This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," August 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week, it's Dems versus Dems as the political left roughs up moderates who won't get with Obama's government- run health care program.
Plus, a closer look at the stock market's summer rally even as job loses continues but at a slower pace. Is it the beginning of a real recovery?
And after the release of two American journalists, what's America's next step with North Korea.
The "Journal Editorial Report" continues right now.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Lots of attention being paid this week to those town hall meetings, and we will get them in a moment. But the most ignored political story of the week, how the political left and its lobbies are roughing up fellow Democrats who won't get with President Obama's government-run health care program.
Two liberal groups, Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, put out this ad against Nebraska Senator, Ben Nelson, a Democrat who is lukewarm on the so-called public option. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Now I hear that Ben Nelson, the Senator that I voted for, is leading the charge to delay health reform this summer. That's exactly what they want. The health and insurance companies that have given Senator Nelson over $2 million know that if they can stall reform, they can kill it. I have to ask, Senator, whose side are you on?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: they're calling the ad a warning shot to any Senator who tries to block President Obama's public insurance option and it is just a sample of the campaign being waged against wavering Democrats by other Democrats.
Here to discuss this intra-party smack down, "Wall Street Journal" columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; senior economics writer, Steve Moore; Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.
So, Kim, do you think the white house, part of it, is behind — the political part of it, is behind this campaign?
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIT: Of course, it is. If you look, the Democratic National Committee has its own arm which is President Obama's campaign arm. They have been out running ads. They don't name names that way and aren't that aggressive, but in districts of moderate Democrats, saying it is time for health care now. They have been exerting their own pressure. Apparently, the president, in private meetings, says he doesn't approve of any of this, but according to these groups, they haven't received a telephone call from the White House telling them to knock it off.
GIGOT: Wait a minute. The president told Senators, look, I don't think this is productive. Harry Reid, the majority leader in the senate, said, knock it off, they're not working, and they're counter-productive. Are you saying David Axelrod, the political director at the White House, or Rahm Emanuel, a pretty rough guy at times, the chief of staff, or on the side saying, yes, go get them?
STRASSEL: I think there is an element to that. We saw this back in the campaign when Obama campaigned for president. Publicly, saying we need to get along, we need to go together, but in the ground, we're not averse to using some of these groups to pushing for their ends. And, look, the published option is one of their ends.
GIGOT: Dan, is this working?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: I don't think it's working so far. Intimidation does work. They have intimidated some of the private-sector people involved in health care.
GIGOT: Big pharma is running ads in favor of the plan.