Transcript: Sebelius, Specter and Hatch

And it is remarkable that a woman who left the governor's office and everybody was like, all of the intelligentsia in Washington was like, "She's over. She's through." She, with one Facebook entry, as Ed said, really shook up the debate.

KORNBLUT: That's -- that's right. And we're back to the, "Is she crazy or is she crazy like a fox?" debate about Governor Palin. You know, we all wrote her off a month ago. We said she would have no platform if she was not the governor of Alaska.

And here she is actually driving the debate, whether it's honest or not, whether what she's saying is true or not. And as you point out, she's doing it from Facebook. When this White House was supposed to be the Facebook White House, she's the one using new technology to drive the debate.

Now, the White House will say to you and Democrats will say, "You know, she's hurting herself. She doesn't seem legitimate. What she's saying is absolutely ridiculous." But at the end -- and we saw Robert Gibbs talk about her from the podium repeatedly this week, you know, bringing her up. But at the end of the day, they were responding to her, not the other way around, and that can't be good for them.

BROWNSTEIN: But it is true. I mean, look, the basic problem that Sarah Palin has as a political figure is that she is kind of the king or queen of a narrowing island. And this does that further.

I mean, the basic problems that she has is that on Election Day 60 percent of the public said that she was not qualified to be president, and these kind of comments may further engage her with the Republican base, but it deepens the problem with everybody else. And I think in many ways this will contribute to her long-term marginalization as a potential president, if not a potential leader of the Republican Party.

And the other point, though, I think which is larger, which is -- if it wasn't this charge, it would have been something else, because the health care debate is about much more than health care, especially from the point of view of the opponents.

I was out Friday at town meetings in Colorado in Frisco and Edwards with Senator Bennet, and it's very clear that health care is part of a -- is a subset of a much broader set of concerns about the overall direction of the Obama administration among the conservative base who feel that they are spending too much, taxing too much, intruding the government too much into the lives of Americans.

And if it wasn't death panels that was, you know, causing these people to come out, it would have been something else, because the injury, the anger is really much broader and isn't tied, I think, to these specifics in the bill as it is to the general direction of the administration.

TAPPER: And, Donna, but that gets -- that gets at a point I -- I brought up actually in a White House briefing this week, which is, if you're the president of the United States standing at a town hall meeting, telling the American people that you're not in favor of creating a bureaucracy that will kill off their grandparents to save a few bucks, somewhere along the line you've lost control of the message.

And is Ron right? I mean, is this not indicative not only of Governor Palin's savvy or strength, but also a weakness in communication by the Obama administration?

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