CBS's Schieffer: If Oil Leak Plugged, White House Job Scandals Will 'Go Away'

Bob Schieffer, CBS On Friday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer argued that if the Gulf oil spill could be stopped, the scandal of the Obama administration offering jobs to Democratic senate candidates would suddenly disappear: "...all of this business about offering jobs to candidates if it they won't run, all of that, all of that stuff is going to go away if you can get this thing capped..."

Schieffer didn't elaborate on his theory, but later complained about the sloppiness of the corrupt backroom deals: "I mean the first rule here is if you're going to do this sort of thing, you better figure out a better way to do it than the Obama administration has figured out. It turns out it's kind of, you know, amateur hour here with this kind of stuff." Though he defended the practice itself: "...this sort of thing's been going on for a long, long time. I mean, it's a real question as to whether this is even illegal. But it's the odor that comes from it....That's what's hurting the President."

When asking Schieffer about the controversy, Early Show co-host Harry Smith remarked how it "not so particularly unusual" and simply might "smack up against a promise of no more business as usual" by President Obama. Schieffer concluded his thoughts on the matter by once again lamenting that the administration did not do a "better" job of hiding its corruption: "...if you're going to do it, you better be better at it than they've shown us they are."

Smith and Schieffer began the segment by discussing the Gulf oil spill and Obama's response. Smith wondered: "Do you feel like this President and this White House is still playing catchup with this oil?" Schieffer replied: "I don't know what else could happen right now unless the air conditioning went out at the White House or something. I mean, everything that could go wrong seems to have gone wrong."

Schieffer commented that the Obama administration and BP should stop worrying about PR and just "focus on getting this well capped and getting this thing done. In the end, that's going to be the best public relations for all concerned..." He later added: "...find a way to get this thing capped and save the Gulf coast because this is – we're at a national emergency stage here." Smith concluded the topic by declaring: "I think the problem is that that wasn't recognized on day one as opposed to day 50."  

Here is a full transcript of the June 4 segment:
7:11AM EST

HARRY SMITH: According to the latest CBS News poll, 44% of Americans disapprove of President Obama's handling of the spill [38% approve]. 68% disapprove of BP's actions [21% approve]. And the President is also taking heat over jobs apparently offered by his administration to certain political candidates if they did not run against other Democrats. And joining us now to talk about all of these issues, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, how are you doing this morning?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I'm just fine. Thank you, Harry.

SMITH: Good to have you with us. The President is heading back to the Gulf again today. It's almost 50 days and we hear the word 'furious' come from the President's mouth last night on Larry King. Do you feel like this President and this White House is still playing catchup with this oil?            

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Gulf Oil Disaster; "Furious" President Returns to Region Today]

SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, I don't know what else could happen right now unless the air conditioning went out at the White House or something. I mean, everything that could go wrong seems to have gone wrong. And that's the way things happen sometimes.

But, you know, this – all this focus, at both the White house and at BP, on the public relations of this thing, is the President appearing furious enough? I mean, is BP appearing, you know, caring enough? And all of that. I think the best policy is always to get this thing fixed. I mean, I think both the company and the administration need to focus on getting this well capped and getting this thing done. In the end, that's going to be the best public relations for all concerned and it's the only thing that's going to work. I mean, all of this business about offering jobs to candidates if it they won't run, all of that, all of that stuff is going to go away if you can get this thing capped, figure out some way to do it.

And as yet, they have at least gotten this dome on top of the thing now. Maybe we can all hope that that's going to be the thing that works. But until they get that done, they're going to have all kinds of problems and they should have all kinds of problems. Because, you know, it's not an original thought with me, Harry, but the other day, I think it was Bob Herbert in the New York Times said if a well is too deep to cap, then it's too deep to drill.

SMITH: That's a good line.

SCHIEFFER: That's what's wrong here. And we know what the problem is here. But what has to be done is find a way to get this thing capped and save the Gulf coast because this is – we're at a national emergency stage here.

SMITH: Without question. And I think the problem is that that wasn't recognized on day one as opposed to day 50. I want to move on to this dangling job possibilities in front of would-be candidates who were trying to run against incumbents. That's not so particularly unusual, but does this not at least smack up against a promise of no more business as usual?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Real Deal; The President & Back Door Political Dealmaking?]

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think it does, Harry. And I mean the first rule here is if you're going to do this sort of thing, you better figure out a better way to do it than the Obama administration has figured out. It turns out it's kind of, you know, amateur hour here with this kind of stuff. I mean, in the first place, this sort of thing's been going on for a long, long time. I mean, it's a real question as to whether this is even illegal. But it's the odor that comes from it. It's the idea that you come to office and say we're going to change things and this sort of thing starts leaking out. That's what's hurting the President. But if you're going to do it, you better be better at it than they've shown us they are.

SMITH: Bob Schieffer, great to see you. We will look forward to seeing on you Face the Nation on Sunday.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you, Harry.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC