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Obama on BP Oil Spill: 'My Job is to Get This Fixed'

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President Obama said Thursday he is "angry and frustrated" about the slow pace of capping the BP oil spill and that his administration is "singularly focused" on stopping the underwater gusher.
"My job is to get this fixed. And in case anybody wonders -- in any of your reporting, in case you're wondering who's responsible, I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down," Obama said during a press conference.
Obama said he did not know if the Department of Interior official overseeing the catastrophe who left the job on Thursday was fired or allowed to resign. Asked about the departure of Elizabeth Birnbaum as director of the Minerals Management Service, Obama said, "I don't know the circumstances in which this occurred."
The press conference -- a 63 minute session where Obama took questions from 10 journalists -- was called to show that the Obama White House is on top of the disaster in the Gulf. His administration faces critics from both sides of the aisle because of the inability to cap the leak and stop the oil spread. But Obama defended his administration's actions, saying his team is not "sitting on the sidelines."
Obama ordered a stop to drilling at 33 deep water Gulf of Mexico rigs for six months, a suspension of exploration off the coast of Alaska, and cancellation of pending lease sales in Virginia and the Gulf. No new deep water drilling permits will be issued for six months. Last March, Obama proposed allowing expanded offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in Alaska, a plan that is now on hold.

Two polls published this week said that a majority of Americans gave Obama negative marks for his handling of the oil spill.
The highlights from the press conference:
- Obama stressed that while BP is responsible for the spill, the federal government and his White House are calling the ultimate shots.
"The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. As far as I'm concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy," Obama said.
"We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they've done and the painful losses that they've caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.
"But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction."
- Obama said he understood "the enormous sense of anger and frustration felt by people on the Gulf and so many Americans. Every day I see this leak continue, I am angry and frustrated as well."
- Obama strongly rejected a suggestion that the BP spill was his "Katrina." Obama, as a U.S. Senator from Illinois, early on criticized the Bush White House response to Hurricane Katrina.
"And when the problem is solved and people look back and do an assessment of all the various decisions that were made, I think people can make a historical judgment. And I'm confident that people are going to look back and say that this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis," he said.

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joyvdk

This is a perfect example of the absolute falsehoods this president is endlessly spewing... like oil from the Deepwater Horizon! OBAMA SPEAKS WITH BRAIN WILLIAMS... "If you take a look at our response the only thing in common we had with — the Katrina response was Thad Allen, who came in and helped to organize rescue efforts — and he did so under Katrina, he did so for us. But if you look, we had immediately thousands of vessels, tens of thousands of people who are here. And what we're seeing now is that we've got a lot more work to do. But the fact is because of the sturdiness and swiftness of the response, there's a lot less oil hitting these shores and these beaches than anybody would have anticipated, given the volume that was coming out of — the — the BP — oil — oil well." REALITY: Taken from BP.com Release date April 29 2010 BP MC252 Gulf Of Mexico Response Continues To Escalate On And Below Surface • 69 response vessels are being used including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels. • 76,104 gallons of dispersant have been deployed and an additional 89,746 gallons are available • More than 100,000 feet of boom (barrier) has been assigned to contain the spill. An additional 286,760 feet is available and 320,460 feet has been ordered. • To date, the oil spill response team has recovered 16,311 barrels (685,062 gallons) of an oil-water mix. Vessels are in place and continuing recovery operations. "And when the problem is solved and people look back and do an assessment of all the various decisions that were made, I think people can make a historical judgment. And I'm confident that people are going to look back and say that this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis," he said."

September 07 2010 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scottee

yep, just get it fixed and send us the bill! we'll pay for everything the government wants to deficit spend for.

June 01 2010 at 10:42 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scottee's comment
dmgg711

Yep, the Republicans will probably suggest that the government pay the bills:

May 16, 2010 - Late this past week, Republicans in the Senate effectively blocked legislation that would have raised the cap on the amount of money oil companies like BP would have to pay for economic damages caused by oil spills.

It was, if nothing else, risky politics. As it stands now, a company will pay only $75 million in economic-related liabilities. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) wants the figured bumped up to $10 billion. Asked why the GOP would block such an effort, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) suggested on Sunday that raising the cap was unnecessary because BP had given him it's word that it would cover the costs of the spill in the Gulf.

June 06 2010 at 4:19 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
sj3819

Thank you so much for finally providing some editorial supervision here! The moronic, hate-filled comments about people used to make it impossible to gain any intelligent insights from fellow readers.

May 29 2010 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sj3819's comment
joyvdk

Frankly if speech is still free in America and people are in a state of fervor in their anger to voice their disgust with vehemence, so be it! There is a moment when enough is quite enough and anger is the only place left to go... I think Americans have reached this place.

September 07 2010 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gandkandrews

By Obama using this as an excuse to stop his promised drilling increases off shore, the American people are becoming more and more depend on the Islamic world for our oil. They are rapidly getting in a position to "own" us for the oil. Obama needs to do two things immediately to prevent this Islamic take over of our country and economy. One, start today drilling for oil in Alaska and any other on-shore oil field. Two, immediately relax restrictions on nuclear power plants and start building at least one power plant for each area of over 10,000,000 people, and incentive developers to make vehicle size nuclear power packs to run cars and trucks..

May 28 2010 at 11:49 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
thomasecw

If Obama has been in charge "since day 1", why would the federal government pick up the majority of the cost of the cleanup? Does BP have a say in how they will meet its responsibility in cleaning up the mess? A true leader (versus organizer) would be out there pulling expertise from all sources (e.g., Chevron, Middle East, Indonesia, etc.) instead of wagging a finger at the camera (shades of Bill Clinton). If I make a mistake, I would absolutely reject someone else coming in to manage its resolution and present me with a bill. Maybe without the feds intervention (aka, managment), the spill would have been cleaned up by week #1. In sum, we need leadership; not a perpetual politician! Not an organizer! Please hold the masked over arrogance!

May 28 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
rickmt57

I didnt vote for Bush because I thought he was an idiot but Obama makes Bush look like a genious. Can we really handle 2 more years of this administration? They havent lived up to anything he promised. Everything he touches turns into a mess, we have yet to see the economy take off like he promised, where are all the new jobs? Health care is going to end up costing us way more than they said. Imigration control is still a joke because he is afraid to loose the hispanic vote, by the time he is done it may be the illegals that are the only ones who vote for him.

May 28 2010 at 10:24 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rickmt57's comment
sj3819

They haven't lived up to anything they promised? Try looking back on what he promised, and you'll see significant progress on much of his agenda, from healthcare reform and changing our reputation in the world to ending "don't ask, don't tell" in the military. You might not LIKE his agenda, but you can't say he hasn't aggressively pursued it. Do facts matter to you at all?

May 29 2010 at 1:37 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
rickmt57

He cannot handle anyone saying anything bad about him. He wont answer questions, so much for hope, change and transparency...lol

May 28 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rickmt57's comment
sj3819

Try at least some acquaintance with facts. Obama answers questions all the time. Where do you right-wing hate-mongers get your fantasies from? Do you just take notes from Glenn Beck and then spread it around no matter how little it's related to what actually happens?

May 29 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
technicrat

Congratulations this is a good read, of the factual reporting by this writer keep up the good work.

Thanks, technicrat

May 28 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Tom

It is interesting that an "unprecedented crises" is acceptable as an excuse with regards to this oil spill, yet was not for Katrina. As usual, another politician trying to have it both ways. The truth is "both" Katrina and this oil spill were "unprecedented" and unparalled in magnitude. No government could respond fast enough to make everybody happy. Just getting through the layers of beurocracy from decision making to action would boggle most of our minds. The KISS principle(keep it simple stupid) does not apply here. Barack Obama is the consumate politician, particularly adept at eloquently speaking while saying nothing. For the people who think that the opposition to this president are racially motivated, guess again. Repeat after me,"It's his policies, stupid." If he were anywhere near a centrist I could deal with him. But he is, and always has been, way left of center. While I was no fan of the spending of President Bush and the republicans President Obama and the democrats are making them look like pikers. Spending our country into oblivion while passing laws that only further bloat our government beaurocray do not make sense to me and a whole host of other people. The oil spill, unfortunately, will cost us more than just the tax dollars involved. It's one more disaster turned "political opportunity".

May 28 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
wadesidem

He has failed us on this oil spill. Governor Jindal is begging for help which has fallen on deaf ears.Our only hope is that he gets impeached for the Sesstak scandal.

May 28 2010 at 8:40 AM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

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