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Hannity

'Hannity' Focus Group Fired Up Over Obama's Oval Office Address

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So on the 57th day since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the Gulf Coast, the president tried to make up for his inaction on the crisis by delivering a primetime address from the Oval Office.

Oddly, he spent a lot of time talking just about how on top of this crisis he and his administration have been.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation's history.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, I guess that's why everything in the Gulf has gone so smoothly over the past two months. And of course the president didn't miss the opportunity to politicize the issue. To the "Anointed One," this oil spill provides an excuse to push Democratic initiatives from cap-and-tax. Well, to take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America's innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy. Because long-term costs to our economy, our national security and our environment are far greater.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, for reaction to the president's address we go now live to Frank Luntz who's in Los Angeles with a group of great Americans who are ready to respond to what they heard tonight. Frank?

FRANK LUNTZ, THE WORD DOCTORS: Sean, thank you very much for going to the American people, not just the pundits. And you're on. What did you think of the speech? Positive or negative?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Negative.

LUNTZ: Why negative?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went into areas of cap and trade when we're still trying to fix the problem.

LUNTZ: Did he say what you wanted him to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he missed the mark. He talked too much about his political agenda.

LUNTZ: Do you agree?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I totally disagree. I think he did an excellent job considering that he only has limited resources. He's trying to do the best he can with what he has.

LUNTZ: How did he perform?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The speech should have been done 50 days ago. It just failed, in my mind.

LUNTZ: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. If this was done on the first day of the spill I think he'd be a hero by now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It couldn't have been done in the first day of the spill. There was not enough information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did know about it for the first six days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he chose not to listen to the scientists. He listened to BP right from the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that he listened to BP right from the very beginning. And the point is that now he's saying that he's got the scientists, he's got the best of the scientific world and the academic world and they're all coming together to make a decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And yet we heard solutions tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there was no scientific evidence.

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: There are two points, there are two moments when you all were using those dials — if I may have one of these? They were reacting on a second by second basis. The higher that they've turned their dials the more favorable the reaction.

Early in the speech, Barack Obama talked about what should happen with BP. Let's take a look. Remember the higher the lines go, the more favorable the reaction. Let's see what our American panel said about Obama's speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of this company's recklessness.

And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

LUNTZ: Now that's a strong statement. Who had a favorable reaction to that, raise your hands. Who had a negative reaction? What the hell do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why a third party? Why not the government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean this is a national security —

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does not have the authority to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the president of the United States. He cannot do — can't do it. It's in the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's in the Constitution and I believe the law says there is a cap on the liability BP should — now and BP has promised to go beyond that.

LUNTZ: But shouldn't BP be held accountable? Don't you like it —

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

LUNTZ: What do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think somebody he's holding them accountable enough. I think somebody needs to go to jail as an abject lesson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?

LUNTZ: How many of you by a show of hands —

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crime against nature. Crime against nature.

LUNTZ: How many of you by a show of hands would send the CEO of BP to jail? Raise your hands? Only three of you.

We've got another clip and this one you're going to watch the Obama lines and the McCain lines divide tremendously over the issue of a national commission. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The families I met with last week, who lost their loved ones in the explosion, these families deserve to know why. And so I've established a national commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.

Already I've issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs. But for the sake of their safety and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

LUNTZ: OK. The public is watching you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

LUNTZ: How many of you agree with —

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Do you always shout out when someone is speaking?

(LAUGHTER)

LUNTZ: How many of you agree with what he just said? Raise your hands. How many of you disagree with what he said? What's the problem with it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He comes off like he's a community organizer. And bottom line it, behind it all, it seems as through there's some legislation that he feels as though he needs to get through, needs to get passed.

If he was a real leader, the oil would have never have reached the shores. That's what an administrator would have done.

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Hold on. You're telling me that you think that Barack Obama could have actually stopped the oil from flowing out of —

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

LUNTZ: Oh come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an administrator —

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Stop. Stop. We're on national television, I remind you.

(LAUGHTER)

LUNTZ: Sean — Sean, I want to emphasize this, because it's going to upset them if they actually pay attention. But the McCain people in the entire session barely gave Barack Obama over a 50.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true. That's not true.

LUNTZ: I think that — for most of you.

I think we've now reached a point where we've become so divided that we're not even listening to what our leaders are saying.

HANNITY: One second, Frank.

LUNTZ: If we disagree with them or agree with them and how we voted. Go ahead.

HANNITY: Frank, first of all, it's — I love when you — you scold me more than the panel, which is interesting. But here's a serious point. One of the panelist said something that I think was very profound. This speech should have been given 50 days ago.

Now I want to throw out a few facts and get their reaction to it. The thing that has made me most angry in all of this is there were things we can do. We learned that the Dutch government three days after the explosion, they offered skimmers. Skimmers that would have extracted 20,000 tons of sludge a day.

We rejected it, in writing. The British similarly offered help. We have a warehouse in Maine with all of these booms. We haven't tapped those booms. In other words, they sent down the lawyers, they blame BP, they talk about money.

Why didn't they get all hands-on-deck from day one and give the speech on day one?

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Guys, how many of you agree with Sean? Raise your hands. OK, Sean, you won them over. Why? Somebody — tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's not getting done.

LUNTZ: Go ahead. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does. They didn't do the job right. He didn't call everybody down. I was in Europe. They want to help us. And we're turning them away just when — you know, Europe wants us to help them, we show up and they turn us away.

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: You're up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a community organizer, that's what he does best. And as a community organizer, the unions are the one who put him in office, and he's beholding to him. That's — that's why when you're talking about the Jones law, that's why he doesn't allow the other nations to come aboard.

LUNTZ: I know you don't agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't agree with that. I mean, first of all, I mean, if you consider BP there were some — there were things that could have happened before, true. However he acted in good faith. And when the spill broke out I don't —

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know that he acted in good faith?

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: OK, hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, wait, wait. He didn't even —

LUNTZ: Hold on. Sean — Sean, Sean — stop, stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact of the matter is we turned now to depression.

LUNTZ: Sean, Sean, all the time that I've done it, and this includes some pretty tough times this is the most onerous group that I have ever had. I know you have another question.

HANNITY: No, that — it means I like it. But here's the point here. I don't think anybody is going to disagree. This is a disaster. Here's the sad part. Our fishing industry is being destroyed, our shores are being destroyed, our tourism industry is being destroyed.

And I want to go back to this point. Skimmers were offered. Booms were available. The government did nothing. And I'm asking, after Katrina, after this, is this focus group losing faith in the government's ability to run things? And especially Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say that Obama has inherited this problem just like he's inherited many other problems.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And — OK, of course the McCain people. However, rather than continuing focus on what could have been done —

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The logistics of getting the skimmers — Sean, are you an expert on this kind of stuff? You understand the logistics of all this or did you just — you know, were you fed this on a teleprompter?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sick and tired of everything being — I mean the oil spill was not Bush's fault. How could it be Bush's fault when even Democrats as well get kickbacks from oil companies?

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ: Sean, I urge you at some point come on out to Southern California, just make sure you bring a flak jacket.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: Hey, can I say one thing? Thank you to everybody for participating. It's very informative, a lively group, and we really appreciate it. Give yourselves a big hand out there. Thank you very much.

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