MSNBC’s Todd: Is Oil Spill 'Wasted Disaster' If Congress Doesn’t Introduce New Energy Legislation?

Chuck Todd “hated” to say it but just had to get it out anyway–would the BP oil spill, arguably the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, be a “missed opportunity” for Congress to capitalize on “disaster” to enact energy legislation should it fail to do anything in its wake?

Discussing what the reaction of Congress and the Obama administration should be to the spill during an interview with Tom Daschle on MSNBC's June 4 “Daily Rundown,” Todd asked:
So if energy legislation isn’t taken up and dealt with, this would basically be–I hate to put it this way–a wasted disaster?

“Exa–well, I can see why you hate to put it that way,” Daschle responded, seeming to highlight Todd’s arguably Rahm Emanuel-inspired Freudian slip as controversial.

Todd agreed, then quickly rephrased his question. “But, [was it] a missed opportunity?”

Earlier in the interview, Daschle argued that Congress should take the initiative to push energy legislation into the spotlight.

We’re going to have to find ways with which to create a better regulatory framework to make sure this never happens again. And oh, by the way, we ought to be talking about [a renewable energy standard].

The transcript of the segment is as follows:

THE DAILY RUNDOWN 6/4/10 9:16:36am–9:18:00am

CHUCK TODD, anchor: Alright, Congress has been out this week. They’re going to come back. Democrats still in charge. What should they be doing in regards to this oil spill right now? Obviously, they’re just sort of sitting back, and this is going to be a legislative role that they’re going to make, whether it’s dealing overall with the big energy picture, or with some immediate concerns. What is it that you would be doing as leading the Senate right now, coming back, next week, where do you focus?

Former Senate Majority Leader TOM DASCHLE: Well this gives new life to the energy legislative schedule. There’s no question. I would make this the showpiece. I would make this the center of the entire effort. I’d say look, we’re going to have to deal with this issue. We’re going to have to find ways with which to create a better regulatory framework to make sure this never happens again. And oh, by the way, we ought to be talking about an RES. We ought to be talking about an alternative source of–

TODD: What’s RES, by the way?

DASCHLE: Renewable energy standard.  

TODD: Okay...

DASCHLE: But we’ve got to find ways with which to deal with energy policy in a broader context, making this the real anchor of that effort.

TODD: So if energy legislation isn’t taken up and dealt with, this would basically be–I hate to put it this way–a wasted disaster?

DASCHLE: Exa–well, I can see why you hate to put it that way–

TODD: Yeah, you don’t want to put it...but, a missed opportunity?

DASCHLE: Exactly. This is an opportunity to say, look, we know–we’ve known for years we’ve got problems here. Let’s use this as our catalyst, as our way to address not only this issue, but the larger context.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014