Guests: Mike Papantonio, Mike Frenette, Ed Rendell, Rep. Elijah Cummings,
A.B. Stoddard, Heidi Harris, Bill Halter, Brent Coon
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW from Chicago tonight.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons at this hour.
British Petroleum is turning to one of Dick Cheney‘s press people to clean up its public relations nightmare? Just what we need, another Dick Cheney loyalist going to bat for big oil.
President Obama pounded the righties today on jobs. There‘s more where that came from, and I‘m loving it. I‘ll show you the tape coming up with commentary.
And Michele Bachmann, she‘s got some nerve. After warnings of a socialist government takeover in health care, now she wants the government to take over the oil spill.
Lots more coming up from Arkansas tonight. Progressives, pay attention to this story.
But this is the story that has me fired up this evening.
It‘s day 44, and at this hour oil is less than 10 miles off the shores of Florida. It‘s already reached the outer islands of Mississippi and Alabama.
BP is still winging it a mile under the ocean. And their CEO, Tony Hayward, still wants his life back. Hayward‘s comments didn‘t sit very well with Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA: I was watching this week as the CEO of BP was talking about he wants his life back. I‘m to the point where I wish the board would call him back. If I perform the way this company‘s performed and, of course, to look at the stocks and what have happened to it because of this incident, usually the buck stops there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Melancon says Hayward, well, he‘s just got to go. You know, I think we said that on this program last night, and so did you. Ninety-five percent of you who voted in our text poll want Hayward to get fired. I don‘t think BP has the guts to get it done.
The buck never stops on big oil‘s desk, and it never will. They enshrine these guys when they retire.
Now, President Obama is the only leader taking responsibility for this mess. This is what he said today in Pittsburgh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, stopping this oil spill and containing its damage is necessarily the top priority, not just in my administration, but I think the entire country. And we‘re waging this battle every minute of every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president also reminded us how the Republicans got us into this mess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For much of the last 10 years we‘ve tried it their way. They gave us tax cuts that weren‘t paid for to millionaires who didn‘t need them. They gutted regulations and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight.
We know where those ideas lead us. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future. We can go backward or we can keep moving forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: He also used his speech in Pittsburgh today to push clean energy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The time has come once and for all for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future. It means tapping into our natural gas reserves and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation‘s fleet of nuclear power plants. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No doubt about it, this president deserves credit. This is where he has to take us, into the future.
When he was down in the Gulf—I think this is a very profound point. When he was down in the Gulf last week, he knew that Eric Holder was criminally investigating BP. Now, he could have done some political grandstanding. It‘s just not his style. Instead, he acted like a leader.
BP has shown zero leadership throughout this entire crisis. They know the public is turning on them every time. And Tony Hayward opens his mouth every time and gets them in more trouble.
BP‘s public relation, they know that they‘re just in the damage control mode right now. And now they‘ve turned to somebody who knows a thing or two about spinning, who knows a thing or two about vagueness.
This week, they hired former Dick Cheney spokeswoman Anne Kolton. Now, hold it right there. Anne Kolton. That‘s K-O-L-T-O-N. Not Ann Coulter.
And I know many of you are thinking, you mean there‘s another Ann?
Yes, there is. This one, Anne Kolton.
Very obscure person. She‘s not out in the limelight, but she does a great job at directing traffic and calling the shots when it comes to PR.
She worked for Cheney when he was having these secret energy meetings back in 2001. Remember that? A blogger at “The Daily Kos” says that BP was reportedly one of the companies who the vice president met with at the time.
It‘s time BP and “Shooter,” former vice president Dick Cheney, to put all their cards on the table. He has been ominously silent through all of this.
I think President Obama and Eric Holder need to release the records from that meeting that took place back in 2001. You know, that‘s back when they were having these rolling blackouts in California, and the Bush administration decided to have this big, secretive meeting and, of course, invoked executive privilege. I‘d like to know if there was anything dealing with permits that took place back then and deregulation to the oil companies.
Don‘t you and I deserve to know that at this point? I mean, what the heck? This is only gutting our environment and our economy.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about all of this.
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think BP‘s CEO cares more about protecting the company or stopping the leak? Text “A” for protecting the company, text “B” for stopping the leak to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
It seems like every 24 hours there‘s another legal issue that comes up surrounding this. Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer whose firm is leading the class-action lawsuits against BP, joining us off the top tonight.
Mike, good to have you with us.
MIKE PAPANTONIO, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER: How are you, Ed?
SCHULTZ: You bet.
And before we get into the legal wrangling of all of this, I want you to explain to our listeners the powers that the president of the United States has under U.S. code. A lot of talk about the president taking over this.
I mean, I think a lot of Americans are satisfied with the way he‘s handling this now. The criminal investigation going on, he definitely is separating himself from BP at this point, and they‘re definitely in high gear to get it done.
But under U.S. code, what can the president do, Mike?
PAPANTONIO: Yes, there‘s a Code 33. I think it‘s 1321 is the U.S.
Code. Under that code, he has the right to use extreme measures.
You know the history, of course, of Teddy Roosevelt being confronted with the mining industry. He told the miners, he told the unions—he said, look, I‘m going to take this over, I‘m in control of what‘s going on.
Nixon did the same thing with—when we saw him threatening the industry with windfall taxes. Kennedy did the same thing in the U.S. steel crisis.
Those are presidents who took control the same way that I‘m finally seeing Obama take control. Let me tell you, those clips that you played of the president a minute ago, that‘s the man I voted for.
PAPANTONIO: And I think that‘s the man that progressives voted for. We love to hear him talk like that. Not just talk, though. He‘s moving on beyond that.
He has distanced himself. He knows how much damage has been done by him being too close to this corrupt, criminal corporation.
SCHULTZ: Mike, I‘ve got to ask you, in the legal community, there seems to be a lot of conversation popping up right now about there‘s a criminal investigation going on, no doubt, but a lot of these guys could walk scot-free with no prosecution justifying.
Is that true?
PAPANTONIO: Unfortunately, it is the truth. The state of corporate America, the state of our laws with corporations these days, is that—and we‘ve talked about this before. You can throw a man in jail for having three ounces of marijuana in a bag, and you can throw him in jail for a pretty good long time.
But you can‘t throw a corporation, you can‘t throw the people who make a decision at a corporation, who kill people, who destroy an ecosystem, who do the types of things that this corporation has done. You can‘t throw them in jail.
Now, I‘ve got to tell you something, because I‘ve heard it time and time again down here on the coast. There are people who say this—they can keep their money, they can keep this little paltry $5,000 they want to give me, if you will just perp-walk the 20 or so people that are responsible. If you will let people like me take the deposition of Dick Cheney and find out what was going on behind those closed doors for 100 days—
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. Do you believe, Mike, that something happened behind those closed doors that dealt directly with oil when they invoked executive privilege back in 2001 with that energy meeting? Do you think that‘s the smoking gun?
PAPANTONIO: Ed, you just turned out a great book. It‘s called “Killer Politics.” It‘s a great book.
And you know what you say in that book? There are no coincidences in politics.
Anne Kolton shows up on the scene. Anne Kolton is the person who was the mouthpiece for Cheney when we were—Bobby Kennedy and myself trying to get those documents, making requests for the documents, had every reason to have those documents. Scalia comes around, after he‘d been duck hunting with Dick Cheney—literally, the weeks before, had been duck hunting with Dick Cheney. He gives Cheney a break and says, no, you don‘t have to give those documents to these people who want them.
And you know what? This whole story is going to begin there.
I‘m filing a RICO case next week. And when I file that RICO case, if I just have a judge that‘s fair, I‘m going to say to that judge, let me take the deposition of the players. Let me find out why Randall Luthi, in charge of Minerals Management, was at that meeting, along with Anne Kolton, and how all of a sudden, these people are converging again and this story seems to be ending where it started.
SCHULTZ: It‘s absolutely amazing.
Mike Papantonio, always great. Great to have you with us. Keep up the heat, my man. Good to have you on with us again.
PAPANTONIO: Thanks a lot.
SCHULTZ: All right.
Captain Mike Frenette, who owns Venice Charter Fishing in Venice, Louisiana, joins us tonight.
Captain Mike, I just want to ask you about the hope. There‘s been some reports out there, some commentators that have said that, you know, a lot of people in the Gulf are losing hope.
Give us your opinion of where the folks are mentally right now as this continues to bear down on our environment and our way of life and business.
MIKE FRENETTE, OWNER, VENICE CHARTER FISHING: Well, I‘ll tell you, Ed, we‘re going into our 44th day of this catastrophe right now. And yes, the hope is starting to fully disintegrate.
And we had a lot of hope towards the end of last week when they were trying to put the top kill on top of this pipe. And we kept hearing from British Petroleum and Tony Hayward that everything‘s going according to schedule—everything‘s going according to schedule.
And, you know, then we hear that they‘re going to take a break for about six hours, take the readings, the pressure at the bottom of the well, inject some more cement. But everything‘s going according to schedule. And that went on for two and a half, three days. And our hopes were up.
It sounded to me like things were going in the right direction. And then all of a sudden, they come out with this great news bulletin that nothing worked and that it was just a failure, and we‘re back to square one. So, I‘m not sure what the terminology meant by “everything‘s going according to schedule,” but if that‘s what everything is going according to schedule means, we‘ve got a heck of a lot of problems here.
SCHULTZ: Well, we certainly do. And Captain Mike Frenette, I‘ve got to ask you, and a lot of people want to know, how you feel about the latest word out. As we had the admiral on, Thad Allen, head of the Coast Guard last week, said this cold go to August. And that was the first time I had heard August.
Now, if business is hurting right now, and if the environment is getting butchered right now, so far, in 44 days, what‘s it going to be like in August, in your opinion?
FRENETTE: I‘m not so sure that there‘s a lot of guys in my industry, in the charter boating guide industry, that can sustain themselves through August at this point now, because financially, things are becoming very devastating to many of the operators and many of the charter boats and guides not only in the Venice area, but we‘re starting to see that saturation move westward across the state because of this catastrophe. And, you know, this is the time of year when most of the people in this industry make 60 percent to 70 percent of their money, and it‘s not coming in. And we‘re not getting any answers, we‘re not getting anywhere.
I‘ve stipulated from day one that BP needs to step up to the plate. They need to form some type of mediation board where we are recognized and we come in and present our cases and get things moving, because right now we‘re just getting financially drained. Whatever the savings these individuals have, they‘re trying to sustain themselves with that.
But this is the time of the year when they‘re supposed to be making it, not losing it. And we don‘t even know what the future is going to lie ahead.
We‘re hearing such negative reports as a result of the Corexit 9500 that was just—saturated the Gulf of Mexico. We don‘t know—the uncertainty for the future in our industry is what‘s very concerning not only to me, but everybody else that‘s in this industry.
SCHULTZ: And finally, Mike, I want to ask you about the comment of the CEO of BP, about how, you know, it could be food poisoning. Those good old boys down there have been working awful hard on the water trying to clean this mess up, but it really couldn‘t be the toxins out there, it could be food poisoning.
How are folks down there receiving that comment?
FRENETTE: I think there‘s a lot of comments that are disturbing to a lot of people around the Gulf Coast, and especially in the Venice area, especially the comment that he made the other day about he‘d like to get his life back together.
Well, you know what, Mr. Hayward? I‘m telling you right now, I would like to have my life put back together the way that it was prior to this oil spill.
SCHULTZ: And that says it all.
FRENETTE: And so would every other charter boat captain and guide.
SCHULTZ: Captain Mike Frenette, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for telling it like it is. We‘ll keep coming back to you for the story. Thanks so much.
Coming up, I‘m starting to wonder if Hannity has got a crush on “Caribou Barbie.” He‘s going all out to protect her from her law-abiding neighbor. It lands him in the “Zone.”
And President Obama worked the Republicans over today big-time. He got after it. He got after their Waterloo fantasies and set a real touch to tone for the midterms that I think lefties are going to love.
Governor Ed Rendell doubles down on the straight talk next.
Plus, Tiger‘s got a golden endorsement. And Harry Reid breaks a sweat with the first lady.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching tonight.
Election season is heating up, and President Obama, well, you‘d have to say he is fired up and ready to go if you‘re watching his speech today. His speech in Pittsburgh was a dandy. He made it very clear that the Republican Party of “no” never had any intention of working with him on anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they‘d win. So when I went to meet with them about the need for a Recovery Act in the midst of crisis, they announced they were against it before I even arrived at the meeting. Before we even had a health care bill, a Republican senator actually said, “If we‘re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president also touted his administration‘s success in turning the economy around, in spite of Republican resistance.
For more, let me bring in Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Governor, good to have you with us tonight.
I saw today that the president goes to the heartland of jobs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it looked like he made the pivot to the midterm today. This is the most aggressive he‘s been on what the Republicans have not done to be a part of this recovery.
Is this a turning point, Governor?
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, I think so, Ed. I think the president‘s decided now is the time to take off the gloves and fight back. And that means two things.
One, touting the successes we‘ve had. And we‘ve had great successes.
The banks are starting to pay back the money with interest. GM has turned it around. I was just with Governor Strickland today. He said they‘ve added 1,200 jobs, GM, in eastern Ohio.
The stimulus has worked dramatically, so Pennsylvania has added 55,000 jobs in the last two months, Ed. A significant part of that is manufacturing and construction, which is driven by the stimulus. So, we‘re going to start fighting back by touting what we‘ve done, and also start fighting back by touting what is clearly the case—there‘s never been an intention to cooperate on virtually anything that we‘ve passed.
SCHULTZ: Well, the president made that point today. He really went after the Republicans on the economy and their no-show.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: As November approaches, leaders in other party will campaign furiously on the same economic arguments they‘ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don‘t have to look back too many years to see how their agenda turns out.
This is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Governor Rendell, it seems to me like President Obama is taking the gloves off. In the midst of this terrible crisis down in the Gulf, we still have elections, and elections have consequences. It looks like he‘s really making the move now. It‘s almost like a signal to Democrats, OK, we‘ve done a lot, now let‘s go tell the country.
RENDELL: Yes. And the key here, Ed, is the president can‘t do it alone.
And you know I‘ve been saying for the last four or five months, it‘s time for us to get out from behind those shower curtains we‘ve been cowering behind and start talking about the things that we‘ve done. And this president has done a lot, and we‘ve done a lot.
And the jobs program is working. Stimulus got off to a bad start in the public‘s mind, but it‘s starting to have an effect, and I think people are starting to see that effect.
Health care, just—let‘s—I can‘t wait until September, when the first child who would have been denied coverage because he or she had a pre-existing illness like leukemia gets covered. Let‘s talk about that. Let‘s talk about the $250 for seniors, probably in the next couple of months, for the gap, the doughnut hole in their prescription drug coverage.
RENDELL: Let‘s talk about those things. And let‘s start fighting back.
And the president can‘t do it alone. I think every Democrat, all progressives, get off your rear end. In this past primary in Pennsylvania, we only had a 23 percent Democratic turnout, notwithstanding Sestak, Specter, and notwithstanding four Democratic governor‘s candidates. We‘ve got to do better than that.
SCHULTZ: And there‘s a development there. Arlen Specter met with the president today. Do you think Sestak‘s name came up?
What does this mean at this point? Is that controversy behind the White House right now? How do you see this?
RENDELL: I think so. I think what Congressman Issa is proposing is exactly what the public thinks is wrong with Washington.
The public understands this was not anything unusual, not anything out of the patterns of the past. They don‘t want investigations. They want answers to why we don‘t have more jobs.
SCHULTZ: But Ed, are you convinced that there were no other conversations other than a simple conversation with Bill Clinton, and it was very short? That‘s how it‘s been characterized.
RENDELL: And I am convinced, because I know. I spoke to Rahm Emanuel during this period, and what he wanted most of all was to keep Joe Sestak running for his congressional seat, because Joe would have been a slam-dunk winner.
RENDELL: So he didn‘t want to give Joe another job. He didn‘t want to give him something that would require him to leave the Congress. We wanted Joe to stay in the Congress and re-elect Arlen.
SCHULTZ: You think Arlen Specter is somewhat hopeful that maybe this controversy would go on and he somehow might be able to stay in the United States Senate?
RENDELL: No. No. Arlen is very much reconciled to what happened, and I think he‘s at peace with it.
He took Joe Sestak around the Senate. And to the extent that Joe wants Arlen to campaign for him, I guarantee you Arlen will campaign for him. And so will I. And so will everyone who supported Arlen, because Joe Sestak is a darn mile better than Pat Toomey for Pennsylvania.
SCHULTZ: I agree with you on that.
Governor, great to have you with us tonight.
RENDELL: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
Coming up, “Slant Head” is acting like a big brother to his psycho sister, Sarah Palin. Hannity, well, he hops the fence into the “Zone,” next, on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Sean Hannity is falling all over himself, leaping to Sarah Palin‘s defense. You could have called it.
He is appalled that the guy who is writing a book about Sarah Palin moved in next door to her home in Wasilla, Alaska.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: So we‘ve got this creepy—I don‘t even want to call him a journalist, but that‘s writing his book on Governor Palin. I have no problem. Go to Wasilla, investigate the governor, talk to her friends, talk to people she‘s worked with. Moving in next door, she‘s like a prisoner in her own house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Sarah Palin is always the victim, isn‘t she? She‘s always the victim.
And I still say if she was so concerned about her privacy, she should have just shelled out the $1,500 a month to rent the place herself. Maybe Hannity is just upset because he wishes he was the one renting the house next door to his beloved Sarah.
But think about it.
Now, Hannity, isn‘t this the free market at work? I thought you righties over there just loved the free market. Heck, there was a house on the market and a guy rented it. Isn‘t that a freedom thing?
Saying that Sarah Palin is a prisoner in her own home, that is “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, even though the attorney general may eventually press criminal charges against BP, we‘re hearing that if convicted, none of them will ever do jail time. Does that sound like justice?
Congressman Cummings was just in the Gulf, and he‘ll blast off on that issue next on THE ED SHOW.
And Arizona Governor Jan Brewer seems to be looking for a fight with President Obama tomorrow. She‘s talking smack. I‘ll show you the tape next.
And we‘ve also got “Blago” subpoenaed Rahmbo.
And the man who is about to beat Blanche Lincoln joins in the “Playbook.”
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Our Battleground story tonight, it‘s oil and how to clean it up. The Obama administration is stepping up the effort to distance itself from BP. The feds are working on a criminal investigation and put an end to the joint press conferences. The change comes as administration officials are expressing frustration about BP‘s lack of transparency and the discrepancy after discrepancy when it comes to comments about the situation.
Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland just came back from touring the disaster area yesterday, and joins us now here on THE ED SHOW. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Tell us what did you see? Is it as bad as everybody says it is?
CUMMINGS: It‘s pretty bad. The fact is that there‘s a lot of effort going on down there to clean up the mess. But clearly when you see the—the large plumes of oil and you see birds that have been destroyed because of this oil and other animals, it really concerns you, and—
SCHULTZ: You just—the folks down there must feel like they‘re just not making any progress at all, being overwhelmed by this. Videotape—what about that?
CUMMINGS: They feel very frustrated and—but you know, a lot of them—one of the things I tried to emphasize to BP and to the Coast Guard is that there‘s a lot of personal pain. A lot of people aren‘t able to get the money that they need to take care of their families. Maybe they were fishermen or shrimp folks, and they can‘t get the money that they need. So we‘ve been pushing that process along. And I think we made some progress actually yesterday.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, that brings me to my next question as far as a long-term recovery plan. I don‘t believe we‘ve heard anybody talk about a long-term recovery plan. You know, in business, you have a one-year plan, a five-year plan, a ten-year plan. Should the Congress start thinking now about, OK, if this goes until August, it is going to be irreversible damage in our lifetime. Is it time for the Congress to step up and start making plans for a long-term recovery? How would that be done?
CUMMINGS: I think we definitely need to do that. As a matter of fact, the Transportation Committee is going to be holding hearings next week, first of all, to look to see whether BP has the type of liability insurance that they need to cover a lot of this long-term recovery that we‘re talking about. We‘re concerned about that.
Another thing that we have to do is we have to make sure that we figure out, Ed, exactly what happened here. Did BP create a monster that it could not control? Did the Minerals Management Service not do what they were supposed to do? So it‘s a lot of things that are going to go into this. But yeah, we have to start looking long range. No doubt about it.
SCHULTZ: A lot of corruption involved, no question about it. In the midst of all of that, congressman, you don‘t want to put a ban on offshore drilling. Where do you draw the line on where we should drill and not drill?
CUMMINGS: I think we have to look—we have all kinds of folks now doing investigations. I think we need to look at that. And, you know, the fact is that the damage that has been done has left a very bad taste in the mouths of many of us in Congress and certainly many residents on the Gulf Coast. I think we‘re going to have to look to see what the research shows, figure out what happened here. Can this be done safely without damaging our environment and bringing so much harm? And if it can‘t, we‘re going to have to really put restrictions, and the president may have to go far beyond this six-month moratorium he‘s already put forth.
But I think he‘s taking the appropriate action for this moment. But I kind of think he may have to go beyond that six months.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Cummings, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for speaking up. Thanks for going down there. Appreciate your time.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s bring in some rapid fire response on our panel on these stories tonight. Republican mud slinger is in high gear over the Israeli flotilla raid. Senator John McCain has found a way to blame it on President Obama.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is going head to head with President Obama tomorrow on immigration reform. She‘s made it clear that she‘s not afraid of any legal challenge he may bring forth.
And, after spending the last year and a half fear mongering about socialist government takeovers in health care, psycho talker Michele Bachmann is slamming President Obama for not taking over response to the oil spill.
With us tonight, columnist and associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard with us, and also radio talk show host Heidi Harris from Las Vegas. Thanks for joining us tonight, A.B. and Heidi.
A.B., let‘s take this first story, the mud slinging that‘s going on. This is really a tough situation for the Obama administration. The world seems to be turning against Israel on this. And actually the White House really hasn‘t been too defined in their remarks other than to just defer to the United Nations and an investigation. Where does this leave America, in your opinion, at this point?
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”: Well, it‘s a very tough position for the U.S., with stalled peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, sort of a tense standoff that‘s been building with the Israelis for month. This is very awkward. You see the administration using strange language about the regret over the deaths, but trying not to come out too front and join the international condemnation of Israel.
I will point out that though John McCain is in a tough political primary this August, and actually could lose his job, and, therefore a frequent—more frequent critic of the president, there are Democrats also, Ed, saying the same things that John McCain is saying, that the international community is trying to embarrass Israel, that it‘s not clear whether the U.S. is standing with Israel. The criticism is actually really bipartisan at this point. A lot of pressure on the administration.
SCHULTZ: This is John McCain last night talking about how it‘s the responsibility of the president about what happened. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: This is another step in a chain of unfortunate events, beginning with President Obama‘s insistence that there be a freeze as a precondition for peace talks, a freeze on settlements in Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, do you think that‘s where the country is right now? What do you think?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: As far as John McCain‘s attitude? You know, it‘s not about international condemnation. There are a lot of countries in the world who hate Israel. And they‘re just using this as an excuse to get mad at Israel. They‘ve got a right to defend themselves. If that was really supposed to be aid—aid for Gaza on the flotilla, Israel offered let‘s take it off the boat, let‘s take it to shore. They didn‘t want that. Everybody knows they didn‘t want that.
They this purposely to provoke Israel. They got what they wanted. If people died, Turkey wins. If people don‘t die, Turkey wins. Either way, it‘s bad.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s talk about immigration. Brewer, the governor from Arizona, is going to be meeting with the president tomorrow. She had this to say about responding to some of the questions that the president‘s raising.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER ®, ARIZONA: Mr. President, we need our border secured. How can we work together to get it done? We need your help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if his answer is, I‘m going to do what I announced, but your law is misguided and my Justice Department might sue you?
BREWER: I would say, well, we‘ll meet you in court. I have a pretty good record of winning in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: A.B. Stoddard, where is this going and how far will the president push it?
STODDARD: I‘m surprised that we learned at the last minute the president—the administration had a change of heart and actually scheduled this meeting. I don‘t think a lot is going to come out of it. Clearly, there‘s political pressure from both sides on the president to address immigration. Governor Brewer is going to stick up for herself and her law, crafted carefully so as to survive any court challenges. I don‘t know that we‘re going to see any action against any legal challenge to that law before these midterm elections.
Obviously, I think both sides are going to keep their powder dry. We‘ll see what happens. I don‘t expect any resolution. I don‘t expect any kind of working together coming out of this.
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, does this possibly set up to embarrass the White House at this point? Are we headed for a real legal battle here? And the majority of Americans are in favor of what Arizona‘s doing?
HARRIS: That‘s absolutely true. The White House embarrassed themselves by opening their mouth and getting involved in what the state has chosen to do. We have the concept of state‘s rights. Stay out of it, President Obama. Worry about the Gulf right now. I think he‘s picked a fight that he‘s not going to win. It‘s not going to help him.
SCHULTZ: Speaking of fights, Michele Bachmann said this yesterday on the House floor about the Gulf oil spill and a government takeover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: We haven‘t seen competence in the government‘s hands-off policy with this disaster. The administration, they were hands-off. They didn‘t do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region, to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up to the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands-off on this policy. They were missing in action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, isn‘t that interfering with the free market if the president early on had come in and taken over?
HARRIS: I don‘t think she‘s talking about commandeering of the standpoint of taking away people‘s personal privacy and their property. But there are a lot of fishermen down there who are working and helping the government. There are a lot of others who say, hey, listen, I don‘t want a handout; I don‘t want a check, I want to be able to help clean things up.
Nothing wrong with that. What is the government supposed to be doing other than help in a disaster? They‘re going to help in a flood and a hurricane, and they ought to be accountable for that. They ought to be helping in this situation. I don‘t think what she said is wrong.
SCHULTZ: The government had deregulation big-time, and there were contracts put in place with BP on any kind of oil spill. So this is the government that the Republicans gave us, and it‘s the government Obama inherited. Now you have Michele Bachmann saying, where was the government? A.B., how do you break this down?
STODDARD: Republicans took a lot of lashing for this competence issue, as you know, Ed, from the Iraq War to the response to Hurricane Katrina. And as you now, they are fond of criticizing the president. They don‘t want bailouts, but they do want us to—our government to keep us safe.
SCHULTZ: They can‘t have it both ways.
STODDARD: They do think that it‘s the job of this government to clean up after disasters.
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris and A.B. Stoddard, thanks for joining us tonight.
Coming up, Senator Blanche Lincoln had better batten down the hatches because a progressive storm is blowing her way in Arkansas. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter has closed the gap in the Arkansas primary and he‘s going for the jugular. He joins me next in the playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In our playbook tonight, less than a week to go in the huge Democratic primary runoff in Arkansas. Bill Clinton came out to stump for Blanche Lincoln, but he couldn‘t stop a surge in progressive fund-raising behind Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. Now the AFL-CIO is organizing a campaign behind him that is very strong. It‘s big-time boots on the ground.
The latest poll shows that Halter has got a three-point lead over the incumbent senator. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter joins us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Governor, what‘s going to be the difference? Turnout around the country has been relatively light, but you have gotten so much support from the progressive community around the country. Is it going to ignite a firestorm with progressives in Arkansas?
BILL HALTER, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: I sure hope we can have great turnout, Ed, because the higher the turnout, the better it will be for our campaign. But, most importantly, the better it will be for Arkansas. We believe that a high turnout helps us a lot. That‘s what we‘re striving for.
SCHULTZ: You have tremendous union support now. Are you somewhat overwhelmed by this? Has it always been this way? The AFL-CIO is really going after it with phone banking, networking, social networking, door to door, all this stuff. You‘re getting the full support. Is that going to make the difference?
HALTER: I think it‘s going to be a tremendous help. I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about that. Ed, you know, this is about Arkansans. It‘s about the future for the state. We‘re gratified by the support from every direction. But I‘ve been all over the state of Arkansas, in every corner, countless towns and communities. And what I‘m hearing from folks is that they want a change in Washington, and they know that if they send the same people back, they‘re guaranteed to get the same results. That‘s why we feel really good about where we sit in this campaign.
SCHULTZ: You‘re also the benefactor of the League of Conservation Voters, who took out this ad and labeled your opponent Big Oil Blanche. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big oil has another gusher, but this time it‘s tens of millions in campaign cash. Over the last two years, Blanche Lincoln has taken more oil and gas money than any other U.S. senator, over half a million dollars since elected. Maybe she got that money because she helped Bush and Cheney give oil companies 14 billion in tax breaks, or because she voted to allow risky offshore drilling for BP and others.
It‘s time to send big oil a message. On Tuesday, send Blanche Lincoln packing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Lieutenant Governor Halter, would you be against tax cuts for the rich and would you be for deep offshore drilling?
HALTER: On the first issue, that‘s a big distinction between Senator Lincoln and myself, Ed. She wants to cut the estate tax, give a huge tax break for those folks with 10 million dollars in wealth and more. I have said repeatedly that I oppose that.
On offshore drilling, I think we need a moratorium, just as the Obama administration has put in place, so we can learn lessons from this disaster, make sure that we have corrected all the safety problems, and then evaluate in light of the new evidence about safety issues.
SCHULTZ: Can you tell our audience tonight that you would not take that money from big oil in the wake of what‘s unfolded?
HALTER: I can absolutely tell them I wouldn‘t be taking money, particularly from BP. In fact, I‘ve suggested to Senator Lincoln that she give back the 19,000 dollars that she‘s received from BP. Just like previously when I asked her to give back the Goldman Sachs money, she‘s not doing it.
SCHULTZ: Lieutenant Governor Halter, we‘re going to see you next week. It‘s going to be a heck of a show, a heck of a battle. There‘s a lot of progressives around the country watching this. All the best to you.
HALTER: I understand you‘re coming down, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. We‘re going to be in Little Rock next Tuesday, June 8th, with full coverage of this runoff election in Arkansas.
Final pages in my playbook tonight—now some final pages to take about. The Golden Bear still thinks Tiger will be the king of the golf world. Nicklaus says that he thinks Woods will eventually pass his record of 18 major wins. He has 14 wins going into this year‘s U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach.
And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought Michelle Obama to stump for him in Nevada last night. During the day, the tables were turned. The 70-year-old joined the First Lady in leading some exercises with a group of children. Way to go, Harry.
And finally, I‘m leaving Chicago tonight, but the circus is just beginning. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich‘s trial kicks off tomorrow. His lawyer just subpoenas Rahm Emanuel and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Blago says every allegation is a lie and has pleaded, of course, not guilty.
Coming up, BP‘s CEO Tony Hayward might finally be capping his mouth, but some lawyers say he‘ll never see the inside of a jail cell. We‘ll talk to someone who knows about suing BP next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Finally tonight, the legal issues surrounding oil; the feds are ramping up a criminal and civil investigation into BP‘s oil disaster. I want to see Tony Hayward and other BP executives behind bars if they are proven guilty of wrongdoing. Chances are they‘ll never see that. We‘re more likely to see them literally pay out of their own wallets than do anything with hard time.
Joining me now is attorney Brent Coon. He sued BP back in 2005 after a refinery explosion in Texas. And he is also currently involved in some lawsuits against the company right now. Mr. Coon, good to have you back with us tonight.
BRENT COON, ATTORNEY: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: You bet. The criminal investigation that the Justice Department is doing, what kind of light does that shed on all of this right now? And how far do you think this will go? We keep hearing this conversation about nobody will be doing any time on this. The most it will be will just be a fine. Take us down that road.
COON: Well, going back a few years to our case, Ed, in 2005, what did happen was our firm uncovered a number of environmental violations, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, as well as state violations through the TCQ. We brought those to the Department of Justice, pretty much in a package with a bow on top, to seek criminal indictments. They did, in fact, cut a deal with BP in that case. Of course, in that deal, BP paid a fine, 50 million dollars. Then they got three years probation. None of the executives that we wanted held accountable were indicted. They all got a walk.
SCHULTZ: Do you think it will be different this time around?
COON: You know, I don‘t think it will. You know, this time—never has a main executive or any big shot at any refinery, any chemical company, been brought in chains to the courthouse. It‘s time. I think everybody is going to be so outraged when they find out what happened in the Gulf of Mexico and they know more about what happened in the Alaska pipeline and the insider trading and in the Texas City explosion, where they pled criminally guilty several different times. I think it‘s all come home to roost.
SCHULTZ: So is this a real legal and public challenge of credibility for the Justice Department, President Obama and the attorney general? What do you think?
COON: It certainly is. And the Bush administration really screwed that up. We know, from what we were trying to pursue in criminal charges with—working with the DOJ in 2005 through 2007, that the DOJ was pressured by the White House to cut a deal and let those guys off. That‘s just not our opinion and what happened when we were working with the DOJ in trying to seek the prosecution. We know from the investigators with EPA, that have since come out and said they were pressured to cut a deal and to get off the investigation. And hopefully this Obama administration won‘t do that.
SCHULTZ: I tell you what, Brent, the country‘s not in the mood for any deal cutting right now. This is going to have to be something different. Appreciate you coming back with us, explaining all this. We‘ll do it again. Thanks so much.
COON: You bet. Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Tonight, in our text survey question, I asked do you think BP‘s CEO cares more about protecting the company or stopping the leak? Eighty eight percent of you say protecting the company; 12 percent of you say stopping the leak.
Folks, I kicked off my book tour today here in Chicago. Going to be doing it tonight. The book called “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.” We have a town hall meetings at the Plumbers Union tonight here in Chicago. If you‘re in the area, we‘d love to have you. It starts at 7:30.
Tomorrow, we‘re going to be in the great city of Madison, Wisconsin. I‘ll continue to host television shows along the road and town hall meetings with my radio show across the country. Go to my website and check it all out at Ed.MSNBC.com or my radio website at WeGotEd.com.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts now on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you tomorrow night from Madison, Wisconsin. Have a great one.
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