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The Morning Plum

* It's Obama's spill now: With the president heading to the Gulf today, one emerging storyline is that even if he didn't get emotional enough at yesterday's presser -- he didn't kick over the podium or smash any TV cameras with his bare hands -- he did in fact take ownership of the spill.

* Stephen Stromberg was the first to call it, saying Obama took ownership without indulging in "BP bashing," a critical point, because the reality is that Obama's fate is linked to that of BP.

* And BP has restarted its efforts to plug the damn hole with "top kill."

* ABC News is also all over the Obama-owns-the-spill meme

* Also in the above link, a doozy: An administration official tells Jake Tapper that the spill "opened the president's eyes as to the risks involved in drilling." Let's hope!

* Dan Froomkin: Just because Obama said he's in charge of the spill effort doesn't make it so.

* Howard Fineman takes the "Obama as cool and cerebral Spock" meme to unprecedented new heights.

* But it's hard to argue with this from Steve Benen:

I imagine the public is more interested in stopping the oil gusher in the Gulf and mitigating the effects of the disaster, and less interested in whether the president meets some ambiguous, undefined standard of being emotional.

* Counterintuitive take of the day: Kevin Drum on why the spill is actually the anti-Katrina.

* New USA Today/Gallup poll finds the "intensity gap" remains huge, with 50% of Republicans saying they're "extremely motivated" to vote this year, versus only 30% of Dems.

* Alexander Burns explains why the new Research 2000 poll for DailyKos showing Bill Halter ahead contains an "ominous trend line" for Blanche Lincoln.

* But: Lincoln has way more cash on hand for the final stretch, though labor is spending heavily on Halter's side.

* Gallup offers still more evidence that support for increased offshore drilling has dropped dramatically, with the public now almost evenly divided, underscoring yet again how big an opportunity there is right now to shift the conversation on energy reform.

* A grim milestone as the number of U.S. service members who have died in Afghanistan hits 1,000 and counting.

* And legal experts tell MSNBC that the Joe Sestak job offer mess is just politics as usual, and that the ambiguity of the relevant laws makes law-breaking highly unlikely.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 8:19 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: EXCLUSIVE: White House asked Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about Senate run


Quitter Palin's Revised Appearance Demands;

Two Bottles Of Water.

Two Bendy Straws.

$100K Appearance Fee.

Fourteen Foot Wall Between Her And The Audience. She Is Shy, Her Privacy Is Paramount, And Must Be Respected.


Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Must read by Thomas Frank on Paul and the Tea Party...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"An administration official tells Jake Tapper that the spill "opened the president's eyes as to the risks involved in drilling." Let's hope!"

True for 99.99 % of all Americans, I expect.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the retread but I missed this from yesterday's HHR:

"Interesting nugget: The White House is reaching out to, and giving private earfuls, to high profile critics of Obama's handling of the spill."

James Carville makes me want to vomit. Why doesn't someone ask him where he's been the past 30 years? He sure hasn't been protecting his precious LA coastline from Big Oil. The fact that a self-promoting nobody like Carville is provided a 24/7 platform for his rantings is everything that is wrong with this country today.

Yes, Greg: As you said, people are interested in getting the d*man hole plugged and then cleaning up. Carville is only interested in himself being on TV. On a side note, I always knew those Clinton bunker-defenders like Lanny Davis, Paul Begala and Carville were scuzz and time has proved me right. Hey James, S*T*F*U*! Hey, CNN, please go out of business!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Re Benen above:
"I imagine the public is more interested in stopping the oil gusher in the Gulf and mitigating the effects of the disaster, and less interested in whether the president meets some ambiguous, undefined standard of being emotional."

Tomasky sees it differently and uses Giuliani as exemplar of the other "style" that Obama might study...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"And legal experts tell MSNBC that the Joe Sestak job offer mess is just politics as usual, and that the ambiguity of the relevant laws makes law-breaking highly unlikely."

There is an excellent book by Harvey Silverglate called "Three Felonies A Day" which argues that federal criminal statutes are so vague and so broad that nearly anyone could be indicted at any time for anything by a federal grand jury. This Sestak business wouldn't even meet that test unless, that is, we're planning to prosecute every president who ever lived. If you want to outlaw political parties that's one thing but you can't tell political parties not to act like political parties.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

When is the MSM going to stop referring to "The Tea Party"? There is no such political party. A collection of Far Right Wing Republican Party Activists does not a separate political party make.

They are all working within the Republican Party ,to purge it of any perceived moderates. They are not competing against The Republican Party, as a separate political party would be doing.

It is all a sham, and the worthless MSM, with their glass caged talking monkeys, keep falling for the Republican con game.

The Tea Party does not exist, so MSM, shut the hell up about it, you incompetent, easily fooled shower of dimwits.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse


You posted the following on the Happy Hour thread, but you did not link to the video. Would you post the link on here please.

"* And here's the must-watch video of Sue Lowden refusing to say whether she agrees with the Civil Right Act:

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Howard Fineman. Tweety Matthews. Chuck Todd (who is becoming increasingly infected). Those guys really have to get out of DC once a year or so. Maybe an annual Heartland Excursion Tour bus. They can drive cross country and hopefully they'll strangle one another.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

wb - I'm not a big fan of Carville (except for his talent with the language where I am a fan) but this strong outburst arises, I think, from his love of the region. I certainly don't think he's motivated to do damage to this administration.

The real risk to Obama here is indicated by such an emotional response as Carville's because of frustration and impotence. And that speaks to EJ's point yesterday on (paraphrasing) the disbelief by Americans that there are problems beyond what any President might be able to resolve.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- the video is embedded in the happy hour post. Is it not visible for you?

Posted by: sargegreg | May 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

A Timely Reality Check:

"The Consumer Federation of America's (CFA) most recent survey says that if we had a 50-mile-per-gallon car fleet today, we'd save more oil than the entire proven reserves in the entire Gulf of Mexico."

The Republican Party has stood in the way of improved car fuel efficiency standards, for many years.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"Karma" is a silly word but "irony" is not.

One could imagine the full contingent of National Guard personnel, equipment and organizational clout arrayed around the Gulf to minimize the spread and damage this oil is causing.

But much of their potential is locked up in the middle east where they are waging war in support of American corporate oil interests.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse


Re: Tomasky, this is the most important point he makes IMO:

"First of all, I think it's ridiculous that Obama hadn't given a press conference in 10 months, and I think it's absurd that as far as I can remember he has not done a single one of those 8 pm from the Oval Office 30-minute talks to the American people. Those are a great venue for getting a point across without any media interference, no GOP response, etc. I don't get it.'

I don't get it either. Obama's style is the way he is but there is no excuse for the White House's failure to provide information on a regular basis. From Day One of the BP Disaster there should have been a White House Spox providing daily briefings and answering the questions being bandied about all over TV. People can get past the style points but not being kept in the dark. I realize that the WH is probably waiting for the D*mn hole to get plugged before really taking charge but they can't wait any further. Daily updates starting today, please.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- the video is embedded in the happy hour post. Is it not visible for you?

Posted by: sargegreg | May 28, 2010 9:19 AM


It is not. All I get is the link,under "Sue Lowden" to her fact page. Usually, I have no problem, when you post links to video clips.

I would like to view it. Where can I go to find it.

I wonder if Sue Lowden is just being consistent, and actually believes that black people should just barter chickens for meals, at the back doors to restaurants?

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: Re: Carville. I have doubts about his motivations. Why hasn't Carville been calling for a halt to off-shore drilling or complaining about wetlands restoration or tightening drilling regulation or ANYTHING up until now? Why hasn't Carville returned Admiral Allen's phone calls? Carville, Begala and their ilk have been frozen out by Obama and I think they hate it -- almost as much as they love being on television.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Look who Carville is married to.

They are just a pair of high stakes grifters, one to work a separate side of the political street.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I recommend, if you have the stomach, this morning's piece by Rich Lowry at NRO, titled "He's Not Our Daddy"

There's a near-autistic tone throughout this piece. There is no evident perception of the magnitude of this problem to living things including the people who live in the region. None.

And if you read it, you'll see another set of assumptions or framework for Lowry's thinking. It's really quite remarkable.

To gain a full understanding of Lowry here, one needs to consider the tradition of dramatic writing since the classical period where comedy (the non-serious) is set in the domestic realm (family, friends, households) and where the tragic/heroic is set in the court and corridors of power.

Lowry takes the anecdote Obama related yesterday of his daughter poking her head in the bathroom and asking if Obama had plugged the hole yet and builds his title and his polemic on this.

And in contrast, note how he refers to BP and the industry people. Here's the steadfast, the heroic, the real leadership and power. No kids here. No bathrooms.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

wb - re Tomasky... yup, he certainly has an argument too (which is why I linked it).

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: Just when will people realize that the Conservatives have taken over the Ivory Towers and become the out-of-touch elite?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

This notion by Conason seems likely to gain the fast approval of the Chamber of Commerce...

"Nearly every day brings fresh evidence of the malfeasance, corruption and recklessness that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, provoking widespread rage at BP and by implication the rest of the oil industry. Public anger at the Obama administration festers, too, as citizens recognize the pitiful impotence of the federal government in these circumstances. But are they furious enough to consider a radical response? If voters are sick of corporate misconduct and government paralysis, after all, there is an alternative to both: nationalization -- or at least public development of petroleum resources on federal property."

Not to mention Beck and Limbaugh who, I'm sure, "saw this coming and I warned you, friends".

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Liam: BTW, I for one am well aware that you warned weeks ago about the BP Disaster getting away from Obama. You predicted it and Greg called it last week. Maybe people in DC should read this blog.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Rich Lowery is pathetic. He is the clown that found Quitter Palin's wink to be The Lamp To Light The World.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, American people really can't believe that the federal government can't fix the BP Disaster. But that's because the American people don't understand the extent to which government regulatory power has been eroded over the past 30 years of GOP and GOP-lite rule. Something worth noting.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

British Petroleum(BP) has the worst record, by far, of severe safety violations. They have been fined over and over for dangerous practices. They have a worse record than all their main competitors, combined records.

It is clear now, that BP prefers to cut corners, and pay the fines.

I would love to know who pushed the $75 Million liability cap through for them, on their offshore drilling operations. That was an incentive for BP to actually cut corners, since it would cost far more than the $75 million cap on liability for BP to run the operations in a safe and prudent manner.

Someone please dig into who actually got that limit inserted in the law.

By the way; just because BP now says that they will pay for costs of clean up, beyond that $75 mil. cap, do not believe them. They are just stalling for time. They will drag out all claims, and challenge them for decades.

BP must be required to put at least ten billion dollars into a clean up, and compensation fund, now. Force them to do it now, while the heat is on, or they will never live up to their word.


Boycott their products. Buy another brand of gasoline. If the consumers do not punish BP, they will get away with their habitual cutting of corners, once more.

Boycott them. Do it.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of Carville, what about Charlie Melancon and his no-doubt sincere distress? What's his record of support for the oil industry? One can only imagine.

Posted by: joeff | May 28, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it cracks me up to see these Conservanerds like Lowry and Kristol get all faint and flustered whenever they see a female politician with all her body parts. Didn't these guys ever get dates in high school?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse


Bullseye. Here's the problem: LA is addicted to Big Oil and has been for 100 years. It's part of the dysfunction that keeps LA at the bottom of the barrel. Big Oil is the pushed who throws just enough money around to finance the state pols and give the uneducated Louisianans access to good-paying oil jobs. Even the Times Picayune, NOLA's paper of record, won't call for any curtailment of drilling, not even now with oil destroying the state. If the country is addicted to oil, LA is nearly dead from its addiction but still can't stop.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

From Green at DS...

"But it would be a political sin to let Paul's chicken-out from Meet the Press and other open forums go unchallenged.

Maybe Colorado Dems can lend some of those chicken suits to Kentucky Democrats who want to protest against the muzzling of Rand Paul"

Palin and Paul of the soft under-bellies and fragile constitutions. It's hard not to feel sympathy for them, emotionally shaken as they are now.

But who wouldn't be shaken and even undone? They have suffered, both in their tragic turn, from the spotlight attained and then, from out of the evil, sadistic and totally unpredictable blue sky, there came the GOTCHA QUESTION!

Think you could handle that? Think again. If the microphone is on and the cameras rolling and you are asked, "Do you smile inside when you see a baby giggle?", you'll get it right.

But that's not a GOTCHA QUESTION. Why isn't it? It isn't a GOTCHA QUESTION because you'll get it right.

But unfortunately, it's not that easy (running for office is really really complicated). You see, it is conceivable that you'd screw up on even that question. For example, one could imagine Mitch McConnell being asked by a FOX reporter or host, "Senator, tell me, do you smile inside when you see babie's giggle?" And McConnell might answer, "Do they?" And suddenly, by definition, this is now a GOTCHA QUESTION.

GOTCHA QUESTIONS are any questions that reveal you to be a complete idiot, a self-deluded maniac, or a gold medal narcissit totally unaware of anyone outside yourself. Or even all of those things tied into one compelling voters-will-dig-that package.

As I said, it's difficult not to feel sympathy for these two.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse


Yeah, who changed all these laws to make Big Oil king of the country? Yesterday, Obama explained that the law requires the Fed govt to grant permits within 30 days of submission even though 30 days isn't near enough to perform the requisite analysis. In other words, permits must be issued on demand. Who is behind that insanity?

Later, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The funny thing about Quitter Palin, is that she really is not all that voluptuous looking. She has that small town, past the expiration date, beauty pageant contestant look.

As for the T part of T and A. There is not a whole lot of it. In fact if she were any more flat busted, she would have to file for bankruptcy.(Yes I know that has sexist overtones, but some times I have to use a good line, when it strikes me)

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Matt Zeitlin is one of the writers taking over of for Yglesias who's traveling in China. Impressive fellow. Here's another example...

"Rendell Shows Terminal Silliness of (Some) Obama Oil Spill Crticism
By Matt Zeitlin

The Hill has a silly bit about Ed Rendell saying that “If Bill Clinton was president, he’d have been in a wetsuit, you know, trying to get down to see the spill.”

I think this perfectly captures the vast majority of purely perception based criticism of Obama’s personal response to the oil spill. Best I can tell, very few of the people who are saying that Obama hasn’t been publicly aggressive and involved enough actually specify what he should have done as a matter of policy once the spill happened. Most of the commentary seems to be on the level of getting in the wetsuit.

Of course, perception matters and it may be true that Obama will take a hit in public opinion because it didn’t look like he was involved enough with responding to the spill, but it doesn’t seem like it’s the news media’s job to report on perceptions that they are partially responsible for forming. If they perceptions are real, then they hardly need the Hill or Politico’s stoking of them to be meaningful. Instead, they should be talking about what the administration actually did and what they could have or should have done. But that’s just me being naive and unrealistic."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"Journalists from publications like the New Orleans Times-Picayune, CBS News, and Mother Jones are “complaining that their efforts to document” the oil spill “are being thwarted by local and federal officials — working with BP — who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible.” BP is also reportedly pressuring fishermen and charter boat captains to not work with the press."
(internal links at TP)

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Be warned: Sestak thread has been DRUDGE BOMBED! Blech!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 28, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Carville should have provided Bill Clinton with a wet suit, and also Monica, when they were in the oval office.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 28, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Economists React: Consumers Saving More Pennies in April

General gist:

Consumer spending may be flat but the fact that incomes have started to rise is a good sign for future consumer spending and growth.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 28, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Yikes. From economics, I know diddly. But one can go back through Krugman's prior books and find (as I recently did) that he's as good a prognosticator of what's coming up the pike (and why) as anybody around.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Senate forecast update: Democrats up to 53 seats for the first time in four months
by: Chris Bowers
Fri May 28, 2010 at 11:00
May 28th forecast: Democrats 53 seats
The five polls from yesterday (and the Mason-Dixon poll from Nevada this morning, and the two Daily Kos polls coming out today, which are included in the averages), have promoted a full Senate update this morning. Polls are typically not conducted over holiday weekends like these, so it is quite possible that there will not be another update for another week.
Man, I wish someone other than Rasmussen had polled Wisconsin. There are good reasons to think this poll is really hinky.
Still, the forecast is the best for Democrats in four months, and the situation will only continue to improve..."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

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