This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 17, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: All right, we’re just getting in to our newsroom a statement by Ken Feinberg. He’s on this independent claims facility to sort of pay out those who have lost money or think they have lost something as a result of the Gulf disaster.
He says, "I have been asked by the president of BP to design, implement and administer an independent claims facility to process thousands of claims arising from the BP tragedy." He goes to say that: "I assure everybody that the facility will be administered in a fair and impartial manner."
Here’s what caught our attention, though. "Time is of the essence," Mr. Feinberg writes. "I urge all those who have suffered financial loss as a result of the oil spill to file a claim as soon as possible."
To Rudy Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York City, of course there during 9/11. Ken Feinberg the guy who was on that 9/11 compensation panel.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Right.
CAVUTO: What do you think of all this?
GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I should tell you that Ken Feinberg is a friend for 35 years. We served together in the U.S. Attorney Office. And I was one of the people who recommended him to Attorney General Ashcroft for the prior job in dealing with the 9/11 claims.
And I think, if you have to do this — and I’m not sure this is the right way — but, if you have to do this, couldn’t have picked a better person.
CAVUTO: In other words, he’s a guy to make a fair and orderly dispensation of it?
GIULIANI: Absolutely. Absolutely. He will do this in a fair way. He’s done it many times. He will do it with objectivity.
And he had to wrestle through some horrendous problems with September 11, all kinds of issues. And he — it took a while. The idea of doing it expeditiously may be over promising a little bit. But the reality is, it’s more important that it be done and be done fairly.
CAVUTO: He made very controversial calls back then, as you know, Mayor...
GIULIANI: Yes, they were gutsy.
CAVUTO: ...that you award differently the family of a fallen firefighter than you would the family of a fallen Cantor Fitzgerald broker. And he had formulas, different formulas set up.
If he were to do the same thing here in the Gulf, there’s going to be controversy all over again.
GIULIANI: There’s no question that Ken is going to walk into a lot of controversy.
GIULIANI: He is used to it. He will handle it. You might not agree with all the decisions, but...
CAVUTO: What you do you make of the fact the "time is of the essence" deal?
GIULIANI: Time is of the essence, but the reality is, this is going to get real complex and it’s probably going to take longer than people anticipate.
But this was a good appointment. It’s the first appointment they have made of somebody with real experience doing this. This whole commission thing looks like a seminar at Harvard. The people they select are all academics.
CAVUTO: You’re talking about the moratorium commission.
GIULIANI: Yes. I was the keynote speaker at the oil and gas conference a couple of days ago, which is a heck of a time to be doing it.
And here’s the point that I think is overpowering here. They haven’t really called on the industry to help them, because they seem to hate the industry. But the reality is, they’re the only ones who really know how to remediate an oil spill.
And what the president should have done, if he understood crisis management in the slightest, at the very beginning, day one, two, day three, not 50 days later, he should have called up the major oil companies. He should have found out who are the world-class people for remediating oil spills.
After all, this happens. And there are people that are good at it and people that are not so good at it. He should put have together a group that could oversee what BP was doing, so he didn’t leave himself in the hands of just BP.
After all, what President Obama did is put us completely in the hands of BP. His press secretary — how many times did his press secretary come out in the first 40 days and tell us, BP is in charge? Well, now the president tells us he was in charge from the very beginning, but that is not true.
CAVUTO: But now flip it around. Now he saying no oil guys are in charge of this moratorium...
GIULIANI: Well, how could you — how can you — how can you fix a plumbing problem without a plumber?
GIULIANI: You going to bring the guys who teach plumbing?
CAVUTO: Giving their due and...
CAVUTO: But they’re saying, look, it would be akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. We’re showing the various groups that are on this commission. You’re right. Not a one of them have to do with...
GIULIANI: All have academic, completely academic backgrounds. Look, he’s got the fox in charge of the henhouse. BP, right, right?
The absurdity of this is monumental.
CAVUTO: So, what would you have done? What would you have done?
GIULIANI: He’s got his attorney general investigating BP for crimes. I question whether it makes sense to be doing that in the middle of all this. It only distracts them.
He’s investigating them for crimes and he has them in charge of doing it completely, with no independent advice, no independent help from real people who have done it before.
The president of the United States, thinking about the interests of the country, should have said, no matter whether BP was right or wrong, I need independent advice. I need real people who have done this for other companies, not for BP, who can go in there and tell me, is BP making the right estimates?
After all, BP has a conflict of interests. I want to know if these are the right procedures. Are there better procedures that they use in Norway? Are there better procedures that they use in the Caspian Sea? Are there better procedures that they use Alaska?
And I want to know, day-to-day, are — am I getting the right information from BP or aren’t I?
CAVUTO: But let me ask you this, Mayor.
GIULIANI: If you have a bunch of academics, you’re not going to get that because they haven’t had any experience at doing this. When we faced a possibility here in New York of chemical and biological attack, three days after September 11, I called in all of the experts, academic experts, Nobel Prize laureates, and doctors who had dealt with anthrax, doctors who had dealt with various forms of chemical and biological attack.
GIULIANI: I sat them down for four hours in a — in Gracie Mansion in the basement, secret meeting. And what I went through with them is everything I might face if there was anthrax attack, a something other attack, whatever there might be, because I didn’t understand it.
But I wanted to make sure I had my city in the hands of the best people. And, then, lo and behold, less than a month later, we had an anthrax attack. And I thank God forever that I had done that, because we were ready for it.
CAVUTO: The speed of this, if you don’t mind my getting back to the compensation fund, normally, when you rush money out, it gets into the wrong hands, or questionable hands, or too much money gets into many too undeserving hands.
CAVUTO: I guess what I’m asking you is this. I have talked to a number of congresspeople today, who say, this is a starting figure. A $20 billion fund is a start.
What does that tell you?
GIULIANI: What it tells me is BP has a bigger problem than they probably think they have.
CAVUTO: One Republican congressman called it a shakedown.
GIULIANI: I wouldn’t go that far. I mean, there’s no question that there are valid claims out there. And there are some valid claims that have to be done expeditiously.
The president has produced some of the problems. And, long-term, they may be bigger problems than even the oil spill, with this moratorium. I mean, he’s got 7,000, 8,000 people out of work by his action, which appears to be action that was unwarranted.
CAVUTO: But is it BP’s responsibility to pay for those affected by the moratorium? You’re a great legal scholar.
GIULIANI: I think BP will cave in and say yes. In a way, the president should pay for it. I mean, he put them out of work.
CAVUTO: I don’t know, Mayor. I got the sense from BP that — the guy is — the chairman is Swedish, but I think he said, no way.
CAVUTO: You know what I’m saying? Like, I don’t think he signed on to that.
GIULIANI: I’m not sure what he signed on to. But I think he — you know, he’s going to have a hard time disagreeing. But the reality is that we right now have thousands of people out of work because the president decided to close down all but a very, very few shallow water drilling.
Thousands of people are out of work. They do not have to be out of work. It looks like that report was rigged, to use an unfortunate metaphor, I guess. The report was rigged in order to satisfy some environmentalists who are really unhappy.
CAVUTO: All right.
GIULIANI: There’s no reason to — there’s no reason to stop drilling. And one of the other things that the industry experts told me was that a lot of these rigs, if we don’t start using them, are going to move somewhere else.
CAVUTO: They already are, by the way. They already are. Chinese are coming in, you know.
GIULIANI: You don’t get them back.
CAVUTO: You’re right.
GIULIANI: I mean, this is a — it could be a two-year problem.
CAVUTO: At least. At least.
GIULIANI: And it may be bigger and more damaging than the oil spill itself. The president’s action could be more damaging.
Mayor, thank you. Always good seeing you.
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