MSNBC's Schultz Asks When Obama Will 'Become a Dictator' on Gulf Cleanup

When asked what President Obama needs to do to prove to Americans that his administration is on top of the Gulf cleanup, Ed Schultz pressed that the President needs to call the shots and go "dictator" in his dealings with BP.

"I think the President has to make it very clear to the American people tonight, Chris, that we're not going to be stuck with the bill on this," Schultz said about the BP oil spill.

"When does the President become a dictator on this?" Schultz asked in an outburst. "When does the President start really calling the shots and saying 'This is the number. This is what you're going to pay. We're not going to let you off the hook.'?"

He sternly warned that BP will do its level best to escape having to pay the full cost of the oil spill cleanup, and implored the President to be frank with BP in demanding that they pay full restitution.

"[BP has] destroyed our environment by going down so far, circumventing the permitting process, cutting corners, not doing everything they had to do when it came to safety," Schultz ranted, "and... this is a defining moment for this crisis, maybe for [Obama's] Presidency."

Little more than a month ago, Schultz lambasted a Southern congressman for downplaying the effects of the oil spill, by generalizing all Southern politicians as "drill baby drill" congressmen and senators, and questioning if America really wanted to help out the ravaged Gulf Coast states.

He certainly proved his devotion to maintaining the ultra-serious nature of the oil spill in asking Obama to get his "dictator" on and smack BP around.

The transcript of the MSNBC News Hour segment, which aired on June 15, at 10:06 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC Anchor: So Ed, what do you think the President has to say if he's going to dispel the notion that somehow this federal government has always been a step behind this crisis?

ED SCHULTZ: Well I think the President has to make it very clear to the American people tonight, Chris, that we're not going to be stuck with the bill on this. $20 Billion in an independent fund, an escrow, is a great start but I think most Americans believe it's going to go far beyond that for a number of years. So, this is all about the money and I think a lot of Americans, including myself, in reference to what Chuck Todd was saying, is that the White House is negotiating with BP. When does the President become a dictator on this? When does the President start really calling the shots and saying this is the number, this is what you're going to pay, we're not going to let you off the hook? But the fact is, we're dealing with a multi-national that has in their DNA over the past years–that they don't pay for everything, they never paid for everything. And I think the President has to speak straight to the American people tonight about what we're dealing with, with a multi-national corporation that's going to take every legal avenue they can to wiggle out of paying the bill. Now, I see that they're taking out some nice commercials, I see that they're doing all the right things by writing some claims, but we all know from the Exxon Valdez that this is much bigger and it is going to go on for years.

CHRIS JANSING: So you want to hear the President say, look I've got my teams of lawyers–this is all going to be legal, but I'm going to demand from BP–I'm going to have them in the Oval Office tomorrow and here are the things that I am going to demand from them on behalf of the American people. You want him to be that blunt and straight forward?

ED SCHULTZ: Absolutely. They have destroyed our environment by going down so far, circumventing the permitting process, cutting corners, not doing everything they had to do when it came to safety, and I don't think there's any question the President–this is a defining moment for this crisis, maybe for his Presidency, because I just think that the American people feel–and I've been around the country doing town halls–they feel like we're being gamed by BP. We know how BP plays the game, we know how they wiggle out of stuff–now I think it's important for the president to make it very clear to the American people that this is how we're going to do this. And I think it speaks volumes that he hasn't met with Tony Hayward. Because if he does, then he's going to be on record. Tonight he is on record with the American people, and I think the American people are going to hold him accountable for it.

CHRIS JANSING: And let me go back to the point that I was talking about with Chuck. Which is that, obviously, he's going to get a lot of facts out there. He wants the American people to know what is going on and to know that he's on top of what's going on, but how much of this has to be–in spite of the fact that Barack Obama doesn't like the use of this word–how much of it has to be theater? How much of it has to be emotion?

ED SCHULTZ: Well, I think we've seen plenty of emotion from the people down in the Gulf. And I think the President, who has a history of being well versed, very detailed, explains things very well–he will do that, I'm sure, tonight, in his normal style of presentation. I don't think there will be any deviation from that. I don't think there's going to be any emotional moment. I think he's a serious guy and he's got his facts and he's going to present it out, and I think he's going to be very thorough tonight. Pushing energy policy right now–it's a bull horn moment, no doubt. But I'm not convinced that the American people, including myself, view tonight as 'Okay, it's time for some legislation. What do you say we go in this direction?' I think it's all about accountability right now, stopping the leak, making sure that people are made whole, and define what does 'made whole' mean? Does that mean this year? Next year? Because the damage that's being done here is for years to come. Every scientist that we talk to is saying that well this is going to be going on for the next decade and it's going to take years to clean this up. So, what does being made whole mean? A $5,000 check, a $50,000 check and we'll see you next year? I think that the $20 billion fund is a small start in totality and the president has to make sure that he's clear with the American people tonight that we, the American people, are not going to be stuck with BP's bill.

CHRIS JANSING: Thank you, Ed.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014