IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'The Ed Show' for Thursday, May 27, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Bernie Sanders, Nick Rahall, Steny Hoyer, Rep. Ed Markey, Roy Sekoff, A.B. Stoddard, Jack Rice, Jon Soltz, Rep. Brian Bilbray

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” this evening.  President Obama got grilled today about the administration‘s response to the oil disaster.  He says they‘ve been fully engaged from day one.  I just think he needs to be a little bit tougher on BP. 
Outrage grows about Joe Sestak‘s alleged job offer.  The president reminded us today, he is a lawyer.  He did a great job of dodging this question.
My commentary on that at the bottom of the hour. 
Plus, John Boehner and Eric Cantor are running their mouths again about winning control of the House in November.  Well, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will be here to talk about that and jobs and the oil spill.  That‘s coming up.
Breaking news off the top tonight.  This just in.  The Associated Press is reporting that BP has temporarily suspended mud-pumping efforts to stop the Gulf oil leak.  They‘ve stopped to assess the effects.  We‘ll keep you up to date on what they find later on in the program.  This is the story, of course, that everybody is following, and it this is story that has got me fired up. 
On day 38, President Obama‘s press conference—I have to call it like I see it, folks—I don‘t think it was his finest hour.  He‘s in a tough spot. 
I thought the president was very explanatory and detailed.  But in a sense, defensive. 
At this hour, nobody really knows if the top kill is working.  In the meantime, heads are rolling over at the Minerals Management Service.  And scientists say now that the oil spill is officially the worst in the U.S.  history, worse than Exxon Valdez. 
Here‘s the president playing defense today. 
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Every day I see this continuing I am angry and frustrated as well.  I realize that this entire response effort will continue to be filtered through the typical prism of politics.  But that‘s not what I care about right now.  What I care about right now is the containment of this disaster and the health and safety and livelihoods of our neighbors on the Gulf Coast.  And for as long as it take, I intend to use the full force of the federal government to protect our fellow citizens and the place where they live.  I can assure you of that. 
SCHULTZ:  Pretty much reiterating what he said the first time he went down to the Gulf.  But in the totality of it all, let‘s not forget, the Congress legislated the country into this situation under Republican rule.  Let‘s not forget that.
The Congress and country was led to believe that deepwater drilling really had minimal risk.  Don‘t worry about it.  We‘re going to be OK.  This president is trying to fix it.  He announced a six-month moratorium until all the facts are collected. 
OBAMA:  We‘re going to be ordering the  following actions.  First, we will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast off Alaska. 
Second, we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia.  Third, we will then existing moratorium and suspend the issuance of new permits to drill new deepwater wells for six months.  (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  All good stuff. 
As I told you last night, the president said that they are fully in charge, but they don‘t have the full technology to do it all themselves.  He also said the government is going hold BP accountable. 
OBAMA:  BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States, as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy.  We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they‘ve done and the painful losses that they‘ve caused. 
SCHULTZ:  Well, I wish that the BP CEO, Tony Hayward, would step forward.  I‘d really like to see this guy on TV standing next to the president signing the contract.
Senator Mary Landrieu said that BP was going to make everybody whole. 
Now, think about that.  BP is going to make everybody whole.  Well, what do we need attorneys for if that‘s the case?  There‘s no way they‘re going to make everybody whole.  Come on.  I don‘t think she knows what the heck she‘s talking about. 
And she‘s under stress, I know.  And it‘s a horrible situation.  And sometimes people say things that they wish they‘d like to have back.  But to go around and tell the American people who are suffering because of this that BP is going to make you whole, it‘s simply not true.  I also don‘t think the president didn‘t do very well today on two big issues.  Number one, he was asked about the departure from Elizabeth Birnbaum from her role as director of Minerals Management Service.  (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIP REID, CBS NEWS:  Elizabeth Birnbaum resigned today.  Did she resign?  Was she fired?  Was she forced out?  And if so, why?  And should other heads roll? 
OBAMA:  With respect to Ms. Birnbaum, I found out about her resignation today.  Ken Salazar‘s been in testimony throughout the day, so I don‘t know the circumstances in which this occurred.  (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Whoa. 
A big focal point in all of this is how permits have been allowed.  You know, we found out that regulators at MMS, let‘s see, they were getting cash-whipped.  We found out that there were gifts.  We found out through the investigation that there‘s obvious corruption, and it all started back in the Bush administration.  That‘s a fact. 
And also, the fact is the president should have been on top of that answer.  The focal point has been, gosh, how did BP get to go so deep?  And how did all these permits get the way they are? 
The other issue was a question that was taken on by Joe Sestak.  That subject, I can‘t believe the president didn‘t have a straight answer on that one. 
Their attorneys are at work, they have to be.  He gave a very legalistic answer.  We‘ll have more on that later on in the show.  But folks seriously across the country are quick to blame this president when he really inherited a corrupt agency dealing with permits.  He also inherited pretty much a mindset that big oil giants can do whatever the heck they want. 
The oil disaster should wake up this country when it comes to energy independence.  We‘ve learned that the president does not call the shots.  In my opinion, it‘s the multinationals, and the stranglehold they have on the Congress is pretty damn strong. 
Congress, in some respects, I think they‘ve got to feel a little bit foolish right now watching what‘s going down in the Gulf.  They deregulated the industry and allowed the multinationals to take charge, do anything they want. 
And what‘s the result?  What do we have now?  BP goes out and guts one of the most treasured resources, and we‘re going to feel this for generations. 
Now, what we have learned from this oil spill is this—corporations run this country.  Unfortunately, the Congress does not.  And I think the president—it‘s been a real lesson for me watching all of this unfold—the president has got his hands tied in many respects.  And let‘s not forget that we just had a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to give unlimited cash.  Wow.  Only in America.  Tell me what you think in a telephone survey tonight, folks.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 
My question tonight is: Are you satisfied with how President Obama has handled the oil crisis?  Press the number 1 for yes, press the number 2 for no.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show tonight.  Joining me now is Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.  He‘s calling for a full ban on offshore drilling. 
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 
And I want to get to that subject in a moment.  But first, I want to ask you about the press conference.  It seemed today, to me, anyway, that the White House was playing defense, that this was all about explaining to the American people that in day 38, we are in charge.  Don‘t you think that‘s rather odd? 
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Yes.  I think that‘s about 38 days too late. 
I think the point here, this is not a BP tragedy, this is an American tragedy.  And I think what we should have done from day one is tell BP and every engineer and oil company in the world, we need your help to put a stop to this horrendous spill. 
The second area where I think we have got to be aggressive is go beyond BP saying—and your point was correct that you made a moment ago.  It‘s not good enough for BP to say they‘re going to cover all damages, we have got to lift that cap legally and make certain that they do.  We can‘t just rely on their good word. 
Thirdly, Ed, what I would say, if there‘s a silver lining in this terrible, terrible ecological disaster, it should be that we wake up and understand that right now, we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, away from offshore drilling, and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. 
Let me give you one example. 
When I called for a ban, permanent ban on offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coast, if the oil companies had their way and done all of the drilling in those areas that they wanted, do you know how much we would save on a gallon of gas in the year 2030? 
SCHULTZ:  I think it‘s about 12 cents. 
SANDERS:  No.  Wrong.  It‘s 3 cents.  It‘s 3 cents.  If we move to 35 miles per gallon in the year 2016, as we are doing, by the year 2030, you‘re going to save a buck on a gallon because people are going to get a lot more miles to the gallon.  If you do as I want to do and increase energy efficiency, fuel efficiency even more, you‘re going to save $1.43 as we go to 55 miles per gallon. 
In other words, $1.43, raising fuel efficiency.  Three cents by drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. 
What makes sense to you? 
SCHULTZ:  Well, it makes sense to me.  But as I said, the multinationals have got tremendous influence on the Congress.  They cash-whip everybody they possibly can.  And you have got senators actually out there who are somewhat defending the drilling—
SANDERS:  Absolutely.
SCHULTZ:  -- saying, well, guys, we‘ve done this out there before and this is just an anomaly.
You know, it‘s a mindset.  And it‘s hard for the American people to wrap themselves around the idea that this is a serious sin that has been committed.
SANDERS:  Ed, doesn‘t this sound like deja vu all over again—
SCHULTZ:  Sure it does.
SANDERS:  -- in terms of what we did with Wall Street?  What Wall Street wanted is, deregulate us.  Let us do what we want to do.  And we‘re going to do good for the American people.  Well, they caused a major recession.
The oil companies said to Bush, deregulate us, let us drill anywhere we want, trust us.  Well, we got what we‘re experiencing in the Gulf Coast right now.
So, the point there, if people are concerned about the future of this country, you can‘t go around saying get the government away from business.  SCHULTZ:  Yes.
SANDERS:  You leave these guys alone, and that‘s what you‘re going to end up seeing.
SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s going to take a tremendous will, willpower of the Congress, to turn this around.  Only time will tell. 
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  You‘ve got it together on this issue.  They should undoubtedly ban offshore drilling.  Thanks for going after it. 
SANDERS:  Thank you.
SCHULTZ:  Let‘s bring in West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.  He chaired today‘s hearings on the explosion. 
Congressman, good to have you on.
What do you know tonight that you didn‘t know earlier today before the hearing? 
REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  Well, Ed, great to be with you, number one. 
First, I think we learned today by the president‘s press conference and have seen throughout the course of this tragedy that the American president is in charge, not British Petroleum.  The president has done all he can technically and humanly do through his secretary of Interior, through the Corps of Engineers, through the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Thad Allen, to direct this emergency response.  All decisions are made on the ground by Commandant Thad Allen. 
SCHULTZ:  Congressman, I agree with you on that.  And that‘s why I found it so strange that the focal point of this press conference today was to make sure that everybody knows that the White House has got their focus on this.  I just think that‘s rather strange on day 38.  RAHALL:  Well, that‘s not enough, just to assure the American people that we‘re in charge.  We have to show that by being in charge, we‘re taking the proper actions. 
Now, Secretary Salazar has been before our committee.  Yesterday, he was before us.  He has taken some very strong ethics reforms in his time as secretary.  He has eliminated the corrupt Royalty in Kind program.  And he‘s made other changes within MMS and the Department of Interior that changed that mindset where anything goes and the inspectors can get away with whatever they want without the fear of being caught or without the fear of facing stiff penalties. 
SCHULTZ:  So you think you can clean up the MMS? 
RAHALL:  We have a lot to do yet.  We‘ve started. 
The director‘s resignation today on the surface, that appears good.  But we have to look at the fact that she only came on board 10 months ago, after all these allegations took place.  And so, there‘s much more to be done.  Whether breaking the agency into three different parts will do it, it requires a thorough and pragmatic approach.
And that‘s what we have to take to this, to ensure that from the top down—and that‘s where it starts, remember, Ed.  From the top down, eliminate this culture of corruption that has existed at MMS.  Yes, ,I‘m for separating the policing functions of the Minerals  Management Service away from the royalty collection. 
We have to ensure that the American people are getting their fair share from the use of their resources.  That‘s what we‘re talking about.  SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.
RAHALL:  Thank you, Ed.  Good to be with you. 
SCHULTZ:  You bet.
Coming up, the heat is on Joe Sestak from actually both sides to come clean on a White House job offer.  The president says a response from his side is coming shortly.  That‘s legal talk. 
I‘ve got a response with the “Rapid Fire” team coming up.  And Arizona police want to arrest the immigration law.  They told Attorney General Eric Holder the law is dangerous.  And the Justice Department is gearing up to fight it. 
All that, plus O‘Reilly lands in the “Zone,” Sammy Sosa slides past Congress, and Barney Frank, well, he‘s talking like a birther.  We‘ve got all that.  I‘ll explain it in the “Playbook.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  And thanks for watching tonight. 
Congressional leaders are dealing with a lot of hot-button issues these days—the oil spill, immigration, energy, and, of course, two wars.  Meanwhile, it‘s gone, I think, largely unnoticed that the Democratic stimulus package has put millions of people back to work.  That‘s right, this year.
For more, let me bring in House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
REP. STENY HOYER (D), MAJORITY LEADER:  Always good to be with you, Ed.  Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ:  Are you turning the numbers?  Is the CBO report as positive as it sounds, in your opinion? 
HOYER:  Well, I think it‘s very positive, and I think the job growth - we‘ve had four positive job growth months this year.  And if we replicate over the next two-thirds of the year—we‘ve gone a third of the year—if we replicate the same kind of job production, 573,000 jobs, we will be, frankly—created more jobs this year than were created net in the Bush administration in 96 months. 
That‘s good news.  But we‘re not growing fast enough.  We need to continue to get this economy stabilized and growing at an even faster rate if we‘re going to have a chance of getting people back to work and the numbers of jobs that were lost during the Bush administration.  SCHULTZ:  Is the midterm going to be about jobs, in your opinion? 
HOYER:  I think that the midterm is going to be about the economy.  And I think we‘re going to be able go to the American public and say, look, we inherited an economy that was in the ditch, deeply in the ditch.  The month we took over, we lost 800,000 jobs, almost, and 65,000 jobs in one day shortly thereafter. 
SCHULTZ:  So what do you make of Boehner saying that there‘s going to be big gains by the Republicans in November? 
HOYER:  Well, Mr. Boehner also thought he was going to win the race in Pennsylvania.  He thought he was going to win the race in New York.  He didn‘t win either one of those races.  We‘ve had three victories in a row in the special elections. 
Now, we didn‘t have a victory in Hawaii, mainly because we split the vote, and it was winner take all.  We took about 62, 63 percent of the vote, and the winner took about 38, 39 percent of the vote.  So we think we‘ll win that seat back. 
So, the answer to your question is, wildly over-enthusiastic.  Tom Davis, who‘s the former chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee, said -- and I quote—“If we can‘t win Pennsylvania 12,” which was Mark Critz - “if we can‘t win that district, we can‘t take back the House.” 
SCHULTZ:  OK.  Are they going to help you—do you think the Republicans will help you on immigration reform? 
HOYER:  Frankly, I think, Ed, the Republican strategy is to see failure by Democrats and by the president.  The problem with that, of course, is when we don‘t solve problems, it‘s not Democrats that lose, it‘s our country that loses. 
But I think their strategy is simply to defeat any kind of progress and, frankly, not to sit down at the table.  It‘s awful tough to get bipartisan working together in the House at this point in time, or in the Senate. 
SCHULTZ:  And quickly, a comment on all these “Drill, baby, drill” folks over there.  What do you think?  Do you think you‘re going to get any help on offshore drilling or any kind of regulation or caps?  I mean, they‘re going to fight you on everything.  You know that.  HOYER:  Well, let me tell you, I think they are going to fight us on everything.  However, the American public clearly know that while we need get American energy, we need to be energy independent, and we need to keep energy prices where people can afford them, the facts of the matter is—
SCHULTZ:  Do you think this tragedy will propel us to that?  Do you think this tragedy—
HOYER:  Well, no, no.  I think the president has made it very clear.  We need to be very safe, we need to find out how this tragedy occurred before we go forward.  And I think that‘s the right policy.  We also need to be—as Chairman Rahall was on a little earlier—we need to make sure the federal government oversight is much more vigorous that it was. 
SCHULTZ:  Yes, no doubt.
HOYER:  I think there were failures in this government. 
SCHULTZ:  Leader Hoyer—
HOYER:  It‘s always a pleasure. 
SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Thanks a lot.
Steny, great to have you with us.  Thanks so much. 
HOYER:  Good to be with you, Ed. 
SCHULTZ:  A lot of talk about the stimulus saved our economy in my new book coming up.  And it all ties to the four pillars that I believe in to having a very strong country: establish a great, sound fiscal policy.  “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.”  It comes out next Tuesday, June 1st.  Look for it wherever books are sold. 
We‘re going to be in Chicago Wednesday.  We‘re going to be in Madison on Thursday.  And we‘ll be in Minneapolis on Friday.  That‘s an aggressive first week, and those are the towns where we‘re going to be.  You can get it at my Web site at for the entire schedule.
Coming up, O‘Reilly took name-calling to a new level last night.  You won‘t believe what he said right to the guest‘s face.  It lands him in the “Zone,” next.
SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, holy smokes.  Bill O‘Reilly goes way over the line. 
On his show last night, he interviewed a professor from Columbia University, renowned Marc Lamont Hill.  Very intelligent guy.  They were talking about securing the border with Mexico, when O‘Reilly threw out this shocker -- 
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  Say you‘re a cocaine dealer—and you kind of look like one a little bit.
SCHULTZ:  Did you catch that?  I want to make sure it really sinks in. 
Let‘s hear that one more time. 
O‘REILLY:  Say you‘re a cocaine dealer—and you kind of look like one a little bit. 
SCHULTZ:  Now, some people might say race factored into O‘Reilly‘s reasoning there, but that can‘t be true, because O‘Reilly thinks we‘ve moved beyond racism in this country. 
Remember what he said last month at Reverend Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network Convention? 
O‘REILLY:  It‘s a much more interesting country, America, if we stop with the race business, I think.  I mean, I‘m not black, so I don‘t know your struggle.  And you don‘t know my struggle, all right, because you‘re not white. 
But after 9/11, we pretty much dropped that race stuff, did we not? 
We pretty much were all Americans there, right? 
All right.  Look, if you don‘t think we dropped it, I do. 
SCHULTZ:  See, we dropped racism. 
But let‘s get back to O‘Reilly‘s inexplicable cocaine comment.  And actually, Dr. Hill doesn‘t need me to defend him.  He handled the situation just fine. 
O‘REILLY:  Say you‘re a cocaine dealer—and you kind of look like one a little bit. 
PROF. MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:  As do you.  You look like a cocaine user. 
SCHULTZ:  Is O‘Reilly a cocaine user? 
Of course, he should never have had to defend himself in the first place.  Bill O‘Reilly telling a respectable guest, a Columbia University professor, that he looks like a cocaine dealer?  Yes, it is “Psycho Talk.”   Coming up, President Obama says he‘s doing everything he can to fix the Gulf oil disaster, but I don‘t think he‘s been tough enough on BP.  Way too much trust there. 
Congressman Markey says BP intentionally low-balled the size of the spill.  He‘ll talk about that next on THE ED SHOW.  And police chiefs in Arizona are putting major pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder.  They say the immigration law is a major problem.  I‘m putting Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in the hot seat on that one.
All that, plus Joe Sestak is feeling the heat, Congress lets Sammy Sosa off the hook, and Barney Frank is sounding like a birther.  We‘ll explain. 
THE ED SHOW continues on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 
OBAMA:  When I woke up this morning and I‘m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door, and she peeks in her head, and she says did you plug the hole yet, daddy? 
My job is to get this fixed.  And in case anybody wonders, in any of your reporting, in case you‘re wondering who‘s responsible, I take responsibility.  There shouldn‘t be any confusion here.  The federal government is fully engaged.  And I‘m fully engaged.  (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  The president making a convincing argument at his press conference.  But the proof will be in the plugging, I guess you could say.  This is now the worst spill in history.  As much as 39 million gallons of oil are now in the Gulf, along with toxic dispersants, which, of course, is an X factor in all of this. 
For more, let‘s bring in Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey.  He is the chair of the Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.  Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.  You‘ve been the kicker in all of this.  You‘ve really gotten after BP more than anybody else in the Congress, in my opinion.  Congratulations and thanks for doing the people‘s work.  You don‘t believe you can trust BP, do you?  REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  I don‘t.  I think BP has been too much interested in their own liability and not enough interested in the livability of those that live down in the Gulf states.  I think that has been characteristic of their response right from the very beginning of this entire catastrophic event. 
SCHULTZ:  Congressman, do you think that BP has been cooking the reports about how much oil is actually in the Gulf? 
MARKEY:  Well, back on April 27th, there was an internal report done by BP—this is in the first week of the accident—which showed that the rate could go from 1,000 barrels to 14,000 barrels per day.  What BP did was they used 1,000 barrels in that first week as the estimate, and then they raised it to 5,000 barrels a week later. 
The truth is, when I asked the CEO of BP today in the hearing, if he knew about that document, and whether or not that was something that he now stood by, he said he didn‘t know anything about it.  From my own perspective, I think if there‘s one thing BP should have known in the first week, in the second week, in the third week, was how big is this leak?  How many barrels of oil are going into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis?  They‘re saying that they had no knowledge at the top level in the corporation.  I think it‘s again part of this strategy of creating deniability about what they knew and when they knew it.  But I think we are now seeing with other outside scientists, as they analyze the flow, that the rate is somewhere between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels per day, with an upwards of 25,000 barrel per day spill going on in the Gulf.  My feeling is that BP, right from the get-go, knew or should have known it wasn‘t 1,000 barrels of oil per day. 
SCHULTZ:  Are they untouchable?  Are they so big, such a big multinational that our government‘s not going to be able to hold them accountable?  You hear a lot of boots on necks and everything else, holding them accountable.  These fishermen down there and these people that are losing their livelihood, accountability is full restitution, not for one year, but for many years to come.  Do you think BP and our government can do that? 
MARKEY:  I think that BP is actually going to stand for Bills Paid.  I think whether you‘re a liberal or a conservative, whether you live in the Gulf of Mexico or you live in Massachusetts or California, you‘re going to want to make sure that BP is made accountable. 
SCHULTZ:  Congressman Markey, thank you for joining us tonight.  I appreciate your time.  I hope you‘re correct on that.  It is going to be awfully tough to reel in BP.  I hope it happens. 
MARKEY:  Thank you. 
SCHULTZ:  For more, let‘s bring in Roy Sekoff, founding editor of the “Huffington Post.”  Roy, let‘s talk about the press conference today, if we can.  Did you think the president was defensive.  Your website, “Huffington Post,” said “Offshore Grilling.”  Here we are in day 38, the president has to come out and tell everybody he‘s in charge.  “Obama declares the federal government is in charge.”  Are we at that point where he has to say—is this not really political mop-up right now to make sure there‘s no political damage here? 
ROY SEKOFF, “HUFFINGTON POST”:  Absolutely, Ed.  It‘s crazy that it‘s happening this late in the game.  But it‘s their own fault.  I hate to say it, but I think he‘s giving cool confidence a bad name.  We need some fire in the belly on this one, Ed.  It‘s what you and representative—Senator Sanders were talking about.  We‘ve got to really a two-fisted approach to this. 
Instead, Obama‘s approach to almost everything, whether it‘s been health care or the finance reform, it‘s been, don‘t worry, I got it.  It‘s under control.  What do we see?  We see that split camera and we have the gush cam pouring out.  You guys on MSNBC had the split camera during his press conference.  There it was gushing out, saying to the American people, no, it‘s not handled; it‘s not okay. 
SCHULTZ:  If I had a chance to interview the CEO of BP, I‘d ask him, do you feel like the boot is on your neck?  I just don‘t think they do.  They‘re full of arrogance and they know they‘re going to weasel out of this, and they‘re going to string it out for years.  So the question is, for moving this issue forward fast, do you think, Roy Sekoff, that Congress has the intestinal fortitude to do what it has to do to reel them in?  SEKOFF:  No.  Flat out no, Ed.  What you said was the key.  You said it was a test of will.  It‘s a really not a test of will, at the end of the day.  It‘s a test of bank accounts.  As long as we don‘t have clean elections, and as long as we don‘t have public financing, we‘re going to have this repeat.  That was the other great thing that you talked about, how this was deja vu.  You can just take the words BP and stick it where Wall Street was, and it‘s the same conversation that we‘ve been having for the last year. 
It‘s the moneyed interests, it‘s the corporate interests that are running our Congress.  And somebody like Bernie Sanders or Ed Markey, they‘re the rare people who are doing the business of the people.  Everybody else is doing the business of the corporations.  Until we fix that, we‘re going to be having this same nightmare again and again and again. 
SCHULTZ:  I know we‘re talking a lot about the environment and the toll it‘s taking on the environment.  What about the environment in Washington?  I tell you what, if there was ever a time on in country‘s history were an incident would make the case for campaign finance reform, damn it, this is it.  This is absolutely it. 
SEKOFF:  This has to be a slam-dunk.  Look at what happened with health care, look at the watered down what happened with reforming Wall Street, and then you look at this disaster, and you have to say to yourself, what is going on?  We need the mother of all reforms, which his financial reform when it comes to financing our elections.  Let me point one thing out, Ed, and I say this with respect to the president, he‘s going down to the Gulf tomorrow.  That will be his second trip there.  In the same amount of time, he‘s gone to California four times to do fund-raisers for Barbara Boxer.  That‘s the state of our politics, Ed. 
SCHULTZ:  I think it was a very profound point today, and it hasn‘t been talked a lot about, but the president explained the timeline about Environmental Impact Studies and permitting, I mean, the 30 day period.  This is made for the oil company.  It‘s made for them to weasel out of any kind of restriction whatsoever. 
So this is going to be as tall an order, in my opinion, as Wall Street reform. 
SEKOFF:  But it‘s a great opportunity.  And that‘s why we really need the president to seize the moment, seize the day, and say, this is a chance to talk about campaign finance reform; this is a chance to talk about alternative sources of energy.  He has to take this bull by the horns and make it a teachable moment, not play defense and go around saying, hey, it‘s not my fault. 
SCHULTZ:  Roy, you‘re the man.  Good having you on, buddy.  Thanks so much.  Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from out panel on some stories tonight.  The Republicans are now claiming the alleged job offer the White House made to Joe Sestak is as bad as Watergate.  That‘s even tough to read.  Give me a break.  The president completely punted, though, when he was asked about it today at the press conference.  House Democrats are ready to take a historic vote to repeal Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.
Voters in Connecticut, they don‘t care that Richard Blumenthal misspoke about serving in Vietnam.  The Democrat is absolutely trouncing Republican challenger Linda McMahon in a new Senate poll.  With us tonight, A.B. Stoddard, columnist, associate editor of “The Hill,” and Jack Rice, criminal defense attorney and former CIA officer.  A.B., let‘s talk about Joe Sestak first.  How big a problem is this for the White House?  I guess I have to say I was somewhat surprised the president wasn‘t more definite on his answer? 
A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  That‘s exactly right.  That was my reaction, Ed.  It‘s a problem if he couldn‘t come out and deny it.  If they interviewed everybody in the building and made sure that nothing was offered or nothing improper happened, then why don‘t they just come out and say it.  His response is, something is coming soon on this.  They are going to come up with an answer soon?  That‘s not a denial, Ed.  I think they have a problem on their hands. 
SCHULTZ:  Here‘s the president responding to that question. 
OBAMA:  There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions.  You will get it from my administration.  It will be coming out—when I say shortly, I mean shortly.  I don‘t mean weeks or months. 
I can assure the public nothing improper took place. 
SCHULTZ:  Jack Rice, you‘re an attorney.  Did the president get the memo from his attorney? 
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER:  It sure sounded like it, didn‘t it?  I think the Republicans are lacking credibility when it comes to the issue.  They‘re trying to dirty the president.  They‘re trying to dirty the admiral as well.  That‘s clear. 
Yet, at the same time, I think the president needs to come out and hit hard and hit very clearly.  A.B. is absolutely right on this one.  They need to be able to say the answer is X or the answer is Y.  The American people want to see it.  This would shut down the Republicans and it would shut down the story.  They need to do that. 
SCHULTZ:  Jack, Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, the Democrats say they have the votes.  Do you think they have the guts to go ahead and go down this road?  RICE:  I hope so for two different reason.  In 2007, I was in southern Iraq and I was out on patrol with a lot of soldiers in a very dangerous area.  At the same time, there were Brits and Australian soldiers.  They have gay soldiers, openly gay soldiers serving with them.  That means that there are American soldiers serving with openly gay soldiers from the Australian and the Brits, but they can‘t have their own.  That‘s ridiculous.
One last point, as a former CIA officer, the last thing I actually want to see are closeted gay people in the military.  I want them to be open for one simple reason, blackmail.  We never wanted them in as closeted, because you don‘t want somebody to come to them and say, you will do X, Y or Z, or I will go tell your mom, I‘ll go tell your friends, I‘ll go tell your wife.  That‘s not going to happen.  It‘s foolish.  They need to change the policy. 
SCHULTZ:  A.B., do you think the White House really wants to do this?  STODDARD:  No.  I‘m hear to weigh in on the politics of this, not the policy.  I will tell you, I‘m surprised the Democrats are pushing this.  Senator John McCain, a leading opponent, is pushing the military brass, which is divided on this issue, getting letters to try stop this from being attached to the Defense Authorization Bill for this purpose: it‘s going to divide the Democratic party. 
It‘s putting pressure on Democratic lawmakers who are facing tough reelection this fall in very tough campaigns to take a vote they don‘t have to take.  This is going to be studied by the Pentagon.  The results are coming in in December.  So this compromised bill says let‘s just say—let‘s take a vote here in the Congress and then we can wait and we won‘t repeal it until the Pentagon study is finished.  Wait for the study to be finished.  It‘s too much of a political vote.  I don‘t know why the Democrats are doing it. 
SCHULTZ:  Politics in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, the numbers show that his most recent misspeaking about his service in Vietnam is not going to hurt him.  He‘s up 56 to 31, 10 percent undecided.  Sixty one percent say the controversy won‘t affect the vote.  Jack, are you surprised at this strong showing after a controversy? 
RICE:  It‘s actually pretty astounding.  If you look at the numbers right now, I guess it has to do with name recognition.   Let‘s be honest, we have a long way to go in this race.  Things can change dramatically over time.  We‘ll see what sort of long term impact this is going to have.  This one is up in the air. 
SCHULTZ:  A.B., did he weather the storm? 
STODDARD:  I agree, I think that it‘s a not over.  I think those polls will tighten further still. 
SCHULTZ:  OK, thanks so much.  A.B. Stoddard, Jack Rice, with us tonight on our panel.
Coming up, now more than ever, we need to realize how dangerous our dependency on oil is.  Even if we stop the drilling here, we still need break free from foreign addiction.  It‘s a national security threat.  More on that in the playbook coming up.  Stay with us.
SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, a discussion about this commercial.  
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I signed on with the National Guard, I did it to help protect America from our enemies, like in the Persian Gulf, not to clean up an oil company‘s mess here in the Gulf of Mexico.  We‘ll do whatever mission we‘re given and do it well.  But America needs a new mission.  Because whether it‘s deep drilling oil out here or spending a billion dollars a day on oil from our enemies overseas, our dependence on oil is threatening our national security. 
SCHULTZ:  While millions of gallons of oil are in the Gulf of Mexico, threaten our environment, our dependence on oil from places like the Persian Gulf threatens our national security.  The veterans group is pushing Congress to pass clean energy legislation now to start reducing our reliance on foreign oil. 
Let me bring in tonight Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of  Very aggressive ad, Jon, no question about it.  Are you saying that we should not have National Guard troops down helping out?  JON SOLTZ, VOTEVETS.ORG:  Well, look, everything that Vote Vets does hits hard.  It‘s not that we‘re saying National Guard troops shouldn‘t be helping out.  But National Guard soldiers are always going to be available for national emergencies like Hurricane Katrina.  It‘s extremely unfortunate that they have to clean up messes for trillion dollars profits of oil companies like BP. 
So I think it‘s unfortunate the National Guard‘s helping out.  But I don‘t think we‘re obviously opposed to them, considering the situation, helping whatsoever.  But we‘re trying to draw that contrast .  SCHULTZ:  Do you have the public with you on this, that this is a wake-up call and now there‘s veterans group that‘s very active, that is pretty much saying that? 
SOLTZ:  Well, over 70 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Ed, support energy independence legislation.  I think what we‘re really trying to get out in this ad is, look, we have members of our military that involved here to clean up this mess for big oil companies, and that now is the time, more than any time, to pass this clean energy climate legislation. 
Now, Senators Kerry and Senator Lieberman did sponsor the legislation several weeks back and dropped it on the Senate floor.  What we‘re really asking here with this 1.5 dollar million buy is, hey, call your senators and say, let‘s move on this thing in the Senate and get it passed.  SCHULTZ:  Do you think this oil disaster will help your case?  Timing is everything. 
SOLTZ:  Look, it better help the case.  It‘s ironic, because you‘ve seen certain people walk away from this debate because of the oil.  Someone like Senator Lindsey Graham comes to mind.  He was very involved with Senator Kerry on this.  He talks a lot about his military service.  I‘d like to ask Senator Graham, you talk about being a veteran, you talk about being soldier or airman, I‘m surprised he is going to walk away from the battle.  That doesn‘t seem like something that certainly within his character.  We really think that if not now, when is the time to pass this legislation?  I think in the next couple weeks, we‘re going to see a real movement towards that. 
But this disaster must be used to make something positive, not just pass energy independence, but climate legislation, because both affect American security. 
SCHULTZ:  John Soltz, always a pleasure, a very strong ad.  I think the people will connect to it.  Thanks so much. 
SOLTZ:  Thank you.
SCHULTZ:  Couple of final pages in my playbook tonight; Congressman Barney Frank, the newest Birther that‘s out there.  Not quite, but he had a little fun with the newest Republican congressman from Hawaii, Charles Djou.  Like President Obama, Mr. Djou was born in Hawaii.  At the swearing in, Barney jokingly told the media to review his birth certificate.  Sammy Sosa is safe from Congress calling him out.  The House Committee on Oversight won‘t ask the Justice Department for perjury investigation regarding Sosa.  At a Congressional hearing back in March of 2005, the slugger said, quote, “I have never taken illegal performance enhancing drugs.”  But last year, his name did appear on a list of players who allegedly failed drug tests in 2003. 
Over a month into the oil disaster, James Carville finally decides to freak out about the situation.  Take a look.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN ANALYST:  He could be with the Corp of Engineers and the Coast Guard wit ht people in Plaquemines Parish, doing something about these regulations.  These people are crying.  They‘re begging for something down here.  It just looks like he‘s not involved in this.  You have to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing, get this thing moving.  We‘re about to die down here.  (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Ya-ya-ya.  We‘re all concerned about what‘s going on in the Gulf.  But, Mr. Carville, isn‘t that kind of grandstanding?  Where were you in week one?  Didn‘t you see this disaster coming?  He‘s Johnny-come-lately on the oil story. 
Coming up, Arizona‘s immigration crackdown is so bad, the cops don‘t even like it.  They ran to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday to complain.  Congressman Bilbray is one of the big supporters of the law.  He‘s in the hot seat next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.
SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, the fight over Arizona‘s anti-immigration law is about to get uglier.  Attorney General Eric Holder is preparing to sue the state of Arizona, while 18 other states are looking to enact copycat laws.  A group of police chiefs told the attorney general yesterday the Arizona law will hurt public safety. 
In the hot seat tonight, Brian Bilbray, Republican congressman from California tonight.  He‘s a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus.  Congressman, you have the American public on your side.  An NBC news poll shows that 61 percent of the American people support this law.  How do you account for so many in law enforcement that are very concerned about it?  And what do you make of the attorney general getting ready to sue Arizona? 
Where are we?
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY ®, CALIFORNIA:  Ed, as you know, I grew up on the border.  I‘ve watched this issue.  Back when Sylvestre Reyes was border patrol in El Paso, when he started Operation Hold the Line, there were people raising cane with him about that, and border patrol agents who didn‘t like the concept.  Back when Duncan Hunter started the border fence, there were border patrol and law enforcement said the fence won‘t work, it won‘t protect San Diego. 
Every time you have a new proposal—back when Bush started talking about bringing the National Guard down to the border, there were people raising cane and saying, that won‘t work.  I think the biggest problem people have to understand is the American people have heard—every time there is a proposal to address this issue, everybody finds excuses to say, no, no, let‘s not do that, let‘s not do this. 
SCHULTZ:  Now we‘re going into a new area, where the United States attorney general going to sue a state and 18 states are lining up with Arizona.  What do you make of this?  
BILBRAY:  I think the problem is that the attorney general needs to read the law first, and give the common decency to the people.  SCHULTZ:  He says he has.  But he‘s operating on the side of law enforcement officials who don‘t want it.  He‘s listening to them.  Is he correct? 
BILBRAY:  He‘s not listening to the rank and file that say they‘re really frustrated with city that—like Arizona has and California has, that are so-called sanctuary cities, put a gag order, says even if you know somebody is illegally in the country, you have to look the other way.  Ed, you‘ve got to remember, in San Diego County, my county, over 50 percent of the top ten wanted -- 50 percent are illegally in the country.  You can‘t separate law enforcement in these little slices.  You got to remember, we‘ve now got local law enforcement people working in Stone Garden that are stopping smuggler, both alien and drug smugglers.  SCHULTZ:  Quickly. 
BILBRAY:  Those are things they never did before.  SCHULTZ:  Congressman, quickly, what did you think of the president‘s response today to the immigration question? 
BILBRAY:  I think that he‘s avoiding the facts.  And I think he needs to say, look, we have disagreements.  Ed, you know we ought to all agree to go after the employer.  If we can‘t go after the employers now, with the Democrats in control, how the heck do we suspects to do it when the Republicans are in control?  Republicans and Democrats ought to agree.  SCHULTZ:  When you guys had control, you didn‘t do it. 
BILBRAY:  Absolutely.  That‘s why the Republicans were thrown out.  That‘s why I‘m trying to tell my Democratic colleague, let‘s do the right thing and maybe the public will appreciate it. 
SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 
BILBRAY:  Thank you, Ed, as always. 
SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Telephone survey, I asked the audience tonight, are you satisfied with President Obama, how he has handled the oil crisis?  Sixty three percent of you said yes; 37 percent of you said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, you go to or our radio website,  From Minneapolis tomorrow night.  Right now, it‘s “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.
Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>