Politics of Irene

Is U.S. government prepared to handle aftermath of massive storm?


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," August 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: The White House confirming President Obama will be cutting his vacation short by a few hours. Obama will be returning to Washington later tonight.

There's been a lot of politics surrounding this storm. Listen to the liberals spin a potential disaster as a win for Obama.


MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC: Is there potentially a rather dark downside this the storm, in that after the storm has passed, after it's over, there might be employment and reconstruction and things like that?

GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE, D-N.C.: Oh, I hadn't thought of that.


BOLLING: Yes. I don't think I thought of that either.

Really, 65 million Americans may be dealt a devastating economic and maybe life-threatening blow and that lefty arthropod thinks it might create or save a job.

Bob, an African government overthrown, the worst East Coast earthquake in decades, and now a potential American catastrophe -- and Obama has got to get the last round of golf in before he heads back to D.C.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: I don't blame him. I would, too.

Listen, by the way, you didn't ask about my stress test.

BOLLING: How did your stress test go, Bob?

BECKEL: Very well. I'm here to haunt you all for a long time.


BECKEL: Thank you very much.


BECKEL: Leave it to you to turn this hurricane into an Obama shot. Let's the person that deserves the real shot here, and that's one Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House of Representatives from Virginia. And Mr. Cantor says as he did when there were tornadoes in Missouri, we can't pay for this, disaster release fund. We got to find that money somewhere else.

Now, Eric, let me tell you something, boy, when this stuff happens, people -- there is money set aside for disaster relief. You ought to keep your stinking hands off it. And it ought to go to people who deserve to have it.

And about unemployment, you may make fun of that, but the fact is -- let me tell you something, after a disaster, there's always employment.

BOLLING: Andrea, well, you know, nothing else seems to be working. Maybe a hurricane will help out Obama and create a job or two.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Well, that's a really dark --

BECKEL: A job or two?

TANTAROS: A dark way of looking at things.

BOLLING: I'm sorry. That's what Barnicle said, that's what he said. He said, maybe this will create a job.

TANTAROS: Well, anytime in a liberal mind's that you're spending money, it's a good thing -- no matter how you're spending it, whether it's after a hurricane or not.

The reality is, what Cantor said may have been a little bit harsh, but it's the truth. I mean, after we spend so much money in so many federal programs, there's not money left. This is what we're facing now.

But Bob is right, there's already money appropriated for federal disasters.

BOLLING: Well, you know, we're broke, though.

GUILFOYLE: Yes. But, you know, when disaster strikes, we're going to have to find a way to pay for it. If he wants to be creative and find a way to pay for it if he wants to be creative and find other ways to cut, to balance this off. Then his spokesperson also said, we aren't going to speculate on damage before it happens, period. So, they're going to figure out, assess it. We'll see what the damage is when we get ahead of ourselves here.

BECKEL: Eric, I got an idea. Why don't we take all the federal money out of your district and those roads they're building down there, we'll use that?


GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Well, two things. What Barnicle is saying, it may be true, but you can't have it both ways. You can't use a disaster as an excuse for a crummy economy --


GUTFELD: -- and then use it to say it will help the economy. If that's the case, then we should have tragedies all the time. It's a strange logic.

But I got to agree with, Bob, about Cantor. I have a friend who, wherever we go, no matter what we do, he talks about girls. It doesn't matter. He's going, oh, did you see this girl? I'm seeing this girl. We'd been at the funeral.

It's the same thing with politics. At some point, you got to stop with the politics. It wasn't the right time to bring it up something, whether it's true or not --


GUTFELD: -- it's kind of people have other things to worry about.

BOLLING: But in one breath, in one breath, all you hear is a little bit of bad luck is the reason the economy is down, and also you remember the hurricane and the tsunami in Japan. Well, you're right, Greg --

GUTFELD: It hasn't even happened yet.

BOLLING: -- it's killing us when it happens over there. But what happens here might create jobs.

TANTAROS: But I do think Cantor is being anticipatory, in the fact that Democrats will likely use it as an excuse for more stimulus. I mean, they'll use it for more stimulus funding. You already heard Biden on the plane back from China talking about it. So, he's trying to get out there early in front and say, look, we'll do what we can, of course, to take care of the destruction and damage. But we're not going to use it as an excuse to blow more money on another failed stimulus. We're just not.

GUILFOYLE: Just a word of caution, I guess.

BECKEL: If he wants to take money out of someplace else, if he doesn't think there's money for disaster relief, which there is, Eric, then let's take it out of the defense budget. That's fine, perfect place to take.

BOLLING: When you say Eric, me or him?

BECKEL: Cantor.

BOLLING: Can we take a listen to what Mr. Obama said. He made this radio announcement made from the Vineyard. Take a listen here.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don't wait. Don't delay.

We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst. All of us have to take this storm seriously. You need to listen to your state and local officials, and if you are given an evacuation order please follow it.

Just to underscore this point, we ordered an aircraft carrier group out to sea to avoid this storm yesterday. So, if you're in the way of this hurricane, you should be preparing now. If you aren't sure how to prepare your families or your home or your business for a hurricane, or any other emergency, then you can visit, that's or


BOLLING: Robert?

BECKEL: Yes. You know, I thought that was a good warning from the president. That's too bad that didn't happen before Katrina.

BOLLING: Well, I think we're going to stay on this. Very quickly though --


TANTAROS: -- has not been fully rebuilt, and that was the president that the president made.

BECKEL: And the federal government is rebuilding it and they should rebuild it.

TANTAROS: They have not yet. Ask the residents down there. Obama dropped the ball on that one.


GUILFOYLE: -- vacation early, right, Greg?

GUTFELD: You know, Mayor Nagin was on MSNBC giving advice on hurricane preparedness. It's like Charlie Sheen giving advice on monogamy.

BOLLING: All right. Moving.

GUILFOYLE: Just like that.

BOLLING: We're going to leave it there.

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