During a second trip this month to areas along the Gulf affected by the disastrous oil spill, President Obama toured beaches sticky with crude, was briefed on efforts to cap the flowing well, and reassured residents that the clean up is the government's "highest priority and it deserves a response that is equal to the task."
"I'm here to tell you that you are not alone, you will not be abandoned, you will not be left behind," Obama said during a speech Friday
at a Coast Guard station in Grande Isle, La. "The media may get tired of the story, but we will not. We will be on your side and we will see this through."
The president announced the National Guard was deploying about 1,400 members in four states to join the 20,000 people already working to contain and clean up the spill. He said 1,4000 boats are in the gulf unloading millions of feet of hard and sorbent boom, the rope-like materials that float on the water to contain the crude and keep it off shore.
The speech was intended to show empathy for the beleaguered residents of the Gulf and showcase Obama's leadership and the strong federal response to the crisis.
"I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis," Obama said. "I am the president, and the buck stops with me. So I give the people of this community and the entire Gulf my word that we're going to hold ourselves accountable to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this catastrophe, to defend our natural resources, to repair the damage, and to keep this region on its feet."
Obama said because the situation in the Gulf is unprecedented, patience will be required as experts try to figure out the best way to cap the well and clean up the water.
"There are going to be a lot of judgment calls here. There are not going to be silver bullets or perfect answers," he said.
The president met with Coast Guard officials, local leaders and the governors of Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana.
Obama called on volunteers to come join the cleanup effort and for tourists to spend money in the region.
"One of the most powerful ways you can help the Gulf right now is to visit the coast," the president said. "Except for three beaches here in Louisiana, all of the Gulf's beaches at this moment are open, they are safe and they are clean. And so that's always a good way to help, is to come down and provide support to the communities along the coasts."
Read the president's full speech here