TAPPER: This week, President Obama used the gusher in the Gulf to push the Senate to move on a comprehensive energy bill which Democratic Senator John Kerry introduced earlier this year. He joins us from Concord, New Hampshire now. Also joining us this morning, Republican Senator John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which helps elect Republicans to the Senate.
Senator Cornyn is in Austin, Texas this morning. Senator Kerry, Senator Cornyn, thanks for joining us.
KERRY: Thank you. Glad to be with you.
TAPPER: Senator Kerry, starting with you. Do you think the Obama administration has been too cozy or too trusting with BP?
KERRY: No, I think they are holding BP's feet to the fire, but obviously this has been, as you just heard Admiral Allen say, it's continued to dissipate, it continues to provide challenges. I think they've got an extraordinary number of workers, 17,500 National Guard, over 20,000 workers, almost 2,000 vessels. It's growing. They are growing to meet the demand. And I am convinced you're going to see the Congress of the United States and the administration together hold BP and the drilling process accountable.
TAPPER: Senator Cornyn, how would you rate BP's response? Should its CEO, Tony Hayward, stay or should he go?
CORNYN: Well, BP's response has been lousy. They are the ones that started this problem, and unfortunately, Jake, here we are 48 days into it, and I'm glad to hear Admiral Allen saying we've accumulated the human and physical assets we need to deal with this problem, but it sure has taken a long time. And I think a lot of the confusion has been because no one has really known who's in charge. Is it the president of the United States? Is it the CEO of British Petroleum? Who is it? Is it Admiral Allen? So I think really, we need the president to step up and assert himself and to say, let's cut through the red tape, let's cut through the chain of command, and let's get the assets where they need to be in order to protect the beaches and the people of that important region.
TAPPER: Senator Kerry, you were smiling during that. You want to respond?
KERRY: Well, it's sort of fashionable (inaudible) right now to try to blame the Obama administration for this disaster, which occurred because of a drilling problem that occurred with BP and Transoceanic (sic) and so forth. From day one, from the first moment, from within hours of this happening, President Obama was notified. The next day, he held the principals meeting in the White House. He's been down there three times. Every major person in the administration has been there. You have the best minds in the country being brought to bear on this. But everybody understands, the government of the United States doesn't do the drilling. The government of the United States doesn't have the technology. They have been racing to try to make up for BP's mistakes and for the absence here of a sufficient level of emergency.
Frankly, we had eight years, as many of us remember, of secret oil industry meetings where they wrote the oil laws, where there was an incestuous relationship with the MMS, and everybody understands this relationship has to change.
I think it is changing now.