White House Spins Sluggish Oil Spill Response

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Questions continue to mount about the administration's sluggish response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now in response, some of its highest ranking members are insisting they are absolutely on top of things and have been from day one.

Take a look.



NAPOLITANO: From day one they were already pre-deploying vessels and boom.

NAPOLITANO: The Navy has been onsite from day one.

NAPOLITANO: From day one we were prepositioning more than 70 vessels.

NAPOLITANO: They actually have been there from day one.

NAPOLITANO: From day one.

NAPOLITANO: From day one.

NAPOLITANO: From day one.


SALAZAR: From day one we've been preparing for the worst case scenario.

SALAZAR: They've been working really from day one to try to figure out a way of stopping it.

SALAZAR: The president has directed from day one that we spare nothing at all in terms of the effort to prevent damage onshore.


HANNITY: Alright, now even at this point The New York Times is calling attention to the administration's inadequate response, quote, "The federal government had opportunities to move more quickly but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP."

Now that only that but the former manager of oil spill cleanup at the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association revealed that the government actually has a plan to deal with oil spills that was not activated even though it was preapproved for immediate use.

Quote, "They had preapproval. The whole reason the plan was created was so that we could pull the trigger right away instead of waiting 10 days to get permission."

And if that wasn't enough, the White House is now saying that this spill may jeopardize plans it had announced earlier this year for offshore drilling.

I knew it wouldn't take long for them to politicize the issue.

And joining me now with reaction is the author of the book — brand-new book, it's called "Power Grab," Chris Horner. And Eco Entrepreneur, clean tech investor, Howard Gould is with us.

Guys, welcome aboard.

You know, back to this guy from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because his comments are even more devastating than that. He said they probably didn't have the materials on hand to conduct the burn because the plan was — which they had preapproved — that they could burn this oil off so it wouldn't get onshore.

That they didn't implement it. And they didn't have the materials there. And he says it's unconscionable. Is he right?

HOWARD GOULD, ECO ENTREPRENEUR: Well, I absolutely think that he is right. I think that probably the mismanagement of this had a lot to do with the fact that BP was not revealing a full amount of information to the government and they — BP themselves probably didn't know the result of the spill.

So they didn't know how dramatic and how much was coming out. And I think that that's evident by the fact that they initially said it was 1,000 barrels.


GOULD: Five thousand. And now what they're saying — the Coast Guard commandant came out and said that we could be talking of almost 200,000 barrels a day now leaking out of this thing.

HANNITY: Well, which would make it —

GOULD: And then by no means we're near that number, but he's saying that is a possibility.

HANNITY: Well, it's a possibility but now is there still the potential that they can start burning? Chris, what are your thoughts?

CHRIS HORNER, "POWER GRAB" AUTHOR: No, you got your numbers mixed up. It's 5,000 barrels, 200,000 gallons. My thoughts are —


GOULD: Actually the commandant came out today and announced 100,000 barrels.

HORNER: You changed your name to Chris? The spin is brazenly dishonest. But think about the double standards, if the left were consistently awful and their friends in the media in dealing with these things we would be hearing stories like — to explain the delay.

For example, BP executives gave more campaign cash to Barack Obama than any other politician last cycle. That's how they treated George Bush to explain a delay they brought a profit all the time. And whatever Bush did, for example, they would be saying that green pressure groups, which insisted this not be burned off, of course rake in more money, the worst the environmental circumstances are.

So the media and the left need to stay consistently good as they are being on this one, and not attributing sinister motives to where there's incompetence or maybe just some politics like the energy bill you mentioned, Sean. They need some offshore language to get cap and trade.

HANNITY: Alright. But —


HANNITY: Hang on. But, Chris, more to the point, they were not on this from day one. And what we're discovering "Hot Air" is reporting tonight that literally the president received a pretty significant amount of donations from BP and that BP regularly lobbies on Capitol Hill. They gave a massive $16 million to influence legislation just in 2009 alone.

HORNER: Right. Well, look, GE's lobbying budget is bigger than big oil combined but you never hear that because GE shares the politics of the administration and the cap-and-trade agenda that BP, by chance, invented with Enron. Believe me, I was there.


HORNER: So you would be hearing about this. I'm asking for consistency and they're doing the right thing this time by not doing their usual hysteria that's followed in the past eight years.

GOULD: Not doing their usual hysteria, I mean, I don't necessarily want this to go down into a climate change debate here, but I mean he's kind of taking it down that road.

HORNER: I'm sure you don't.

GOULD: The fact — the fact is that when you talk about people that are pro, you know, lobbyists down on the hill, trying to work these issues, you got 138 that are trying to deal with renewable energy. There's over 2500 that are opposing it. So I mean —

HANNITY: Alright.

GOULD: So I mean you can't say that it's a negative spin.

HANNITY: We need —

GOULD: Also, he wants to get the —


HANNITY: Well, hang on a second.

GOULD: He wants to get the heat off of BP on this. You know —

HANNITY: Wait, wait, wait. Let's go to this issue.

HORNER: No, BP is wretched. They invented cap-and-trade with Enron.

HANNITY: Alright. The administration was not on this from day one, were they?


HORNER: Of course not.

GOULD: I can't say that they were or they weren't. I mean, the fact is I believe, I believe they probably would know this thing.

HANNITY: Wait, wait. I think we ought to you release the president day one, day two, three, four, five — we should —

GOULD: Yes, but the fact is —

HANNITY: No, no, no. Because what they're doing here is, if George Bush leaves, you know, on 9/11, stays in the classroom an extra three minutes, he is excoriated and beaten, pummeled into the ground.

GOULD: OK. But let's look at this. I don't think you can compare those two. When you're talking about an oil spill —

HANNITY: You can.

GOULD: How can compare those two?

HANNITY: How about Katrina? When the president didn't land in New Orleans he was excoriated for not landing that aircraft.

GOULD: OK. But how many days did it take to find out how many barrels of oil were actually being released in the —

HANNITY: A thousand is enough.

GOULD: It took a lot of —

HANNITY: Don't you think 1,000 barrels a day is a lot?

GOULD: Yes, but that's exactly why BP said we can handle the situation. So all of a sudden, you don't have to send the president down there to look at the situation when BP says I've got it under control.

HANNITY: But this guy is saying from the NOAA, Chris — he's saying, look, we had a plan to deal with this. This didn't have to come onshore. That we could burn this oil off —


HANNITY: And the plan wasn't implemented.

GOULD: Well, why don't we get —

HANNITY: Chris first.

HORNER: The spin is brazenly dishonest. The spin is brazenly dishonest. The double standards are very revealing.

GOULD: Talking points, it's crazy.

HORNER: Yes, we're talking about people who can't get the numbers right. They've — in the absence of facts that never stopped you from making things up about Bush. At least here the media are being rather measured. And my point is, the spin is wretchedly dishonest. The media ought to look into that, but the double standards are really, really —

HANNITY: And wait a minute —

HORNER: — disgraceful.

HANNITY: You mentioned the word talking — the biggest talking point is they were there and on it from day one. Because if they were there and on it from day one and it's 1,000 barrels a day they would have burned this thing off and it could have been far less catastrophic.

GOULD: OK. But why don't we talk about the real issue here.

HANNITY: That is the real issue.

GOULD: No. I think the real issue is that maybe there were some false — maybe there were some problems with the platform and actually with the drilling itself —

HANNITY: Don't you think they should have ascertained that themselves? Wasn't there an area of incompetence themselves?

GOULD: Here's the thing. It's up to BP to maintain —

HANNITY: Ten days.

GOULD: It's up to BP to maintain their own rigs themselves.

HANNITY: Wait. I got that.

GOULD: It's like putting a fox (INAUDIBLE) in the hen house—


HANNITY: But you got 1,000 barrels of oil coming onshore, doesn't the government have a responsibility? After all, they got to take care of our health care and tell us how much salt we can take into our bodies.

GOULD: Well, yes, but here — but that's the point that I'm trying to make, is that I believe that the government was given information by BP because they originally didn't claim that —

HANNITY: They said —

GOULD: — the spill was nearly as bad as what we —

HANNITY: They said 1,000 barrels a day. That's enough — you know, look, if they're going to tell me how much salt I can take and they sure — they certainly should have at least —

GOULD: But I think it's funny that you're completely pointing the finger at him. I mean you haven't even mentioned the fact that BP —


GOULD: — is at fault here.

HANNITY: Ten days, the government did nothing. But they claimed they were there from day one.


HANNITY: I want them to be honest with the American people.

GOULD: But then do a segment about the fact that something might have been wrong with the platform because BP didn't necessarily go through all the proper channels and they didn't want to have to spend all the money.

HANNITY: I'll give you the last word.

HORNER: No, Sean, what we're asking for is the same story and say — make sure we have the same story. Just say that Obama, the favored — the candidate of BP, a massive campaign contributor, was treated very differently by the White House.

Let's just treat people the same. The media is being more responsible here. Let's have the left see if they can learn from this and just calm down a bit with their ridiculous charges.

HANNITY: Alright, hang on, we got to run. Guys, good to see you both. Appreciate it.

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