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MTP Daily, Transcript 6/27/2017

Guests: Danielle Pletka, Brian Schatz, Stephanie Cutter, Carol Lee

Show: MTP DAILY Date: June 27, 2017 Guest: Danielle Pletka, Brian Schatz, Stephanie Cutter, Carol Lee

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and I can remember them.

I had my tense moments with the Clinton White House. I spent 13 months covering the Starr investigation, the impeachment, the trial. These were not fun moments. I, obviously, had tense moments with the Obama White House.

There`s a different quality to this. This is -- this is -- this is much angrier and it`s much more personal.

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: OK, thank to you my panel, Donnie, Harold, Peter in Washington, Eli, Matt and Heidi.

That`s a final plug for Peter`s new book. We`re going to put it up on the screen. Go buy it. Go read it. Everything he writes is perfect. And it`s always accurate.

That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now. I`m sorry, Chuck. Twenty-four seconds. I give (INAUDIBLE.)

TODD: No. But I`m pretty -- I`m sure Peter`s wondering, boy, Bush communications director, Nicole Wallace, never would have uttered that comment about Peter Baker.

WALLACE: We had favorites bites. We had favorites bites.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: I love it. Thank you, Nicole.

Well, if it`s Tuesday, the vote on the Republican health care bill in the Senate is put on hold.

(voice-over): Tonight, hitting the pause button on the Senate health care bill.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Consequently, we will not be on the bill this week.


TODD: The votes aren`t there. Can Mitch McConnell use the time to find them?


MCCONNELL: This is a big, complicated subject.


TODD: Plus, cutting to the chase on Medicaid. Democrats say Republicans are reducing spending. Republicans say they`re increasing it. Who`s right?

And what is the motivation for the president to finally acknowledge the Russian interference in the 2016 election?

This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to MTP DAILY.

And welcome to a day of uncertainty and stalemate in Washington. Yes, I know the day ends in Y. So, that`s every day.

But this is bigger than most. After a failed attempt to secure the votes, the Senate will not vote this week on health care reform, instead waiting until after the July 4th recess.


MCCONNELL: We`re going to continue the discussions within our conference on the differences that we have, that we`re continuing to try to litigate. Consequently, we will not be on the bill this week, but we`re still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place.


TODD: And the White House is not sitting on the sideline anymore. President Trump is actually hosting a meeting with all GOP senators at the White House right now. We`ll start to hear what he has to say, we think, in a few.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to talk and we`re going to see what we can do. We`re getting very close.

But, for the country, we have to have health care. And it can`t be Obamacare which is melting down.


TODD: But this bill remains deeply unpopular and every day of delay may make it that much harder to pass.

Folks, by now, we know the defectors. You have conservatives like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson, of course Rand Paul. And then, you have others that are still holding out support. And then, there are the moderates who are not happy about this bill either, Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito, Rob Portman.

And it`s seemingly impossible for McConnell to please both sides of his party`s ideological spectrum on this issue. So, guess what? This isn`t really a policy debate anymore.

All that said, call it a zombie bill because it`s not dead yet. If it`s going to pass it`ll be because of politics and promises this party made to its base for years.

In fact, when you listen to the senators who say they`re definitely a yes vote, not even they are singing the bill`s praises. And Republican leadership today did not trump at the bill. They went back to their default position of blaming Obamacare.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obamacare is collapsing all over this country. And President Trump and Republicans in Congress are absolutely determined to repeal and replace Obamacare.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE: The schedule may have changed a little bit. But one thing that hasn`t changed, and that is Obamacare, is collapsing.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING, CHAIRMAN, SENATE GOP POLICY COMMITTEE: So, Obamacare is a bust. It`s going off a cliff. The Democrats are saying, stay on board. We`re trying to rescue the American people from this bus that they`re on.


TODD: Folks, is there anyone who can be called an enthusiastic supporter of this bill on its merits? Even "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page today argued for the bill`s passage, while pointing out its flaws.

And do you know what that reminds us of? Democrats in 2010 and in more recent years. Take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill is not perfect and we have a lot of difficult work ahead of us. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system but it moves us decisively in the right direction.

NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I don`t love a single payor but we`re not -- I wanted a public option.


TODD: Republicans have been campaigning against Obamacare since before it was even signed into law. And Democrats weren`t ever eager to defend it once they did put it into law. And that put them in a precarious position which eventually cost them control of the House, the Senate, and, some might argue since the issues was still out there in 2016, the White House as well.

So, ultimately, will anyone have the courage, now that we realize that a partisan way isn`t going to do it, is President Trump, is Mitch McConnell, is Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, are they all going to say, see cease- fire on the health care wars. The only way this ends is with a bipartisan solution?

[17:05:05] What would it take to get there? Joining me now is Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland who spoke out against the health care bill in the Senate floor in the last hour.

So, Senator Cardin, let me start with that last question. We`ve had seven years of the health care wars and it seems as if we`re on our way to having at least another two or four. Instead of the Democrats on defense, it`s going to be the Republicans on the defensive.

But, ultimately, we`re going to be back into the same place we are today which is an unstable health care system. What`s it going to take for everybody to say, we`re willing not to politicize this issue for long enough to figure out if we can be in the same room together?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Chuck, we`ve got to do that. Democrats and Republicans need to work together. One thing I will not support and Democrats won`t support is a program that cuts back on Medicaid in order to have tax cuts for wealthy people.

But what we do need is to deal with the cost of the individual market and the premiums. One way to do that is to make sure that the cost sharing is a predictable payment to the insurance companies to cover the low-cost deductibles and co-pays.

Another thing we could do is improve the subsidies for lower-income families. Democrats and Republicans could do that together. Democrats and Republicans could take on the high cost of prescription drugs.

We know that we don`t negotiate as well as we should, the payers of prescription drug costs. We could follow a Canadian model which we know is a lot less expensive for their consumers.

TODD: Yes.

CARDIN: We could organize our health care system in a way that we look at the patient on value reimbursement rather than just volume. So, there are things that Democrats and Republicans should do together and I hope we will.

TODD: Do you accept the idea that repeal and replace of Obamacare is a mandate for the Republican majorities?

CARDIN: I think it`s a mistake. The 22 million people --

TODD: No, but I mean the voters -- but I`m talking about -- I understand your personal opinion. But given that they`ve campaigned on this and given that they`ve won on this issue, arguably as much as any other, don`t they have a mandate to drastically retool this program?

CARDIN: I don`t think so. What they have a mandate to is to the American people. And you don`t go forward with a bill that`s going to jeopardize coverage for 22 million people who currently have coverage. You don`t go back on the reforms that we`ve been able to deal with abuses within the insurance industry.

And I think their base, the Republican base, doesn`t want them to do that. They may know a slogan, repeal Obamacare.

TODD: Right.

CARDIN: When you explain the Affordable Care Act, they sort of like it.

TODD: I guess what I`m trying to get at here is, look, I know what it may take for you to get to the table. Number one, Mitch McConnell`s got to pull the reconciliation idea. I get that.

But what are you going to give the Republicans to say, OK, if there is an agreement here -- I`m trying to think of this almost like Middle East peace. First, negotiate the cease-fire on health care. And then, agree -- OK, the Democrats agree, yes, Obamacare needs major reforms and here`s what we`re willing to talk about.

What are you, on your end, willing to talk about?

CARDIN: Well, Chuck, I think what the Republicans are trying to do is bring down their overall cost of health care in this country, the growth rate. Yes, let`s sit down and do that. There`s better ways to organize the delivery of care. Republicans have some good ideas in that regard. Democrats have good ideas.

We`ve come together on mental health and addiction to organize that in a more constructive, cost-effective way. Let`s come together and do that. The way we pay for prescription drugs, there`s a lot of Republicans who agree that we could do that in a much more cost-effective way. There are places that Democrats and Republicans can come together.

But don`t ask me to support --

TODD: No, I --

CARDIN: -- the contraction of the Medicaid program. I can`t do that.

TODD: Let me ask you this. Is there a -- can you -- if you and, say, Senator Portman think you`ve got the idea on prescription drugs, do you feel as if your leaders would let you put together a bipartisan bill right now because it`s such a hot political potato?

CARDIN: I`m glad you chose Senator Portman because the two of us came together on pension reforms when we were both in the House and both of our leaderships told us not to do it and we got it done.

Yes, I think that if Democrats and Republicans come together, we can form enough of alliance, yes, I think our leadership --

TODD: Why hasn`t that happened? I hear all the time from senators not in leadership who complain to me about the leadership. And just say, oh, we can`t do -- we can`t do it. It seems to me, if enough of you just did it, leadership would listen.

CARDIN: Well, Chuck, that`s fair enough. But understand that what was used here on the Affordable Care Act, we didn`t have an opportunity in committee. We didn`t have public hearings.

TODD: Right.

CARDIN: There was really no onramp for us to get engaged in the discussion. This bill came out of the leader`s office a week ago with no work done at all by members.

TODD: No, I get that. And I get that the -- I understand that, for many Democrats, you won`t even listen until they take reconciliation off the table. Is that fair?

[17:10:03] CARDIN: We want to be -- we want to have equal rights in the discussion and we don`t want to be told how we`re going to consider our bill. And reconciliation makes that virtually impossible.

TODD: And if President Trump says -- he, right now, has all the Republicans down there. If he issued an invitation to all the Senate Democrats, would you guys go?

CARDIN: I know I would. He had an invitation once before. I was there. Absolutely. He`s the president of the United States. I might disagree with a lot of his policies but we want to come together as a nation. Health care is a complicated issue. We agree with that.

I`m not apologetic about the Affordable Care Act. I think it`s accomplished amazing results. I`m a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people have quality, affordable coverage today because of it.

Can we do better? Yes, we can. Just come together, Democrats and Republicans, and it`ll be a better bill.

TODD: No, it just seems like we`re banging our head against the wall. We know this one -- we know the outcome here and we know what may happen.

CARDIN: Thank you, Chuck.

TODD: All right, Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat from Maryland, thank you very much.

So, is it more likely this bill will pass after members go home for the July 4th recess, after they hear from town halls? And while they`re home, Republicans will have to answer for what`s in the bill and preview what`s to come on the trail in 2018 perhaps.

I`m going to bring in two Republican strategists who`ve experienced both on the Hill and on the trail, Glen Bolger, Republican pollster with Republican Continued Strategies. By the way, the firm is one of our partners on the NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" poll. And Michael Steel was spokesman for former House speaker, John Boehner. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.

I know I`m being Pollyannaish here about figuring out how to bring both parties together. It does seem as if -- but let me ask you that. I mean, do Republicans have to learn that awful lesson that Democrats learned in that a partisan bill never stays -- is not going to have long roots?

MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: I think after eight years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans owe it to their voters to try every means possible to get that done. And that`s what they`re doing right now. Senator McConnell today bought himself a little more runway to try and get this thing off the ground.

TODD: What`s the -- so, let me go to what you have to do, Glen, which is some of these people hire you to say, OK, I got to support this bill. I`m not crazy about it.

How do you -- how do you be an -- I mean, I pointed out I think the Democrats set themselves up in 2010 because none of them want to defend it. And it made it even easier to attack the bill because you knew they weren`t going to play offense. It sounds like Republicans are setting themselves up for the same thing.

GLEN BOLGER, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, the challenge is, with health care, neither party can deliver what the voters want. Because what the voters want is they high-quality health care that`s easy to access and doesn`t cost them hardly anything. And that`s just not going to happen either way.

So, you know, what Republicans do have to do, politically, is do something that, you know repeals the worst elements of Obamacare, because that`s one of the things that we`ve been talking about for the last seven years.

And if we don`t do that, our base is depressed. And if the base is depressed and angry, they might not turn out in 2018 and that`s a huge political risk.

TODD: But what about policy failure?

STEEL: Well, I think the policy failure right now is Obamacare. In my home state of North Carolina, there is one state-wide insurer in the individual market. Last year, they raised cost by 34 percent. This year, it`s 27 percent.

TODD: An Obamacare supporter would say, that`s because, number one, Marco Rubio`s bill got rid of the risk corridors. And, number two -- I mean, you know the arguments on that.

STEEL: Of course there`s arguments. But as of an objective matter right now, Obamacare is failing for the people who need it.

TODD: So, the question is, what should the Republican administration do? Do they try to prop it up while Congress sits here and negotiates a replacement? Or do they let it fail while they can`t negotiate a -- I mean, this is the part of it I can`t figure out.

STEEL: Failure is not an option, in the sense that --

TODD: Well, then, why not help keep it working?

STEEL: What we`re doing right now is working on a Senate bill that will be conservative health care reform, lower taxes, fewer mandates, more flexibility for the states, that will lower the cost over the long term.

And that`s really the fundamental problem here. Universal coverage is not a popular goal in the United States. It`s the Democratic Party`s goal. It`s the liberal goal. It`s Nancy Pelosi`s goal. But lower cost is the overwhelming goal of two-thirds of the American people.

TODD: But, Glen, I guess I go with this which is, is it going to lower cost? And that`s the thing. We don`t -- it may lower the premium but then your out-of-pocket costs goes up.

So, this, to me, it seems like this is not solving the problem that they promised.

BOLGER: Well, the huge concern with Obamacare is higher deductibles, higher premiums and higher taxes on small businesses or -- well, actually, all businesses. It`s hard to, kind of, work around those things when you`re trying to change this.

Again, Republicans are going to pass something, at least we better.

TODD: I was just going to say, what`s -- it`s -- put it in this term.

BOLGER: But there`s going to be political pain.

TODD: The bill is unpopular. Is it better to pass an unpopular bill that keeps a promise or is it better to tank a bill that you think would be unpopular down the road? If you`re -- you know, whether you`re selling more capital, Rob Portman or Rand Paul. I mean, I think they all have different --

[17:15:00] BOLGER: I think that if we don`t pass the bill, there`s going to be hell to pay with the Republican base.

TODD: So, this is not a -- so, we are correct. It`s not a policy argument anymore.

STEEL: I would argue that there is a great policy argument to be made for this bill. At the same time, it is a political necessity after eight years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare.

BOLGER: Well said.

TODD: Well, let me go to something, the criticism that was in this morning`s "Wall Street Journal." It doesn`t seem as though Republicans are enthusiastic in selling this bill. I mean, you saw the examples we played. They don`t sell this bill.

STEEL: Well, this is because Glen`s exactly right. Everyone wants access to high-quality, affordable care --

TODD: And this isn`t going to deliver that.

STEEL: -- without paying for it. And that`s -- everybody wants to die -- everybody wants to go to heaven, nobody wants to die. And so, this is going to be tough to sell.

At the same time, there is a great argument to be made for it on the merits. And I think one of the things that this longer period of time, this longer runway is going to give the opportunity for is for members to get smart on the issue, get smart on how to talk about it.

TODD: How much of a challenge is President Trump`s frankly overpromising on the campaign trail when it came to health care? Because this seems to be -- has handcuffed the policy here.

BOLGER: Yes, it`s certainly a challenge because when you say you`re going to overdeliver because you overpromised and you can`t, that just makes it very challenging. There`s only so many things can you get done in this bill.

TODD: What if Trump comes out and says, guys, I`ve learned. You know what? I`m not a big fan of Obamacare, but it seems to me we have to repair this thing. Repealing can`t be done. If he comes out there and tells the base that, does that save the base`s skin?

STEEL: I don`t -- I don`t think so. And I think that every House Republican is going to be up for re-election before Donald Trump is up for re-election. Most every House Republican fears a primary opponent more than they fear a general election opponent. And so, a cover from the president isn`t going to get it done in this case. You`re going to have to keep your word.

TODD: What role does he play here?

BOLGER: Well, what he`s got to say is, look, we need massive changes. It`s not 100 percent repealed but it`s major changes. It`s not, oh, we got to tinker at the edges. Obamacare turns out it`s OK. It`s better than anything we`ve got. He can`t say that.

STEEL: No, he`s got to be able to say, we`re cutting taxes. We`re reducing mandates. It`s going to help create jobs.

BOLGER: More flexibility.

STEEL: More flexibility for the states. It`s a good, conservative health care reform bill.

TODD: Does this bill become more of a political problem than actually for Donald Trump in 2020 because he`s the one that made the promises, than it is for the Republican members in 2018. Because they actually didn`t make the same promise.

STEEL: I think it actually depends largely on what`s done after the health care bill. Remember, the health care bill is, kind of, a log jam that`s keeping us from making more progress on things like tax reform, infrastructure, et cetera.

And so, if you can get health care done and move onto those popular job- creating programs, I think he`ll have a solid platform to run on.

TODD: All right, what say you who has to deal with the ads in 2018.

BOLGER: Yes, I mean, health care is going to be a major issue in 2018 and 2020, no matter what happens. If nothing happens, it`s still going to be a major issue. If massive changes, if minor changes, it`s going to one of the defining issues of the campaign both in 2018 and 2020?

TODD: So, you`re not ready to say it`s worse -- it`s harder for Trump than it is Senate incumbent X?

BOLGER: No. Or House incumbent.

TODD: Glen Bolger, Michael Steel. Ah, Washington never ceases to amaze, doesn`t it? Thank you very much.

So, what happens to the health care bill now? Did President Trump really just accuse President Obama of colluding with the Russians? Yes, everything is up -- everything up is down.

These stories and more, coming up right after this.



TODD: A bruising health care battle, possible Syrian mission creep, plummeting worldwide credibility, but President Trump is still focused on the Russia probe.

On Monday, he, again, lashed out on Twitter writing, the reason that President Obama did nothing about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to, quote, "rock the boat." He didn`t choke. He colluded or obstructed. And it did the Dems and crooked Hillary no good.

OK. Well, among the real story is that President Obama did nothing after being informed in August about Russia meddling. With four months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have "zero tapes," in quotes, of the people colluding. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given an apology!

Reporters asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the assertion that President Obama colluded or obstruction. Here`s his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you accuse President Obama of obstructing when he was egging Russia on?

SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He was joking at the time. We all know.


TODD: Well, here`s how candidate Trump reacted when he was questioned about publicly calling on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.


KATY TUR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: You said, I welcome them to find those 30,000 e-mails.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, they probably have them. I`d like to have them released.

TUR: But does that not give you pause?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, it gives me no pause. If they have them, they have them. We might as well find -- hey, you know what gives me more pause? That a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton -- here`s what gives me -- be quiet, I know you want to, you know, save her. That a person in our government, Katy, would delete or get rid of 33,000 e-mails. That gives me a big problem. After she gets a subpoena. She gets subpoenaed and she gets rid of 33,000 e-mails? That gives me a problem.

Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those e-mails, I need to be honest with you, I`d love to see them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: That was the joking that Sean Spicer was referring to.

We`ll have more MTP DAILY after the break.


TODD: Welcome back.

Tonight`s panel joins me now. "The Wall Street Journal`s" Carol Lee, the American Enterprise Institute`s Danielle Pletka, and former Obama deputy campaign manager and White House veteran, Stephanie Cutter. Welcome all.

Carol, there`s nobody that understands vote counting better than Mitch McConnell. And he will stay on course. But when he changes course, it`s for a dramatic reason. And for him to pull up stakes already said a lot about the unpopularity.

CAROL LEE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": It tells you everything you want to know. And even if you go back -- and Mitch McConnell has always been the one that people can rely on. He knows where his votes are. He knows how to get things done.

And for him to pull back on this, it just underscores how difficult this is. And that they are very far from it, despite President Trump saying that they are very close to getting something.

TODD: Oh, this ceased -- we were just joking about how we are going to discuss policy here or politics. This ceased about politics a long time ago, Danny (ph).

DANIELLE PLETKA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY STUDIES, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Oh, it`s not at all a debate about the details or about the merits of the health care bill or even about the merits of Obamacare any more

The question for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump is, where does this leave them on the rest of their agenda if they want to start with this giant problem that may well lead to failure? Where are they going to be on tax reform? What are they going to deliver to the voters that Donald Trump promised?

TODD: And, Stephanie, you were -- what happens when you do health care as an impediment to the rest of your agenda, when there was a point in the Obama White House where it was, like, oh, we can`t get to X, Y or Z because of health care.

And then, when it was over, it was, like, this sense of, really, oh, thank God we don`t have to talk about health care anymore. And Democrats didn`t defend it.


TODD: And we saw what happens there. I almost can see Republicans playing -- basically having the same play.

CUTTER: Well, and remember, we passed health care after a very public process and, you know, well over a year of debate.

[17:25:08] So, when the -- when the bill passed, people were very tired and it was very -- it was very difficult. I was there at the White House trying to get people out there to defend it and it was very difficult to get members of Congress to want to go out there and defend it.

It was very unpopular, at the time, because people didn`t understand it. It wasn`t yet implemented so people weren`t seeing the benefits. And we were very close to a re-election -- or to a mid-term campaign.

TODD: Geez.

CUTTER: So, it was very difficult and we suffered because of it.

So, we didn`t have any of the benefactors out there touting what this bill could do. And it was very difficult to do that, until that bill started to take hold and people saw an increase in their benefits, a subsidy reducing their cost, more access to health care.

And now, we`re at the brink of another health -- well, we`re in the middle of another health care debate where a lot of those things are going to be taken away. So, I don`t -- regardless of what happens in the Senate, I don`t see anybody in the House or Senate going out there and touting.

TODD: Well, and this gets to -- "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board, it was also getting at this morning, Carol. And I know the editorial board and you guys are separate, but it was interesting to me, almost lamenting. How about owning the conservative alternative and conservative alternative vision of health care?

And there was almost a lamenting that nobody is stepping up to proactively make the case for why you need to do it this way.

LEE: Well, and I think one of the more remarkable things is that the Republicans have had eight years of trying to figure out what they did and promising this for a very long seven years. That`s a very long time.

And to not have a plan, to not have thought this through to where they can get something through, to have a vision, to be able to explain their vision at this stage when they finally get control. That`s going to be problematic.

I think what Stephanie was talking about, either way, even if they get this done and they were able to pass the bill and the president can sign the bill and make good on one of his promises, there is still going to be political blowback because it`s not going to satisfy everybody. It`s not going to be implemented. And no one`s really going to understand what it is by the time the mid-terms roll down.

TODD: Now, everything she said, I could picture some Republican saying the same thing to me in two years. Well, you know, we didn`t fully implement it and dadadadada. You know?

PLETKA: Sure. I mean, but, you know, again, we`re not talking about the facts of the bill. Part of the problem is that the Republicans don`t want to stand up because people don`t understand what the facts are. They know what the political debates are that they have been hearing. They hear this is going to be taken away from me.

What if there are actually 15 million people who actually don`t want to sign up for insurance and have been counted because they were forced to under Obamacare? Is that part of the number that CBO gave us? And we`re not -- we`re not talking about --

TODD: (INAUDIBLE) see this. You know, say what you want about the insurance companies. OK, are they not -- are they not covering here because of X or because of Y? They -- there`s been no hearing.

PLETKA: No, there are no substantive debates. Like this is the problem with everything we talk about. We talk about the conversation that happens around the real issues but we don`t talk about the issues behind them. And that`s -- it`s become reality T.V. politics.

TODD: Nobody is willing to have -- and the thing is, when you start having an honest conversation about health care, about, hey, you know what, end of life issues, we`re spending all this money on end of life issues.

Do we need to have that conversation? We`ve got panels. And then, all of a sudden, everybody runs away. I mean, that`s the problem. You`re -- you talk about the substance, it becomes more politically toxic.

CUTTER: Well, you know, I worked for a long time for Ted Kennedy. And he used to say, there`s a reason why health care reform hasn`t passed, because it is one of the most difficult issues to deal with. You`re dealing with life and death issues. So, it`s easily politicized. A very difficult problem to actually solve.

You know, I realized I worked for President Obama and I was for the Affordable Care Act. But I do think there has been some significant progress in solving some of the problems of the health care system. Does it do everything? Absolutely not.

There are some identifiable problems that can be fixed and improved upon. But because we entered this debate in a repeal stance instead of a repair stance, which some Republicans did put out there but got yanked back very quickly. It`s been -- this has been a political conversation, unfortunately.

LEE: Well, and you see that -- I mean, the president is having senators over. They`re all Republican senators. I think you also have a president who`s running this process who doesn`t have a clear vision for what he wants.

The most clearest -- the clearest thing we`ve gotten from him is that he wants a bill with heart. No one really knows exactly what that means.

And one of the other politically, you know, the president saying that he House bill was mean is really something that I think had a much bigger effect than is even -- we even know yet because it doesn`t make people want to side with him and then he goes and he undermines that.

TODD: Well, can you -- I was just going to say, he`s got to make a political sell here, Danny, at the end of the day. And If you`re a Republican senator, do you think, is this guy going to throw this bill under the bus --

PLETKA: Exactly.

TODD: -- if it just becomes too unpopular?

PLETKA: No, I don`t think -- I don`t think anybody knows, Republican or Democrat, what the president is going to say next. I don`t criticize him for bringing the Republicans in because before you have consensus with the Democrats, you`ve got to have consensus with the Republicans.

So, that`s the right thing to do but I think every one of them has trepidation about what it is that he`s going to say about this tomorrow.

TODD: All right, I`ll pause it here. We can keep it going (inaudible) health care. There`s always something more to talk about. Thank you very much. Still ahead, Democrats are in the minority in the senate, in the house, and most state legislature. But one senator says Democrats are getting their message out to supporters through social media. We`ll ask Senator Brian Schatz how he hopes to turn his online interaction into more support at the polls.


TODD: Up next, social media. How some Democratic senators are using it more strategically these days. But first, Hampton Pearson with the "CNBC Market Wrap."

HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Chuck. We had stocks closing lower after the senate delayed the key health care vote casting doubt on President Trump`s pro-growth agenda. The Dow falling by 98 points, the S&P down 19, the Nasdaq dropping 100 points.

A tech sell-off for stocks lower. Google parent, Alphabet, fell more than 2 percent. The EU fined Google a record $2.7 billion for violating anti-trust rules. Banks spared well in choppy trade. JPMorgan chase rose 9 percent. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


TODD: Little developing situation here. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn just got out of the White House meeting with the president. Here it is.

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY: The president got an opportunity to hear from the various members who have concerns about market reforms and the Medicaid, the future of Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. So I think the meeting was very helpful. The one thing I would say is that I think everybody around the table is interested in getting a yes, interested in getting an outcome, because we know the status quo is simply unacceptable, unsustainable, and no action is just not an option.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator McConnell, critics say the longer this takes, the harder it`s going to be to pass some kind of a health care bill.

MCCONNELL: I don`t think so. Well, certainly we spent a lot of time on this over the last seven years. And our members are increasingly familiar with the various moving parts. It`s a very complicated subject. I had hoped, as you know, that we could have gotten to the floor this week, but we`re not quite there. But I think we got a really good chance of getting there. It will just take us a little bit longer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you hold town halls over recess, your fellow Republicans?

MCCONNELL: Some members have town halls, some don`t. We`ll see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, is the president getting involved in the details of negotiating? Is he getting into the details of the bill that might bring some of those wavering senators on board? And what is his message overall?

MCCONNELL: I think the main thing is, as I`ve said, the status quo is simply unsustainable. It will be dealt with in one of two ways. Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo or the markets will continue to collapse and we`ll have to sit down with Senator Schumer.

My suspicion is that any negotiation with the Democrats would include none of the reforms that we would like to make both on the market side and the Medicaid side. So for all of those reasons, we need to come up with a solution. The American people elected us to do that, and we`re working hard to get there.



TODD: Joining me now is another U.S. senator, happens to be from the Democratic side of the aisle, so he`s not at the White House, he`s the senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz. Senator Schatz, welcome to "Meet the Press Daily."


TODD: I want you to respond -- give you a chance to just respond to what you heard from the senate majority leader there when he said, this ends with one of two ways. Either Republicans figure out how to come out with solution on their own or I guess we negotiate with the Democrats and the Democrats won`t accept, you know, draw these lines in the sand. Is he portraying the democratic position fairly?

SCHATZ: No, he`s not. I find it really striking, the argument that he`s making. He was making this internally within the caucus this morning and I found it actually shocking. Now he`s saying it out loud to the media that if they don`t get it done on their own, shock, horror, terrible news, we will have to do this on a bipartisan basis.

And my view is that`s the way the senate is supposed to work, that`s the way the country is supposed to work. We ought to have hearings. You know, you`ve got two chairmen who are capable of doing bipartisan legislation, Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander. And they like doing bipartisan bill. Nobody doubts their conservative credentials. But we`ve got to let them have hearings and do their process.

TODD: So what is -- look, what is the price -- I know there`s a politics infused into this whole debate. What do you want Republicans to give up to go -- you know, look at this like a peace deal. We`re trying to negotiate a ceasefire. What would it take to get Democrats to the table? What does Mitch McConnell have to do to get you to the table?

SCHATZ: They got to take this massive Medicaid cuts off the table. That`s not reform. That actually got nothing to do with the problems of the Affordable Care Act. That is the popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act in blue and red and purple states in rural places and in urban parts of the country. So, these $800 billion worth of tax cuts in exchange for $800 billion worth of Medicaid cuts, that`s not a health care bill, that`s not a reform bill.

We know we have problems with the individual marketplace. We are open to conversations about how to stabilize the marketplace and make reform that makes sense. But, a big Medicaid cut in exchange for a big tax cut for people who are already doing well is really not a health care bill.

TODD: Okay, but here is the argument that the conservatives would make on Medicaid. I say conservatives (inaudible) Republican argument, but the true sort of the Rand Paul and others said, look, you do this now, it`s an entitlement that never goes away, and then all of a sudden you think the federal budget is impossible to get into balance now because of social security Medicare, now you add Medicaid to that, and that`s going to be 75 percent of the federal budget. Fair?

SCHATZ: Well, look, I think that we need to look at the expense and the revenue side and we need to look at defense and non-defense. But right now we`re not having a an adult conversation at all on budget and appropriations.

TODD: Yeah.

SCHATZ: So fair enough, if there are conservatives and I heard you earlier say, there are very Republicans who will just stand there and say, listen, we have to cut Medicaid spending even though these are sympathetic causes, even though it`s nursing home care, even though it`s opioid treatment, even though it`s health for children with disabilities.

What they are actually saying over the last week is it`s not a Medicaid cut, but it sure is. And so if you`re going to have these true conservatives go out there and make their argument, let them do it as conservatives, but they are frankly not telling the truth about what this bill does.

TODD: All right. Let me ask you about one of the (inaudible) here. I thought it is sort of like you and Ben Sasse. In interesting ways, you come at it differently, but you`ve developed a personality in social media that to me comes across as age appropriate. You are comfortable in it. Both of you are younger senators.

I don`t know if you`ve spent any time with each other so I am not going to presume that. But it seems you`re both comfortable being a little snarky. You`re both comfortable sort of being I don`t want to say un-senatorial in a negative, but what people in the 1970s would have said is senatorial. Why is that important?

SCHATZ: Well, it`s interesting you said it. Ben and I do have a friendship and we are even doing some bills together even though he is quite conservative and I`m quite progressive. But you`re right, you know, I -- over the last six months or so, I`ve done my own tweeting. And I think it is because people really want to hear from us. If there is any lesson from the 2016 race, Bernie and President Trump have very little in common, but I think people`s response to them was a common response, which was they didn`t feel like they are being sold soap (ph).

They didn`t feel like they were being given a prepackaged product or prepackaged slogan. And so I`m trying to be responsive to that. If that means that occasionally I`m not so officious and maybe sometimes informal, I tried not to go overboard with it, but I do think that people want to know that there is a living breathing human being there serving in the senate rather than a packaged product.

TODD: So I`m curious where you are on this debate inside Democratic Party. And I say this because of your own personal experience. You go up against what was well-established democratic machine, for essentially the entire age of the state and the machine that former Senator Daniel, anyway, the late senator, sort of was supportive of his causes.

And you sort of broke through that and you survived. People don`t think you are going to do that. Do you have to be sort of less polished in order to bust a machine? Is that what the Democrats need to be, less polished?

SCHATZ: Well, I don`t know about that, but I will tell you the part of what I think is important is for members of senate, pundits, pollsters, strategists to say that they don`t know. There is a tendency in this town especially for people to want to settle on a strategy, to want to settle on standard bear, want to settle on a policy position as the new set of solutions. One of the things I think we have to respond to is that this resistance across the country.

TODD: Right.

SCHATZ: These people who are motivated and energizes want to have a say in the future of the Democratic Party. So I don`t think it should be preordained. I don`t think it should be chaotic forever. But I think this is a beautiful kind of chaos because grassroots individuals feel correctly that they can make a difference and I don`t want to tell them what to think.

TODD: So, what did you take away from Georgia?

SCHATZ: Listen. I think Ossoff was a compelling candidate and inspired a lot of people, but recruitment very much matters. I can say this maybe with a little more credibility than others. Listen. I ran for the United States congress when I was 34 years old. And I had done a few things that I was proud of. But I think people made the judgment that I just wasn`t ready to serve.

TODD: Were they right at the time?

SCHATZ: Well, listen, you know, you never want to say they were right when they don`t vote for you, but they made a judgment that I wasn`t ready.

TODD: And now in hindsight considering you`re a U.S. senator, so things have worked out okay.

SCHATZ: It all worked out and sometimes getting your butt kicked is the best possible thing in politics. But I think -- listen, Jon Ossoff is very impressive, but he`s 30, and he doesn`t live in the district, and I think that had we have someone that was maybe 10 or 15 years older and had more roots in the neighborhood, that`s easily 3.8 percentage points.

TODD: All right. Brian Schatz, democratic senator from Hawaii, hope to hear from you a lot more.

SCHATZ: Thanks very much.

TODD: Good to have you in the show. Appreciate you sharing your views. Up next, when an increase is actually a cut or is it the other way around? We`re actually going to dive into this Medicaid word jumble.


TODD: Welcome back. Tonight, I`m obsessed with this question. Are Republicans cutting Medicaid spending? Democrats say yes, Republicans say no. Someone is wrong or misinformed or worse. Who? Here is some Republican case. Medicaid spending now is $393 billion. By 2026, Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, says it will be $464 billion, a $71 billion increase. Got that? A $71 billion increase, so no cut, end of debate.

Okay. Democrats point out that the increase is $772 billion less than what Medicaid would have had under Obamacare. The blue line on the chart is spending under Obamacare. The red line is the senate bill. Got that? A $772 billion decrease, so big cut, end of debate. So Democrats also point out that more than 2 million recipients will no longer be eligible for Medicaid and that the senate bill neither keeps up with inflation nor with the rising cost of health care.

So who is right? Press secretary for President George W. Bush tweeted this. "Your salary is $50,000. Your boss promises it will be $100,000 in 10 years. Instead, you get $75,000. Did you get a $25,000 raise or a $25,000 cut?" Okay. But what if your boss promised you will be making $100,000 in 10 years then reduce it to $59,000 slower than the rate of inflation and oh, yes, you can`t use the money to pay the rent. Are you going home to your spouse to say, honey, guess what, I just got a raise? I`ll let you sort it out. We`ll be right back.


TODD: Time for "The Lid." Let`s bring back our panel. I was going to change subjects here, but I think we are going to stick with health care. Carol Lee, Danielle Pletka, Stephanie Cutter. All right. I got to ask everybody here. Mitch McConnell said we have two options. Either Republicans come together with the bill or we are stuck going to Chuck Schumer. It was quite the admission. I mean, he`s technically right.

PLETKA: Well, I mean, he`s in the enviable (ph) position of trying to herd the cats of his caucus and he`s not enthusiastic about it. I think that`s what you dangle out there. That`s the sort (inaudible), right? It`s me or it`s Chuck. You guys choose.

STEPHANIE CUTTER, FOUNDING PARTNER AT PRECISION STRATEGIES, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If there was a third option that he dangled out there, it`s just let the system fail. That is something that they are contributing to. So the question is, what happens between now and when Republicans do realize they have to pull Democrats in and get something done? How many people are going to lose their insurance? How high premiums are going to go up with the damages to the system?

CAROL LEE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The idea that they will work with Democrats is just a lot of these senators were not elected to compromise in this way. And so it`s hard to see how that`s going to be the next option. It does feel a little bit more like pushing them.

TODD: However, Portman, Cassidy, Snow, excuse me, Collins, McCluskey (ph), they`re desperate to do a bipartisan deal. You can just tell.

LEE: Is that going to be enough?

PLETKA: Who exactly are these guys bringing with them? If they were standing up like us and saying here is the Democrat who`s going to partner with me and who is going to vote for the bill that we`re going to work on, great. But right now, they`re standing by themselves.

CUTTER: Well, I think that`s because some of that work hasn`t been done. You know, I`ve been listening to -- people talking about this all day. And I think for whatever reason, and I`m sure we differ on what the reasons are, there`s a lack of trust.

TODD: Yes.

CUTTER: . on both sides about whether Republicans will, you know, there will be a bait and switch. You know, we can start to reform Obamacare and improve it but then they are going to pull the rug out and just repeal as part of a senate maneuver. There`s a big distrust here.

TODD: This to me permeates every debate we have in Washington right now. It`s the lead of the show we did on Sunday. It`s we have lost trust. The two parties don`t trust each other. Schumer and McConnell don`t trust each other. By the way, average Democrats and average Republicans don`t trust each other anymore. That also added.

CUTTER: They don`t trust their president.

LEE: Nobody, and they don`t trust this particular White House that they are going to.

TODD: The Republicans don`t trust their own president.

LEE: Right, and Democrats.

PLETKA: This is the root of the crisis we face, not just in health care which is that fundamentally it is not just the trust between the politicians, it`s that the average guys trust in government has diminished. This is not just in America. This is in France, this is in UK, this is all over the world. This is what leads to the election of people like the elections that we have seen in our country and around Europe.

TODD: This trust issue, go back to Carol, I`m sorry, we interrupted.

LEE: No, everything is across, you saw Chuck Schumer, he throw out there, let`s all meet, let`s all get together and talk about, you know, the health room. And everyone was like, that`s a bunch of bait, we`re not going to take that. Nobody wants to actually get in the same room because they don`t trust each other and then they don`t trust this White House and this president that he is going to follow through with what he say he is going to do.

Yet you have a president who doesn`t care how this gets done. He doesn`t care if it`s Democrats and Republicans or if it`s just Republicans. He just wants to get a win. At this stage, it`s looking like that`s something he might not get.

TODD: Well, at this point, I guess the question is, is it politically feasible at all for Mitch McConnell to do nothing?

PLETKA: No, I don`t think Mitch McConnell can do nothing.

LEE: I don`t see how Republicans after saying they are going to do this and they just need to get elected go and face voters again without doing this.

TODD: And I just don`t certainly know there`s no permanent solution is going to work on a bipartisan basis.

CUTTER: No, it`s not.

TODD: I mean, I think we know that too.

CUTTER: Mitch McConnell here is damn if he does, damn if he doesn`t. He is going to pay a price for this either way. And I say that not as a Democrat, I say that as (inaudible) of somebody who has been in politics for a long time.

TODD: We need somebody to say enough is enough.


TODD: We know the only way this gets fixed is if everybody admits we can`t do it on our own.

CUTTER: And I think there would be a political benefit for a group. You know, I remember the, you know, averting the nuclear option.

TODD: Yeah, the gang of 14, and they did it the first time.

CUTTER: The gang of 14 and it was very unpopular at the time but they did it. You know, we need a gang like that to come together.

TODD: You mean to say senate from the leadership?

PLETKA: Okay, so who are those leaders and why do we not see them standing up together? They`ve had plenty of time.

TODD: That`s a fair point.

LEE: And on health care, it`s going to require the Republicans to give up the idea of repeal or the Democrats to not hold on so tightly to Obamacare.

TODD: Okay. There`s no doubt. They will always say, we`ll wait to the next election to decide it. Thank you. Depressing and fun as always, Carol, Danielle, Stephanie.


TODD: After the break, how the world views President Trump right now?


TODD: In case you missed it, President Trump lambasted President Obama`s foreign policy and America is standing in the world a lot on the campaign trail.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our friends are beginning to think they can`t depend on us. We had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we have never seen before in the history of our country.


TODD: But right now, he may not be doing so much better so far. Check out these new numbers from Pew Research`s surveys. At the end of his presidency, 64 percent of those surveyed around the world expressed confidence in President Obama handling international affairs. Just 22 percent feel the same way now about President Trump.

That disparity is also quite evident in most countries. This chart here shows the net change in confidence that people had surveyed in various countries had between presidents Obama and Trump. As you can see, there`s a massive drop in confidence in some nations. Look at Sweden, Canada, some of those not surprising.

Steep drop off in some countries between the two American leaders. Pew surveyed 37 nations and all but two gave higher marks on foreign policy to President Obama over President Trump. The two countries that showed more fate in Trump over Obama are Israel and Russia. In Russia, President Trump has a 42-point edge over his predecessor. Good old RT.

That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." "For the Record with Greta" starts right now. Greta, wow, health care keeps -- the news keeps breaking.