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Hannity

Louisiana Lawmaker to Obama: Time to Do Your Job in the Gulf

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: With bleak predictions for progress in the Gulf coming from all sides the president hit "The Today Show" and worked up some mock outrage over the continuing crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right. Does the anger and foul language seem a little odd, though, coming from the man who spent much of the last year calling for more civility in politics?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA, FEB. 4: At times it seems like we're unable to listen to one another, to have at once a serious and civil debate. And this erosion of civility in the public square sows division and distrust among our citizens that poisons the well of public opinion.

OBAMA, MAY 1: The second way to keep our democracy healthy is to maintain a basic level of civility in our public debate. We can't expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, now the president's ham-handed response to the disaster in the Gulf has elicited actual outrage from some lawmakers. Now take a look at Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, who has been voicing his frustration from the very beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONGRESSMAN STEVE SCALISE, R-LA.: We need a quarterback on the field like the law says the president is supposed to be. He's not supposed to be the commentator in the booth.

And so all we're doing is saying we're tired of the excuses, Mr. President. It's time to live up to your obligation under the law. Help us protect our marsh. If you don't have a plan, we do, but you're not letting us implement our plan. Get out of our way and approve our plan. Otherwise you come up with your own. But this is inexcusable.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, now meanwhile it looks like the president may need to go back to the drawing board and carefully calibrate another response because matters in the Gulf may be taking a turn for the worse.

Now according to Business Insider, another oil rig is leaking in the Gulf near the site of the original Deepwater Horizon explosion. Now this photograph shows a ship emitting what looks like an oil dispersant into the water. Now the second rig is reportedly operated by Diamond Offshore which was hired by a private energy company to plug and abandon the well.

And joining me now with reaction is Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise.

Congressman, I got to tell you. I share your outrage. I don't hear a lot of criticism. What do you think has gone wrong here?

SCALISE: Well Sean, it's good to be with you. But what we've seen from the beginning is the president trying to figure out a way to blame everybody except accepting his responsibility under the law.

The Oil Pollution Act actually governs what's supposed to happen during an oil spill. And the Oil Pollution Act says the president should direct the mitigation. And instead all he's doing is yielding a lot of this power to BP, allowing BP to call many shots on the ground that they shouldn't be in charge of.

Our local officials and first responders shouldn't have to go to BP to get permission to do things. And then every time something goes wrong the president and everybody in the White House just points the finger and nobody is held accountable.

HANNITY: OK —

SCALISE: We want leadership.

HANNITY: Hasn't that been the MO from the very beginning? He told a group of students the other day, you know, to take responsibility but this president seems to always revert back to blaming Bush.

But if you look, for example — even Charlie Rangel said I don't think the administration has a clue. More than 2/3 of Americans rate the federal government's response to the oil spill as negative. That tops the numbers in terms of negative response about Katrina.

And it's only going to get worse from here. And it seems the president, the only thing he's been good at here, is sending in lawyers, using it for political purposes, to put a moratorium on drilling; to use it to, you know, force or push his cap-and-tax legislation. And then they're talking about tax hikes for the oil companies.

Why don't they just plug the damn hole to quote the president?

SCALISE: Well, you know, if he just focused on his job under the law instead of looking around and pointing fingers when things go wrong. He'll give a speech and he'll say I've been in charge from day one. And then we've got problems on the ground and our local leader is saying we're not getting the resources we need. And then the White House says, you know, that's BP's fault.

Well, who's in charge? If the president is responsible for the things going on, when things go wrong it seems like he doesn't want to be held accountable.

HANNITY: What do you —

SCALISE: That's not leadership.

HANNITY: What do you think about — we've spent a lot of time going over the president's schedule here. The president had a couple of concerts at the White House. He's at a state dinner, he's been to the Correspondents Dinner, he's played golf a number of times.

He's had photo-ops shooting hoops. A lot of other government officials, they're shooting water guns at each other. What do you think of their response?

SCALISE: Well, you can tell in the first month you just did not see any sense of urgency from anybody in the administration. You know you'd have Cabinet officials coming down talking tough and then nothing would get done. And literally days would go by.

We were just trying to protect our marsh. We didn't want to sit back and wait for oil to come into our vital estuaries and our seafood beds. We wanted to protect our marsh and we got absolutely no help. And in fact, when we had a plan to put sand barriers up it sat on the bureaucratic desks in Washington for over three weeks before anything happened.

HANNITY: Well —

SCALISE: And the president didn't get engaged in that.

HANNITY: Well, explain this to me. They can't do a berm. There's no more chemicals being used — chemical dispersement. They can't build any barriers. Governor Jindal has been complaining that no equipment has been sent and he's been asking for that for a long time.

And I think the most outrageous discovery is that we find out that the CEO of BP and the president have never spoken. Fifty days into this, I'm a little shocked at that, aren't you?

SCALISE: Well, you know, it's shock and outrage that you just don't see the kind of engagement that we should have had, not after 50 days where we are now. That should have been happening on day one and it just didn't happen. And yet you're still seeing these kind of problems on the ground.

Just over a week ago there were 50 boats sitting idle at the dock that were supposed to be out putting boom when oil was coming into our marsh. Now you don't have all hands on deck and you're not totally focused on our recovery when you let 50 boats sit idle at the dock that should have been putting out boom. Those things are — should not be happening. It's unacceptable.

HANNITY: Yes. I was interested in your comment that you call the president the finger-pointer in chief. Has there been any reaction to that?

SCALISE: Well, you know, early off I tried calling the White House. We wanted to get the president engaged in some of the things that we need his help with on the ground. And — for whatever reason, he didn't want to call me back, he didn't want to help. But every time something went wrong he was quick to point fingers at other people.

And we pointed out, Mr. President, you've got responsibilities of your own under the law. You're not some spectator in the luxury box. You're actually supposed to be the quarterback on the field and you're not doing your job. And then he comes up with this crazy idea of a moratorium on drilling that would run 40,000 jobs out of our country…

HANNITY: That's crazy.

SCALISE: … and make us more dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

HANNITY: At this point in time with the economy where it is, it's absolutely crazy. But I'm sure when all is said and done, Congressman, somebody will blame George Bush, probably the president.

SCALISE: Well, you know, we just want leadership. And we've got ideas of our own. We want to be able to protect our marsh. But the president has got a job to do and he's got to live up to his responsibilities under the law as well.

HANNITY: All right, Congressman, we got to run. Thanks for being with us.

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