7 Best Moments from Sunday Talk

Rachel Maddow makes her Sunday morning debut, Carville and Matalin spar over “death panels,” and the McLaughlin Group agrees on something. That and more in our Sunday roundup.

08.16.09 3:56 PM ET

Sebelius: Public Option Not Essential

Big news from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on CNN’s State of the Union: The Obama administration’s approach to the health-care bill isn’t what it was, oh, a few days ago. Sebelius says the public option is not the “essential element,” a tack that might surprise some supporters back in Washington.

Rachel Maddow Brings Notes, Makes Splash

Rachel Maddow’s first appearance on   Meet the Press is marked by some heated exchanges with Dick Armey over health care. Armey tries to keep up, but Maddow brought notes—lots of them. And, apparently, they’re all about all about Dick Armey.

Tabloid Legal Analyst Bemoans Existence of Tabloid Stories

Talk about hubris. Appearing on Reliable Sources, Lisa Bloom takes aim at news organizations and the public for the surfeit of stories on Jon and Kate Gosselin. Nothing wrong with this kind of handwringing—what panel of journalists doesn’t have someone making this point?—but Bloom’s oeuvre isn’t exactly duPont or Pulitzer material: Here she is covering “ sexting,”   Anna Nicole Smith, the   Phil Spector murder case,   Mel Gibson’s divorce, and, with great enthusiasm for Showbiz Tonight, Jon and Kate!

Shocker: McLaughin Group Reaches Consensus

Has the wonderfully combative McLaughlin Group ever agreed on anything? Mark your calendar, it happened August 16, 2009. The issue: whether President Obama will recover from the opposition to his health-care plan. The consensus: He will, by abandoning his public option, signing a bill with smaller reforms, and declaring victory.

Carville: Battlin’ With Matalin

James Carville and Mary Matalin have it out on State of the Union over the issue of the so-called death panels. Carville claims the idea is conservative fear-mongering, but when he doesn’t have a lot of substance to challenge Matalin, you have to wonder if she’s got point.

Gibbs Continues Assualt on Health-Care Public Option

Let the backpedaling continue. The public health-care option took another blow on Face the Nation, as Robert Gibbs said "choice and competition" are the goals of the White House, whether that means there’s a public option or not.

Obama’s Wasting His Time

As if members of his Obama’s own administration fleeing from the public health-care option weren’t enough—or if you thought Robert Gibbs was being a bit wishy-washy—Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota (D) delivered another blow on Fox News Sunday. Conrad said “There are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” and to continue pursuit of plan would be “wasted effort.”

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