Rudy Giuliani, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Eviscerate Joe Scarborough for Blaming Bush for Oil Spill

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan on June 17 joined forces to lambaste "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough for continuing to defend President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill.

Scarborough presented a litany of arguments in Obama's defense, but Giuliani and Ratigan countered with specific examples of the president's failed leadership. Regurgitating liberal talking points, Scarborough blamed the crisis on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

"We hear that we had the technology to stop this," Scarborough claimed. "In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, 'No, we're not going to take an extra step.'"

Giuliani responded with an eviscerating counter punch: "It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush."

Scarborough thought that the former New York City Mayor would credit Obama for securing from BP a $20 billion victim compensation fund, but instead Giuliani criticized the president.

"I say it was a good deal for BP," retorted Giuliani. "If I can put even a tentative limit on the liabilities, I've helped save my company."

"Democrats only wanted $10 billion," claimed Scarborough. "You can't say something nice about the president?"

"The president has so mishandled this that it will be impossible for me to even describe how horribly handled this was," argued Giuliani. "BP would be more than willing to give $20 billion to get themselves somewhat off the hook."

When pressed by Scarborough, Giuliani gave a detailed explanation for how he would have handled the crisis differently:
First of all, the first thing I would have done is to bring in experts from the industry who are independent source of advice for me...If your father or mother were sick, you would go get a second opinion from an expert doctor. Not from an academician which is what he did. Go ask the question. Has anyone done remediation before? Has anyone done it better than BP? Bring them in. Make them your eyes and ears. Have them watching everything. Maybe they could have gotten the estimate right of the amount of oil that was coming out. It was horrendous. This is a horrible case of malpractice, negligence, gross negligence. They were off by 60 times. That had to infect every wrong judgment you make.
Instead of crediting Giuliani for articulating a coherent plan, Scarborough attempted to deflect and politicize the issue, wondering whether the "malpractice" was "shared by both political parties and the entire Washington establishment over 15 years that has allowed oil companies to drill in areas where they have no backup plan if something goes wrong?"

Ratigan rushed to Giuliani's defense, railing against Obama for failing to consult independent industry experts at the beginning of the crisis:
I actually completely agree with the mayor which is we can talk all day about the problems but until you actually address the matter of the fact that oil continues to go into the Gulf of Mexico, and there are other ways to deal with it that have not been brought in, or have been brought in too late–that is shameful.
When Giuliani took aim at Obama for addressing the oil spill as a political problem, Scarborough jumped to the president's defense.

"It is a political problem," exclaimed Scarborough. "It's a substantive problem, but it's a political problem!"

"He's just dealing with it as a political problem," countered Giuliani. "That's why he went down there only a couple of times at the very beginning. Didn't take charge. We had Gibbs saying for three weeks that BP was in charge. The speech last night, Obama said the federal government's been in charge from the beginning. Well, nobody ever told anybody that for the first four weeks. Maybe they were in charge in secret."

Scarborough then claimed that Obama took charge early on, making the oil spill the "top priority for this government," but Ratigan disagreed, proclaiming, "My biggest criticism of this administration which is why I agree with the mayor when it comes to the response is the incredibly incompetent appearance of the containment strategy."

The transcript of the segment can be found below:
MSNBC
Morning Joe
6/17/10

8:04 a.m.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: $20 billion.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That's pretty good.

RUDY GIULIANI, former New York City mayor: Even nowadays that's real money. That's real money.

SCARBOROUGH: Let's give the president–

DYLAN RATIGAN: Unless you get it from the Federal Reserve, in which case it's not real money.

SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Mayor, let's make headlines, let's give the president credit right now for being able to get $20 billion from BP without a single lawsuit being filed. What do you say?

BRZEZINSKI: Come on.

SCARBOROUGH: That's pretty good.

GIULIANI: I say it was a good deal for BP.

BRZEZINSKI: Why?

GIULIANI: Divide it by four or five years. What do they make per year? Jim would know this.

JIM CRAMER, CNBC anchor: They make $6 billion per quarter.

GIULIANI: If I can put even a tentative limit on the liabilities, I've helped save my company.

SCARBOROUGH: But they haven't done that yet. They did not waive liability.

GIULIANI: But that's a pretty good indication of it's going to be hard to get above that $20 billion. It gets them–

SCARBOROUGH: Democrats only wanted $10 billion. You can't say something nice about the president?

BRZEZINSKI: There's nothing nice here?

SCARBOROUGH: You can't say, "Mr. President, good job of getting $20 billion?"

GIULIANI: The president has so mishandled this that it will be impossible for me to even describe how horribly handled this was.

SCARBOROUGH: He got $20 billion from people in my backyard. That's pretty good, isn't it?

GIULIANI: He would have gotten with the same leverage in a second. BP would be more than willing to give $20 billion to get themselves somewhat off the hook. Unfortunately, they stepped all over it with a comment that the CEO made.

SCARBOROUGH: What would you have done differently as far as substance goes?

GIULIANI: Every single thing from day one. First of all, the first thing I would have done is to bring in experts from the industry who are independent source of advice for me. I met with some of the–

SCARBOROUGH: The president didn't do that?

GIULIANI: Two days ago I had dinner in Houston, with several people who were top people in the industry. Never reached out. Never, never asked, gee, has Shell done this before? Has Exxon done this before? If your father or mother were sick, you would go get a second opinion from an expert doctor. Not from an academician which is what he did. Go ask the question. Has anyone done remediation before? Has anyone done it better than BP? Bring them in. Make them your eyes and ears. Have them watching everything. Maybe they could have gotten the estimate right of the amount of oil that was coming out. It was horrendous. This is a horrible case of malpractice, negligence, gross negligence. They were off by 60 times. That had to infect every wrong judgment you make.

SCARBOROUGH: Isn't that malpractice, though, shared by both political parties and entire Washington establishment over 15 years that has allowed oil companies to drill in areas where they have no backup plan if something goes wrong?

DYLAN RATIGAN, MSNBC anchor: I'll do you one better. The American people consume four gallons of gasoline for every gallon of gasoline that exists on the Earth. We have the biggest subsidized cost of energy. We have a false price for energy in our country to this day. The cost of the wars is not in the cost of energy. The environmental liability is not in the cost of the energy. None of the liability associated with our lifestyle is actually priced in. For capitalism to work, you actually have to be paying the actual price that represents the actual cost. So if we were actually paying the real cost of energy, we would be incentivized, believe me, to come up with something else. But because of the government and the culture of political expedience subsidies of energy costs everybody's happy to take it so we hire BP to the tune of $6 billion a quarter to figure out–which is not easy, by the way–the technology to drop 18,000 feet beneath the ocean surface to suck oil out so we can continue to enjoy our lifestyle. If you ask me whether it's the obvious failure in the government–MMS is obviously conflicted. Whether it's the obvious fact that we built a sports car that could basically do anything. They had the technology to go to the bottom of the sea but they didn't have a braking system, no way to turn it off which is incredibly reckless. And you put it all together. You find yourself in a situation where everybody's pointing fingers but no one is containing the spill. So I actually completely agree with the mayor which is we can talk all day about the problems but until you actually address the matter of the fact that oil continues to go into the Gulf of Mexico, and there are other ways to deal with it that have not been brought in, or have been brought in too late–that is shameful.

SCARBOROUGH: Do you agree that there are because we have been are defending this White House saying on substance for the most part they've gotten it right, do you agree with the mayor that actually they haven't gotten it right?

CRAMER: I think the mayor is dead on when he says that if they had known that the spill could be 60,000 barrels, which was available if you talk to the former heads of Exxon or if you talk to Boone Pickens, which you asked me to do.

(Inaudible)

GIULIANI: And the people in the industry believe that he hasn't talked to the industry because they're bad guys.

(Inaudible)

GILUIANI: A bunch of bad guys.

CRAMER: They're all bad actors.

GIULIANI: And from the point of view of crisis management, this is an F. You couldn't have done it worse. Some day Harvard will do a study on if you have a crisis like this, these are the things that Obama did wrong. Here are the things to do right. I could go on and on; that was the first mistake that he made. The second mistake that he made was to kind of treat this as a political problem. Which he was doing right up until the speech the other night. Treat it as a political problem.

SCARBOROUGH: It is a political problem. It's a substantive problem, but it's a political problem!

GIULIANI: He's just dealing with it as a political problem. That's why he went down there only a couple of times at the very beginning. Didn't take charge. We had Gibbs saying for three weeks that BP was in charge. The speech last night, Obama said the federal government's been in charge from the beginning. Well, nobody ever told anybody that for the first four weeks. Maybe they were in charge in secret.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, the president said himself though on April 22nd.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes. I just pulled up that.

SCARBOROUGH: On April 22nd he called all the agency heads in and he said, "Okay, listen. This is going to be very bad." It's before–it's before the thing blew out of the water and said this is the top priority for this government. We have to focus on it. This is job number one.

RATIGAN: Where is the containment strategy?

GIULIANI: That's worse because if this was job number one look at the horrible–if this is job number one which I don't think it was because the president was off on vacation twice during all of this, if this were job number one–

SCARBOROUGH: Did you go on vacation Mr. Mayor?

GIULIANI: Did I go on vacation as mayor? No.

SCARBOROUGH: Isn't that a cheap shot? You never went on vacation?

GIULIANI: Not in the middle of a crisis.

SCARBOROUGH:  Ronald Reagan went on vacation. George W. Bush went on vacation.

GIULIANI: Not in the middle of a crisis. This is the second time the president has done that, and I resent it. On Christmas day when we had Christmas bombing, he was on vacation. Remained on vacation for 11 days.

SCARBOROUGH: It was Christmas!

GIULIANI: He is the President of the United States of America.

SCARBOROUGH: They got microphones in Chicago.

GIULIANI: On Christmas evening, the first year that I was the mayor, I left my house and went to the hospital and I spent five hours there because I was the mayor of New York City and I should be on the spot taking charge of something from the very beginning. This has been a gross failure in crisis management. Could not have done it worse.

SCARBOROUGH: Okay. I'm sorry. Didn't mean to–  

GIULIANI: : And you shouldn't be on vacation when a crisis is affecting the country.

RATIGAN: There are two problems here. One is the capping of the well which I think is BP's problem. BP obviously was negligent in the construction of dealing the well. There's a totally unrelated problem, which is the containment problem. And in order to deal with the containment problem, that is the government's problem and you have to know what the flow rate is accurately and early in order to have a containment strategy. So my biggest criticism of this administration which is why I agree with the mayor when comes to the response is incredibly incompetent appearance of the containment strategy.

SCARBOROUGH: That's not monday morning quarterbacking? I mean, who knew?

RATIGAN: The oil is still coming out, Joe. They could still bring–Matt Simmons knew. T. Boone Pickens knew. Booms, put booms around it. Drop a curtain. Put super tankers in the middle and start sucking the oil out.

(Inaudible)

RATIGAN: Booms, curtain, super tanker. Super suck technology. Next question.

GIULIANI: And actually, Joe, it is worse if you're right and they were in charge from the beginning because if they were in charge at the beginning they really didn't know what they were doing. I actually don't think they were in charge. I think their real failure was they trusted BP. And they shouldn't have trusted BP but they trusted BP.

SCARBOROUGH: And let's just say that has been our one critique on substance that perhaps they–two things. One, they trusted BP too much from the beginning. Two, they made a political calculation that if "we go down there, we own the story. It's not BP's story. It's our story." That is a critique I think we'll hear for some time. And can we go right now? Because this is a fascinating conversation. You're actually the first person that's come on this show and when I've challenged them give me substance. Actually you three guys, you're talking specifics about what the president should have done. Let's go to the barni-cam right now. Mike Barnicle. Is he wearing the white sox right now? Are you listening to this?

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC contributor: Yeah I am.

SCARBOROUGH: We've got three guys here that are loaded for bear. And they've got some specifics. What do you think?
                        
BRZEZINSKI: Taking shots.

BARNICLE: Let's place all of our faith in BP because they've done such a great job. They're still using the same instruments on oil spills that they were using in California in 1969. If British Petroleum, which they used to call themselves, or any of these oil companies were in charge of technological advancements in our society we would still be using a rotary phone and looking at a 12-inch Bendix TV set.

(Inaudible)

SCARBOROUGH: Do we have the cameraman from "24" now? Mike Barnicle brings up a point but let me ask you again in the role of devil's advocate. We hear that we had the technology to stop this. In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, "No, we're not going to take an extra step."

GIULIANI: I have no idea what Dick Cheney did, you know, five or six years ago.

SCARBOROUGH: Isn't that important to know? It's part of the story.

GIULIANI: It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush.

RATIGAN: Hang on, Mr. Mayor. I don't mean to interrupt you but the North Sea has a totally different set of safety standards–totally different governmental standards. These standards have to be taken into consideration.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.