updated 6/17/2010 2:02:18 PM ET 2010-06-17T18:02:18

Guests: Charlie Melancon, Louie Miller, Eric Burns, Mike Papantonio, Bill

Press, Tony Blankley, Scott Hennen, Van Jones

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, live from Minneapolis.

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour, and they are huge. 

President Obama, you are the dude. 

The president takes the heads of BP behind closed doors, shakes them down for $20 billion, and gets an apology.  Now what do you think of the speech? 

I‘ve got a lot to say about all of that coming up in just a moment. 

Nut job Congressman Steve King is doubling down on his comment that the president of the United States is a racist. 

And the media muzzle is going on Republican Tea Party nominees Rand Paul and Sharon Angle.  This is what you get when you nominate folks like this.  See, now they‘re following the Sarah Palin mode. 

That‘s all coming up in the “Playbook.”

But, of course, the story that has me fired up tonight at this hour is about oil.  And I‘ve told you all along, it‘s not about black oil.  It‘s about green oil, because it‘s all about the money and it always has been.

President Obama went behind closed doors today with Tony Hayward and the other suits from BP and informed them it‘s time to pay. 

Here‘s the boss in action. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I‘m pleased to announce that BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion to pay claims for damages resulting from this spill.  This $20 billion will provide substantial assurance that the claims people and businesses have will be honored. 

It‘s also important to emphasize this is not a cap.  The people of the Gulf have my commitment that BP will meet its obligations to them. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s see now—not a cap.  That means no limit.  This is going to be a fun show, isn‘t it?

The president of the United States, he took BP and got a huge victory. 

He took it to them big-time. 

Now, if you want to grade last night‘s speech as, you know, OK, he wasn‘t very passionate, didn‘t have all the details, I guess you could say he failed.  But if you go by today‘s results, you‘d have to say the president of the United States hit it out of the park. 

In his own way, the president of the United States took on a multinational, shook them down for $20 billion for the American people.  President Obama got more out of BP than the Congress ever has. 

And just remember, weeks ago the Democrats were trying to lift the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion.  No.  Republicans, they didn‘t want to go along with that.  They blocked that. 

President Obama doubled the amount in a 20-minute meeting.  And Republicans, well, they just couldn‘t do anything about it. 

He also made BP accountable for unemployed rig workers. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Additionally, BP voluntarily agreed to establish a $100 million fund to compensate unemployed oil rig workers affected by the closure of the deepwater rigs. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s all about the method in getting the money.  This isn‘t about style points at this point. 

President Obama has done more to kick ass on oil companies than any other president ever has.  It seems like everyone is just trying to make this President Obama‘s failure. 

And, of course, especially in the front line is RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who said this: “Manipulating this tragic national crisis for selfish political gain not only demonstrates President Obama‘s inability to aptly lead our nation out of a disaster, but also reveals the appallingly arrogant political calculus.” 

Are you kidding me?  This was not political or selfish at all. 

And I don‘t think—maybe you do, but I don‘t think the people in the Gulf give a damn about any climate change bill or any political wrangling that‘s going on in Washington.  These people have been devastated.  They need help now. 

And now, you know what?  This $20 billion is just chump change.  It‘s not a cap.  It‘s a start. 

And Michael Steele, let‘s just remind everybody that he hasn‘t been down there with the people in the Gulf the way the president has, and there‘s no way in hell the Republican Party is ever going to step forward and get this kind of money from their oil buddies and give a victory to President Obama.  So as I see it, President Obama has been politically in the corner for the last few days. 

He can‘t go to Congress and get $20 billion because the Republicans will never work with him.  So his only option is to go to the American people and say look, we‘re going to hold these people accountable, I‘m going to have to figure it out some way.  We‘re going to hold them accountable. 

So, he doesn‘t meet with them right away, but over time he lets this boil up with emotion of the American people, puts BP in a corner as far as public relations is concerned.  Let‘s  all get documented, then he says come on into my office, now it‘s time to talk.  And he walks away in a 20-minute meeting with a $20 billion commitment. 

Has any other president done that?  And the answer to that question is absolutely not. 

And, by the way, listen to BP‘s chairman of the board today.  He had something else to say. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL-HENRIC SVANBERG, CHAIRMAN, BP:  I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the American people on behalf of all the employees in BP, many of whom are living on the Gulf Coast.  And I do thank you for the patience that you have in this difficult time. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, can‘t you see this just unfolding in the Oval Office?  The president gets the $20 billion out of BP and gets this commitment.  And probably, as they‘re leaving the room, the conference room, you know, the president, he has that affable manner about him.  He probably put his arm around the chairman and said, you know, there‘s one more thing I think you‘ve got to do.  You‘re going to go out and you‘re going to apologize to the American people in front of the cameras right outside my window. 

I believe the president forced BP to apologize.  Now BP has to back it up with their checkbook. 

So, I think tonight, in all of this, we as Americans, who tend to be so critical about things—we‘re never good enough, we‘re always looking for something that‘s really bad about somebody—ask yourself the question, would you rather have a very detailed political speech from the Oval Office, or would you rather have the president say tomorrow, I‘m going to inform BP that they‘re going to pay? 

Because you know what, folks?  In this recovery, cash is king.  If you don‘t have the money, you‘re not going to have a recovery. 

And the president, put in the corner politically, knowing that the Republicans aren‘t going to help him out, had one option, and he played it to a tee.  And now he‘s on record, his credibility is on record with the American people, going to the Oval Office, laying it out there, putting it on a war footing—that‘s what he did—and he comes away with a commitment unlike anything we‘ve ever had before from an oil giant, a multinational.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think about all of this. 

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you accept BP‘s apology? 

Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon.

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. 

REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA:  Thank you, Ed.  It‘s good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of the money?  It‘s a start.  It‘s not a cap. 

Is this a big step forward in, your opinion? 

MELANCON:  I think it is.  You know, a lot of people were asking early on, why hadn‘t the president met with the head of BP?  And my comment was that‘s not for me to decide or to say.  But it‘s obvious that he must have had a strategy, because coming away with a beginning sum of $20 billion, and particularly for the laid-off workers—and I sent a letter this afternoon to the president—I mean, the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, saying they need to fully reimburse these employees for their full loss of wages.  They can‘t pay it on $260 a week unemployment benefits. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, do you accept the apology of the chairman of

BP? 

MELANCON:  I‘ve always been a person that will accept apologies, but I hope that BP will continue to step up and do what is right by the people. 

I believe that the president, setting up this escrow fund and put Mr.  Feinberg in front of it, will give us at least credibility from the standpoint of getting the claims.  And I‘m hearing numerous complaints that claims are not being handled well and that they‘re not being paid in full. 

So, this is a step forward.  I‘m also excited because he put Ray Mabus in charge down there.  And being a state with the estuaries, America‘s wetlands that are there, and having a master plan passed by our state already, will give us the ability to show Mr. Mabus where we need to go and what he needs to be conscious of as we go forward. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, you‘re going to be face-to-face with Tony Hayward tomorrow.  This is a man, the CEO of British Petroleum, who you have asked for his resignation. 

Will you do that tomorrow in the wake of these most recent developments, the president‘s speech, the $20 billion and the apology? 

Do you still think Tony Hayward needs to go? 

MELANCON:  I still think that Mr. Hayward should go. His past actions, unfortunately, were a little crass, I guess is as polite as I can say it, when telling people he would like to have his life back after three people lost their lives and an entire ecosystem and an entire area of the region of the country‘s future is in jeopardy. 

So—but that‘s not necessarily on my list to ask tomorrow.  I get five minutes, so I want to try and get some information and make sure that I know what‘s going on.  And I haven‘t exactly figured out what I want to ask him tomorrow. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

MELANCON:  Thanks, Ed.  Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

For more, let‘s go live to Jackson, Mississippi, tonight.  Louie Miller is the Mississippi director of the Sierra Club. 

Mr. Miller, good to have you on again. 

I want to ask you up front, the $20 billion, do you feel like we‘re making progress now? 

LOUIE MILLER, MISSISSIPPI DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB:  I absolutely do, Ed. 

This is a huge, I think, turning point in this whole fight to give assurances to the people of the Gulf Coast that are facing bankruptcy that they are not forgotten and that they will be made whole.  And I think by virtue of the $20 billion with no cap, and the fact that oil rig workers are going to be compensated as well, I think is a homerun for the Gulf Coast and for this president. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, does it go hand in hand, Mr. Miller, that the unemployed Gulf riggers right now, the oil riggers who weren‘t working, does this help the president, in your opinion and your club, the Sierra Club, to stand off when it comes to deepwater drilling and the moratorium? 

Does this give the president some wiggle room?  What do you think? 

MILLER:  Well, I think it justly compensates people who were abruptly impacted by the moratorium.  I think that‘s very commendable. 

At the same time, the president certainly stuck to his guns on the moratorium, which I think is critically important because, you know, they‘ve got to clean house at MMS, get this thing over.  You know, start this process again and make sure that this kind of disaster does not occur in the future. 

I think it‘s also very commendable that the president said, hey, we need a Marshall Plan, I‘m going the guy that‘s going to deliver it.  Congress needs to step up to the plate and help me take this country beyond its addiction to oil.  And I think that that is huge.

SCHULTZ:  I want to ask you about that.  Last night was not a State of the Union speech.  It was an address and update to the American people on exactly where we‘ve been, where we are, and where we‘re going forward. 

Were you satisfied with what the president said last night about moving forward? 

MILLER:  I am, and I want to the commend him in putting Ray Mabus, our former governor, in charge of the issue of restoration to the Gulf Coast.  He knows the coast well.  He can cross party lines, which he‘ll have to do in the South, and work with the Republicans down here.  I think it‘s very important to have that person.

Our biggest concern right now, Ed, is to make sure that the—what is going on in the Gulf now on capping this well and taking the fight to the oil, that‘s the one piece of the puzzle that has not been solved.  And we‘ve got to address that, because right now, we‘re seeing pristine beaches in the Florida panhandle impacted.  Our congressional U.S.-designated wilderness islands are now being impacted.  And, you know, Haley Barbour sits on his hands and apologizes to BP. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Miller, good to have you with us tonight.  Keep up the fight. 

It‘s been a long almost 60 days, but I think that we are making progress.  And this is a heck of a commitment.  And I think in political climate, the way both parties can‘t get together on anything, for the president to be able to do this against a multinational, it is a big victory for the people of that region. 

And I also want to say that I commend the president for showing us that he has faith last night.  That tells me that he‘s got the pulse of the people and he knows what it‘s all about. 

A big victory for the president and this country in the last 24 hours. 

Coming up, Tea Party and nut jobs Rand Paul and Sharon Angle, well, they‘re taking a page from Sarah Palin‘s media playbook.  I‘ll tell you what that‘s all about because they‘re not ready for primetime. 

And I think it‘s just disgusting how Michael Steele, the “Tan Man” and “psycho” sister Michele Bachmann are playing politics with the country‘s biggest ecological disaster. 

Van Jones is here, and he will sound off. 

All that, plus the family of the bin Laden hunter speaks out. 

And Alvin Greene ought to be thanking Al Greene for his primary win in South Carolina. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. 

Iowa Congressman Steve King, he‘s known for saying a lot of stuff.  Well, he is doubling down on his comment that President Obama favors black people. 

King told Politico he doesn‘t regret saying it, and he complained that his remarks were taken out of context.  But when he reiterated the same point, saying—you have to wonder.  Here it is: “The president and the administration have a policy on race that is breaks to the minority.”

Here is Congressman King‘s original comment about the president in its entirety. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA:  The president has demonstrated he‘s got a default mechanism that breaks down on the side of race.  It favors the black person in the case of Professor Gates and Officer Crowley.  That was a case where he knew nothing about it, threw himself into it, and concluded that the cop had operated on a race bias or a racist basis.  And then he ended up having to have a beer summit because of that. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Eric Burns, president of Media Matters Action Network. 

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

ERIC BURNS, MEDIA MATTERS ACTION NETWORK:  Good to be here, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

Congressman King says that you have misquoted him and taken him out of context. 

Respond to that. 

BURNS:  Well, that‘s absolutely ridiculous. 

I mean, first of all, back in May, on the House floor, he essentially implied that the president was a racist over this Arizona immigration bill.  That was the conversation he was having with G. Gordon Liddy on Monday on the radio when our team at PoliticalCorrection.org first caught the comment and posted it. 

And then, as you noted in your clip, he doubled down with it with Politico yesterday, said he was then going to use every opportunity at his disposal to continue to make the argument.  And then went on the House floor last night and said the same thing again, and even went a little further, implying the president plays the race card in order to curry favor with political groups and minorities. 

SCHULTZ:  Is he the only member of Congress that has gone on record saying something like this?  And I know you follow this, and you follow what these righties say.  Is he out there more than anybody else? 

BURNS:  Well, he is certainly out there.  And he‘s out there with Michele Bachmann, as we both know very well, as two of the most extreme voices in Congress. 

And it‘s not just race-baiting and dividing the country using fear and race.  It‘s also accusing the president of being a communist, a socialist, on the House floor. 

And my question, really, is where is the is Republican leadership on this?  Where is Michael Steele?  Where is John Boehner? 

The silence from the GOP is deafening on this.  And one just has to wonder after a certain point that silence kind of becomes consent, and either they‘re too cowardly to call him out on this or they agree with him.  And I think the American people need to know. 

SCHULTZ:  And you are doing great work, Mr. Burns.  Good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

BURNS:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, “The Drugster” managed to make can Glenn Beck look sane today.  You know, Limbaugh just knows no boundaries.  You‘ll hear the audio when I throw him into the “Zone.” 

Apparently marriage isn‘t helping him. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Rush Limbaugh‘s back from his fourth honeymoon.  And, of course, he didn‘t disappoint. 

But he has hit a new low, mocking President Obama‘s daughter, Malia. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  This morning, Barack Obama wakes up, heads into the bathroom and starts shaving.  A door opens, and little daughter comes in. 

“Daddy—Daddy, did you shake down BP yet, Daddy?  Are you going to make them pay, Daddy?  Are you going to make BP pay, Daddy?”

“Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?  Daddy, did you plug the hole?”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  What are the righties—are they sharing material now?  I mean, that despicable attack wasn‘t even original. 

Beck did the same thing a couple of weeks ago and then he had to apologize for it.  But don‘t expect an apology from “The Drugster” anytime soon.  You see, he‘s entered this territory before. 

In the 1990s, he was the guy who referred to 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton as the White House dog.  And, of course, he passed that off as a technical mistake. 

Explain your way out of that one, as well, Rush. 

Attacking the president by mocking his 11-year-old daughter is disgusting “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Tony Hayward is getting ready to face the fire.  He‘ll be grilled on Capitol Hill within less than 24 hours.  The lawyer suing BP, Mike Papantonio, sounds off on the money battle in just a moment. 

And the not-ready-for-primetime Tea Partiers Sharon Angle and Rand Paul take a page from “Caribou Barbie‘s” playbook.

All that, plus “psycho talkers” Michele Bachmann and John Boehner, the “Tan Man,” are worried about BP. 

And the Alvin Greene mystery, well, it might be solved. 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL-HENRIC SVANBERG, BP CHAIRMAN:  BP, we have always met our obligations and responsibilities.  And we have made clear from the first moment of this tragedy that we will live up to all our legitimate responsibilities.  I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don‘t care.  But that is not the case in BP.  We care about the small people.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The Battleground story tonight.  Making BP pay.  The chairman of British Petroleum says, the company cares about small people?  And they will meet their obligations?  BP took the first step today, pledging to put $20 billion into an escrow fund to pay damage claims, but the payments will come in pieces.  It‘s going to take three-years to follow through on the promise.  I wonder if their commitment to make these small people whole again will still be there three years down the line. 

For more, let me bring in Mike Papantonio, Environmental Lawyer whose firm is leading the class action lawsuits against BP.  Mike, great to have you with us tonight.  First of all, your reaction to that sound bite, he says that BP always meets its obligations.  Is this time going to be any different?  What do you think?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  That hasn‘t been the case so far.  You know, I‘m open to hope, but I got to tell you this.  I was glad to see Obama get a $20 billion down payment on that obligation because I‘ve dealt with companies like this as you probably know, over the last 25 years and I‘ve heard promises and I‘ve seen them talk like they have compassion and sympathy for the victim.  But at the end of the process, it‘s always their corporate defense lawyers that bill $2,000 an hour and try to make those victims go away with nothing. 

So, look, when all the smoke clears on this, all that talk‘s going to be great but Obama was smart  enough to say, look that, might be fine but right now I want $20 billion.  You might remember Dick Cheney and George Bush took BP behind closed doors on that 100-day meeting and they ended up giving BP billions of dollars.  The reverse of this is you have Obama that will took BP behind closed doors and said, give the consumers $20 billion.  This is a very different picture from the last presidency, I can tell that you much.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I think it‘s a courageous thing the president did.  He goes in front of the American public last night and said BP is going to pay, he‘ll sit there along, we‘ll going to hold them accountable and then it comes out after meeting today saying, we‘ve got $20 billion going into an escrow fund.  It‘s a lofty number when you think of the Congress was only asking for $10 billion in liability limits.  Take us down that road of legal minutiae.  How big is this seeing that the United States may have its hands tied dealing with the multinational?

PAPANTONIO:  I got to tell you something, we wouldn‘t see $20 billion in a case like this.  Look at Exxon.  It would be decades before the legal system would be able to render anything close.  The only people that would have made any money on this thing would be the corporate defense lawyers that are being paid $2,000 an hour to do what they‘re supposed and that is to make sure nobody recovers.  So, this is unprecedented.  I can‘t—look, this is all I do, as you probably know is complex cases like this.  It‘s unprecedented to have a corporation be forced by leadership to say, we don‘t trust you and we want your money now.  To do this in the legal system is almost impossible.  You can‘t go back and find an example of this kind of leadership yielding this kind of money in any legal setting in America.  

SCHULTZ:  So Mike, what about the strategy of all of this?  President Obama took a lot of heat in his interview with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show” for admitting that he had not called and talked to Tony Hayward.  And when he does meet face to face with him, he comes away with the cash.  I mean, that‘s a pretty tough negotiator, isn‘t it?

PAPANTONIO:  Well, I got to tell you something, we‘ve got good negotiators.  I work with good negotiators all the time.  When we knew he was going into that room two days ago.  And if you called around this country and you said to the finest negotiating lawyers in this country, what‘s he going to come out with, it would have been a big goose egg.  And let me just tell you something, he‘s not afraid to do what our last president could not do.  And that is to stand up for consumers and these people that critical of him, you know what it is, Ed?  Everybody expects him to hit a home run every time he gives speech. 

Well, you know what?  Last night, he might have just hit a double.  And you always have critics that come out, I break the critics into two different ways.  One is the crazed freak critics, the Glenn Beck‘s, the Bachmann‘s the Rush Limbaugh‘s, those are the crazed freaks.  But then, you also have critics that just want him to do better.  That second group was saying, they wanted to hear more specifics.  They wanted to know where are the super tankers, when‘s it going to happen?

They wanted to hear specifics.  But I‘ll tell you the specifics I heard, I heard him say that 90 percent of the oil gusher is going to be captured by July.  And that‘s an important promise.  He said $20 billion is going to move from the hands of criminals to the hands of the victims.  He said 17,000 National Guard people are going to be down here helping, very specific things.  Most importantly, Ed, he said BP has now lost control over the claims process, and that‘s what really matters to the people on this coast that can‘t pay their bills. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Papantonio, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us Mike.  Keep up the fight.  Thank you. 

PAPANTONIO:  Thank you Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get to—you bet.  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, here‘s one for you, he wants to drug test out of work Americans before they can collect unemployment benefits.  I‘m for that as long as we can drug test senators.  

Rand Paul is totally against government handouts except, of course, when the money is coming to him.  Half of the eye doctor‘s income comes from Medicare, Medicaid payments government programs.  

House democrats are close to a campaign finance deal that would force corporations to lobbies to show the public where the money‘s coming from.  But of course, they‘re given a big exemption to the National Rifle Association.  What the heck for? 

With us tonight, Bill Press, Nationally Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host and also author of the book “Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned America‘s Airwaves.”  Except of course when Bill is on the air and me, too.  And Tony Blankley, Syndicated Columnist with us tonight.  Gentlemen, great to have you with us.  Bill, let‘s start with you first if we can.  Drug tests out of work Americans.  Where is this coming from?  What do you think of it?  

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Yes.  Let them eat cake as Marie Antoinette, you know, view of politics.  OK.  What amazes me is how some of these conservatives just assume that anybody who lost their job or is out of work is a criminal or using their unemployment checks to buy drugs.  But I‘m with you.  If we‘re going to test people who are applying for unemployment checks and government benefits, I think we should test those who really get the big government benefits.  All of those who got the Bush tax cuts are still getting the Bush tax cuts.  And they‘ve got more time and they have more money to buy illegal drugs as they have proven starting with Rush Limbaugh.  

SCHULTZ:  Tony, what do you think?

TONY BLANKLEY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Look, if I will be taking this proposal seriously, I‘d be against it.  I think it‘s a little too big brotherly for my taste.  If a guy is down and out, I don‘t mind if he has a drink.  But what this really is a cheap political shot to try to raise and to get somebody maybe to vote on some amendment to support subsidizing drug use or something.  It‘s part of both parties do it.  The cheap shots, the little chicken excrement stuff that comes down in this town.  And I don‘t much care for it.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, Orrin Hatch who claims to be fiscally responsible did not announce how we expect to pay for the drug testing for 7.5 million Americans who have been out of work for six months or more, which is half the unemployment force that‘s out there in America.  All right.  Rand Paul is totally against the government.  But of course, he gets half of his payments from Medicare and Medicaid.  Bill Press, your call.  

PRESS:  No, this is a Typical Tea party hypocrisy, Ed.  It‘s just that people who show up at the Tea Parties last summer saying, you know, anti-government, anti government and yet they‘re all collecting their Social Security checks.  They‘re all on Medicare and here‘s Rand Paul.  If he really is anti-government, he can still treat patients with Medicare under Medicare and Medicaid but he doesn‘t have the to take his Medicare payment or his Medicaid fee if he‘s really a true libertarian, then give up that fee.  A total pure hypocrisy.  

SCHULTZ:  Tony, does this create a credibility problem with this candidate?  What do you think?

BLANKLEY:  No.  This is what I was saying.  This is the democratic side of the little chicken excrement stuff.  This is an old game.  This is an old game that we both sides play.  Democratic congressmen who are against corporate contributions still take them and republicans say, oh, how can you do that, you‘re a hypocrite.  They say, when you change the rules, I‘ll change what I do.  Same thing with this Medicare.  You know, as a libertarian, Rand may well be against having Medicare as long as it‘s on the books, he‘s going to let his patients use the program.  It‘s a cheap shot, both of these are perfect examples of cheap shots meant to make two little political points at a time when we‘ve got such big issues before us.  

SCHULTZ:  Hey, Tony, I just think it‘s Rand Paul trying to have it both ways and he got caught in his own contradictions.  

BLANKLEY:  Yes.  I think it‘s just—I think it‘s both parties taking cheap shots at each other.  

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Let‘s go to Campaign Finance Reform to force corporations to tell everybody where the money‘s coming from except the National Rifle Association.  Tony, what do you make of this?

BLANKLEY:  I have two problems on this one.  I‘m against the NRA bolting from the position that I think they agree with in order to cut a deal.  I didn‘t like it when big Pharma did it, I don‘t like it when people break from their team, their side, or across the barricade because they‘ve cut a deal.  I also don‘t like the bill itself because I don‘t think we should intimidating first amendment expenditures.  So on both accounts, I don‘t like it.  

SCHULTZ:  I kind of like the idea knowing where the money comes from. 

What about you, Bill?

PRESS:  Yes.  I don‘t like this deal for a different reason.  Shame on the democrats for making this deal.  I like the bill.  I want to know who‘s paying for these commercials.  If Exxon is paying for them, I want to know.  If the Sierra Club is paying for them, I want to know, and if the NRA is paying for them, I want to know.  There‘s no reason to give anybody an exemption to this legislation.  

BLANKLEY:  No.  I mean, there‘s a why, and a reason why lot of left and right wing groups do it because they don‘t want to give up the information about their membership.  And so, whether you‘re.  

SCHULTZ:  Tough, tough, tough.  

BLANKLEY:  Well, you can say that.  But if your team is being intimidated by thugs, you don‘t want to let them know they‘re contributing 25 bucks.  So, that‘s the argument on the other side about disclosing the names of anybody.  Whether you‘re on the left or the right, whatever interest groups you‘ve got, you‘ve got a lot of small members and they will be intimidated to give their money if they think their names are going to be printed in the paper.

SCHULTZ:  But Tony, if the principle you support is transparency, then you don‘t make exceptions to transparency for any groups, none whatsoever.  Everybody is paying for those commercials. 

BLANKLEY:  No.  The principle I support is the first amendment.  

SCHULTZ:  Always a pleasure.  Tony Blankley, Bill Press, Bill, great book.  Coming up, Rand Paul and Sharron Angle.  Well, they‘re going to the Sarah Palin School of Media Control.  It‘s more proof that the righties are, well, they‘re unprepared and incoherent when it comes to telling it like it is.  They really don‘t know what their story is.  That‘s the other side of the story coming up in the playbook.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you, as an American, accept BP‘s apology?  Text a for yes, text b for no to 622639.  Results coming up.  Stay with us.       

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, a couple of righty candidates are following the Sarah Palin media strategy.  Get reporters to submit questions in writing and keep your mouth shut around any media that‘s not fox news.  That‘s what‘s happening.  Kentucky‘s Rand Paul started by canceling on “Meet The Press.”  Now, he‘s refusing to talk to local reporters. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Would you vote for the extension of the Medicaid reimbursement increase that the governors, at least 30 governors want?  

SENATORIAL CANDIDATE RAND PAUL, R-KY:  Submit your questions to us and we‘ll look at them.  

REPORTER:  So, you‘re not going to answer in person.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Harry Reid‘s Tea Party and challenger Sharron Angle is also ducking all non-conservative media and she went out of her way to avoid reporters on Capital Hill yesterday and later, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee John Cornyn of Texas acknowledged Angle.  Well, she wasn‘t ready for primetime.  He told reporters this, “You‘re going to have to complete 100 percent access to her, but I think it  just makes sense, at some point, that I think she needs to get staffed up and prepared.  I just think it‘s going to take a few weeks, but you know, it‘s really up to her.”  Yes, I‘d say so. 

What we‘re seeing here is the righties are putting up candidates who are basically unprepared, disorganized and in some cases incoherent.  And republican leadership has having to make excuses for these candidates.  Let me bring in Radio Talk Show Host Scott Hennen from the middle of the country, a staunch conservative.  Scott, you know, what do you make of these candidates?  I mean, I‘ve known you for a while but if had you to submit questions to a candidate, you would probably struggle with that and so would I.  Is this a problem for these candidates?

SCOTT HENNEN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think the rules are changing.  Really, if think that the media matter a lot less.  The press matters a lot less than the people do.  And I think these candidates are just saying look, I‘m not going to play the gotcha game and allow you to begin the carpet bombing.  I‘m going to worry about what the people want and they‘ve both been put in the position they‘re in by the people in their respective states and they care a lot more about the people than they will do the press.  

SCHULTZ:  But do they care about the people if they can‘t answer basic questions about where they stand on issues?

HENNEN:  Well, I‘d think they can answer questions on where they stand on issues.  They wouldn‘t be in this position if they couldn‘t.  Tonight obviously, look at Nevada, that three-way race for the republican nomination out there that was hotly contested and very busy.  You know, Sharron Angle has been put through her paces out there.  Rand Paul got a little idea of the gotcha game that happens when he was on, you know, when asked questions about the civil rights act as if, you know, that‘s a position that gets asked of a lot of candidates these days.  So, I think these guys are smart from the standpoint of saying look, let‘s, you know, establish ourselves.  Let‘s get our campaign ready to go. 

Get out there, give themselves access to local media.  Talk to the people but they don‘t need to—you know, I think this is part of the problem that we have right now with our system and the establishment, that‘s the republican and democrat an like kind of have this unholy alliance with the media establishment and you‘ve got to go around and kiss rings and talk to big networks and talk to big named reporters.  Otherwise there‘s this hue and cry, they‘re giving us enough access.  It really doesn‘t matter.  What matters is what the people want and I think, in the case of the two candidates you brought up and even Sarah Palin for that matter, look at the gotcha game Katie Couric played with her.  So, why would you go through that exercise?  You know, when all that matters is the people.  

SCHULTZ:  Either read the news or you don‘t.  I mean, I thought it was just pretty fair question on the part of Katie Couric.  All right.  This is red meat to the Harry Reid campaign.  They‘ve taken out this ad against Sharron Angle.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SENATORIAL CANDIDATE SHARRON ANGLE, R-NEV.:  You may have heard that I‘ve been dodging the media.  

JON RALSTON:  So, they brought her to Washington, she has been there for a couple days.  What did she do today?  She hit some of the press there too.  

ANGLE:  After staying out of the public eye since winning the primary.  

(MUSIC PLAYING)

UNIDENTIFIED:  Where in the world is Sharron Angle?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Scott, lets me ask you, if the President of the United States were to say no more press conferences, you have to submit your questions because of the gotcha media, would you say he‘s doing the right thing?

HENNEN:  Well, first of all, he essentially does because you‘ve got the mainstream media, you know, in the pocket of the Obama administration.  We know how that game is played.  And the mainstream media in this country get a tool of the Democratic Party for a long time.  So, that isn‘t a lot different.  You‘re speaking specifically about one case of Rand Paul where there are these questions over the board that he was on.  And so, he‘s asked for some questions, but I don‘t see him saying that I will answer no questions unless I get these, you know, submitted to me in advance.  I think that‘s taken out little of a context.  In the case of Harry Reid, he‘s in free fall in, he‘s deep doo-doo.  So, this woman nobody had heard of a month ago is now in the position of leading him in the polls, the majority leaders for the democrats that tells us how much trouble they‘re in.  A lot more so than two candidates that a mini firestorm with establishment media.  

SCHULTZ:  If you look how much he‘s made up in the polls, you‘d see that a campaign is a long time.  Harry Reid‘s made up a lot of ground.  But it‘s interesting Scott that you‘re in favor of prepackaged questions.  Great to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your take on all of these issues. 

A couple of final pages in The Playbook tonight, the family of the Gary Faulkner, the man arrested in Pakistan for trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden with a sword says, he‘s not crazy.  Faulkner‘s brother made the TV rounds today saying his brother was hunting the world‘s most wanted man out of patriotism and motivated by God.  A doctor reportedly examined him today and said that he had some psychological problems but is not a madman.  Intelligence agents are continuing to question him. 

Two of the world‘s richest people are teaming up to get fellow billionaires to give away half their fortunes to charity.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are calling their new campaign, the Giving Pledge.  They already met with Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner and Michael Bloomberg.  

And speaking of Bloomberg, I guess you can say, what a rat.  New York City‘s billionaire mayor slashed the city‘s budget for rodent control programs, the cuts comes as reporters show subway stations growing with rat infestation.  According to the new report, a family of eight to the 12 rats can make their home in one cinder block.  

And finally, everyone is still wondering what kind of shenanigans went on in South Carolina for the unknown candidate Alvin Greene to win the democratic primary for senate.  Theories range from a republican conspiracy to hacking the voting machines to his actual name.  Now we have proof, some proof there is something to the name. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN:  I voted for him because his name sounded like the singer and I had never heard of Vic Rawl.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes, that‘s right.  She voted for Greene because his name sounds like the soul star Al Greene. 

Coming up, Michele Bachmann and the tin man are looking out for good old BP.  They show their true colors again.  That‘s next on the Ed Show.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, while the people of the gulf coast are fighting for their economic survival, the republicans in Congress are spending their time worrying about BP.  Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota says, BP shouldn‘t let the people of the gulf coast to make chumps of them.  She told “The Washington Post,” quote, “If I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there, we‘re not going to be chumps, and we‘re not going to be fleeced.  There should have come to be fleece and make chumps to have to pay for the perpetual unemployment and all the rest.  They‘ve got to be legitimate claims.”  That‘s even hard to follow. 

Minority Leader John Boehner is also concerned that the gulf coast residents are going to file bogus lawsuits.  Bogus lawsuits to get their escrow money.  Boehner says, quote, “An escrow fund should be used to help the victims of this disaster, and not as a slush fund for trial lawyers and administration officials seeking to paper over their own misguided decisions.”  Wow!

Joining me now is Van Jones, a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress and also a Senior Policy Adviser at Green For All.  Mr. Jones, good to have you with us tonight.  What do you make of this republican culture that seems to be developing that we‘re getting too tough on BP and we‘ve got to look out for the big boys?  Is this the real divide between the two the parties?

VAN JONES, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  I think it is.  I hope they keep talking.  I hope they keep talking and set up the contrasts perfectly.  You‘ve got a president who was willing to kick some butt and then you have this republican leader who‘s apparently just want to kiss some butt.  I don‘t know why they would be trying to hug this criminal corporation, why they would be taking the side of a corporation that came to our country, they corrupted our government, they‘ve killed innocent workers through criminal negligence, they slugged up our coastline, they destroyed our economy.  They‘ve hurt workers.  They‘re hurting our environment.  If you want to stand with them, go right ahead.  But what we‘ve got is a president that‘s standing up to them.  He told them, he was coming for them with the speech last night.  That‘s what I heard, I‘m coming for you. 

And then today, he put them over his knee, he told them you‘re going to put $20 billion on the table to make it right.  They said yes, sir.  He said, we‘re going to put $100 million on the table to make it right, they said, yes sir.  He said, we‘re going to put $100 million on the table to help these oil workers, they said, yes sir.  He said you‘re going to actually help to clean up and give money not for profits, we‘re trying to do the right thing, they said, yes sir.  He‘s got the attorney general coming after, waving the handcuffs saying this whole gulf area is a possible corporate criminal crime scene.  That is a president sticking up for America.  Now, he has an ideology that says, you want America‘s government to be weaker, which is their whole ideology says, we hate the federal government.

The last time I heard, the federal government is America‘s government.  You want America‘s government to be weaker in this crisis?  Weaker in the face of this kind of attack?  Keep talking because I think the American people need to  understand that what we are seeing right now is the inevitable outcome of an ideology that says, corporations can do no wrong and America‘s government can do nothing right.  And I think that the president has done well in this week drawn that contrast.  

SCHULTZ:  How big—let me ask you Van, how big a victory quickly is this for the president in your opinion? 

JONES:  Huge, huge.  I mean, here you have a president who is literally, I think I say it before, making history.  He‘s standing up to this corporation.  They came here, they churned federal agencies into animal house.  With porn and with sex going on, all kinds of—they came and corrupted our government first, and then they‘re now corrupting our environment and killing workers and this president is saying, no, no, no.  I think the next step is that—it shouldn‘t become Partisan.  Let‘s now hear from the president, what can we do together as Americans.  That‘s the next step.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Van Jones, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.  I appreciate your time Mr. Jones.  Tonight in our text survey question, I asked, do you accept BP‘s apology?  Fifty five percent of you said yes.  Forty five percent of you said no. 

Folks, I‘ve been traveling the country on my book tour the last couple of weeks.  The book is called “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.”  Our tour heads to Denver tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing you there.  For more, you can go to ed.msnbc.com or check out the radio website, wegoted.com.  A special edition of HARDBALL is next right here on MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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