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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" -Transcript


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Let"s go--let"s bring Bart Stupak.
I don"t know where that charge came from right there. Nobody out there believes this is going to--and this thing about the Social Security fund is classic partisan nonsense. OK? Absolute nonsense.
The Social Security fund is challenged because there"s more old people now than compared to the number of young people there are now in a pay-as-you-go system. And anybody understands that who pays any attention to Social Security.
Anyway, let"s go to Bart Stupak.
There was a straw man, a classic way to get some right wing votes. Let"s go now to Joe Barton. What do you make, Congressman Stupak, of Joe Barton and these people basically saying it"s the federal government that"s the bad guy here, they"re the guys who are basically setting up themselves as bagmen or something here, when in fact everybody knows it was BP that did this thing?
REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: Well, Joe Barton on the energy and commerce committee is a leading Republican, and he"s been very cooperative in the Deepwater Horizon investigation. I was quite surprised that Joe made the comments he did during our last hearing of the oversight investigation subcommittee, which I chair.
But then again, if you look at the Republican Party and their coziness with big oil, I guess I wasn"t all that surprised because less than 24 hours before Joe Barton comments, the Republican Study Group was basically making the same accusations along with Michele Bachmann, Steve King and others. Joe just happened to say it verbally out, and caught all the attention, but they"ve been saying this for the last 24 hours. It shows how cozy the Republican Party is with big oil.
MATTHEWS: What is your confidence level on us being able to find out: A, what happened with BP, the management decisions that led to this the catastrophe, et cetera? How good are we going to be able to get in digging in to what we"re looking at right now and who did it?
STUPAK: Well, as you know, Chris, energy and commerce committee has held five hearings. Three of my oversight investigation subcommittee, and we"ve really put out reports, one around May 25th, and another one on June 14th, in which even Tony Hayward when he did testify, he did admit last week that the five areas we focused in on how BP sacrificed our environment and the lives of 11 men by cutting corners, to save money, and they accepted the risk and the whole thing blew up. They were trying to save money by cutting corners and look at the disaster we have.
Tony Hayward admitted that the June 14th letter we sent him with those five points, he agreed with. They were legitimate concerns. Those were legitimate points we raised.
I think we"ll get to the bottom of this sooner or later. And--
MATTHEWS: Are there--without saying whether anybody is guilty or not--are there applicable federal statutes here, criminal statutes in this area?
STUPAK: Yes, there is.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, potentially, somebody could be charged with something here as a crime--as a crime.
STUPAK: Yes, and I"m glad to see the attorney general down there looking at it from not only a criminal point of view, but also from environmental restoration, because you can do more under criminal law for restoration for environment than you can under civil penalties. Civil penalties to big oil and other big companies is just a cost of doing business. It doesn"t hurt them. You really have to dig in to this from the Department of Justice"s point of view.
MATTHEWS: What do you--what do you make of the--what do you make of the decision by the fifth district court down there, Judge Feldman, Martin Feldman. He"s a Reagan appointee. I don"t know if that"s relevant or not. But it seems like it is, basically saying he doesn"t want this moratorium. He"s just adjourned (ph) it.
So, what do you think of that? Is this something that is going to go on and is going to be litigated? We"re going to actually have a chance to stop this deepwater drilling or not?
STUPAK: Well, I"m sure the Obama administration will appeal it.
And I encourage them to do so.
Remember, the five big oil companies raised their hands last week, and what did they say? We had an oil spill like this, we can"t prevent it. We can"t contain it. We can"t control it. But for the grace of God, there goes I. It"s a BP this time, where tomorrow it might be Exxon Mobil.
Look, these guys with these blowout preventers--they can"t even make sure the batteries are working before they put them down. What are the testing they"re doing? Why don"t we have redundancy? Why don"t we have a backup acoustic blowout preventer like some countries require?
We can drill, but we have to do it safely. Until we get answers, there should be a moratorium. And it"s not just jobs and the environment. It"s those 11 people who also lost their lives on that rig.
It"s more than just the environment and jobs. It"s also safety for our workers who work very hard to bring energy for our country. You--they need some protection.
MATTHEWS: You"re so out front on this issue and so passionate about it, Congressman Stupak. Do you wish you would stay--decided to stay in Congress rather than retiring?
STUPAK: No. I made the right decision. I look forward to finishing up this investigation and moving on.
MATTHEWS: OK. Are we going to get the bad guys? Is that your hunch in the end on this oil thing?
STUPAK: Yes, we will. I think. Yes.
MATTHEWS: And--OK. Second question which has been bothering me:
Do you believe--I know you"re a Democrat--do you believe this Democratic administration has reached out and explored all the possibilities for dealing with stopping the spill we"re looking at live right now? Or have they focused too much on the capabilities and the integrity of the BP Corporation?
STUPAK: No. I think the administration and the unified command has brought forth the best minds we can find in the university setting, our national labs, and via national labs, even all the best minds we can find. How do you stop this?
I predicted a long time ago the only way to stop this oil gushing is drill those relief wells. Unfortunately, that"s all we have.
MATTHEWS: Rahm Emanuel came out this week and he doesn"t do many TV appearances. But he showed this week on Sunday television and said that what we"re seeing here in the country is a choice between points of view about regulation, that the Republican point of view is: basically deregulate, allow energy self-regulation, trust that basically. In fact, you"re hearing that from people like Gordon (ph) and the rest of them. Is that a difference that the voter can rely on?
STUPAK: Yes. That is a difference. I mean, if you take a look at this, they want less regulation--Republicans want less regulation. It"s this lack of regulation or lack of enforcement of regulation that led to this terrible tragedy in the Gulf Coast. And we have loss of human life and the environmental havoc being wrecked on the Gulf States.
Look, you got to have rules, and you got to enforce them. If you don"t, people are going to cut corners, and we"re going to have another blowup just like we had here.
STUPAK: Let"s have rules of regulations and enforce them for once.
MATTHEWS: Thanks very much, U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak.
And a reminder to other Republican office holders out there, if you think Rush Limbaugh is wrong about Joe Barton or anything else, or if you think he"s not the leader of the Republican Party, come on the show. We made the challenge 42 days ago. We want to hear from you.
This is HARDBALL only on MSNBC.


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