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Gulf spill could be worse than Exxon Valdez; Napolitano: Times Square car bomb 'a potential terrorist attack'; Crist: I'll support repealing the health-care bill

By Matt DeLong and T. Rees Shapiro
Here's a quick roundup of this morning's talk shows.


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano described the explosive device found in an SUV parked in Times Square Saturday night as "an amateurish bomb" and said authorities were "considering it an act of terrorism."

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said that "there are scenarios" in which the oil spill moving toward the Gulf Coast could be "worse than the Exxon Valdez" spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989. "Every effort is being made to stop the source right now," Salazar said. Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, said that British Petroleum is the "responsible party" and it will "bear all the costs" of the cleanup. Napolitano rejected criticism that the administration's response to the crisis was too slow. "The administration responded all-hands-on-deck from day one," Napolitano said. "What happened is the situation itself evolved."

Asked if the spill had caused the administration to reconsider it's recent decision to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration, Salazar said that "if we have to will be based on the best facts, the best science."

Napolitano said she had not talked to President Obama about a possible Supreme Court nomination -- Napolitano is said to be on Obama's list of potential picks -- and said she is "focused on other issues right now."

U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), having recently driven Gov. Charlie Crist from the GOP primary race, softened his conservative rhetoric and defended his statements opposing the Arizona immigration law and wavering on his support for offshore drilling. He said he is "not aware of any investigation" into his use of state GOP credit card and said that every personal expense was ultimately paid out-of-pocket. He said his campaign will release income tax statements. "People are going to know more about my finances than any other candidate in this race in the next couple of weeks," Rubio said.


Napolitano said last night's attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square was "a potential terrorist attack" and that law enforcement officials are "viewing this very, very seriously."

She said evidence is being gathered in the investigation, including forensics inside the SUV and video surveillance from around Times Square.

Speaking about the oil rig spill off the coast of Louisiana, Interior secretary Ken Salazar said it is the government's job to "keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum" to immediately address the leaks 5,000 feet below the ocean's surface. Coast Guard commandant Admiral Thad Allen said more than a million feet of boom, or water fencing has been deployed to cordon off the oil as it moves closer to shore. It is now nine miles off the coast. Adm. Allen said the effectiveness of the booms is being tested by heavy seas with waves as high as six to ten feet.


Napolitano said it's "too soon to tell ... who or what groups were responsible" for the failed car bomb in Times Square. She said the bomb was "a big device." Salazar called the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico "a very grave scenario" and cautioned that it could take up to three months to drill a relief well to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton slammed Arizona's immigration law for inviting racial profiling. She said that it "does what a state doesn't have the authority to do -- try to impose their own immigration law." She said she was "certainly not satisfied" with U.S. efforts to end violence in Sudan's Darfur region. She dismissed rumors that she is on President Obama's list of potential Supreme Court picks, saying she "never wanted to be a judge." Clinton also said she intends to remain in her current role through the end of President Obama's first term.

Fresh off his announcement that he was leaving the Republican Party to mount an independent bid for the Senate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist declined to say which party he would caucus with if he were to win. He said he would support legislation to repeal the recently enacted health care overhaul, and said he opposes plans to expand offshore oil and gas exploration.


Napolitano said that tapes from the many surveillance cameras in Times Square are being reviewed for clues to who planted the car bomb, and traditional forensic work to identify the perpetrator is ongoing. While she said the attack appeared to be an isolated incident, Napolitano urged New Yorkers to "be on their toes."

"Times Square is now safe," she said "Right now we have no information other than it is a one-off."

Napolitano criticized the tough new immigration law in her home state of Arizona, saying it "does and can invite racial profiling" and is "bad for law enforcement."

British Petroleum America Chairman and President Lamar McKay attributed the explosion and eventual sinking of an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico to an equipment failure, but said he didn't know what caused the incident. McKay said he was unsure how much oil was leaking from the well, and likened the efforts to stop the flow of oil on the ocean floor to "open heart surgery at 5,000 feet in the dark with robot-controlled submarines."


Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez was arrested yesterday in front of the White House during a protest to the new law passed in Arizona that he called "discriminatory" against Americans of Hispanic origin.

Gutierrez said the legislation will be ineffective because it does not go after the businesses that hire illegal immigrants. He said the jobs those businesses offer serve as a magnet for potential border-crossers. If the jobs were taken away -- given only to documented workers and legal citizens -- then the massive immigration problem might be quelled. Gutierrez said he supports adding more law enforcement officials and technology to border security and creating a process that would expedite a path to American citizenship that so many of the immigrants seek.


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said the goal of the financial overhaul legislation moving its way through the Senate is to end taxpayer bailouts of banks and to find a way for failing companies to file bankruptcy smoothly and without crippling the economy. Weak businesses "should be allowed to fail" without national implications, Warner said. He added the "exotic products" the banks offered ended up increasing risk rather than distributing it across a wider plane.

"We all got overleveraged," Warner said of the real estate bubble that nearly destroyed the banking industry because of a lack of oversight. He added that the "one thing we know is that the status quo is not working." Despite bipartisan support for the overhaul, Warner said party lines continue to bog down the bill's progress. Passing this legislation, Warner said, is "going to test my optimism."

By 44 Editor  |  May 2, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: Obama drone joke: Was it offensive?


What drew my attention to this article as a voting Floridian is obviously the report of Gov. Crist's stand on the repeal of the health care reform legislation.

I'm sorry Governor but your statement that you are a Republican and that you would run as a Republican was only true until the moment you switched to running as an independent to try to save your political future makes all subsequent statements by you as essentially meaningless and not to be depended upon.

Your belief that we can solve the Social Security systems impending bankruptcy through the worn out "fraud, waste, and abuse" rhetoric simply is not the kind of answer we will accept anymore since it is as empty as the suit that makes such a ridiculous claim.

Your on again off again stance on the obvious need for offshore drilling for the energy supplies will we almost certainly need for at least another 50 years until we can develop a substitute(s) that is as efficient and affordable is also a stand that allows for the increasingly distrusted waffling that is practiced by those whom we elect to lead us.

To paraphrase the immortal line from the movie "Network", "we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore"!

Posted by: Sproing | May 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The story mainstream media cannot or will not pursue:

URGENT TO POTUS: (via Gibbs, Axelrod, Emanuel, Jarrett, Plouffe, Dr. Gates):


• "You could stop a rogue bureaucracy from committing crimes against humanity with a few executive orders -- and some CONSEQUENCES, for a change."

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 2, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

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