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Ed Schultz Sells Book, Pushes Obama From the Left on Today Show

NBC's Today show has yet to interview or plug any of conservative radio talk show host's Mark Levin's best-selling books but on Tuesday's Today show they helped sell two liberals' books as they invited on MSNBC host Ed Schultz to hype Killer Politics and interviewed Sarah Palin stalker Joe McGinniss who hasn't even written his book about the Alaskan governor. Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira sat down with Schultz to discuss how the oil spill in the Gulf will affect the Obama presidency, which allowed Schultz to push Obama from the left as he told viewers: "I view this as a real defining moment and an opportunity for the President to pivot this country off the addiction of Big Oil."

The following is the full interview segment with Schultz as it was aired on the June 1 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: We are back at 8:51am with more on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Obama administration's handling of what is now considered the biggest environmental disaster our country has ever faced. Ed Schultz is the host of MSNBC's The Ed Show and the author of a new book, Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class. Ed, good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "Crisis In The Gulf, What's The Damage If Leak Continues Indefinitely?"]

ED SCHULTZ: Good morning and thanks for being here.

VIEIRA: Pleasure to have you. Want to talk about your book but first let's talk about the administration's response to this BP oil spill. A lot of criticism that they did not handle it well. Slow on the uptake on this. What kind of political liability has this created for the President?

SCHULTZ: Well, he runs the risk of having BP define his presidency. He has to define his presidency with this issue because it's going to affect every portion of our economy. There's no question about it. I view this as a real defining moment and an opportunity for the President to pivot this country off the addiction of Big Oil, which I write about in the book, and to go to renewables, to go to energy independence. And he talked about that, to his credit. The President talked about that both times when he went down to the Gulf, but for some reason, it just hasn't grabbed the emotion of the American people. He's not a bullhorn kind of guy.

VIEIRA: Yeah but also the American people, right now, what they're focusing on is this spill.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

VIEIRA: And the potential damage. And the President has said repeatedly that he has been in charge from the beginning but you say BP has played too big a role in calling the shots.

SCHULTZ: They have played, well there's a lot of contracts involved with the clean up and what their responsibilities are. The appearance, appearance is everything. The appearance for the first I'd say 18 to 25 days of this response was that the President and the administration was trusting BP. On one hand he's saying we're going to hold them accountable. Well, as a news consumer, I think Americans are out there saying, "Okay, what kind of accountability are you talking about? AIG accountability? Wall Street accountability?" You didn't get everything you wanted in health care. I mean there are some real legislative accomplishments there, but what is the President and the administration mean when it comes to you're going to hold BP accountable? I think there's a lot of questions out there. I think trust is an issue. He trusted BP to handle this for too long, too early on.

VIEIRA: You know there was an interesting opinion piece in today's New York Times by David Brook. I'm gonna paraphrase some of this but I'd love your take on this. He writes, "On the one hand most people know that the government is not in the oil business, they don't want it in the oil business, on the other hand they demand that the President take control. They demand that he hold press conferences, show leadership, announce that the buck stops here and do something. They want to hold him responsible for things they know he doesn't control. It may not make sense but it doesn't make sense that the country wants spending cuts and doesn't want cuts. Wants change and doesn't want change." Are we sort of schizophrenic?

SCHULTZ: Well, we are in charge. The Congress is in charge. And we've allowed Big Oil and Big Money and bad politics to overrun our entire system. The Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans are. And what has happened is that we have deregulated to the point where we have put ourselves in an untenable position in dealing with the environment and now we have a crisis. I'm not convinced that all Americans understand the magnitude of what we're dealing with on this and how this could affect our environment and our economy. The ripple effect through our economy on this is gonna be brutal and the President does stand a chance to champion change and move us to energy independence and push aside the influence of Big Oil and push aside the, the corporate interests and the shake-down of the Congress.

VIEIRA: Or?

SCHULTZ: Or we're just gonna get overrun. I mean I really view this as a, as a, as a real opportunity for Americans to stand up and for the country to stand up and to be energy independent and to show that we can do this.

VIEIRA: Let me talk, change gears here and talk about your book. You write that the American middle class is under siege and that greed is killing our country. Who is at fault here? Ultimately?

SCHULTZ: Well, politicians are at fault. Both parties are at fault. You know we, we send people to Washington all well intended. They say all the right things, and then when they get there they become overrun by the system and that's why I write in the book about term limits. I just think we absolutely have to have them.

VIEIRA: We got to go. On that note, Ed Schultz, thank you so much.

SCHULTZ: Thank you Meredith. Appreciate it.

-Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here