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Mark Levin attacks 'phony, populist idiot' O'Reilly over BP fund

Twice last week, Bill O'Reilly booked conservative Republican stars on his show -- Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) -- and came at them from the unexpected stance of defending President Obama. With Palin, he defended Obama's handling of the BP spill. With Bachmann, he disagreed with her criticism of how the BP escrow fund was set-up.

All of that sparked an outraged rant from radio host Mark Levin, which the Right Scoop has captured and put online. In it, Levin makes the case that a lot of conservatives who don't have to worry about re-election are making -- that, yes, the president "shook down" BP, and that O'Reilly is a "phony, populist idiot" for thinking otherwise.

"Let me explain something to you, Mr. Cable TV!" says Levin, not using O'Reilly's name. "British Petroleum was in the back pocket of the Democrat Party! It gave Obama a million dollars. It backs cap and trade!" And he defends Rep. Joe Barton for "speaking the truth."

He may have been inarticulate about it. There was no need to apologize to BP. I get that. But if you have an IQ over 12, you get his point, which was: we can't have a president with the power to decide when a company has to cough up tens of billions of dollars, without legislation, without oversight... this is why we have a rule of law, to sort these things out. Not a president who brings this people before him and threatens them!

Here's a relevant segment from O'Reilly's interview with Bachmann, in which he gets her to basically support the idea of the fund -- Levin, reflecting a good amount of opinion out there, is so angry about the process that he sees O'Reilly as a useful idiot for even asking this.

MR. O'REILLY: I also want to know, and Congressman Barton from Texas, using words like shakedown and extortion and all of that, I'm not agreeing with that. I think Obama
did absolutely the right thing by putting maximum amount of pressure on these weasels. You saw this Hayward yesterday, is this the biggest weasel in the world, this guy? Is there a bigger weasel on the planet than him? All right, you trust in him to do anything? You got to force these people to do it.

Then they got the Swedish guy talking about the little people, the small people. Come on! I'd go in there with a machine gun if I were president and say, hey, you put the money in here or you're not getting out of the room. So, I mean, I'm okay with it. I think this is the best thing Obama did in the whole mess? Do you agree with that, getting the $20 billion?

REP. BACHMANN: No one is saying that this fund shouldn't be set up. The question is, who administers it, but here is the other part. There is also a point of investigating what was it with responsibility from the administration? Remember, the administration signed off on the inspection. The administration said everything was fine going on in the deepwater rig --

MR. O'REILLY: All of that is fine. I mean, you want to have that investigation --

REP. BACHMANN: We haven't had that investigation yet. That's important. It's two sides here.

MR. O'REILLY: We should have it all. We should have a criminal investigation on BP.

REP. BACHMANN: Pardon?

MR. O'REILLY: We should have a congressional investigation --

REP. BACHMANN: Absolutely.

MR. O'REILLY: -- on MMS and the Department of the Interior.

REP. BACHMANN: We should, but part of the problem is you are asking for a Democrat Congress to investigate the Democrat administration. All I am saying is, let's make sure that they do.

MR. O'REILLY: Okay, but you are dodging my question about extortion and about a shakedown. Do you think Obama shook down BP?

REP. BACHMANN: I think they put pressure on them. Remember, he previously said that he wanted a criminal investigation. People who were around that table were thinking they might end up in the slammer.

MR. O'REILLY: Is that wrong?

REP. BACHMANN: So they could end up in the slammer.

MR. O'REILLY: Is that wrong? Is that wrong to put that kind of pressure on them? I think you'd do it, wouldn't you do it?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, you think about it. Here you have the president of the United States threatening criminal action, they could end up in the slammer, so are thy going to take money from the shareholders to give to the president maybe to keep themselves out of jail?

MR. O'REILLY: I hope so.

REP. BACHMANN: I'm just asking.

MR. O'REILLY: But I'm okay with it.

REP. BACHMANN: I'm just asking.

MR. O'REILLY: Are you okay with it? I'm okay with it. I don't think he is going to bag --

REP. BACHMANN: We need to have a victim's comp fund, that's a good thing, victim's comp fund, absolutely. But no American taxpayer should pay a dime of any compensation --

MR. O'REILLY: That's right. But Ms. Bachmann, you saw them --

REP. BACHMANN: The process does matter.

MR. O'REILLY: Okay, the process does matter and I am with you on that --

REP. BACHMANN: Process matters.

MR. O'REILLY: The only thing we are disagreeing about here, today is that I don't mind Obama looking at these guys saying you better do the right thing or we are coming after you with everything we have. I want him to do that. I will give you the last word.

REP. BACHMANN: There is nothing wrong with the president saying that. The point is, is he putting pressure on with the threat of a criminal trial, which is the force of government so that they will give him money?

MR. O'REILLY: I hope so.

REP. BACHMANN: That's crossing lines that we have to be very careful about.

MR. O'REILLY: All right, if he bags the criminal investigation because they did put up the $20 billion, then I'm with you. We are not trading here, we are doing both.

REP. BACHMANN: That's all I'm worried about, that's what I'm worried about.

By David Weigel  |  June 21, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Conservatives , Media  
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