Let Me Start: May 14, 2015

Let me start with the stories the Hardball Staff is talking about this morning: the devastating Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, cutting Amtrak funding and the problems continue for Jeb Bush’s potential 2016 run.

First to Philadelphia, where the NTSB has returned control of some of the railway back to Amtrak.  As the company attempts to get the Northeast Corridor line back on the grid, the investigation into what caused the deadly crash continues.  Officials say the train was traveling at 106 mph when the engineer, identified as Brandon Bostian, applied the brake in a 50 mph zone. 

“He remembers driving the train…he remembers going to that area generally, [but] has absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual,” Bostian’s attorney Robert Goggin told ABC News Wednesday.

WATCH MORE: City of Brotherly Love reacts to train tragedy

Fingers on Capital Hill immediately pointed to the poor infrastructure of the railway system as a factor in the derailment.  But that didn’t stop the House Appropriations Committee from voting to cut Amtrak funding by $260 million Wednesday. 

WATCH MORE: Passionate debate over Amtrak funding in Congress

Meanwhile, the 2016 field may continue to grow.  NBC News has confirmed from an aide that former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley will announce whether or not he is joining the race on May 30 from Baltimore.  O’Malley has recently been selling himself as a more progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.  And former New York governor George Pataki told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he will announce his decision to run on May 28.

“I am the only person who has been elected running on the Conservative party line as a Conservative,” Patacki said when asked about joining a crowded Republican field for 20116.  ”I have no doubt that when I lay my ideas out there and go through my background and what I’ve been able to do, people are gonna say ‘This is a guy who could lead our country’.”

WATCH MORE: Pataki has firm day in mind to announce ‘16 plans

In other 2016 news, a college student created more controversy for Jeb Bush this week over Iraq.  During a town hall, Ivy Ziedrich asked the former Florida governor if he would take a question from a student, and then proceeded to tell him that she believed his brother “created ISIS”.  According to the New York Times, Ziedrich said: “Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? Why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?”

Bush turned the tables, implying that it was in fact President Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq that led to the formation of ISIS.

“We had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress,” Bush retorted.  ”The result was the opposite occurred. Immediately, that void was filled.”

 Tune in to “Hardball with Chris Matthews” 7pm/et for all the day’s political news and analysis.

Hardball - Let Me Start

Let Me Start: May 14, 2015