you with us tonight. 

NATASHA PATEL, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:  Thank you, Ed, for having me on.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s so good to have you on—you bet.  It‘s so good to have you on because you don‘t live inside the beltway and you‘re one of those hard workers that was boots on the ground, making the phone calls, doing the social organizing. 

Do you think these numbers that that poll that you just saw, that your organization put together, do you think these numbers are real?

PATEL:  Yes.  We fought for—to get President Obama elected.  We campaigned for him, we slept in cars, we gained weight, like I did, we got bit by dogs, and I had a volunteer that faced a barrel of a shotgun.

Surely, President Obama can face Joe Lieberman and fight him for the public option.  The people want it and they are not... 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  So you want a showdown now.  You want President Obama to step out and really take it to the obstructionists.  Is that what your group wants? 

PATEL:  Yes, absolutely.  We want him to publicly fight for the public option. 

You will find at BoldProgressives.org thousands of people have signed on.  Six thousand staffers, 60,000 Obama donors want him to fight for the public option.  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  How far are you going to go?  How far are you going to push? 

I mean, you‘ve taken out an ad in “The New York Times” last September. 

Your organization has grown to over 300,000 members.

You‘ve got 600 staffers off the Obama team that helped him get elected, 40,000 volunteers.  You‘ve got also 60,000 donors.

What happens if the pushback isn‘t there for a public, government-run plan against the private sector?  Where does your organization go from there? 

PATEL:  We fight for—there are many ways that President Obama can fight for this public option.  He can threaten Joe Lieberman with taking away the committee chair if he doesn‘t vote for the public option.  He can publicly old Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman accountable to their own constituencies. 

The Connecticut voters support it 3-1.  Maine supports it 2-1.

You know, accountability was one of the cornerstones of this campaign. 

And he can hold those senators accountable to their own constituencies.

There are many ways.  And if not, we go through reconciliation or

publicly threaten reconciliation to expand a stronger public option to get

the Senate Democrats in line.  He needs to get out there and be publicly—

go to Maine, go to Connecticut, go to Nebraska and get these people to sign

to get the senators accountable to their people. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Natasha.  Thank you for speaking up tonight.  I appreciate it very much.  We will follow your organization and we will see how this all plays out. 

Joining me now is Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of “The Nation.”

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, nice to have you with us tonight. 

That was a 20-something that worked for Barack Obama that feels somewhat betrayed, and she‘s got 300,000 people behind her.  What does that mean tonight for the White House?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  That means something very significant.  That the base that came out to elect President Obama is increasingly disengaged, disaffected. 

Listen, Ed, I think—I agree with Natasha.  This is a moment for progressives to push back and demand more.  The compromises have al gone in one direction. 

And as we head to the House—and there are two chambers of our Congress—I think that you‘re going to see a lot of spines stiffening.  I think Governor Dean‘s intervention in these last 36 hours has scared the White House, has shown them a public face of a base that they haven‘t treated very well.

I do think what we face, Ed, is also a larger problem moving forward, which is we see with Lieberman and Ben Nelson, holding hostage a bill that a majority of Democratic senators support, we‘ve got a democracy deficit in this country, the anti-Democratic vise of the filibuster.  I think that is something people need to pay attention toward, because even though health care has consumed all of our energy, we‘re going to have financial regulation, we‘re going to have environmental regulation and legislation moving forward. 

But at the moment, this is a key time for progressives to stand tall. 

Public option or Medicare expansion, those are two public building blocks. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, why do I feel like the policy wonks inside the beltway, folks that don‘t go out and do the town hall meetings, media people who don‘t do talk radio, that really don‘t have direct contact with the people, the policy wonks, seem to be controlling the conversation and acting as if they really know what the American people are saying?  This story that we just did is getting very little attention, but it could have a devastating affect on the White House if they don‘t pay attention to the base. 

Is the controlling of the conversation, do you think, somewhat interesting in all of this as a way of playing out? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But this has been the case.  This is why there‘s a democracy deficit and there‘s a disconnect between what goes on inside the beltway, whether it‘s the politicians, the lobbyists, the pundits inside the beltway, and the rest of the country.  This is at the core of our problem. 

Some of it is money that pollutes our system.  Some of it is the way our media works. 

You are a courageous voice.  You‘re speaking for people out in this country.  But if we don‘t stand up on this, it seems to me that that voice of President Obama in Minneapolis gets drowned out because it is late in the game and he hasn‘t been out on the hustings. 

He should have been in Nebraska and Connecticut.  At this stage, I think Joe Lieberman is so full of righteous ego and filled with big pharma money, that it would take a lot to pull him out.  But I think they have a chance in this next period, this White House does, to show that they get back on the side of one of the most all-American principles which is about choice and competition—give us something to work with.

Look at how far we‘ve compromised.  We‘ve gone from a robust public option to a diluted public option, to a Medicare expansion as an alternative Governor Dean and the base was ready to take, and now we‘re stripped of all of that?  And for those who say that Social Security and Medicare are parallels, yes, they were flawed when they were passed and we built on them.  But they were public programs to begin with, and that is fundamental. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  I want to take on all comers on this, and Paul Krugman, of course, has written something in “The New York Times” which I find very interesting. 

He writes, “Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.  It would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies and provide substantial financial aid to those who don‘t get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance.  The result would be more than 30 million Americans gaining coverage and premiums for lower-income and lower-middle-income Americans falling dramatically.”

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Krugman.  He‘s highly touted, highly decorated as a journalist.  But I think he just described a welfare bill and not a reform bill, and that‘s how I feel about it. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Well, I mean, it is true that this bill, though, again, it‘s a bonanza for the insurance company, but it would expand coverage, the largest expansion of coverage since Medicare, 44 years ago.  On the other hand, it‘s money into the pockets of insurance companies. 

What‘s so interesting is that Rahm Emanuel, who is, you know, the White House mantra, is “Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” well, this process is making the very weak the enemy of the good.  And Rahm Emanuel has been a big critic of Paul Krugman‘s, once saying, what does he know?  He can‘t pass any legislation.

So, I think Krugman, he‘s trying—I think there‘s a politics here, Ed.  I think Paul Krugman—and I don‘t want to speak for him—but I would suspect that there‘s great concern out there among people like Krugman that if the federal government doesn‘t do this, it looks like the federal government can only launch wars and bail out banks.  And I think that there must be a role for government to improve and condition and quality of people‘s lives, and that‘s why I think this needs some work, this bill, because it‘s going to improve the condition of a lot of insurance companies lives and not clear in terms of people and affordability. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt. 

Katrina, great to have you on tonight. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s just keep on fighting.  I think there‘s a few warriors that have banded together that just won‘t give up on this, and I‘m glad to say that you‘re one of them. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you for fighting.  And the space is being created, I believe—I do—in this next critical period. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘m going to be very honest with my audience here on

THE ED SHOW.

I was looking for a job when I got this one.  I am not going to give this fight up.  I believe that the people need to be represented, that we have to continue to speak out, no matter what the cost might be. 

Thank you, Katrina. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, progressive crusader Markos Moulitsas of “The Daily Kos” will be here to tell us just how the Netroots are responding to the president‘s lack of leadership on health care reform. 

That‘s coming up.

And Bill Clinton is, I think, grandstanding over the bill, and it‘s kind of making me sick.  I‘ll be calling him out at the bottom of the hour.

And Chuck Norris and Rick Perry Texas two-step into the psycho zone.

And, of course, it‘s Friday.  “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead in the house tonight.  She‘s got a lot to say about Tiger.

It‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

In 2004, Karl Rove, he was going around bragging that Bush had built a permanent majority.  Well, progressives, well, they got activated.  They got online, they got after it.  Netroots organizing and fundraising helped deliver the House, Senate and White House to the Democrats.  But apparently that‘s not enough to get the real health care reform passed in this country. 

Joining me now is Markos Moulitsas, who is the founder, the publisher of “The Daily Kos.”

I want to play a sound cut off of “HARDBALL” yesterday, and I want you to respond to this, Markos.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You hear the Democratic left trashing the health care bill and...

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”:  Well, I don‘t consider them Democrats.  I consider them Netroots, and they‘re different.  And if I see that they voted in every election or most elections, I‘ll be worried.  But I‘m not sure they‘re regular, grownup Democrats.

I think a lot of these people are troublemakers who love to sit in the back seat and complain.  They‘re not interested in governing this country.  They never ran for office, they‘re not interested in work being for somebody in public office. 

They get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat and bitching. 

Excuse me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Markos, I‘d like you to respond to that, because when people think of Netroots, they think of you, “The Daily Kos,” and many of the other progressive blogs that are out there. 

MARKOS MOULITSAS, “DAILY KOS”:  Yes.  You know, in 2003, when Bush landed his plane on the aircraft carrier, behind the—he spoke in front of the banner that said “Mission Accomplished.”  Chris Matthews had an entire show based on that event. 

He thought Bush was fantastic.  And he said everybody knows that we‘ve we won the war except a few critics.  Well, I was one of those few critics. 

People like me, in the Net, were some of those critics.  And it turns out that we were right and the beltway conventional wisdom was wrong. 

And once again, we‘re in a situation where people like Chris Matthews don‘t learn from these mistakes.  I mean, they are sort of trapped in this bubble and they think that they know better. 

The fact is, most of the editors on “Daily Kos” either have worked on campaigns or worked on Hill staff.  And of my readers, I would venture to say the vast, vast majority knocked on doors, gave money, made phone calls on behalf of campaigns.  They worked and they vote.  And if Chris Matthews is worried about us working, and if he thinks that we‘re not Democrats, well, then he really should be worried, because he‘s got a thing coming. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So you‘re not “sitting in the back seat and complaining, bitching.”  You‘re not a troublemaker. 

But what‘s a grownup Democrat?  I thought everybody‘s vote counted.  I wasn‘t quite sure about that.  I just want your reaction to that.

MOULITSAS:  Well, you know, ActBlue is an online clearinghouse for contributions to Democratic Party candidates.  In the last four years, we have raised $115 million through ActBlue -- $115 million. 

Now, it‘s not a bunch of kids in the back seat donating $115 million at an average donation of about $30.  So we‘re talking little dollars here and there. 

There‘s a lot of us.  We‘re engaged.  We‘re involved.  We want a party that represents the American people and a government that represents the American people.  Not insurance companies, not big business.

And clearly, we‘re not quite there yet, but we only started this battle a couple years ago.  We‘re still fighting. 

SCHULTZ:  So, Markos, what do you make of these progressives coming together and still pushing the White House on a public option and asking the president to get more engaged? 

On my radio show today, I challenged the president to go to Omaha, do a town hall, and tell the people of Nebraska to tell Ben Nelson that he‘s wrong on the issue.  I mean, isn‘t that what it‘s going to take? 

I mean, the president was so magnificent on the campaign trail.  He gave us hope.  He gave us drive and energy.  He made us believe.

But now in the critical hour, where is the town hall meeting in Omaha?  Where‘s the town hall meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas?  Where‘s the town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?  And how about one in Hartford, Connecticut? 

How do you feel about that? 

MOULITSAS:  I agree.  I agree 100 percent.

I mean, the fact is that the administration has sort of sat by and not fought.  And here‘s the problem.  You capitulate to Lieberman, fine, we have a bill.  Now Nelson wants stuff because he‘s seen that the administration is weak, he‘s seen that Senate Democrats are weak.  So now he wants his piece.

And if you capitulate to him, then somebody else is going to want it. 

I bet you it‘s going to be Lieberman once again. 

And the problem is that, right now, people are saying, well, we‘ve got to pass something.  Pass this bill.

We don‘t have a bill yet.  They are still making it worse by the hour.  Every hour, somebody gets involved, takes something good out, inserts something bad.  And what‘s left is turning into really, really something that is more counterproductive than productive.  And so we can‘t even talk about the bill because the bill is not done yet.  It‘s going to get a lot worse. 

SCHULTZ:  Markos Moulitsas, always a pleasure.  Thanks for being on THE ED SHOW tonight.

MOULITSAS:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Coming up—you bet.

Coming up, former Gore-ally-turned-Republican-governor-of Texas, Rick Perry, says Al Gore has gone to hell?  I‘ll tell you more about that in just a moment. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, we‘ve got a Christmastime doubleheader with “Walker, Texas Ranger” Chuck Norris and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Chuck wrote an op-ed suggesting that if the current health care bill had been around 2,000 years ago, Jesus would never have been born.

Believe it or not, he wrote, “What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare?  What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been covered by the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, et cetera) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing and persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy?  Will Obamacare morph into Herod-care for the unborn?”

Wow.  Wow. 

Wrong about health care and sacrilegious both at the same time. 

That‘s talent, Chuck.  Good job. 

But he isn‘t the only one using religion to attack the Democrats. 

Rick Perry is doing it as well. 

Some of you may remember that Perry, Rick, he used to be a Democrat himself and even worked on Al Gore‘s presidential campaign in 1988.  Of course, now he prefers to hang out with the wingnut Tea Partiers. 

This week, while Perry was slamming the climate change legislation, he was asked what made him turn back on Al Gore. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you get religion?  Did he get religion?  What happened. 

PERRY:  I certainly got religion.  I think he‘s going to hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Using religion to take down Democrats just doesn‘t seem very Christ-like to me.  In fact, our Texas two step of Chuck and Rick are both in violation of the spirit of Christmas, and they are seriously guilty of Psycho Talk. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Bill Clinton has gone on the record with his support of the health care bill, and he thinks he‘s been—I think he‘s been talking to the wrong senators.  Actually, I‘d like to know what senators he‘s actually talking to.  We‘ll touch on that in just a moment. 

And the latest—and the latest in the Tiger Woods‘ soap opera.  A divorce is said to be, quote, 100 percent on.  And a top lawyer will tell us how much Elan, his wife, is expected to walk away with. 

All that plus “The Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead in the house tonight.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight, right here on MSNBC.  Bill Clinton is back, putting the pressure on the Democratic senators.  The former president put out this statement late Thursday, quote, “America can‘t afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  I‘m sick of that statement.  “Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder, both politically for our party, and, far more important, for physical, fiscal and economic health of our country.”

Now, Bill Clinton‘s record on passing health care is not too good, but I‘d really like to know, what senator is he talking to?  All of them, right?  He really needs to talk to Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, because I think Bill Clinton is an expert on Arkansas politics.  If he doesn‘t talk directly to Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, whose constituents in the majority want a public option, it would seem to me that President Clinton would just be grand-standing on this.

For more, let me bring in Brent Budowsky.  He‘s a columnist for “The Hill,” and former Congressional aide.  Brent, good to have you on tonight.  The pulse of where the progressive community is right now?  And is Bill Clinton in a position where he could make a fact—make a difference right now?  Could he swing some of these conservative senators who just seem to be so stubborn on the public option? 

BRENT BUDOWSKY, “THE HILL”:  I don‘t think so at this point.  Let me give you some good news about our friend Governor Perry in Texas.  I just wrote a column in “The Hill,” “Eyes Turn to Texas.”  He could lose for re-election, running against a very popular and wonderful mayor, Bill White, leaving Houston with record popularity. 

On the public option and on the health care bill, everybody respects President Clinton.  I agree with him that we don‘t want to defeat the bill.  We want to pass the bill.  I totally agree. 

I‘m just a Kennedy guy, not a surrender guy. Progressives are in a fighting mood, not a surrendering mood.  What you‘re seeing all over America, not only from progressives, but from the political independents and working people, is they want the public option.  They want lower drugs imported, lower prices from abroad.  They want to end price fixing and price gauging with the insurance industry.  They are fed up with Joe Lieberman. 

And I‘m seeing enough progressives in the House getting ready to make a fight. I‘m seeing people mobilizing all over the country.  And we are the majority.  What Natasha said at the beginning of the show was absolutely right.  I was one of the earliest insiders who supported Barack Obama.  I wrote columns with titles like “A President Like Her Father,” after Caroline Kennedy‘s statement.  I heard from young people like Natasha from all over America, moms and daughters, families who gave up their family dinner once a month, Ed, to give five or ten bucks to Barack Obama that they couldn‘t afford. 

They want the public option, like the unions want the public option, like the independents want the public option, like the liberals want the public option.  And if we play that fight out to the finish, we can win. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, about Bill Clinton, former President Clinton, it would seem to me—I‘m putting out a statement in support of passing it, I get all the generic talk; that‘s wonderful.  But if he really wants to get into the fray, why doesn‘t he get at it publicly down in Arkansas, and ask the people of Arkansas about the public option, and maybe even explain to them that there is no mechanism in place to go against the private sector. 

I mean, you‘re either in or you‘re out.  This is hunting shack time.  They either like you or they don‘t.  It would seem to me that the White House would be pulling out all stops, all allies, and Clinton has got experience with this.  What about that? 

BUDOWSKY:  I agree completely.  What I think Bill Clinton was responding to was the way Howard Dean‘s position was reported, as though he wanted to kill the bill.  That is not what Howard Dean wants.  I think Clinton was responding to that. 

I want a bill.  Clinton wants a bill.  Howard dean wants a bill.  You want a bill.  And America wants a bill.  We want a bill that protects and fights for average people that we can be proud of. 

So I don‘t think we have a disagreement in terms of what Clinton actually said.  Clinton was answering a misrepresentation of what people thought Howard Dean wanted.  Howard dean is right about this, and he wants a better bill.  And that‘s what we‘re fighting for.

We want what Clinton wants.  We just want a bill that Ted Kennedy would be proud of, and that a majority of Americans would support, and that Natasha and all those hundreds of thousands and millions of young people that worked for Obama would say, this is why entered politics; this is what we achieved. 

So I don‘t think there is any fundamental disagreement with Bill Clinton.  We want a bill, just like he does, and just like Howard Dean does.  We just want a bill that protects people, and not drug companies and insurers.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Here what I want: I want to make sure that the Obama team doesn‘t lose the Natashas of the world, because there are a lot of progressives in this country that supported Barack Obama because he was viewed as a generational candidate, someone who could bring in a lot of young people into the Democratic party, that the Clintons had done a great job.  The Clintons were wonderful.  It just seemed that Barack Obama had a better sense, and a better way of talking to the younger generation, and that‘s one of the reasons why I supported Barack Obama and why a lot of progressives did. 

And so now we‘re at that very moment, and it looks like, because the White House isn‘t visible enough and fighting hard enough for a public option, which is the core—it‘s the core of the reform to keep the industry right.  I believe that they really do run the risk of losing the 20 somethings and losing the young Democrats who want to believe in politics.  They want to believe that there is change.  They want to believe that corporations don‘t run everything, and the policy wonk talkers out there just don‘t control all of the conversation in this country. 

Brent Budowsky, you‘re a hero, my man.  You speak truth to power.  Thanks for having you—being on tonight.  I appreciate your time.  Keep going at it. 

For more, let‘s bring in our panel tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Ron Christie, Republican strategist.  I want to say that both of these guys are not policy wonks.  They are just good guys. 

BILL PRESS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Merry Christmas, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Merry Christmas.  I‘m just in a jolly mood here tonight, you know. 

Bill, let me ask you.  Are the progressives, the grass rooters, the net rooters out there going to be strong enough to get the attention and maybe turn the tide in this thing?  What do you think? 

PRESS:  I don‘t know the answer to that.  I‘ll tell you one thing, Ed, I‘ve never been more proud of the progressive movement.  I mean, we are on fire.  You‘re leading the fight.  Keith is there.  Markos, Katrina, I‘m on my show, Stephanie on her show.  I‘ve never seen the left so much on fire. 

Here‘s what I think we need—we need—I think we can still win this fight, Ed.  I‘m still in this fight right until the end.  It think what we need is we need—the only way that Harry Reid and others can resists that pressure from the so-called Democrats like Ben Nelson is to have a counter-pressure from those of us on the left.  We have to keep the pressure on them.  And we need a senator or two, like a Bernie Sanders, maybe a Russ Feingold, to stand up and say, guess what, I‘m not going to vote for that turkey unless you put Medicare back in or unless you put the public option back in.  Let‘s play the same game. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron Christie, you‘re on the outside looking in at this Democratic fight.  It‘s got to be a little bit entertaining right now.  How do you call it right now?

RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, I think that they are sitting in a circle, Ed, and I think they‘re firing at each other, Ed, the Democrats.  I‘m astounded that with a 60 vote majority in the United States Senate, and their overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, that they‘ve been unable to cobble forth a strong bill that could get a bipartisan, that the White House would then, of course, be in a position to sign into law. 

I had the opportunity to talk to a very senior leadership of the House today, and I was told in no uncertain terms that this member does not believe that we‘re going to get a deal, because it‘s a party of one now in the Senate.  It‘s not just a Ben Nelson.  It‘s not just a Blanche Lincoln.  And this member had the opinion that once you get these guys on board, another member is going to say, well, I need something for my state.  And they were very upset about that. 

PRESS:  Can I add something here?  You know what?  I just have to say, I would still rather be a party of Democrats who are fighting over each other about how to achieve health care than a party where 40 people have said, we‘re just against it because Barack Obama is for it.  I would rather be A democrat than a member of the party of no. 

CHRISTIE:  No, Bill.  I‘ll tell you what we‘re the party of yes for.  If the Democrats were truly honest and they were—meant what they said by bending the cost curve and insuring more people—we need to have competition across state line, so we people can buy competitive rate insurance across state lines, pool together in pools to get insurance.  That‘s not in this bill.  We don‘t have tort reform in this bill.  There are several things that Republicans and Democrats can agree on.  I just think it‘s a disgrace that the United States Senate and this administration has decided to put forth a partisan bill.  That‘s not what the American people want. 

PRESS:  Of course, the Republicans have put forth no bill at all.  But the point I‘m making, Ron, is we wouldn‘t have to be talking about 60 -- we wouldn‘t have to fight for 60 if the Republicans had not, en masse, right, just said, we are all going to vote no.  They are not serving the American people.  They are all in the pockets of insurance company.  At least, there are only four Democrats who are in the pockets of the insurance company. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill, let‘s talk about these numbers that are out by this progressive group that polled, and shows that 88 percent of Democrats don‘t think that the president has gone tough enough on Lieberman, but also they want the public option.  Now, when do they surrender on this, Bill Press?  When does—or has the White House surrendered on this?

PRESS:  Ed, you said it earlier.  I‘m afraid they have surrendered on this.  They‘re not reading correctly the American people.  The American people want health care reform.  But they want the cost and competition the president talked about and sold to us.  It‘s so important.  It‘s the heart of the matter.  I think they are giving up too easy. 

I said it before on your show, Ed, and I‘ll say it again, I think Obama has got to step up here.  We needless Gandhi and more LBJ.  And go to these senators and say, you know what, you got legislation?  None of your legislation is going to move. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron Christie, is President Obama weak? 

CHRISTIE:  Well, I don‘t think he‘s displayed very strong leadership, Ed.  I don‘t want to insult him personally.  What this Democratic member told me earlier and what Bill said a moment ago I think is exactly right.  When President Bush in 2001 got No Child Left Behind and his tax cut done, he made it very clear to Congress, I will not sign a bill unless I have the following principles and the following reforms in there. 

Presidents Obama has been very hands off.  And he kind of supports the public option and then he doesn‘t.  I think Democratic members are saying, I think the president wants a bill, but he doesn‘t stand for anything.  That‘s where I think a lot of Democrats are refusing to rally behind him.  He has come into this process far to late.  He should have exhibited a lot more leadership a lot earlier in the process. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron Christie, Bill Press, great to have you. 

(CROSS TALK) 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Republican pyscho talker Michele Bachmann recently lead a big group in prayer—yes, I said prayer—that the health care bill will die.  That‘s coming up in Club Ed.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, looks like Tiger Woods‘ wife, Elan, is going to be leaving him for good.  ABC News is reporting a source that says a divorce, quote, “is 100 percent on, but that Elan wants to make sure all Tiger‘s dirty laundry is aired before she signs the divorce papers.”

If they do split up, the next step is determining how much of Tiger Woods‘ fortune is going to go to Elan.  This year, “Forbes” estimated that after becoming the first athlete to earn a billion dollars, Tiger‘s net worth is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 million dollars.

Let me bring in defense attorney and former prosecutor Karen Desoto to talk about the legal issues of all of this.

Gosh, she wants all of the dirty laundry aired?  Hasn‘t there been enough? 

KAREN DESOTO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Nothing worse than a woman‘s scorn, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Karen, what would be your counsel to Elan at this point?  She has got the public favor with her.  She has all this—enough evidence, I would say, based on all the reporting.  What would be best counsel for her right now?

DESOTO:  I think she‘s doing a great job, Ed, I have to say.  She‘s keeping her mouth shut.  She‘s keeping herself out of the media, which is great.  For somebody so angry, usually the first thing they want to do is lash out.  She‘s entitled to quite a bit. 

She‘s holding all of the cards here.  Obviously, a lot of negative publicity.  At the end of the day, that may help her bank account.  As far as the negative publicity, though, maybe she should have thought about cracking him in the head before he got in the car.  That probably would have saved them all a lot of pain and suffering.  This is going to be hundreds of millions of dollars.  There‘s a lot of talk about the prenuptial agreement, but, as far as I‘m concerned, that‘s out the window. 

SCHULTZ:  I was going to ask you about that.  Would his actions and his admission outside the marriage change the prenup and put her in a better position? 

DESOTO:  Yes, it absolutely would.  One of the reasons for that, unless there is a very detailed clause on pain and suffering, the level of humiliation here is really kind of outrageous.  This wasn‘t one or two affairs.  This was a dozen different women, or more, and it was on a national, world-wide basis.  So it‘s not bad enough to be a woman who everyone in your office finds out that your husband is cheating.  This is the whole world.  This is quite a humiliation.  I think that she‘s really going to be in a great position to work out some damages correlated to the pain and suffering. 

SCHULTZ:  And does it matter what state they get divorced in? 

DESOTO:  Absolutely.  Each state has a different laws, like in California you‘re entitled to 50 percent.  In that case, she would be entitled to half of the income from the time that they got married.  In Tiger‘s case, that would be around 250 million dollars.  We‘re not even on homes, support of the children, assets, the marital home.  So she‘s really starting off in a good position, as far as that‘s concerned, with hundreds of millions.

Obviously, listen, Tiger Woods is a corporation.  And therefore there‘s going to be probably some unique arguments.  But she‘s going to go the whole way.  You‘re going to hear some really unique arguments.  And I think one of them is that—one of the things her attorneys may argue is that she was used as an advertising prop, that she, in fact, made his image better, and therefore he made more money with endorsements and that type of the thing. 

I think it would probably be better for the kids, for the family, to try and settle this without going to the media, going back and forth.  Remember, Ed, her children are eventually going to be able to—old enough to read and go on the Internet and look at clips.  So, really—if you really want to protect the children, it‘s probably better just to have the attorneys hash it out and not open this up to media scrutiny. 

SCHULTZ:  Former defense attorney and former prosecutor Karen Desoto, great to have you on tonight.  About Tiger Woods—about Tiger Woods, this guy is not only a corporation.  He is an industry.  And his impact on professional golf—his absence is going to be absolutely financially staggering. 

I‘ll tell you what, he‘s so big in golf that he could come back with his own tour.  I mean, he could get his own cable network chasing him around and get a special group of players and he would be more than marketable doing that.

Coming up, Tiger Woods, Joe Lieberman and Senator Nelson, what do they have in common?  The only person to ask on that is “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead,  talking to us next here on Club Ed.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  If it‘s Friday, it‘s time for Club Ed, with Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show,” and the brains behind “Wake Up World.” 

Lizz, you‘ve got to comment on Chuck Norris.  I mean, saying that the baby Jesus would have been aborted under Obama-care, I mean, holy smokes, is that Psycho Talk? 

LIZZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”:  Dude, here‘s what I think, it feels like Mary and Joseph were on the Republican health care plan.  Sending a teenager on a donkey to have a baby in a barn?  That sounds about right.  That sounds about GOP health care. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, speaking of the United States Senate for just a moment, what do you make of Joe Lieberman being told by our Minnesota friend Al Franken to sit down and shut up? 

WINSTEAD:  You know what?  There are some things in the world that everyone  want to do.  One is have sex with Viggo Mortensen.  And the other thing  is to tell Joe Lieberman to shut up.  Al Franken did one of the two things that I would love to do more than anything.  Good on you, Al. 

Joe—I don‘t know what to say about Lieberman anymore.  Although I do hope that when he is elected out of office he does a one man show on Broadway called “Joseph and the Technicolor Turn Coat.” 

SCHULTZ:  Well, not to get you too excited here, Lizz, but Viggo, he does listen to my radio show.  I‘ll tell him that you‘re pretty—

WINSTEAD:  Tell him that I‘m interested. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Tiger Woods, that‘s all I‘m going to say.  Tiger Woods. 

WINSTEAD:  Here‘s the deal.  I think—this is my own personal opinion.  I think he‘s a sociopath.  Ed, here‘s the deal: you golf.  Your son golfs.  I golf.  I love golf.  I am a crappy golfer.  I know how much time it takes to actually focus on being a crappy golfer.  So when you have all of these chicks in play and you can separate all of that drama out, and be the greatest golfer that maybe ever lived, that totally make you a sociopath. 

And I didn‘t care so much about Tiger Woods at first.  I sort of threw it into the Balloon Boy category or the shiny object kind of thing.  But then you  summed it up perfectly when you said that he‘s an industry and he‘s golf.  There‘s a lot of people that if he screws up, they go down. 

Here‘s what‘s amazing, first I was like, he had an affair and then there was another one and then there was another one.  Then the number of women coming up, it was sort of like the debt clock.  It just kept clicking very fast. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a hot topic.  We‘ll see you on New Year‘s eve.

WINSTEAD:  Yes, you will.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight, I asked our audience: “has President Obama disappointed you on health care reform?”  Ninety percent of you said yes; ten percent of you said no.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  Have a great weekend.  We‘re back on Monday. 

“HARDBALL” is next with Chris Matthews.  

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