Guests: Michel Claudet, Keith Jones, Evan Kohlmann, Jim Hood, John Feehery,
Sam Stein, Joan Walsh, Walter Hang
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
President Obama came out swinging against BP today. Attorney General Eric Holder is launching a criminal investigation.
You want change? You got it. The Bush administration never did anything like this.
A father who lost his son in the rig explosion is doing everything he can to make sure BP is held accountable. He will join me in just a moment.
The United States takes out al Qaeda‘s number three guy. And bin Laden? Hey, he might be next.
But where are the righties today in praising the administration?
Aren‘t they getting the job done on the war on terror?
And I‘m sick and tired of BP‘s CEO, Tony Hayward, as you probably are too. I mean, this guy thinks he is the victim of this oil disaster? He‘s spinning everything from the size of the spill to why workers are getting sick.
We‘ll set him straight tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
But this, of course, the story that has me focused and fired up tonight.
It is day 43, as we continue to count. President Obama runs the risk of having this oil spill, this oil disaster, define his presidency.
He said this in he Rose Garden this morning --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We‘ve ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they deliver. The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments.
We‘ve stationed doctors and scientists across the region to look out for people‘s health and monitor any ill effects felt by cleanup workers and residents. And we will absolutely continue to hold BP and any other responsible parties accountable for financial losses borne by the people in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. Hold it. I think that‘s fantastic. I think the president has got his legs on this issue. I believe he‘s on top of it.
But did I hear him say that now small businesses can go out and get some loans now because BP has done what they‘ve done? That‘s the part I‘m struggling with.
This is crucial. President Obama can‘t let BP define his presidency. This is the fourth separate occasion the president has come out and said that he would hold BP accountable.
In the wake of AIG, in the wake of Wall Street and the health care debate, where we didn‘t get everything we wanted,, people are starting to wonder, OK, what‘s the definition of accountability here?
The president raised the stakes on accountability today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If the laws on our books are insufficient to prevent such a spill, the laws must change. If oversight was inadequate to enforce these laws, oversight has to be reformed. If our laws were broken, leading to this death and destruction, my solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice on behalf of the victims of this catastrophe and the people of the Gulf region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: “Justice” is a big word. Is there any question about President Obama‘s leadership now?
His attorney general, Eric Holder, answered all of that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We must also ensure that anyone found responsible for the spill is held accountable. That means enforcing the appropriate civil and, if warranted, criminal authorities to the full extent of the law.
As our review expands in the days ahead, we will be meticulous, we will be comprehensive, and we will be aggressive. We will not rest until justice is done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BP‘s CEO, Tony Hayward, I mean, the way all the talking is going on, this guy ought to be shaking in his boots. Multinational corporations, you know, they have a real interesting characteristic about themselves. They have an amazing, I guess you could say, slick to get out of the way of stuff like this.
BP is completely out of touch with reality. Take a listen to Hayward‘s latest excuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BP: I‘m sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it was anything to do with the dispersants in oil, whether it was food poisoning, or some other reason for them being ill, you know, food poisoning is clearly a big issue when you have a concentration of this number of people in temporary camps, temporary accommodation. It‘s something we have to be very, very mindful of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did you hear that? This guy is throwing out the possibility that all of these rescue workers of the environment down South, heck, it‘s not the dispersants or the oil they‘re smelling, it‘s food poisoning. That might be the sound bite of the year when it comes to “Psycho Talk.”
Hayward, this guy is a corporate suit in a golf shirt. He‘s no doctor. He really must think the people of Louisiana are dumb enough to believe that food poisoning is their greatest threat right now. Come on!
Hayward thinks this crisis has been really hard on him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYWARD: We‘re sorry for the massive disruption it‘s caused their lives. And, you know, there‘s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I‘d like my life back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: He wants his life back. The 11 workers who died on that rig would like their lives back, and so would the family members. All of the people who have had their way of life destroyed by the greed of big oil, they would like they livelihoods back.
And if President Obama is looking for someone to prosecute, hey, I think Tony Hayward, get in line, buddy. This guy ought to be on the most wanted list.
I mean, I just don‘t see that happening. I hope it does.
President Obama doesn‘t shoot from the hip. He‘s very deliberate. He‘s a guy who wants to get all the facts, and then he‘ll talk to the experts. Get all the facts, get both sides of the story, and then make a judgment call.
He‘s not a bullhorn kind of a guy. If we‘re looking for this bullhorn moment from President Obama, I don‘t think that we‘re going to get it. But I do think in this crisis, we may be sitting right in the middle of a defining moment in American history when we all realize as Americans, hey, maybe we better do something about this thing called energy independence.
Tell me what you think, folks, in a telephone survey tonight. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you think BP‘s CEO, Tony Hayward, deserves to lose his job? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
And, of course, a lot of what is transpiring in the Gulf, I write about in my new book. It released today, “Killer Politics.” This is a real, I think, opportunity for us to take advantage of this crisis in this country and for us to rethink our position on energy.
It‘s called “Killer Politics.” I have a subject, a chapter, on just this. And it is how big money and bad politics are destroying the great American middle class.
Michel Claudet is the Terrebonne Parish president, and he joins me now live from New Orleans.
Mr. Claudet, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for your time.
MICHEL CLAUDET, PRESIDENT, TERREBONNE PARISH, LOUISIANA: I‘m happy to be here.
SCHULTZ: A lot of developments today. The president came out, grabbed the bull by the horns, said some pretty tough things. Now there‘s a criminal investigation. You heard the attorney general, Eric Holder.
How are you receiving this news? What‘s it mean to you?
CLAUDET: Well, actually, all this doesn‘t really make much difference to my people who are in my parish. They‘re suffering from this crisis. And we actually need more assistance to them to get back to their normal lives. And right now the financial assistance, the assistance that‘s going to them, the opportunities for them in the future, are not anywhere as to what it used to be.
SCHULTZ: Meaning we‘re not doing enough? Is that how I—
CLAUDET: We could do certainly more. Right now, the claims process is very slow. Most of these people have no training to do other things.
Our infrastructure for the fishing industry is being decimated. And by that, if we lose our processing plants, even if the fishing industry comes back, we‘re not going to have any place for them to sell their produce or their product so they‘ll be able to make the money that they‘ve done in the past.
SCHULTZ: What do you want the government to do? What do you want the president to do?
CLAUDET: Well, I would like to get more immediate benefits towards the people who are on the ground, the ones who have actually suffered, just like the people of Terrebonne Parish.
SCHULTZ: The most recent poll out there, handling of the oil spill, the president is at 39 percent approval, 42 percent disapproval.
Is that your sense on the ground where you are?
CLAUDET: I would think that they need more decisive action from the federal government to immediately come in and take steps necessary to protect the people of not only my parish, but all the parishes that are so adversely effected.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Claudet, is information an issue down there? Is it hard getting good information?
CLAUDET: No, not now. It was initially. And, of course, we had a lot of misinformation concerning the amount of the spill and other items that were there.
I wish they‘d be a little bit more forthcoming as to each of these procedures, as to whether or not it might be successful or not. The top kill, of course, we were very hopeful, and all these matters, we would like to see more information coming on a quicker basis, obviously.
SCHULTZ: OK. Mr. Claudet, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. All the best.
CLAUDET: Thank you so much. And thank you for being with us.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Eleven workers were killed when that oil rig exploded on April 20th.
One of those workers was a 28-year-old hardworking dude named Gordon Jones.
His father, Keith Jones, gave moving testimony in front of the Congress recently and has committed to making BP accountable.
Keith Jones with us now from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mr. Jones, sorry for your loss. And I appreciate what you‘re doing, staying engaged, because there‘s a lot of people that are going to be affected down the line on this.
KEITH JONES, SON KILLED ON OIL RIG EXPLOSION: You‘re welcome, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. And one of the most gut-wrenching situations is, is that after you lost your son, his wife had a baby just weeks after that. And that brings us to the Death on the High Seas Act, which I know is very focused in your world right now.
Is this an injustice that‘s on the books that has to be changed?
JONES: Oh, sure it is. It was a law passed in 1920. It hasn‘t been amended since or updated.
The way we compensated victims of wrongdoers back in 1920 is a whole lot different from the way we do it now. But the law, as it stands now, says if someone dies on the high seas as a result of the fault of another, no matter how egregious that fault may be, only those who are financially dependent on the decedent may recover anything, and all they may recover is the loss of that financial support.
So Michelle can recover the loss of Gordon‘s future income, minus what he‘d have to pay in income taxes, minus what he‘d consume himself, reduce the present-day value by an economist. She can get that amount of money, but she‘ can‘t recover anything for the loss of Gordon, himself, the loss of her husband, the man she loved, the man she wanted to grow old with.
Those two boys can‘t recover anything for the loss of their dad, the one who was going to teach them how to play ball and go to church and treat each other fairly, the things that a dad is for. They won‘t have it.
SCHULTZ: Does the Congress get it? Did you strike a nerve when you were up there last week?
JONES: I think they do. I certainly think the Judiciary Committee got it. There were eight or nine of us who testified, and—
SCHULTZ: Excuse me, but this has really uncovered a law that was on the books that was not favorable to working folk of America. That‘s the bottom line.
JONES: It never has been. It hasn‘t been since 1920.
The problem is, Ed, that in the past, there would be an offshore accident on a floating rig like this one, and one person would die, or something would happen on a ship where a worker would die. And that worker was unable to conjure up the political support he needed to be able to lobby Congress and get the law changed. Meanwhile, the oil companies, the shipping companies, the Chamber of Commerce, everyone else is heavily lobbying Congress, and still will be, I fully expect, to leave the law just the way it is.
SCHULTZ: I tell you, whoever has the money gets the influence in Washington, even in the midst of death and strategy that a family‘s going through. Here we have it, this is how it works. It is just absolutely sickening the way this is unfolding.
And finally, Mr. Jones, you being in the legal profession, how do you feel about the announcement today about the criminal investigation?
JONES: Well, I don‘t know what the evidence is. I don‘t know what it will uncover.
What I do know is that thus far, only one person from BP who was on that rig, and who had any command of it—the company man who was the boss of bosses on the rig had some illness, some undescribed illness, so couldn‘t testify before the Coast Guard. But he sent somebody else, and that fellow swore to tell the truth, he gave his name, and took the Fifth Amendment on everything else.
SCHULTZ: That pretty much explains it all.
Mr. Jones, good to have you with us. Sorry for your loss of Gordon.
And, you know, you have a grandson now. God bless you.
JONES: I do. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, sir. You bet.
Coming up, the United States has killed al Qaeda‘s third in command. This administration, can we say they‘re getting it done on the war on terror, as the conservatives love to say? The silence coming from the Bush terror experts is rather deafening, don‘t you think?
And I think “The Drugster” spent too much time next to the grill on his holiday vacation. He sizzles his way into the Zone.
And a righty candidate has some serious resume issues. Again? “Caribou Barbie” is putting up the fence. Actually, she was just too cheap to rent the house next door if she wanted her privacy.
And the Gores are splitting up. How sad.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching tonight.
Al Qaeda‘s third in command is dead. U.S. officials confirm that Saeed al-Masri was killed in a Predator drone attack in Pakistan near the Afghan border.
Al-Masri was a cofounder of al Qaeda and served as its financial director. He has been described as the group‘s chief organizational officer and its prime conduit to Osama bin Laden.
So what does this all mean? The Obama administration, I think, deserves some credit here. This is a huge blow to al Qaeda and a big win for United States counterterrorism efforts.
For more on all of that, let‘s bring in NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann.
Evan, good to have you with us tonight.
First of all, the drone attack, this is the way we are fighting, and it seems to be effective even though it‘s controversial in some parts of the world.
What do you make of it?
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERROR ANALYST: Yes. This individual had made himself into a public enemy. He was someone who has appeared in almost every single al Qaeda video that‘s been released in the last two or three years. He‘s someone that‘s made a lot of threats against the United States. And we also know that he was in direct contact with Americans, people who were natural born Americans from New York who were planning to come back to the United States and carry out terrorist attacks.
SCHULTZ: This is a big get?
KOHLMANN: It‘s a huge get. I mean, look, I understand the skepticism of people when they hear number two, number three. There‘s absolutely no doubt this is an extremely significant kill. It‘s probably the most significant kill since the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or the death of Abu Laith al-Libi several years ago.
It‘s a major, major victory. This is someone who legitimately is the number three, or was the number three in charge of al Qaeda.
SCHULTZ: And close to Osama bin Laden. What does that tell us?
KOHLMANN: Well, hopefully it means we‘re beginning to follow this trail back to the nesting place of bin Laden. Saeed al-Masri, this individual who was killed, one of the most frustration elements of this was that he appeared so often and so publicly in these al Qaeda videos, and we weren‘t able to get him.
Well, guess what? We did get him this time.
So I think it is a bit of a message now to people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two, or Osama bin Laden, that, you know, you‘re not immune, we will find you eventually. Even people that are that senior can be found, no matter what kind of precautions they take. If you appear on video, if you appear on audio, if you make public statements, eventually you be captured or killed.
SCHULTZ: And how effective is our intel? Was this a lucky get or, I mean, are we just getting better at this?
KOHLMANN: We are getting better. But I think it‘s a rather slow process. And I would be careful about impugning that we‘re about to win the war against terrorism or al Qaeda.
Gathering intelligence in this part of the world is exceptionally difficult. We have very few resources there aside from our drones. We don‘t do a very good job of leveraging local contacts.
We‘re improving on this, particularly in the last two years under the Obama administration. There has been quite a bit of improvement, but there‘s also a great deal for more improvement left. And I don‘t think we should rest on our laurels.
This is a major victory, but we have to rededicate ourselves now to trying to hunt down the senior leadership of al Qaeda. Let‘s not forget that just six months ago, we had an individual who managed to trick the CIA into believing that he was their best source possible to find bin Laden, and then he killed half of the CIA‘s team in Afghanistan. So, we have to be careful. It is a victory, but it has come at tremendous cost, not just to this country, but specifically to the intelligence services that are hunting bin Laden and his allies.
SCHULTZ: Do we know when this happened? Did this happen yesterday, last week, two weeks ago? Because his death had been reported in the past.
KOHLMANN: Yes. No, this appears to have happened within the last 10 days. His death was actually first reported by al Qaeda, which is another indication that this is, indeed, accurate.
KOHLMANN: Al Qaeda issued an official statement saying, yes, he was killed, his wife was killed, his child was killed, his grandchildren were killed. This is someone really who was taking tremendous risks. And it‘s a bit sad that knowing that he was a target for U.S. drone attacks, knowing that he was such a target, he would have surrounded himself with kids and women. But unfortunately, that‘s the way al Qaeda operates.
They understand that they‘re looking to embarrass us. They‘re looking to draw us away from these drone attacks. And this is one of the ways they‘re trying to do it, by increasing the number of civilian casualties.
SCHULTZ: Evan Kohlmann, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for your insight.
KOHLMANN: Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, conservatives are trying to make the oil spill President Obama‘s Katrina. “The Drugster” took it an ugly step further today.
He‘s in the Zone next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “The Drugster” enters mega-psycho territory.
Today, on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh was busy making stuff up again about President Obama‘s response to the oil spill, when he took a crazy, hard-right turn right towards crazy town with this inexplicable slam on Democrats.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When 9/11 happened, remember the Democrats were running around, oh, it‘s just a shame this didn‘t happen when Bill Clinton was president. He would have had a real crisis to define himself by. They were a little jealous it happened with Bush.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I don‘t know how that guy stays on the air. Are there program directors around the country that think that that‘s just OK? You mean that no Democrats died on 9/11?
I mean, this just shows how callous this guy is when he gets a microphone in his hand. He has no problem playing political football with the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Saying the Democrats were jealous that 9/11 didn‘t happen during a Democratic administration, that is “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, the feds are ready to criminally investigate BP. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood was with Attorney General Eric Holder today. He‘s getting after it, and he will join me next on THE ED SHOW.
And President Obama is feeling the pressure. Israeli forces storm a Gaza aid ship and kill a bunch of people onboard. Global outrage is growing. I think he needs to step up and say something on this one.
Plus, progressives are flooding Arkansas. Fergie‘s got a royal hangover. And Sarah Palin, she goes fence-shopping. Oh, yes.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Our Battleground story tonight; here we go. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department has opened criminal and civil investigations into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Holder was in New Orleans today, where he met with several states attorney generals, as well as federal prosecutors.
Jim Hood is the attorney general of the state of Mississippi. He was at the meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder today and joins us from Jackson, Mississippi, tonight. Great to have you with us, Mr. Hood.
JIM HOOD, MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL: Glad to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. When did this investigation take place? Did you guys know this was going on?
HOOD: I heard information that it was being looked into, and it wasn‘t anything new today.
SCHULTZ: Nothing new today. What did Eric Holder say behind closed doors that would bring us to believe there‘s hope when it comes to justice in this situation?
HOOD: Well, you know, we have been in discussions, when I was in Washington last week, talk with Justice Department about how the states can help. You know, we can share information. We can share documentation. We can have a shared strategy.
Certainly, BP didn‘t have a strategy to stop the flow of the oil, but they did have a legal strategy, and that is try to drag all the states and all the claims down before a couple federal judges down in Houston, Texas. Certainly, I don‘t want Mississippi claims to be decided by a federal judge in Houston, Texas.
SCHULTZ: How do you handle that?
HOOD: I asked Congress to amend several federal laws. That will help our citizens. It will help the federal government. I think it‘s better for us, each state to have a separate litigation in our states, and we‘ll better be able to protect the interest of our state losses, as well as the citizens. So General Holder was—it was a great opportunity for us to share information and agree to work together going forward.
There‘s going to be millions of documents in the discovery process of this case. So we‘re going to have to have a strategy that we work with our sister states, along with the federal government, to make sure that we are handling and deal with all that documentation.
SCHULTZ: I found it interesting that the president held a press
conference last week and the focal point of that press conference was that
was he in charge? Did he take command? Has he acted fast enough? In the meantime, this criminal investigation was going all along, and he had the discipline to keep his mouth shut about it, let it come out at a different time. You knowing that timing is absolutely everything in the legal world.
You made an interesting comment there, that they didn‘t have the proper equipment down below with the acoustic switch, but they certainly had a legal strategy in place. Maybe that‘s standard operating procedure. But if you match that legal process that they had in place with some of the crass comments that have come from the higher ups at BP, it makes you wonder if they didn‘t know this was going to happen anyway. What do you think?
HOOD: I knew they had a legal strategy, because we‘ve already seen it in action. We‘ve seen Transocean file a limiting action before a federal judge in Houston, Texas, whereby they try to put up the value of their shield, using an 1851 statute to do that, which is 27 million dollars. We‘ve also seen BP file a consolidation action in Houston, Texas, before another federal judge.
So, you know, we‘ve seen that, and we know that we states have to work closely together with the federal government. The Department of Justice has admiralty lawyers and others there that assist us. But we as states have gathered before and after pictures. We have our grass counts, our fish counts, our bird counts. We have, you know, the before and after pictures. All that working with the federal government, I think we will have a formidable force for BP to deal with.
Hopefully, they‘ll agree and we‘ll be able to settle out of this without litigation. And it certainly it will expedite the settlements if we have our cases in state courts.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Hood, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
HOOD: Glad to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our
panel on these stories tonight. Republican candidate for the Senate in
Illinois, Congressman Mark Kirk—believe me, this guy‘s a psycho talker -
he‘s on the defense after falsely claiming he won a prestigious military award.
Despite weeks of protests against Arizona‘s controversial immigration law, a new poll shows a majority of Americans approve of the bill. Furthermore, almost half say they want their states to pass similar legislation.
We‘re one week away from the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary runoff between Senator Blanche Lincoln and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. Early voting kicked off today. And both candidates launched dueling countdown campaign tours.
For all of that, with us tonight, political reporter of “Huffington Post” Sam Stein, and also Republican strategist John Feehery with us.
First, I want to take on attorney general‘s—his trip to the Gulf and about this criminal investigation in the oil spill. John Feehery, if you‘re the CEO of BP, are you nervous tonight? Does this take this whole situation in a new direction ?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, what I‘d really like the administration to focus on is plugging the damn hole. That would be for me—get that started—start with that.
SCHULTZ: Aren‘t they trying to do that?
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute, John, are you saying you‘re not convinced they‘re doing enough on it?
FEEHERY: What I‘m saying is keep the focus on plugging the hole. Let‘s worry about the litigation later. This is all about lawyers trying to get their piece of the pie. Let‘s worry about first plugging the hole.
SCHULTZ: John, I have to challenge you on that. You have a multifaceted approach here. Yes, you have to plug the hole. Yes, you got to do the due diligence and legal up all the way around, because a lot of people are being hurt. Yes, you‘ve got to restore jobs. You‘re probably going to have to stimulus package that part of the country.
But my question to you is that you know it‘s more than just plugging the hole. This takes it in a whole new direction for the oil company, doesn‘t it?
FEEHERY: What it does is it distracts the oil company and it distracts everybody from plugging the hole. Let‘s keep the focus on plugging the hole. That‘s the most important thing right now.
SCHULTZ: Sam, your thoughts on this?
SAM STEIN, “HUFFINGTON POST”: I think that‘s sort of ridiculous. Obviously, everyone‘s first goal is to plug the goal. We got to keep in mind the fact that 11 people actually died on that platform. Those people deserve some form of justice. A lot of what‘s going to happen is going to be litigated in courts. If the Exxon Valdez disaster was any example or template for this, you‘re going to have court battles that go on for years.
So, yes, you have to lawyer up. You have to cross all your T‘s, dot all your I‘s. You have to have justice for the 11 people who were actually killed that day. That doesn‘t mean you‘re taking any resource or attention away from plugging the hole. Those things can happen simultaneously. We‘re big people. We can do them both.
SCHULTZ: Sam, was this a good day for the president? Does he show leadership today? Is he ratcheted things up here?
STEIN: Yes. Listen, it all comes down to optics and theatrics. There are limitations to what this White House can do. They can certainly do more in terms of dispatching people to the scene or call to service of sorts. But, yes, when we got tough, when he used tough rhetoric, with White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs saying he was enraged, with Eric Holder going down there—all those things at least give the perception of him being more involved, being more aggressive. Any time that happens, that‘s good for the White House.
SCHULTZ: All right, Congressman Kirk of Illinois is running for the Senate seat. This is what he had to say in 2002.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK KIRK ®, ILLINOIS: I‘ve been in office just one year. Before that I was a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. I was the Navy‘s Intelligence Officer of the Year in 1998.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Navy‘s Intelligence Officer of the Year in 1998. That‘s pretty clear. John Feehery, how does he mop it up?
FEEHERY: I have known Mark Kirk for close to 20 years. He‘s a very sharp guy and he knows his stuff when it comes to Afghanistan and intelligence. He did win an award, unlike Blumenthal, who said he went to Vietnam and never even went to Vietnam. This is a different thing entirely.
The reason this is happening is because his opponent is getting killed in the polls because he‘s close to a mob bank. He‘s in big trouble. It‘s desperation attacks by the Democrats.
SCHULTZ: John, he did make the comment in 2002. It came out of his mouth. No newscaster or media person whatsoever—
FEEHERY: He won an award. He did the work. He‘s a smart guy. He‘s going to win the Senate.
SCHULTZ: What do you think?
STEIN: I think you have to acknowledge the fact that he did serve. That said, the treatment of the Blumenthal issue was very much a template for what should be applied to Kirk. People were talking about Blumenthal as if his candidacy were over, done with, by the mere fact they pulled out one quote at a particular speech. I want to see if the media handles the Kirk situation with the same sort of scrutiny.
FEEHERY: They‘re completely different, Sam. You know. Mark Kirk actually did the work. He won the award. Blumenthal made up stuff—
STEIN: I haven‘t interrupted you yet.
FEEHERY: You will, though.
STEIN: All I‘m saying is that if you are judging a candidate by the consistency with which they discuss their record, you have to at least look at Mark Kirk‘s discussion of this award. I‘m not distracting from anything he did in terms of service, which obviously is laudable. He was in a unit that won an award.
But, listen, the Blumenthal story was as much about his propensity for exaggeration, as it were, as it was his service, per say. So with Mark Kirk it has to be the same way. There cannot be a double standard.
SCHULTZ: He went over the line, John. Admit it.
Let‘s go to the immigration law. The numbers are out right now. It‘s pretty amazing. As much discussion and negativity that has been out there, the majority of Americans think the immigration law that‘s passed in Arizona is good; 51 percent to 31 percent. And also a majority of Americans also want to see their states pass something similar to the Arizona immigration law. Does this push the administration further, John Feehery, into getting something done? Where are the Republicans helping out if the numbers are like this?
FEEHERY: Ed, this is a surprise to nobody except maybe you and maybe the administration. The fact of the matter is this law is popular because people do not like illegal immigration. They‘re against it. They think it ruins their communities. The thing about illegal immigration is it‘s illegal, and they want it stopped. And that‘s why they support this law.
STEIN: I mean, I actually understand where John‘s coming from. As much as there‘s been legitimate policy criticism of this law, the fact of the matter is that people to not want illegal immigration. It‘s very clear by these poll numbers. It‘s very hard to argue this. I think it does actually spurs federal action, because there is room now to address this issue.
SCHULTZ: I‘m a 31 percenter tonight, gentleman. I believe that this sets up racial profiling. I think there‘s better ways to do this than pass a law. In fact, I don‘t think a lot of Americans have read the law. I think it‘s dangerous. But I‘m in the minority on this one tonight.
All right. Blanche Lincoln and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter; Sam, you‘re all over this. Is this going to be a tight one?
STEIN: Actually, I don‘t think it‘s going to be as tight as we envisioned. Obviously, the first one was tight. It was about two percentage point different. In the runoff, I think all the factors really do seem to favor Bill Halter. You have a grassroots union turnout. In a runoff election, it‘s all about turnout. You have the people who voted against both Lincoln and Halter in the first go around. They‘re not going to, all of a sudden, turn around and say, yes, we want to support the incumbent that we already voted against.
SCHULTZ: John, who‘s going to win?
STEIN: It will probably go to Halter.
SCHULTZ: John, who‘s going to win?
FEEHERY: Sam Stein‘s right. Blanche is a goner. It doesn‘t matter because Boozman‘s going to win. The Republicans to win going away. Going away.
SCHULTZ: John, is there any Democrat that‘s going to win anywhere?
FEEHERY: There are a few. At least one.
SCHULTZ: John Feehery, Sam Stein, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
This programming note, one week from tonight, I‘ll be broadcasting from Little Rock, Arkansas, for that runoff.
Coming up, Sarah Palin may be able to see Russia from her house, but she can‘t see her neighbor. Mrs. Palin, tear down that wall. I‘ll explain what this is all about next on THE ED SHOW, in he playbook.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In the playbook tonight, political pressure is mounting on President Obama after Israeli forces made a deadly raid on a ship taking humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip yesterday. The bloody takeover killed nine people and is fueling a fire storm of criticism around the world. Israel says it was an act of self-defense. The White House supports a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation. But Robert Gibbs would not say whether the President Obama condemns the actions of the Israeli forces.
I think Israel put President Obama in an untenable position with this one. This explanation better be good. He needs Israel to explain and defend their use of force in international waters. Joan Walsh, editor in chief, Salon.com, with us tonight. Joan, good to have you on.
This is as hot as it gets. The explanation needs to be very profound by the Israelis. How much of a problem is this for the Obama administration?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I think it‘s going to be something of a problem, Ed. You know, there‘s just global condemnation of this. Nine people are dead. Dozens more were injured. And as you said, this was in international waters. It may well be against international law.
I think the consensus is Israel really overreacted here. And they‘re trying to enforce a blockade that, again, is globally unpopular. The U.N., you know, again and again, asks them to lift it. There are malnourished babies and babies with anemia because it‘s not just blocking arms, Ed. It blocks a lot of humanitarian aid. It blocks all kinds of things.
SCHULTZ: Is the Obama administration punting here, just kicking the can down the road here? If it‘s in international waters, the law is very clear. And it doesn‘t look good that a humanitarian ship was taken out. Where is it going? It‘s going to Hamas and they are terrorist organization. So you just see how the conversation just snowballs.
WALSH: I don‘t want to be a Hamas defender here. But I do have to say, they are the democratically-elected leadership.
SCHULTZ: They are.
WALSH: So we have to deal with it that way. And, you know, the—as we talked about, the blockade was really established to try to, you know, turn up the heat on the Palestinian people and get them to repudiate Hamas, and it‘s had the opposite effect. There‘s greater loyalty to Hamas and much more enmity towards Israel.
The Obama administration has definitely dragged its feet. There was a little bit of movement today right before I came on. Apparently, the State Department has said that the U.S. is open to some international involvement in an investigation; whereas, last night they were trying to block any resolution that included any reference to international cooperation.
SCHULTZ: The Israelis say they‘re going to do it again. If they do it again, the United States is going to be right in the middle of all of this stuff. Where does it end? Stop taking humanitarian aid to human beings who are having a hard time? This is a tough call.
WALSH: It‘s a tough call. And, you know, the pro-peace groups are saying they‘re going to continue to send ships. So it‘s going to go on again and again. And President Obama is going to have to clarify what he thinks of it.
SCHULTZ: Clarification, the key word there.
WALSH: And condemn I hope.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Thank you so much.
Final pages in the playbook tonight; former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage. The Gores said it was a mutual decision made after a long and careful consideration. The Gores have four adult children.
And here‘s a reason to stop drinking. Sarah Ferguson admitted today she drank too much before taking a 724,000 dollar bribe to speak to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. The Duchess of York told Oprah Winfrey that she was not in a right place and was in the gutter at the moment.
And finally, Robert Frost once said “good fences make good neighbors.” If that‘s the case, Sarah Barracuda Palin makes a great one. Joe McGinnis, the author working on a book about her, moved in right next door to her Wasilla, Alaska, home. He said the deal was too good to pass up, no matter where the Palins live.
But to protect her privacy, she put up a 14-foot fence. Hey, here‘s some advice to write on your hand, Sarah. Spend the money for your privacy. It‘s only 1,500 dollars a month. That‘s 18 grand a year. According to your resume, when it comes to speaking numbers, that‘s chump change, isn‘t it? Didn‘t plan very well, Sarah.
Coming up, massive underwater oil plumes have been spotted in the Gulf. But BP‘s CEO says there‘s no evidence of them? Sure. My next guest outlines what a slickster Tony Hayward really is.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Finally tonight, BP CEO Tony Hayward won‘t stop spilling lies to the American people. Many oil spill cleanup workers are getting sick on the job, with nausea, headaches and dizziness, and going to the hospital. These hard working Americans are working to protect our safety and environment. Hayward doesn‘t think that it‘s the millions of gallons of oil in the water or chemical dispersants all over the Gulf. Here‘s what he thinks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY HAYWARD, BP CEO: I‘m sure they were genuinely ill. Whether it was anything to do with dispersants in the oil, whether it was food poisoning or some other reason for them being ill—food poisoning is a big issue when you have a concentration of this number people in temporary camps, temporary accommodation. It‘s something we have to be very, very mindful of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Unbelievable. The spin continues from Hayward. He said there was no evidence of huge underwater oil plumes, and all the oil was floating to the surface. But scientists say they found plumes the size of Manhattan under the surface.
For more on all of this, let‘s turn to Walter Hang. He‘s president of Toxics Targeting, a company that tracks environmental information from the government. Mr. Hang, what do you make of that? Could it be food poisoning?
WALTER HANG, TOXICS TARGETTING: Highly unlikely. What America has to understand is that BP is willing to say anything. They‘re willing to do anything to try to save themselves. They‘re trying to dodge blame. They‘re trying to dodge liability. They‘re losing their company. Every day, they‘re losing market valuation.
So they‘re just desperate. They‘re just going to try to make up anything. They‘ll delay. They‘re just going to try to act like these problems don‘t exist.
SCHULTZ: How devastating will these oil plumes be to wildlife, to marine life in the Gulf?
HANG: The oil is incredibly toxic. It‘s toxic to animals. It‘s toxic to fish, clams and humans. When the humans are working to try to desperately clean up this oil, they‘re exposed to Benzene, which is a known human cancer-causing agent. It causes Leukemia. It‘s unconscionable that those workers are desperately trying to save their livelihood. They‘re trying to save the environment. And they don‘t have respirators.
So when that oil, which is being released uncontrollably, is in the water, washes up on the land, gets absorbed, people are going to get sick. Animals are going to die. Plants are going to die. That‘s just the bottom line. The question is, how bad is the problem going to be?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, going to August—I mean, right now everything they‘ve tried has failed. United States Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen told me on this program last week August. What does that mean?
HANG: It means the devastation really shows the American public how the president, the Congress, and the oil industry was completely unprepared for this. The president last week said it only takes one problem, and he says their assumptions were incorrect. Basically, everyone bought into drill, baby, drill, and then, when this massive, uncontrolled release occurred, there was no Plan B.
They can‘t stop this release. They‘ve been trying as hard as they can. They would like nothing better. But the bottom line, even if it stops today, there‘s so much oil in the Gulf that it‘s only a matter of time before the impacts are truly felt.
This has to be a warning. The president supports coal. He supports Marcalla (ph) shale gas. He supports oil. He supports nuclear. So the question is how is America going to be protected from these dangers? These accidents occur. There‘s no way around it. This is really a harbinger of things to come.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Hang, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for speaking up.
Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked you, do you think BP CEO Tony Hayward deserves to lose his job? Ninety five percent of you said yes; five percent of you said no.
Folks, I‘m very excited tonight to announce that my book released today. My book tour kicks off tomorrow, live in Chicago on “The Ed Schultz Radio Show.” The book is called, “Killer Politics, How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.”
We‘re hitting the road tonight for town hall meetings across the country over the next few weeks. I look forward to visiting with all of you on the radio, radio town halls. You can go to my website at Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com and find out more about it. Hopefully we‘ll hear your voices heard on the radio over the country.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. And “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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