Emanuel: Barton's comments were from the heart; Lieberman: Energy reform 'has a chance'; Barbour: Moratorium worse than oil spill
By Aaron Blake and Matt DeLong
Sunday Rundown: A quick wrap-up of the Sunday talk shows.
ABC: THIS WEEK
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said BP CEO Tony Hayward's appearance at a yacht race this weekend is the latest "in a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes" for the company. Emanuel emphasized that the administration has been working hard to get BP to do what it needs to do, and he said it hasn't always been totally cooperative. "There are certain things that they had to be pushed - not certain things - a lot of things that they had to be pushed to do and pushed to do faster and more of."
Emanuel also said Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Tex.) apology to Hayward at a hearing Thursday is symptomatic of how Republicans favor corporations over the American people. "These aren't political gaffes," Emanuel said. "Joe Barton was speaking from prepared remarks." The GOP has been on the defensive since Barton, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, made the apology. He later retracted it after receiving pressure from GOP leaders. Emanuel noted that Kentucky GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul has said the treatment of BP has been "un-American" and that other House members have criticized the $20 billion claims fund the White House pressured BP to create.
On the energy reform that President Obama pushed in an Oval Office address Tuesday, Emanuel said the administration welcomed all proposals that were on the table and said the administration is willing to work with Republicans. Emanuel said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit the White House on July 6. Netanyahu's last visit was cancelled because of the killings by Israeli soldiers on a flotilla headed for Gaza last month. SOn Afghanistan, Emanuel said there would definitely be a troop reduction by the July 2011 deadline the administration has set. "What will be determined at that date, or going into that date, will be the scale and scope of that reduction," Emanuel said.hifting to campaign politics and the White House's efforts to avoid primaries by dangling jobs in front of Democrats who are challenging Democratic incumbents, Emanuel said "there's nothing more that needs to be added" to what has already been said about the issue.
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said comprehensive energy reform, which President Obama called for in an Oval Office address last week, can pass in the midst of election-year politics. "It does have a chance, and it needs to be done," said Lieberman, who is spearheading the legislation in the Senate. He estimated that there were 50 senators who are for such legislation, 30 against and 20 who are undecided. Shifting to Connecticut politics, the former Democrat suggested he was unlikely to endorse in the state's Senate race, which will likely be between state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R). "I might do something refreshing for me this year - vote quietly and privately and let the Connecticut politicians work out the election."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she doesn't think any of the current proposals for energy reform have the votes. "There is nothing out there that, I believe, gains the acceptance of folks to get to 60 and make an energy policy that works."
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said a July 2011 date for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, as President Obama has planned, is "possible." But she said she couldn't comment on whether it was likely to occur. She emphasized the importance of success in the war: "If you lose Afghanistan, Pakistan is the next step. ... Failure is not an option." Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said training of Afghan troops is going slowly, but that once it's complete, "there is confidence, in the villages, that in fact something of a better life may occur."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it's unfair for critics of the administration's Afgahnistan policy to pass judgement just yet. "It's a tough pull, and we are suffering significant casualties," Gates said, but added that "we warned everybody that would be the case last winter." Gates said Gen. Stanley McChrystal is "confident" he will show by December that "we have the right strategy" and are "making progress." Gates acknowledged problems with the Afghan army, but he noted that the percentage of operations in which the U.S. military is partnering with the Afghan Army has increased from "around 40 percent" six months ago to "75 or 89 percent now." Gates said that despite Vice President Joe Biden's reported comments that "a lot" of U.S. troops will be withdrawing from Afghanistan by July 2011, no decision has been made and that will be the starting point of a conditions-based drawdown of troops.
Gates said that President Obama may veto a bill containing a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from serving openly, if the bill also contains spending the administration considers wasteful. Gates also said tougher sanctions had a "reasonable chance" of "getting the Iranian regime finally to come to their senses."
Following a firestorm over Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Tex.) apology, and then retraction, to BP, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he "couldn't disagree with Joe Barton more" and added that "BP needs to apologize to us." McConnell blasted the Obama administration for "seizing on this oil spill to pass a national energy tax," McConnell's preferred term for an energy bill that includes a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emmissions. McConnell said Congress should instead pass legislation to prevent future oil spills. He said the bill should mandate better inspection of oil rigs and better cleanup technology.
McConnell said it was "entirely premature" to say whether Republicans will filibuster Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. In response to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's remarks that the Obama administration intends to sue the state of Arizona over its tough immigration law, McConnell said he wishes the federal government would spend more time securing the border with Mexico than suing state governments.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS
Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration's Wall Street 'pay czar' who was recently tapped to oversee the $20 billion claims fund for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said he is "going to make sure every eligible, legitimate claim is paid, and paid quickly." He said he is "not beholden" to the administration or BP, but he is receiving guidance from the White House, members of Congress and Gulf state governors.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said the federal government has "done more right than wrong" but said it is "not getting the job done." He said the the $20 billion fund was "fair.". But he said the president's moratorium on new offshore oil exploration is worse than the oil spill. "These drilling rigs are going to leave and they're not coming back in six months," Barbour said.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-author of the Waxman-Markey climate bill that passed the House last year, repeated his assertion that BP was "either lying or grossly incompetent" when it greatly underestimated the flow of oil from the well. Markey, citing a document in his possession, said the well could be spilling 100,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said there is "growing political will" to move toward greener energy but said she does not support the Waxman-Markey bill. She said "we've got to regulate" the oil industry correctly and "hold BP accountable.
CBS: FACE THE NATION
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) called for BP CEO Tony Hayward to step down, in light of his attendance at a yacht race this weekend. Hayward has repeatedly been criticized for being insensitive to the crisis in the Gulf, with the yacht race the most recent example. Shelby said enough is enough. "I thought that was the height of stupidity," he said. "I believe, myself, that he should go."
Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) advocated an approach that would allow drilling in the Gulf to continue, but force companies to stop drilling just before they actually hit oil. Such an approach, he said, would avoid catastrophe while giving the struggling Gulf economy a break. "The oil has devastated the economy of the Gulf Coast, and now the moratorium is really making matters worse," Cao said. The Obama Administration has instituted a six-month ban on deepwater drilling. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she is open to Cao's idea.
Shelby said Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Tex.) apology to BP doesn't represent "mainstream Republican thought." He invited Barton and Rand Paul, who has called the treatment of BP "un-American," to visit the Gulf. Cao defended Barton's character, saying he is a "caring person" who repeatedly showed interest in the recovery of Cao's New Orleans-based district.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said he was unsure if Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would serve as a consensus builder on the high court, but he said he would "like to see us go back to more consensus decisions." He said Kagan's hearings, which are scheduled to begin June 28, "will last until we finish. I would hope they don't last more than a week." He expects a vote on her nomination sometime in July.
Leahy singled out the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on campaign advertising, for criticism. He said the ruling hurt the court's credibility because it "wiped out decades and decades of precedent."
Aaron Blake and Matt DeLong
June 20, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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