updated 5/11/2010 9:06:41 AM ET 2010-05-11T13:06:41

Guests: Jim Hood, Mike Papantonio, David Axelrod, Katrina Vanden Heuvel,

Bill Press, Ron Christie, Bob Shrum, Brent Coon.

HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW

tonight from New York.

These stories are hitting my hot buttons at this hour. 

President Obama makes his choice for the Supreme Court, but a lot of

progressives are concerned that Elena Kagan just isn‘t liberal enough. 

I‘ll ask senior White House adviser David Axelrod coming up in just a


And that‘s a big story, but I think this is bigger.  The oil disaster

in the Gulf is getting worse.  The dome project didn‘t work.  And the

country wants to know, what is BP going to do about all of this?  

Plus, a new poll in Pennsylvania has Joe Sestak, the congressman,

leading Senator Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary.  That‘s coming up

in the “Playbook” tonight.  You won‘t want to miss the conversation. 

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.  The big box, it

didn‘t work.  Now what?  

BP made $5.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, and they

really didn‘t have a sound plan for an offshore oil disaster?   Well,

here‘s what it looks like now. 

At this hour, the National Guard is dropping sandbags and filling sand

barriers on the beaches of Louisiana.  They‘re scrambling to find another

way to stop this oil leak from dumping 200,000 gallons a day into the Gulf

of Mexico. 

You know, when you think of the way this whole thing is unfolding, why

do I get the feeling this is the BP engineering lab working on this crisis?  


LARRY FINE, ACTOR:  Say, I beg your pardon.  Do you have any idea what

we‘re doing?  

MOE HOWARD, ACTOR:  Now that you mention it, no. 

SHEMP HOWARD, ACTOR:  Why don‘t you tell the general he ain‘t

Professor Sneed?   He couldn‘t invent the rocket fuel in a million years.

FINE:  I beg your pardon. 

M. HOWARD:  Wait a minute, you ignoramuses.  If they find out we‘re

only carpet layers, they‘ll go back and grab the real professor.  And not

only that, they‘ll shoot us.  Now, we‘ve got to fool them.  Savvy? 


SCHULTZ:  Yes, we‘ve got to fool them. 

I‘m sorry, folks.  That‘s how I feel about this whole thing right now. 

What else are we supposed to believe at this hour?  

The brain wizards over at BP are talking about everything from a

smaller box to shooting garbage into the hole to block the oil?   You heard

me right—garbage. 

Here‘s the commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen. 


ADM. THAD ALLEN, U.S. COAST GUARD:  The containment dome that was put

over the leak site developed ice crystals, which happens when, at very high

pressure and low temperature, water and natural gas comes together.  It

actually started lifting the coffer down, and it became buoyant, and they

had to set it over the seafloor next to it. 

The next tactic is going to be something they call a junk shot. 

They‘re actually going to take a bunch of debris—shredded up tires, golf

balls and things like that—and under very high pressure shoot it into

the preventer, itself, and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak. 


SCHULTZ:  Did you hear that?   A junk shot?  

Now, I‘m not dissing the admiral here, but it just seems to me that

the engineering in this country when it comes to oil drilling down at a

mile deep in the ocean would be a little bit more advanced than that. 

Don‘t you think so?  

You can‘t make this stuff up.  They plan to use golf balls and tires

to try to clog the leak?   I mean, I can‘t believe the BP engineers didn‘t

seem to have a clue that this giant box was kind of maybe going to fail

because of the pressure, because of the temperature, because of the

chemical, all of that. 

I‘ve got a little secret for you, folks.  This is just my opinion.  I

thing they‘re winging it and nobody can stop this whole thing. 

The United States allowed one of the largest corporations in the world

to get by with drilling off our shores with no true protection from

disaster?   They‘re winging it.  The offshore oil regulations are some of

the weakest regulations in America. 

Just listen to Florida Senator Bill Nelson tell it like it is. 


SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA:  Big oil wants its way, and they‘ve

been trying to bully their way to drill off the coast of Florida, had the

Florida legislature going to let them drill three miles off the coast of

Florida in state waters.  Big oil has had its way among the regulators. 

There‘s been a cozy relationship. 


SCHULTZ:  Oh, those cozy relationships, huh?  

We‘re getting a major lesson on why government needs to enforce rules

on big business.  British Petroleum was allowed to run roughshod on our

waters with no real plan to fix any major damage if it had happened.  They

need really to worry about regulations. 

Do we have that power?   Because they know not worrying about

regulations, they don‘t have to that because it‘s always cheaper to buy

some politician off in Washington and get that “cozy relationship,” instead

of having to maybe worry about cleaning up the biggest ecological disaster

in the history of the country.  And that‘s where we‘re headed. 

The leak has no—and shows no signs of being stopped any time soon. 

We‘re down to hitting golf balls.  And I believe before this is over, it

will affect every single American in this economy. 

BP engineers—this is what I think—BP engineers, they need to be

out in front of the cameras every single day telling the American public

how they plan on stopping what has become a weapon of mass destruction just

off the American shores.  And this is a classic, folks, from the standpoint

we really do, here in this whole thing unfolding in front of our eyes, we

are seeing two Americas.  One America that can operate offshore, corporate

America, without regulation, without any oversight.  And, oh by the way,

they wanted to do the oversight themselves.  They were going to monitor

themselves on all of this. 

And then the other America is onshore just waving.  Hey, boys, don‘t

make the damage too bad. 


The rich America‘s at sea.  The poor America‘s on shore.  And we‘re

the ones that‘s going to get stuck with the bill.  That‘s what‘s going to

come down on all of this. 

And what‘s going to happen to our economy?  Well, how did it work out

when it went to $4 a gallon of gasoline not long ago?  Did that help? 

I‘m not convinced that BP is an honest broker based on the way they

have played the game in the past. 

Get your cell phones out, folks.  I want to know what you think of

this tonight. 

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you have confidence that BP will

stop the leak anytime soon?”  Text “A” for yes and text “B” for no to

622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

And as I‘ve said before, it‘s all about the money. 

Joining me now is Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. 

Mr. Hood, good to have you with us tonight. 

I know that you have been working hard on this and you‘ve had some

conversations with the oil company and other people that are involved in


What‘s your confidence level that there is going to be complete

restitution based on your conversations and what you have asked of the oil



know, we‘re cautiously optimistic that they‘re going to pay what they owe. 

That‘s the representations made by their general counsel sitting in my

office last Thursday. 

We asked that he put that in writing.  Just a few minutes ago, we got

a response to a letter that we, five of us coastal state attorneys general,

sent to the general counsel of BP.  They‘ve given us some written

assurances that some of the caps will not apply to our individuals or our

states, and so we‘ve got some written declarations.  But then I found out

this afternoon that they have filed some action to try to consolidate all

of the individual class actions that were filed in Houston, Texas, before a

likely friendly federal judge town there in Houston. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So what you have in writing now from BP—and are they

the only ones that you were in conference with on this? 

HOOD:  No.  We attorneys general also wrote Transocean and several

other responsible parties. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  All right. 

Now, you‘ve got in writing they‘re going to not pay attention to the

caps.  So the $75 million is out the window, right? 

HOOD:  That‘s correct. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  And this is—they‘re also now, on the other hand,

going to, I guess you could say, judge shopping.  Would you go so far as to

say that? 

HOOD:  I‘m not sure at this point because I haven‘t seen the complaint

that was filed.  I anticipated them doing that. 

I asked their general counsel, did they plan on doing that?  That was

Thursday.  He said that he didn‘t know what the plans were at that point. 

I expressed to him I certainly didn‘t want to see our states drug into the

middle of these class actions, because if this oil continues to flow, and

it reaches our beaches, there are going to be a tremendous amount of

damages that the states will incur, as well as loss of tax revenue and, you

know, tourism and so forth. 

SCHULTZ:  How can you even begin to put a number on that, Mr. Hood? 

HOOD:  It‘s going to be a difficult task.  It can be done. 

We‘re of course still optimistic that it won‘t come in and be as bad. 

But with these failures occurring, you know, it looks like it‘s going to

continue to flow for a while.  And the more it flows, at some point the

winds and currents will change, and I anticipate us receiving a pretty

serious impact.  I flew out over the Chandeleur Islands Thursday, and, you

know, it was a sea of red around the islands out there. 

SCHULTZ:  So, when it hits your shore, you‘ve now got in writing from

BP and Transocean that they‘re going to not pay attention to the caps and

they‘re going to do everything they can to take care of this, and there

will be full restitution?  I‘ll tell you what, I‘m going to stay tuned to

this movie.  This would be a brand new chapter in their history. 

Mr. Hood, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

HOOD:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  And that‘s the way you‘ve got to handle these oil companies. 

But, of course, they play both ends against the middle. 

Mike Papantonio can tell you that better than anybody, environmental

lawyer whose firm is leading the class action lawsuits against BP. 

All right.  So we‘ve got some new information there, Mike.  What do

you make of that? 


the first time where I‘ve really thought that we might have something that

looks like a limited fund, where you have a bankruptcy.  This company is

losing $350 million a day. 

And so Jim Hood is a leader.  Look, let me just tell you, he‘s one of

the most aggressive, responsible AGs probably on the coast.  But the truth

is, they can make all kinds of promises, but what did they do today, Ed?

They did judge-shop.  They forum-shopped.  They went somewhere where

they can tell an AG, yes, we‘re there to help you, but then the next thing

we know, they‘re in front of a judge in south Texas, where the oil industry

is king.

So, that didn‘t just happen by mistake.  And look, I applaud Jim Hood

for trying.  He‘s out front on the fight. 

But the truth is, this is a company that at the end of the day,

they‘re concerned about up thing, can they survive?  And I‘ve got to tell

you, this is the first time, Ed, where I‘ve really thought they might not

survive.  And if they go into something called a bankruptcy-limited fund,

that judge over in Texas—and I‘m not—let me just tell you something -

I‘m going to fight like the dickens to keep it out of Texas because I‘m

worried about what‘s happening in Texas. 

But at the same time, if they do—this is something that could put

this company out of money.  I mean, I‘m telling you.

Yes, they made $30 billion last year, $27 billion the year before

that, but they could argue in front of a judge that it‘s foreseeable that

they don‘t have enough money to pay for all of this.  Transocean,

Halliburton, nobody has enough to pay for all of this.  Then what happens? 

And it‘s the first time in the last couple of days where I‘ve been

thinking that‘s really a possibility.  I hope it‘s not, but I‘ve got to

tell you, I‘m less optimistic that it‘s not. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, this is actual video of what‘s going on down there. 

And, of course, it‘s all done by robot.  And the pressure, the temperature,

the environment down there that‘s being created by the different chemicals,

how could the BP engineers not know that this was going to be a heavy lift? 

I just find this amazing. 

PAPANTONIO:  There‘s a great scene in Leslie Nielsen‘s movie

“Airplane,” where the airplane‘s out of control, there‘s no pilot, and the

flight attendant walks to the back of the airplane and says, “Does anybody

here know how to fly an airplane?”  Well, that‘s what BP is doing. 

Just like you said when you opened this program, they‘re winging it,

Ed.  There‘s no question. 

It‘s so bad, they even have a toll-free number that they‘ve put up

asking for ideas.  They‘re showing up at meetings all over the coast and

they‘re asking people in the audience, “Do you have an idea?”  These aren‘t


SCHULTZ:  If it gets to a Texas judge, the chances aren‘t very good

for full restitution.  Is that fair? 

PAPANTONIO:  Well, I think it‘s—I think it‘s very fair.  There‘s a

couple of things. 

First of all, there‘s a circuit—it‘s called the Fifth Circuit. 

It‘s one of the least favorable circuits we‘d want to be with this issue. 

And look, I‘ve got to tell you something.  If you don‘t think that they

went out of their way to pat those courts these last 10 years, that the

Republicans focussed on trying to pat not just the trial courts, but the

appellate courts in that state, all you have to do is look at the results

even on a state level.  It‘s disastrous. 

So, this just doesn‘t happen, that they say, hey, we want to go to

Texas.  There‘s more cases filed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and

Florida than Texas. 

SCHULTZ:  And quickly, do you believe that they‘re honest brokers when

they tell five attorneys general that they‘re not going to pay attention to

the caps? 


SCHULTZ:  They all pay attention to caps.  They may not pay attention

to a cap of $75 million, but there‘s going to be a number when they‘re

going to stop and fight. 

PAPANTONIO:  You should have heard the promises they made in the

tobacco litigation, Ed.  You should have heard the promises.  They‘d sit

across the table and tell you one thing.  The next day, they do absolutely

the opposite of what they promise. 

So I applaud Jim Hood for trying.

SCHULTZ:  Mike, keep up the fight, my man.  I hear you.  Keep up the


PAPANTONIO:  Thanks a lot.

SCHULTZ:  Mike Papantonio with us tonight. 

You won‘t want to miss the show tomorrow night, THE ED SHOW.  Senator

Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is going to be joining me to talk about the

spill and some of the criticism she‘s levied at her Democratic colleagues

in the Senate on this issue. 

Coming up, the righties wasted no time in launching vicious attacks on

the president‘s pick for the Supreme Court.  They‘re calling her a radical

anti-military zealot? 

David Axelrod responds, next. 

And Sean Hannity says it‘s time for the president to step up or step

aside?  You know where that puts him, right in the “Zone.” 

All that, plus we‘ve got Tiger.  He‘s got a pain in the neck. 

And Betty White, did she knock it out of the park on “Saturday Night


You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  And thanks for watching


Earlier today, President Obama nominated U.S. Solicitor General Elena

Kagan to be the next nation—to be the nation‘s next Supreme Court

justice.  He described her as a trailblazing leader and praised her

intellect and temperament.  If confirmed, Kagan will replace retiring

Justice John Paul Stevens, regarded as the liberal anchor of the court. 

Joining us now on THE ED SHOW is senior White House adviser David


Mr. Axelrod, good to have you with us tonight.  Making your debut on

THE ED SHOW.  Not too much pressure here, is there? 

DAVID AXELROD, SR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  I don‘t know if I can handle

it, Ed, but let‘s see if I can survive this.  Good to be with you.  Good to

be with you.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s good to be with you. 

All right.  Elena Kagan, how big of a fight is this going to be?  She

got seven Republican votes for being the solicitor general‘s position.  Do

you expect you‘ll get that kind of support this time around? 

AXELROD:  I don‘t know, Ed.  She should.  She should get broad


She has got a superb background, a very broad background in the law. 

She has got a distinguished record and support across the political


So you would think that she would do well, but, you know, there are

many times that I think we‘ll reach consensus in Washington and a funny

thing happens on the way to the ball.  So we‘ll wait and see, but we‘re

prepared for a rigorous process, and I‘m sure she‘s prepared for a rigorous


SCHULTZ:  Republicans are saying that she‘s short on experience.  In

fact, she would be the first justice without judicial experience in some 40


Does that bother you?  And is that a chance the White House is taking? 

AXELROD:  No, I don‘t think it‘s a chance.  The fact is that she‘s got

great—as I said, great breadth of experience in every branch of


She was the dean of the Harvard Law School.  And as solicitor general,

she spent much of the last year and a half at the Supreme Court, arguing

before the Supreme Court.  In fact, they refer to her as the tenth justice

because she worked so closely with the Supreme Court. 

In fact, they refer to her as the 10th justice because she worked so

closely with the Supreme Court.  So I don‘t think that‘s going—if that‘s

the most potent argument, I don‘t think it‘s going to be a very successful


SCHULTZ:  Did President Obama have her in mind all along, back to a

year ago? 

AXELROD:  You know, Ed, he interviewed her when he appointed Justice

Sotomayor.  He‘s always had a high regard for her, obviously, because he

appointed her solicitor general, which is an extraordinarily important

post, arguing for the United States of America before the Supreme Court. 

But—and going into this appointment, he knew he was replacing

Justice Stevens, who was a leader on the court for a generation, someone

who commanded great respect and who the other justices look to.  While

nobody can replace him in that leadership role, nobody can replace a

generation of experience, he wanted to appoint someone who over time, could

play a leadership role on the court, and he believes Elena Kagan is that


SCHULTZ:  Some Republicans like Senator Barrasso is saying that he

wants to challenge her in the hearings on the constitutionality of the

health care bill that was recently passed. 

What‘s the White House make of that? 

AXELROD:  Well, I mean, from the standpoint of the White House, we

believe the health care law is constitutional and will be found

constitutional.  The president didn‘t discuss that particular issue with

Elena Kagan because it would have been inappropriate to do so.  But he

believes that the law is constitutional.  And I would guess that people who

he thinks are qualified for the court and see the Constitution properly

might arrive at the same place. 

SCHULTZ:  A lot of liberals—if my show on the radio is any

indication at all, a lot of progressives thinks that she‘s not liberal

enough, that she doesn‘t go anywhere near as far as Justice Stevens. 

Was the president looking for a liberal-leaning judge? 

AXELROD:  Well, first of all, Ed, you know, it‘s kind of curious,

because on the same day that you‘re asking me that question, you know,

there are people on the right who are hammering her because she clerked for

Abner Mikva and she clerked for Justice Marshall, and accepted his view

that the court should stand up for the least of us.  And, you know, she has

a long history here that should give people some sense of what her personal

sensibilities are. 

But what the president was looking for, above all, was a justice who

believed as he believed, that we have to respect the Constitution, uphold

the Constitution, but also do it in a way that makes sure that everybody

gets a fair shake.  Not just the powerful, but everybody gets a fair shake. 

And that‘s a view that Elena Kagan reflects. 

SCHULTZ:  And how does the president feel about her position when she

was the dean of the Harvard Law School and she did not want military

recruiters on campus?  This seems, too, to be a point of contention for a

lot of conservatives. 

AXELROD:  Well, understand, she did express a view on “Don‘t Ask,

Don‘t Tell.”  Her view was that any American who wants to serve their

country ought to be allowed to serve their country. 

She also was a strong supporter of young people on the campus who

joined the military, who enlisted in the military.  And there was

recruitment on campus.  There wasn‘t recruitment through the campus career

center.  That was a policy that was established before she got there, and

she upheld it until it was ruled unlawful. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Axelrod, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so


AXELROD:  All right, Ed.  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, from the White House,

with us here on THE ED SHOW.

Coming up, of all people, Sean Hannity, who can‘t get his concert

numbers correct, says the president of the United States isn‘t interested

in the facts or the truth.  And you know where that lands him—right in

the “Zone,” next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Sean Hannity has a new one for

us.  He says President Obama should think about calling it quits.  Yes. 

Here‘s some of his whacked-out reasons why. 


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  On this night we are asking you to approach

this president with a veil of ignorance and judge him only by his actions

of the past week—his response to the oil spill, his reaction to the

attempted Times Square bombing, his mischaracterization of the Arizona

immigration law, and his failure to publicly acknowledged the disaster that

is unfolding in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Mr. President, well, what in the world are you doing?  Is it time to

step up or maybe step aside? 


SCHULTZ:  Step aside. 

Hannity, you‘ve been hanging around your friend Sarah Palin too much. 

Or did you get that talking point from Michele Bachmann, holding that sign

up at her rally? 

Let‘s look at what President Obama has been doing. 

The morning after the oil rig explosion in the Gulf, he sent the

deputy secretary of the Interior and the Coast Guard to the region

immediately.  Since then, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary

of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and the president, himself, they

have all visited the Gulf Coast. 

The Times Square bomber was caught and locked up just 53 hours after

he tried to set off a car bomb.  And by the way, in case you missed that

story, Sean, he is talking and giving valuable information. 

Also, President Obama characterized the Arizona immigration bill

pretty accurately.  The original bill basically legalized racial profiling. 

And what‘s more, a bunch of righties including Karl Rove, Jeb Bush and

Marco Rubio all spoke out against that law as well. 

Finally, the Obama administration responded immediately to the

flooding in Nashville.  FEMA got down there before it even started to rain. 

Both the governor of Tennessee and the mayor of Nashville have praised the

White House‘s response.  And Obama, the president of the United States,

sent Secretary Janet Napolitano down to Nashville this past Saturday. 

Hannity, you know, you cheered on George W. Bush for eight years as he

took the country down the tubes and into a dirt road.  And, of course, now

you suggest that President Obama should consider stepping down? 

“Psycho Talk,” buddy.  One hundred percent “Psycho Talk.”

Coming up, “The Beckster” and “The Drugster,” they‘re not getting away

with anything either.  They have all the angles covered when it comes to

smearing the president‘s Supreme Court nominee. 

Beck‘s calling her a socialist, Rush is calling her a Marxist.  And

Katrina vanden Heuvel takes them both on in just a moment. 

Plus, Shooter Jr., I guess you could say, and Iraq Rudy can‘t stand

the fact that President Obama is keeping us safe.  I‘ll get rapid fire

response, find out what they‘re saying coming up on THE ED SHOW.

And Tiger, he‘s got a real issue.  He‘s hot under the collar, but it

isn‘t injury.  That‘s coming up in the playbook.  You‘re watching THE ED

SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.




to replace Justice Stevens‘ wisdom or experience, I have selected a nominee

who I believe embodies that same excellence, independence, integrity, and

passion for the law, and who can ultimately provide that same kind of

leadership on the court. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  This is the Battle Ground

story.  President Obama says Elena Kagan will provide the same leadership

as retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.  There are a lot of liberals who are

not convinced as of yet.  Justice Stevens is the anchor of the court‘s

liberal wing.  He railed against many of the Bush/Cheney abuses of

executive power, such as the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. 

As solicitor general, Elena Kagan has fought for the Obama

administration to preserve some of the Bush era terror tactics.  But Kagan

also has a strong record of taking on business.  As solicitor general, she

led the fight to keep corporate cash out of our elections. 

For more, let‘s bring in Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The

Nation.”  I always revere your opinion, Katrina.  Thank you.  I know a lot

of progressives around the country are wondering where does “The Nation”

editorial board come down on this one? 

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”:  You know, I think Elena Kagan is

a cautious pick.  At the same time, I think the main thing at this moment

in our history is we need to look at this court, which has been in the

business in these last few years of protecting corporations and not

ordinary people, protecting powerful interests, that other America you were

talking about earlier, Ed.

And I think Elena Kagan is someone who clerked for one of the great

civil rights lawyers, justices of the 20th century, Thurgood Marshal,

worked for a liberal icon, Admiral Mikva (ph).  I think it‘s too early to

tell which direction she‘ll head in.  I think she has great experience. 

You don‘t need to be in the judicial monastery to look at Earl Warren. 

But I do think there are some troubling issues and questions that need

to be raised at the confirmation hearing about her views on executive

power.  As solicitor general, she defended the administration.  In 2005,

she along with three other law school deans sent a tough letter to the

Senate Judiciary Committee protesting the administration‘s unreviewable

executive power.  So I think we need to probe in this confirmation hearing,

understanding that the court has taken a right-word, corporate-leaning

direction in the last few years. 

SCHULTZ:  We can imagine what the Republican response has been.  Mitch

McConnell, Senate minority leader, says “the American people also want a

nominee with requisite legal experience.  They instinctively know that a

lifetime position on the Supreme Court does not lend itself to job


Jeff Sessions of Alabama, also on the Judiciary Committee, says—the

Judiciary Committee‘s ranking Republican echoed a similar sentiment.  “Ms.

Kagan‘s lack of judicial experience and short time as solicitor general,

arguing just six cases before the court is troubling.” 

It‘s an experience issue from that standpoint.  Is she going to have

to knock it out of the park? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Listen, this is a woman who was dean of the Harvard

Law School.  She‘s solicitor general.  She was confirmed by the Senate. 

This idea that you have to have worn a black robe to have the requisite

experience, in my view, is just folly.  If you need that kind of experience

to pass what we just got out of the Citizens United decision, unleashing

corporate money, a sluice gate into our system, polluting our political

system, what value are judicial robes? 

I think Elena Kagan, there are issues to be raised.  But this notion

of experience is just foolish.  These Republicans need creative new talking

points.  They are tedious.  It‘s a pale, stale party, which is now

attacking Elena Kagan for her praise of Thurgood Marshal, who in his

valedictory address spoke of the original Constitution as a defective one. 

He was talking about the fact that this nation, always in quest of becoming

a more perfect union, was founded in slavery with slavery.  If that is not

defective, then the Republican party is essentially defending slavery now. 

And that, to me, suggests a party that is unmoored from the values it once

once had as a party, and needs to go back to its roots and find some way

forward.  President Lincoln is turning in his grave. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think that they‘ll get any Republican help on this? 

I mean, she got seven votes for the solicitor general‘s position a year

ago.  Will any of those votes show up this time around? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I don‘t know.  This party seems to be rooting for

President Obama‘s failure on every count. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And in this arena, it may be the same thing.  They‘re

going to go after Elena Kagan on this lousy, stupid nullification of the

health care reform, which is patently unconstitutional under Congress‘

authority to regulate interstate commerce and tax and spend.  If that‘s

where they want to put their energies, this is a party soon going to be

called the Grand Obstructionist Party, not the Grand Old Party. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina Vanden Heuvel, always a pleasure.  Great to have you

with us tonight.

Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these

stories.  Right wing attack dogs like Liz Cheney and Rudy Giuliani slamming

the successful capture of the suspected Times Square terrorist. 

The Republicans say the nation‘s top attorney, Elena Kagan, is as

unqualified for the Supreme Court as the Bush nominee, Harriet Miers. 

The Tea Party crowd is claiming victory in Utah after conservative

voters ousted incumbent Senator Bob Bennett at the state party convention

over the weekend. 

With us tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show

host, and Ron Christie, Republican strategist. 

Gentlemen, let‘s talk about our good friend, my good friend, Liz

Cheney and, of course, Rudy Giuliani.  I mean, why do I get this feeling,

Bill Press, that if the Obama administration were to hand Osama bin Laden

to the American people, that they‘d find something wrong with it? 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know that they would, Ed. 

Look, as you pointed out earlier, first of all, the bomb didn‘t go off. 

Nobody was killed.  This guy was captured in 53 hours.  Great job by the

New York Police Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland


They got tons of information out of him.  He‘s still talking.  They

did everything right.  Liz Cheney, who had a desk job at the State

Department because her name is Cheney, and Rudy Giuliani, who told the

nation that there was no terrorist attack under George W. Bush on our soil,

nobody ought to take them seriously. 

You know what, Ed, when it comes to Americans being killed by foreign

terrorists on American soil, the score is still 3,000 to zero, Bush versus


SCHULTZ:  Ron, what about, you know, Attorney General Eric Holder

saying, look, we‘ve got to make some changes Mirandizing some of these

suspects?  They‘re willing to move on that and look at it again.  What

about that? 


and the attorney general don‘t get it fundamentally, and they don‘t

recognize that we‘re in a war against terrorism.  This isn‘t about giving

people Miranda rights.  This isn‘t about, let me just take a moment so I

can advise you to remain silent.  This is about a war.  It is Islamic Jihad

at war with the United States.  And whether the attorney general and the

president want to deny it or not, that‘s the fact.  That‘s what my friend

Liz Cheney was saying.  That‘s what my Mayor Giuliani is saying. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron, they say this every single time. 

CHRISTIE:  Of course they say this every single time because we‘re

consistent.  We should not be giving them Miranda rights.  We should not

telling them, A, that they should be given the opportunity to remain silent

and get a lawyer when there‘s valuable information that can be obtained. 

PRESS:  You‘re not only consistent, you‘re consistently wrong.  They

did not immediately give him his Miranda rights.  They questioned him under

that emergency procedure, which they‘re allowed to do for terror suspects. 

They got all the information.  Then he happens to be an American citizen. 

He has his rights and they read him his Miranda rights, Ron. 


SCHULTZ:  Let‘s respond to this.  This is a criticism coming from

Giuliani and Cheney.  Here it is. 


RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  I would not have given him

Miranda warnings after just a couple hours of questioning.  I would have

instead declared him an enemy combatant, asked the president to do that. 

And at the same time, that would have given us the opportunity to question

him for a much longer period of time. 


administration captures a terrorist and their first instinct is to inform

him that he‘s got the right to remain silent, that is exactly the wrong way

to win this war.  If you aren‘t willing to acknowledge that you‘re facing a

committed network of terrorists as your enemies, and that it‘s radical,

Jihadist Islam, then your response to that is, by definition, going to be

insufficient time and time again. 


SCHULTZ:  Ron Christie, did they know right away that there was a

Pakistani connection? 

CHRISTIE:  I don‘t know whether they knew right off the bat—

SCHULTZ:  So everybody that‘s—


CHRISTIE:  Hang on a second.  Ed, my point here that I‘m being very

consistent about this.  If the American government takes somebody into

custody, who has declared war, in essence, by trying to explode a bomb in

Times Square, this is not a legal procedure.  This is someone who is trying

to go to war with America.  And we need to deal with that. 

SCHULTZ:  You want to have law enforcement totally view different acts

of violence.  We‘re going to have—whether you‘re in the United States,

if you‘re a citizen or not, all of a sudden they‘re going to make the

arbitrary decision that, hey, you‘re an enemy combatant.  Go ahead, Bill. 

PRESS:  You know what the bottom line is here, Ed?  They cannot stand

the success of Barack Obama in dealing with terrorism and dealing with

terrorist suspects.  We‘ve seen it with the Christmas Day bomber.  We‘ve

seen it with this guy in Times Square.  It is working and the Republicans

are—they‘re just nervous.  They‘re scared because they‘re losing their

one issue. 

CHRISTIE:  We‘re not losing our issue.  It‘s all political. 

SCHULTZ:  I have to switch subjects.  All of a sudden, the Tea Party

in Utah is taking credit for ousting Senator Bennett with Tim Bridgewater

at 37 percent, Mike Lee at 36 percent, and the senator not endorsed at the

GOP convention.  What do you make of this, Ron Christie? 

CHRISTIE:  I think that Senator Bennett had the opportunity to go home

to Utah and explain to his constituents his record in the United States

Senate, and he was fundamentally rejected by his nominating committee.  I

don‘t see this as much of having his entitlement to the Senate seat.  I

think he didn‘t close the deal with his constituents and they sent him


SCHULTZ:  So, Bill, this means that the Tea Party is officially

Republican operatives in disguise then?  Nothing original about them at


PRESS:  I think it says two things.  One is I think every incumbent,

Republican or Democrat, has a target on his or her back this year, and they

better know it.  Secondly, you know what I think it means, Ed?  The

Republicans are eating their own.  Bob Bennett is one of the most decent

guys in the U.S. Senate.  He served that state well.  They just—

SCHULTZ:  Ron, you just got to admit that the Tea Partiers, they can‘t

fake it.  They‘re all Republicans.  Good to have you with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  Got to run, guys. 

Coming up, Admiral Joe Sestak is quickly becoming Arlen Specter‘s

worst nightmare.  He‘s closed the gap and is on track to pull off a win

next week in Pennsylvania.  I‘ll show you how he‘s doing next in the

playbook.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, how about this, Congressman Joe

Sestak has surged ahead of Senator Arlen Specter in the Democratic state

primary in Pennsylvania.  Polls show Sestak now ahead by five points, 47 to

42.  And President Obama‘s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court

throws a new twist into this race.  Senator Specter voted against

confirming Kagan as solicitor general last year, while he was still a

Republican.  Six weeks after the vote, he switched sides, and now he‘s the

only Senate Democrat to have opposed Kagan. 

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist, professor at New

York University.  Interesting political winds are blowing in Pennsylvania,

Bob.  What do you make—is this going to be a real talking point for

Sestak?  And what do you make of his revival?  Heck, he was down by more

than 25 points at one time. 

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, he was smart.  He waited

until near the end.  He had less—he had fewer resources than Specter,

and he invested them at the time when they counted most.  Look, we know why

Specter voted against Elena Kagan the first time for solicitor general.  He

was desperately trying to survive in the Republican Party. 

Now, he can‘t go out and say that.  So what he said today is there are

two different jobs.  Obviously he has an open mind about her as a Supreme

Court justice.  I don‘t have much doubt that he‘ll vote for her.  What‘s

happened here is that Sestak has successfully turned Specter back into a

Republican.  Specter thought his biggest asset was that he had Barack Obama

campaigning for him.  But what Sestak has done is put an ad on the air

showing George Bush saying really nice things about Arlen Specter, ending

up with a shot of Arlen Specter standing with Sarah Palin.  That‘s hurt


Go ahead, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve got the Democratic establishment, the president, the

vice president, Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania, told us on this

program months ago that Joe Sestak would get killed if he decided to go

against Arlen Specter.  I mean, just grassroots hard working makes a

difference, and people right now, it seems to me, are ready for change.  So

and Bush, of course, is good copy if you want to put somebody in a bad


SHRUM:  Yeah.  Ed Rendell should have understood, and probably did

actually when he was on the program, that running with the endorsement of

the whole Democratic establishment in Pennsylvania doesn‘t guarantee you

victory, because he got nominated for governor when he didn‘t have that


All of that said, and after everything I said, the Democratic party

does have to welcome converts.  We do have to recognize that without Arlen

Specter, the Stimulus might not have passed.  Health care probably wouldn‘t

have passed.  And I don‘t think going out and going after people who come

over to our side is a good idea. 

Specter, himself, has created some of his problems.  First by standing

up and saying, well, I switch parties because it was the way to get re-

elected.  And secondly I think by launching an ill-advised attack, which I

don‘t compare to Swift Boating, by the way, on Sestak‘s service, not his

bravery, not his character, but his temperament when he was in the Naval

chain of command.  I think it‘s a dumb ad, because a lot of Democrats think

it does resonate with Swift Boating and I think it reacted against it. 

SCHULTZ:  Bob Shrum, always great insight, appreciate your time


Couple final pages in my playbook tonight.  It seems like Tiger Woods

just can‘t seem to catch a break.  He withdrew from the Players

Championship yesterday with what he fears might be a bulging disk in his

upper back.  Tiger said he was having a hard time with back pain and that

he had a tingling sensation down his right side. 

This was only his third tournament back after a five-month break from

the sport.  There‘s no word yet on when Tiger may be back in action. 

Also, it was quite a Sunday for the Oakland A‘s pitcher Dallas Braden. 

The 24th-round draft pick from the 2004 draft pitched the game‘s 19th

perfect game in Major League history, beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays four

to nothing.  Dallas lost his mom to skin cancer when he was a teenager. 

His grandmother raised him after that.  He celebrated Mother‘s Day in the

stands.  Watch him with the victory.  Pretty cool. 

Finally, Betty White took the stage this weekend to host “Saturday

Night Live.”  White got the invitation to host “Saturday Night Live” after

a Facebook group calling her the host gained almost half a million members. 

But that didn‘t stop Betty from taking a shot at the popular website. 


BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS:  When I first heard about the campaign to get me

to host “Saturday Night Live,” I didn‘t know what Facebook was.  And now

that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of

time.  People say but Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old

friends.  Well, at my age if I want to connect with old friends I need a

Ouiji Board. 


SCHULTZ:  At 88, Betty was the oldest person ever to host “Saturday

Night Live,” and she managed to bring the show its highest ratings in

nearly two years.  I wonder if she‘s coming back. 

Coming up, big problems for BP.  They‘re in full-blown damage control

mode.  The dome isn‘t working.  They can‘t stop the oil from flowing.  And

lawsuits are gushing from all sides. 

I‘ll talk with a lawyer that sued BP five years ago after refinery

explosion.  That‘s next.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, BP says that they have

already spent 350 million dollars cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of

Mexico.  Some analysts say the final tab could reach into the tens of

billions.  But the clean-up cost isn‘t the only thing that they have to

worry about.  Class-action lawsuits are already on the table.  And the Gulf

Coast has yet to feel the full effect of the spill. 

Joining me now is an attorney who knows all about dealing with BP,

Attorney Brent Coon.  He sued BP back in 2005 after a refinery explosion

killed 15 people. 

Mr. Coon, good to have you with us tonight.  Earlier in this

broadcast, we had the attorney general of Mississippi, Jim Hood, tell us

that he‘s got it in writing that BP is willing to go along with raising the

caps.  We were also told minutes ago that Robert Gibbs, in a statement,

says that President Obama is willing to go along with updating the law and

dealing with caps. 

Based on your experience, take us down this road.  What do you think

this means? 

BRENT COON, SUED BP IN ‘05 AFTER EXPLOSION:  First of all, you want to

ask, Ed, why are there caps?  How did the caps get there in the first

place?  Why should we be raising caps?  Why are there caps at all?  That‘s

the first thing we ought to be asking. 

SCHULTZ:  What could this end up being?  We‘ve seen BP in action

already with some of their attorneys along the Gulf Coast trying to get

people to sign off and say they‘re not going to take legal action.  Is this

standard operating procedure? 

COON:  It really is, Ed.  What we learned from the explosion case,

that killed 15 people, injured hundreds—in that case, we obtained seven

million documents.  We deposed everyone in the BP organization, from the

janitors in Texas City to the CEO in London.  What we find out is that BP

as a company had a very poor safety record and a very poor safety culture. 

They didn‘t really care about safety. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s not forget the 11 people that died in this explosion

as well.  When you take a look at them trying to move this to a Texas

court, what‘s that tell you? 

COON:  It tells you they may be more comfortable at home.  BP is a

Texas-based company, a Houston-based company.  The other involved entities,

Halliburton, Trans-Ocean, those are also Houston-based companies.  So they

may have a little more comfort being back here.  But obviously they‘re

looking to get their arms around the litigation.  The whole purpose of all

of this would be to form what they call a multi-district litigation group

to get their arms around the crisis they‘re facing with lawsuits. 

SCHULTZ:  Quickly, this is going to be a heavy lift to get it right,

isn‘t it? 

COON:  It‘s going to be a terrible lift to get it right.  The problem

we have, now, Ed, we don‘t know how bad it‘s going to be.  It looks like

the oil spill is going to take months before they can cap it.  They‘re

talking about shoving golf balls, shredded tires down an oil well. 

Frankly, one point I want to make today, if they really want to look at

golf balls and tires because they have to find a dense material to shove

down the well holes, I can tell you right now, from our experience, there‘s

nothing more dense than head of the BP executive.  Put those down the holes

to plug them. 

SCHULTZ:  Got to run, Mr. Coons.  Great to have you with us tonight. 

Reminder, don‘t miss tomorrow night‘s show.  Senators Mary Landrieu

and Frank Lautenberg will be here to join me about the BP oil spill. 

In our text question tonight, I asked you, do you have confidence BP

will stop the leak?  Eight percent of you said yes; 92 percent of you said

no.  See you tomorrow night.  “HARDBALL” is next.




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