Guests: Mike Frenette, Rep. Charlie Melancon, Ron Christie, Rep. Darrell
Issa, Heidi Harris, Karen Hunter, Leo Gerard, Lizz Winstead
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from Minneapolis.
These stories are on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” tonight:
President Obama goes to the Gulf Coast for firsthand look at the damage. He got an earful from local leaders fed up with B.P.‘s incompetence and government bureaucracy.
Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon was with the president today and he will join me in just a moment.
We now know it was Bill Clinton who called Joe Sestak to offer him an unpaid position. I think this whole thing reflects badly on Sestak. Congressman Issa is asking the FBI to get involved. I think that‘s a stretch. He‘ll join me at the bottom of the hour.
And Rand Paul‘s under fire again. He wants children of illegal immigrants stripped of citizenship.
This is the story that‘s got me “Fired Up” tonight. It is of course, day 39. And at this hour, B.P. still has no idea if the top kill method is going to work. The president made his second trip to the Gulf today, and delivered this message:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m here to tell you that you‘re not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind.
The cameras at some point may leave, the media may get tired of the story, but we will not. We are on your side and we will see this through. We‘re going to keep at this every day until the leak is stopped, until this coastline is clean, and your communities are made whole again. That‘s my promise to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: B.P. CEO, Tony Hayward, says, we‘re just going to have to wait this whole thing out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY HAYWARD, B.P. CEO: The operational risk has been reduced, but we don‘t know whether we will be able to overcome the well. And it will probably be another 48 hours, frankly, before we know whether we‘ve met with success.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: B.P. keeps—well, you know what they keep doing? They keep moving the goal post. They‘re sliding the deadlines because they really have no idea what in the heck they are doing. They‘re winging it. They‘re cutting corners. They‘ve been doing that since day one.
President Obama knows the people of the Gulf are on edge, because B.P.‘s greed has them facing the worst oil spill in American history.
Some folks are trying to make this political. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said, quote, “The president has not been as visible as he should have been on this, and he‘s going to pay a political price for it, unfortunately.”
Give me a break. I don‘t think the president or the people of Louisiana are worried about politics right now. They‘re worried about the oil that‘s hitting their shores and stripping them of our jobs, their homes and their way of life. Isn‘t that what they‘re worried about?
And in the meantime, the president has his hands tied by a multinational who puts the almighty dollar before any regard for human life. That‘s the way I see it.
President Obama—he has to fight this crisis really on two fronts:
protect the people of the Gulf and make sure B.P. is responsible for the nightmare that they created. That‘s whey he‘s down there trying to make sure that this thing is handled properly.
You know who else realizes this is about people and not politics?
Congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA: Our culture is threatened. Our coastal economy is threatened. And everything that I know and love is at risk. Even though this marsh lies—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the gentleman, and every member of our committee and every American is praying for the people of Louisiana and the people of the Gulf. It‘s just been unimaginable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We‘re going to talk to Congressman Melancon in just a moment.
But, first, let‘s check back with someone whose life is really being torn apart. His livelihood torn apart by all of this disaster. Captain Mike Frenette. He owns Venice Charter Fishing in Venice, Louisiana. He joins us right now.
Captain, good to have you on tonight. The president is down in that area. What are your expectations of his visit?
CAPT. MIKE FRENETT, VENICE CHARTER FISHING: Well, the expectations of the visit I was hoping to see is that president would visit the most devastated areas, the estuary or delta region south of Venice—the area that was impacted first, the area that is impacted the hardest, the area that still has oil inundated in certain areas, and has had oil inundated for the last couple weeks that we haven‘t seen retraction of that oil or anything really being done other than the booms put out there by our local government.
SCHULTZ: Mike, that‘s what I wanted to know. Have you seen, since the last time we had a conversation, any mobilization whatsoever? You and a few of the other locals down there are really sounding the alarm. Has that really gotten anybody to move? And do you see officials moving more urgently on this situation?
FRENETTE: As far as moving urgently on the situation, I would have to say, no. Are they moving? Obviously, they are.
The problem I have is, President Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, and I, as long as with a few other people visited an area a two weeks ago that we found tremendous saturation of crude oil, notified the Coast Guard of this area. And to this day, that oil still sits there.
And I don‘t understand by the president‘s figure, if we have 20,000 people on the ground at this point working this disaster, how come we can‘t get a couple of crews to get into this delta region, which is the richest estuary of the nation, supplies 30 percent of the seafood to the rest of the country, provides 30 percent of petroleum to the rest of country, the number one fishing destination in the country, and top-five fishing destinations in the world.
We need action. Political rhetoric, political talk is not going to go any further at this point to us.
SCHULTZ: The expense so far is being reported to B.P. as they have spent $930 million on this cleanup effort. And there‘s comments from your senator, Mary Landrieu, that they‘re going to make people whole. Do you believe that?
FRENETTE: At this point, it‘s very hard for me to believe that.
We‘ve been hearing that from day one that they‘re going to make us whole. They‘re going to make the community whole. They‘re going to make the commercial fishermen whole, the charter boat, the guide associations. Everybody involved in this industry from seafood packing companies to docks to charter boat guys, everybody.
And I‘m getting very concerned about that because we don‘t see any action towards that at this point. We need to see some activity. There‘s absolutely no reason why B.P. cannot form a mediation board. They know where we are. They know who we are.
We filled out forms immediately after the accident. There‘s
absolutely no way that we can‘t get involved with the people with B.P. that
have the authority—their litigation department, their legal department -
and start the process as far as compensation, what is right to these hardworking people in this area.
SCHULTZ: Captain Mike Frenette, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time so much. And thanks for speaking up.
Breaking news at this moment: a live press conference with B.P. is being held right now. Let‘s listen into it.
REPORTER: Things haven‘t been going fine. You say it‘s a dynamic situation. But my basic question is: why should—why should anyone believe you at this point when things you‘ve been saying, you‘ve been misleading us all along?
DOUG SUTTLES, B.P. COO: Well, if you just look at the course of today, I think that our CEO, Tony Hayward, was on the morning news programs and gave an update first thing this morning. Bob Dudley, one of our board members, was on television just earlier this afternoon giving an update. We‘re giving you an update now.
So, I do believe we‘ve improved frequency since yesterday. This is the third update we‘ve provided today. We tried—
REPORTER: But that information, itself, is not any more forthcoming. You said you weren‘t able to comment on the plumes because you didn‘t personally see it. So, I mean, really? You have 20,000 people, they didn‘t tell you what happened? I mean, none of this makes very much sense to a lot of viewers.
SUTTLES: Yes. I think the point on the—the point on the plume is that it was actually watching the plume is not an indication of how the job is going. In fact, you, yourself can watch the plume as well as everyone else can.
The fact—so I think that the point about the plume is actually just to recognize that watching that plume and what‘s coming out isn‘t an indication of either success or failure of the job. So, we tried to caution people all along about that and we continue to make those cautions.
We‘re trying to provide as much data as we can. We‘re in the middle of this operation. And actually, the various elements are driven by the results of the step before. That‘s the way it works.
As we‘ve stressed, the government is in watching with the job. They‘re part of the decision making on every step of the job. So, there‘s a tremendous amount of transparency here. I realize people would like to know every single moment of everything happening. I don‘t—
REPORTER: The important facts, sir, we‘d like to know those.
SUTTLES: Yes. We‘re doing our best to provide those. As I said, the job continues. It will continue as long as we think it will be successful. At other times we‘ll pump, at other times, we‘ll monitor the well, and other times, we‘ll use these materials to try to block up the flow.
And as the admiral has already stated, we‘ll give you updates regularly. And if something significant occurs, we‘ll make sure that‘s available as soon as it happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operator, move in to the next question.
REAR ADM. MARY LANDRY, U.S. COAST GUARD: I just want to—can I just add more thing? Because when you said plume, I thought of the other plume. And I did see something on the morning news showing this—it links back to the research vessel that had come back in and discovered—had gotten some data that shows there‘s a subsurface plume moving towards the Gulf coast.
I want to reassure all of you, when I promised the governors of the Gulf Coast States I would do this, that all the beaches are open with the exception of three in Louisiana and that we are absolutely working with the research—the University of Florida and the research vessel—to reassure folks we actually are getting half of the samples off that vessel to show you how clear the water is. You can have hydrocarbon readings that are very low that will produce a plume on their vessel, but actually it‘s not the huge amount of submerged oil, this wave of oil, that‘s going to come ashore on the Gulf coast.
We‘re really trying to work to fight this as far offshore as possible. So, thanks for reminding me about the plume, even though it‘s a different plume you were talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next question?
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from the line of Pat Powell (ph) with JWRA (ph).
PAT POWELL (ph), JWRA: Hey, good afternoon. I‘d like to switch gears and ask about some of the efforts on wildlife. We‘ve taken part in a couple of news conferences where you‘ve had wildlife specialists speaking, and they expressed some frustration about the numbers of wildlife that they‘ll probably never know about, that are not being washed up onshore. They‘re going to be out in the Gulf and up against the booms.
The question is: what instructions—with 1,300 folks out there—what instructions do they have if they‘re working on booms when they encounter injured or distressed wildlife or deceased wildlife?
LANDRY: That‘s a great question. And we actually have our remarkable network of wildlife rehabilitation folks involved. There are federal agencies, state agencies and the private sector throughout the Gulf Coast region. And there was a report yesterday—someone was told he wasn‘t supposed to report the number of birds, and actually, he was given corrections as to the number of wildlife, how many were oiled versus how many were in some other distress.
There are necropsies being done on all these animals, those reports and data being collected. And there has to be a full understanding of the impact this has on all species and all manner of wildlife. That‘s part of this response process. So, it is being done.
And I believe there are Web sites that are communicating to you the status of all the—you know, how many are—how many are brought in for treatment, how many—how many come in oiled versus it could be other stress, and how many are released, how many have deceased. And then they will be able to eventually normalize the data for what is the naturally occurring loss of wildlife in any given year versus what happened this year as a result of this oil spill.
And that will be part of what‘s called the natural resource damage assessment, and then B.P. will be responsible to make these species whole. And that is al part of this process. So, as we mentioned before, long after everybody‘s attention has gone from this spill, there will be a lot of work done to make sure we make this region whole.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next question.
POWELL: The question—the question is, though, what instructions have they been given if they encounter wildlife? Do they document it? Do they retrieve it and turn it in somewhere? What are they going to do?
LANDRY: The workers are not supposed to handle wildlife unless they‘re trained, unless they‘re specifically train. And I think what we can do for you is make sure—we have those instructions on our Web site, that maybe we need to push it out to go on some radio stations and stuff. If you could get ahold of our folks after this, call our Joint Information Center, and give us suggestions for how you think we can better communicate for everybody, especially, it‘s Memorial Day weekend, a lot of people are going to be out there that are going to want to try to help.
And we have trained volunteers. We have trained specialists. But certainly, probably—it‘s probably a good idea to let the average American know what they should do.
POWELL: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operator, next question and further ground rules, if you could please mute out after the question is asked.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Carol Rosenberg with “Miami Herald.”
CAROL ROSENBERG, MIAMI HERALD: Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
LANDRY: Yes, we can hear you.
ROSENBERG: OK. Just a bit of bookkeeping here. Are we going to get Memorial Day weekend updates on this thing? And then, I‘m sorry if I didn‘t hear it earlier, but how much mud was pumped since you resumed last night? And how many of these junk shots and how much volume of that?
SUTTLES: Well, the first part of your question, we‘ll continue to provide both through these press events, through these special speaker sessions that have been referred to earlier and through the website, the data through the weekend. Unfortunately, those of us here won‘t be able to take the holiday off. We‘ll continue to fight this event.
I don‘t have the exact numbers of the volume of mud pumped or the exact amount of this junk that was pumped. What I can tell you, though, is we have a very large amount of material and can replenish that on a regular basis. So, those won‘t be restrictions on the job. We can essentially continue to replenish this operation as long as we need to perform it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operator, we have time for two more callers.
Our next question comes from Kristin Hayes (ph) with “Reuters.”
KRISTIN HAYES, REUTERS: Hi, gentlemen, can you hear me?
HAYES: OK. I‘ve got two questions. You said during yesterday‘s call that you would restart pumping on Thursday night, which you did with the junk shot. Have you begun pumping mud again? And if not, when will you restart? And I have a follow-up.
SCHULTZ: You‘re watching a live press conference down in Louisiana, and not many answers there.
I guess I wonder, no one‘s asked the question: is there a communication center? Is there, like, a war room for the entire region? If there is one, I don‘t know about it.
Congressman Melancon joins us now. He met with President Obama today in Louisiana today.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
MELANCON (via telephone): Thank you, Ed. I appreciate you letting me be on.
SCHULTZ: Is there a war room? Is there a communication center, where there‘s a pulse center of connecting with everybody in the region on this effort?
MELANCON: Not that I know of. To the contrary, I think what‘s in the frustration is there‘s not an ability to get in or get information is the complaint that I hear. I heard your interview with Captain Frenette. And that frustration is echoed, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times over along this Gulf Coast.
I think it‘s a lack of communication or breakdown in communications. And that was part of what the conversations today with the president and Thad Allen and the governors and everybody else.
SCHULTZ: Well, if I was advising the president, I would advise him to get a war room and to get representatives from every state and every federal agency at the same place and communicate.
Here is the president today. The president today is saying: Call me if you don‘t like what‘s going on. Here‘s the cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I said this to every leader who was here. If something is not going right down here, then they need to talk to Thad Allen, and if they‘re not getting satisfaction from Thad Allen, then they can talk to me. There‘s nobody here who can‘t get in touch with me directly if there‘s an idea, a suggestion, or a logjam that needs to be dealt with. So, we‘re in this together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Congressman Melancon, are you satisfied that the president has taken command and control of this and has control of this? And do you believe he‘s that easy to get ahold of in this crisis?
MELANCON: Several things and let me preface it, because where you started playing in the meeting that we had, the discussions was that every day there‘s a conference call that has been going on since he first came down here. Some of the people that had frustrations, that verbalized them in the media had discontinued getting on those calls, and instead of getting on the calls and being vociferous about it and expressing themselves or just getting on the calls and not saying anything. And then additionally, Thad Allen has just come onboard the past week.
The response I‘m getting from the public officials is that they‘re seeing communication links being put together. There‘s not a body person, per se, from the Coast Guard, but there‘s a person assigned to each parish official, top official. That is making the links and then they‘re having these daily calls.
And the president told them, if you got a problem, express it. I don‘t know how to fix something that I‘m not aware of.
So, it really was a good meeting. A lot of good information put out there, suggestions. We had some good conversations about the barrier islands, cleared some air that the president didn‘t understand.
MELANCON: That he told Thad Allen, get this thing and let‘s get it moving quickly and the admiral said something about several days, he could get it in his schedule. And he looked at the admiral and said, that‘s not quick enough, I‘m talking about get this thing and get it done quickly.
So, the meeting was a very good meeting. If you hear otherwise, then those people that he asked to talk about the things when they had the opportunity—
MELANCON: -- weren‘t listening.
SCHULTZ: And, well, I‘m glad it‘s a good meeting because it‘s day 39 and you told us a week ago Thad Allen got engaged, that would be day 32.
SCHULTZ: Louisiana‘s 2.4 -- you agree with that? That is slow, is it not?
MELANCON: Oh, yes, no question. We‘re all frustrated here.
SCHULTZ: OK. All right. Louisiana‘s $2.4 billion fish and oyster industry is at risk. Direct question to you, Congressman: Is that industry lost?
MELANCON: It‘s not lost at this point in time because the actual oil has not gotten into the interior, into the extent or any of the areas yet where there‘s really a large quantity of oysters and the shrimp.
But if we don‘t plug this hole and then start trying to capture that oil, it will be at risk at some point in time. When that tipping point hits, it may have hit already. We‘re not aware of it. It may hit tomorrow, it may be another week, it might be a month.
You know, nobody knows the answer to that except the guy upstairs, and we‘re just—we‘ve just got to get this thing under control as quickly as possible.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Melancon, good to have you with us tonight.
Thank you so much.
MELANCON: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: The congressman from Louisiana—you bet—was meeting with the president today on the visit down into the Gulf area.
Coming up: Rand Paul has found his way back into the eye of the storm. New video shows him picking on children of illegal immigrants and dreaming about underground electrical fences?
All that plus a “FOX and Friends” and a Ron Burgundy moment.
And “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead is here to headline “Club Ed.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up: explosive new details on the Sestak job offer.
Rahm Emanuel got Bill Clinton to make the phone call.
But in my opinion, Sestak‘s story—well, it‘s got some holes in it. I‘ll never be able to see this guy the same way again. I just don‘t feel like I got the truth. I got a full commentary on that coming at the bottom of the hour.
But, first, I want to get your cell phone and I want to get you engaged in this. I want to know what you think on tonight‘s question, text survey question is: Who do you trust more, President Obama or Congressman Sestak? Text “A” for President Obama, and text “B” for Joe Sestak to 622639.
We‘ll bring you the results in just a moment.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul is an extreme righty, and an extreme hypocrite. Paul buys into the extremist anti-immigrant idea that we should start denying citizenship to some American-born children?
Here‘s what he told a Russian TV network during his post-victory media tour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAND PAUL ®, KENTUCY SENATE CANDIDATE: We‘re the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby then that baby becomes a citizen, and I think that should stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: His campaign stood by that claim today, but stripping U.S.-born babies of citizenship doesn‘t quite fit with Paul‘s rabid support of the Constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We have a good platform in the Republican Party. We need to elect people who will vote that way and who adhere to an interpretation of government that‘s limited by the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The 14th Amendment Section 1 of the United States Constitution reads like this, folks: quote, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
The Constitution is crystal clear on this. If you‘re born here you‘re a citizen no matter who your parents are or where they come from.
Joining me now is Republican strategist Ron Christie. He served as a special White House aide during the Bush/Cheney administration.
Ron, good to have you with us tonight.
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good evening, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
What do you make of this latest barrage of interesting comments and assertions by Rand Paul? Is he off base?
CHRISTIE: I‘m starting to wonder about this guy, Ed. First, you had the flap dealing with the African-American issue, and now you have this? For goodness sakes.
If he says that he‘s a strict adherent to the Constitution, you just read Section 1 from the 14th Amendment. But there was also an amendment that came out before that, Ed. It was the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that led to the language that we have in the 14th Amendment.
I‘m starting to wonder about this guy. He seems to step in it when it comes to civil rights issues and I just wonder whether we nominated the right individual to be the candidate for the Senate in Kentucky.
SCHULTZ: Well, also, you got a new maverick over there on the conservative side. I mean, he‘s been asked by some conservative leaders to stay out of the spotlight and he dives right back into it. Is this guy an unguided missile? What do you think?
CHRISTIE: He‘s starting again. I‘m starting to wonder, Ed, for goodness sakes. At least if he‘s going to go and talk about something, he should talk about topical issues of the day. If he wants to talk about immigration, let‘s talk about sealing the border.
But it seems to me when you start trying to strip away citizenship from people who are not—again, they didn‘t break the law, their parents may have, but they didn‘t break the law, they were born here. The Constitution is very clear.
This guy needs to keep his mouth shut, go out, campaign and win. But I just start to wonder. The latest poll I saw also had him within three points of his Democratic potential candidate. He could lose this race for the Republicans if he keeps this up.
SCHULTZ: Here is his comment on terrorism and illegal immigrants in this interview. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You also talk about an underground electrical fence. What is that about?
PAUL: I think that would be one way and I‘ve recently been talking also more about satellite observation. They say you can sit out in front of the store here with a newspaper and the satellite can read a headline on your newspaper. So, I think you can also monitor your border with satellites and you just have some means of intercepting people who can come in illegally. You could have helicopter stations positioned every couple hundred miles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts on that, Ron Christie.
CHRISTIE: I don‘t know the man, Ed. I‘ve never met him. It just seems a little off to me. What more can I say?
SCHULTZ: And you being a respected consultant, Ron, I‘ll take your word for it. He‘s a little bit off.
CHRISTIE: Yes, I think so, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight.
CHRISTIE: Always a pleasure.
SCHULTZ: Coming up—coming up: Joe Sestak came clean tonight, but I want more answers. Congressman Issa wants the FBI involved. I think that‘s a little overboard. He‘ll be in the hot seat next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. This Joe Sestak job offer story just has me cranked up, and curious. Today, we found out that last summer Rahm Emanuel asked Bill Clinton to reach out to Sestak. Clinton phoned up the congressman to find out if he would be interested in something like this, quote, “interested in service on the presidential or other senior executive branch advisory board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him an opportunity for addition service, which would have been uncompensated.” Meaning volunteer work.
You know the rest. Sestak stayed in the Senate race. He beat Arlen Specter. And now it‘s his responsibility to win the seat for the Democrats in November. I‘m shocked Sestak has been so misguided in all of this. I think Joe Sestak needs to step up and prove he‘s the admiral of integrity and not the sneaky politician Americans begin to dislike.
The entire ordeal surrounding Sestak started with his mouth and it can end with his mouth. It‘s clear, very clear. For the white house to offer a position to any politician, certainly it‘s not out of the ordinary, but Sestak let his ego, I think, get in the way and now the White House has got to deal with the hassle that they really don‘t need. In fact, they‘re put in an untenable position. Sestak tried to put the whole thing to rest on the steps of the Capitol just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA: This portion of the conversation
probably lasted—I mean, I‘m not exactly sure at the time. I would say
30 to 60 seconds. I mean, we were on in another conversation and it came
up during it. And it was almost as he was saying the words I kind of
almost felt like I was interrupting, you know, not—just Mr. President, I
would never—I would only get out of this or not get into it at the time
because I wasn‘t in the primary at the time—if I felt it was the right thing to do.
If I ever thought anything had been wrong about this, I would have reported it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, let‘s hold it right here for a second. This is where I‘m troubled: he just described it as a short conversation, 30, 40 seconds, whatever. Then why did Congressman Sestak embellish it so much and say that he had been offered a job by the White House? Of course, the network across the street, they‘re saying this is just like Watergate. Today, a bunch of Republicans sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, asking him to launch an investigation.
One of the Republicans backing this effort is Congressman from California, Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and he joins us here tonight on THE ED SHOW.
Congressman, good to have you with us.
REP. DARRELL ISSA ®, CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: What is—you bet. What is your biggest beef with all this? If it‘s a short conversation, if there was no money involved, if it was a volunteer position, what‘s the issue here, congressman?
ISSA: First of all, the law doesn‘t say volunteer/non-volunteer. A position is a position. These are valuable positions. They‘re career enhancing. And they do help advise and steer national policy. Having said that, you said it earlier. Congressman Sestak, Admiral Sestak, has been inconsistent in how he‘s characterized what occurred or didn‘t occur. It was very different in the beginning and over the last ten weeks.
The White House has spent ten weeks not providing an answer to something that in a page and a half they‘ve said everybody does it. Now, the fact is when our committee asked the FBI to investigate this—this is not to investigate this and find a bunch of people guilty. It‘s to get the honest facts, make an independent decision, and let‘s move on.
The president undoubtedly realizes that this is not the highest level of integrity that he promised the American people. But it came from Rahm, perhaps with his knowledge. He‘s got to move on beyond it. The easiest way to move on is take it out of the Congress, take it out of partisan politics. Let the FBI do an investigation, like they did in the travel firing in the Clinton administration.
Now, that was one of those things where when it was all over with, the FBI disagreed with the White House‘s independent, or non-independent investigation. But it did bring an end to this thing. People were compensated and we all moved on.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, this just seems to be such a gotcha moment for the Republicans. I mean, on the surface it‘s a—now we‘re finding out facts that it was just a 30-second passing conversation, running something up the flag pole. There was no official offer made. Doesn‘t it—I mean, can you see how many Americans view this as the Republicans are just on the hunt for the president?
ISSA: No, not at all. First of all, integrity is not about how casual it is or whether—
SCHULTZ: Where‘s the lack of integrity? Respectfully, congressman, where is the lack of integrity on this? That‘s where I‘m somewhat miffed on your part.
ISSA: Well, let‘s give on example. If you took Congressman Sestak out of a primary and you had a new Senator, if you will, Arlen Specter, who didn‘t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of donated Democratic-leaning money in the primary, it would have saved the Democratic National Committee broadly hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Additionally, they would have had a comparatively easy process.
Now that money has been spent. They‘re having to re-raise money. Right there hard, federal dollars, dollars you‘re not allowed to get by promising anything related to the government, were safe. Clearing—
SCHULTZ: It was an issue of choice.
ISSA: Ed, Ed—clear—clearing the primary, using an offer of a Congressional—through a congressman—of a position of any sort in the government is exactly the kind of corruption you cannot be allowed to have, period. And you know what?
SCHULTZ: You think this is corruption, congressman? Respectfully, you think this is corruption?
ISSA: Ed, you would probably say that the standards of the United States Congress are probably considered by the American people not to be very high when it comes to integrity. But under the last some years ago, Tom Delay was admonished. He was sanctioned for on the House floor saying, if you vote for Medicare Part D, I‘ll raise your son money in his primary campaign. Guess what? That was wrong. And that was a whole lot less within the letter of corruption than this was. And yet he was ethically out of bounds.
SCHULTZ: You‘re right. There‘s a big—wait a second, congressman. Respectfully, there‘s a huge difference between Bill Clinton picking up the phone and doing a 30-second conversation with Joe Sestak, and what Tom Delay did on the House floor. I mean, that‘s—that‘s really apples and oranges. I‘m out of time. I really appreciate you coming on. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much for joining us.
ISSA: I‘m sorry you don‘t consider corruption corruption anymore.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t believe this is corruption. I believe this is a congressman—
ISSA: it‘s a double standard. It‘s just a double standard, once again.
SCHULTZ: All right, good to have you with us, congressman. We‘ll do it again. Thanks so much.
Coming up, Sue Lowden should be scared as a chicken. Harry Reid is bringing the First Lady to his backyard. Rapid fire response coming up on that.
Plus, Brett Favre is being compared to the president. “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead is going to rip into Rahmbo in Club Ed. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW tonight here on MSNBC. Time for some Rapid Fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. Bill Clinton may not be helping Blanche Lincoln lock down Arkansas. Bill Halter just took the lead in the most recent poll.
Michelle Obama will head to Nevada next week to campaign for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has bounced back in the polls. Chicken Lady Sue Lowden is still in the lead to be the Republican nominee.
With us tonight, Karen Hunter, journalist and publisher, and also Heidi Harris, radio talk show host out of Las Vegas tonight.
Let‘s talk about what‘s happening in Arkansas. Heidi, who‘s going to win that race?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don‘t think Blanche Lincoln is. I don‘t think she‘s doing very well, because the problem she‘s got is people on the left are not happy with her, because it didn‘t go far enough with health care, and people on the right aren‘t happy with her either. So I‘m going for her opponent. I think he has a better chance.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Halter—go ahead.
KAREN HUNTER, JOURNALIST AND PUBLISHER: I agree with her. I hate to do that.
HARRIS: That was easy.
SCHULTZ: Well, he leads now in the most recent poll, 47 to 44, Halter leading Lincoln down in Arkansas. And an interesting development, obviously, in recent days, now. Today, Bill Clinton is down there campaigning for the senator. Here‘s what he had to say about the situation with Blanche Lincoln.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don‘t have a dog in this hunt. I got nothing against her opponent. But her opponent is not her opponent. Her opponent are the people that are trying to make her a poster child. Do I like her? Yeah. Will she cast a hard vote? You bet. You read what the Republicans said about her today. While they‘re saying she‘s not pure enough, they got to make here a poster child? The Republicans said she supported the president too much because she cast the decisive vote on health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Karen Hunter, what do you make of this?
HUNTER: I think it‘s time for President Clinton to step aside. He didn‘t do such a great job for his wife. It‘s ironic because Halter is one of his guys. He actually appointed him to the Social Security Administration. He‘s a smart guy. He‘s valedictorian. He‘s the Rhodes Scholar from Stanford. I think 12 years of Blanche Lincoln might be enough for Arkansas. I don‘t know. Maybe he‘s playing both sides behind the scenes.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, I have to admit, I‘ve never seen a politician stand up and say I don‘t have a dog in the hunt, but, by the way, I think you ought to vote for this person.
HARRIS: I know.
SCHULTZ: That‘s a strange one for me.
HARRIS: Bill Clinton is up to his eyeballs in the Sestak thing. That‘s the latest, as you know, on that, of course. He ought to work on his diet for Chelsea‘s wedding. That‘s what I think he ought to do.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let‘s talk about Nevada politics for a moment. What‘s happening? Harry Reid closing the gap on Sue Lowden right now. How do you see it? She still leads 42 to 39. But you have to admit, when we talked to you a month ago about this, harry was pretty far behind. It‘s closing in.
HARRIS: The problem is you have about 10 percent undecided. That‘s the big issue, isn‘t it. The recent Mason Dixon Poll, as you know, shows that Sue Lowden has the best chance of beating him. Some people think Sharon Angle is too conservative, Danny Tarkanian has lost a few points. The problem is how Sue is going to make it through the general election. The primary is one thing coming up June 8th. There‘s a lot of time between June 8th and November. And Harry is going to pull out all the stops, pull out all the money. Of course, national money coming from all over the country for Sue Lowden, should she prevail in the primary.
It‘s going to be an interesting time. I think what Harry is going to have to do is convince the people on the right that the candidate, whoever wins the primary, is not better than he is. That‘s the only way he‘ll win. He‘s not going to get more popular. His people will come out. If you can keep the right home, then he has a chance of winning. Otherwise, I don‘t know how he‘s going to pull it off.
SCHULTZ: Karen, what do you think? You have the stimulus package. You‘ve got health care. You‘re on the verge of Wall Street reform. There are a lot of good things that Harry Reid can talk about.
HUNTER: Harry Reid has delivered. He delivered Nevada for Barack Obama. He delivered Barack Obama even in the wake of everyone thinking Hillary Clinton was going to be the front-runner. Brining in Michelle Obama is brilliant. She is at a 70 percent approval rating. Her ratings are through the roof. They‘re better than Laura Bush‘s. She‘s one of those characters that I think is going to galvanize people, because she speaks with authenticity. She has a genuine love. I think that‘s a smart move on his part. He‘s going to pull this out.
SCHULTZ: Karen Hunter, Heidi Harris, great to have you on tonight.
Coming up, my next guest knows better than anyone that corporations own and run this country. The righties want not to be sure that never changes. Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers International, joins me and he‘ll call them out in just a moment. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook, the oil spill in the Gulf has made it clear that corporations, not Congress, are in charge of the United States of America. Republicans are working hard to keep it that way. My next guest knows this better than anyone. Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers International joins me tonight. We‘re seeing a multinational, I think, call the shots on our environment and run roughshod over the Congress.
Mr. Gerard, do you think this is America‘s political wake-up call?
LEO GERARD, UNITED STEELWORKERS INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT: Look it, Ed, I think that we need to make sure absolutely sure that we look at history, because what we see going on with BP is an identical event to what we‘ve seen going on, whether it was Enron, whether it was Tako, whether it was Worldcomm, whether it was the economic collapse, or whether just in the last week with Republicans doing everything they can to stop unemployment insurance extensions to the unemployed.
What we have is a government where the Republicans are standing up for corporations and the Democrats are spread all over the place. We need to start standing up for ordinary folks.
SCHULTZ: No doubt. Where are the Democrats on the 99@ers? I am being inundated with e-mails from folks losing their benefits. What‘s happening here?
GERARD: Look it, I think what we have to do is we have to have an unemployment extension. We have to have a Cobra extension. We‘ve got to get a jobs bill. We have still millions of workers out of work, millions of workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. Some of them are going to get unemployment compensation extension, but they will have to use it to pay Cobra. Some of them will lose payment unemployment insurance and then they will lose their Cobra.
And the Republicans have been trying to stop the jobs bill, the Cobra extension, and the unemployment extension. Clearly, what we have is Republicans who are willing to stand up for corporations. And look it, you‘ve got Bonior, the minority leader in the House, saying that we shouldn‘t call BP to task yet, We don‘t know the details. That is baloney. We need to take the cap off. BP has to be held for every bit of damage. They have to be held responsible for those 11 lives. We should not forget about the 11 lives and those families are destroyed.
So we need people to start standing up for ordinary folks and start holding corporate America accountable. They created the economic mess we‘re in. They created the environmental mess we‘re in. They created the jobs mess we‘re in. They created the health care mess we‘re in. And they‘ve had partners in crime with the Republican party.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us tonight.
Coming up, Linda McMahon—You bet.
Linda McMahon may be married to the WWE, but she‘s finally met her match. “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead joins me next in Club Ed. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back. If it‘s Friday, it‘s time for Club Ed with Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the “Daily Show.” You can also follow her at Twitter.com/LizzWinstead. Lizz, great to have you on every Friday.
LIZZ WINSTEAD, “DAILY SHOW” CO-CREATOR: Hi, Ed.
SCHULTZ: We‘re trying to plug this hole. What‘s your commentary on this? What are we doing?
WINSTEAD: I can‘t—you know, I watch the footage now and I feel like I should buy carbon offsets just to even watch news anymore, to see the footage. It‘s so depressing. I mean, I really don‘t understand who‘s doing what anymore. I mean, I don‘t blame Obama, but now it‘s Obama‘s problem. He didn‘t do it—you know, here‘s what I think. Tell me if you like this idea. I think all of the BP employees should have to have those house arrest ankle bracelets on. And if they‘re not cleaning up, then they should be thrown in jail immediately. If they wander away from the site at all, they should tossed in jail. Executives included.
SCHULTZ: That‘s a good idea. That‘s about one of the best ideas I‘ve heard. As far as—all we‘re hearing is the Congress is going to hold BP accountable. You‘re the only one that‘s come up with an accountability bracelet.
WINSTEAD: Yeah. When I‘m watching the news yesterday and I hear that, you know, they‘ve been there for 24 hours and they haven‘t seen any single person in the marshlands, it‘s like, you‘ve seen no one in the marshlands cleaning up? Then you hear stories of how they don‘t want them to wear toxic masks because it‘s a bad PR thing for BP, because then it makes it look really bad? These are things that are just horrible.
SCHULTZ: All right, let‘s talk politics. Was Joe Sestak offered a job or not? Bill Clinton involved, but it was really Rahm Emanuel. What do you make of this?
WINSTEAD: First of all, what is wrong with Darrell Issa? Today was kind of cook bag day for you on THE ED SHOW. Darrell Issa, has he checked in with his state recently? I was in California when they issued the pink slips to the teachers. He‘s got a lot going on in his state that‘s awful. What I don‘t understand is he was offered a quid pro quo for a no money thing. That doesn‘t really sound like a good deal. You wouldn‘t say to a nurse, hey, you want to be a candy striper instead? That might be better for you and there‘s no pain. That sounds awesome.
But it does stink of Rahm. Again, Rahm is sort of bad idea theater. I really think no Drama Obama should become no Rahma Obama. I think Rahm needs to go.
SCHULTZ: No Rahma Obama. Lizz Winstead, always great to have you with us. Thanks Lizz. you can catch Lizz—
WINSTEAD: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You can catch her act live at the Flint Center in Burlington, Vermont, on June 19th. For tickets, log on to FlintCenter.org.
Tonight in our text survey, I asked, who do you trust more, President Obama or Congressman Sestak? Eighty five percent of you said President Obama; 15 percent of you said Joe Sestak.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Have a great Memorial Weekend. Remember those who fought for our freedom on this Memorial Day. Let‘s remember them. We‘ll be back Tuesday at 6:00 Eastern here on MSNBC. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. Have a great weekend and honor those who served.
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