May 27th, 2010
12:53 PM ET

Obama addresses Gulf oil spill disaster

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.] The president answers the last question from the media and ends the news conference.

[Updated at 1:56 p.m.] Obama says anyone looking for someone to take responsibility can look to him because it's his job to end the crisis. He said the situation "forces us all to do some soul-searching, and I think that's important for all of us to do."

[Updated at 1:51 p.m.] Asked about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar saying the administration had its "boot" on BP's "neck," Obama responded that Salazar is "frustrated, angry and emotional," but that it's important to focus on actions not anger.

[Updated at 1:44 p.m.] "It's problem if we don't start changing how we operate," Obama says, emphasizing the need for diverse sources of energy and explaining how he approached the GOP caucus and said, "Let's work together" on a bipartisan framework for addressing the nation's energy needs.

[Updated at 1:40 p.m.] "We have to verify whatever they say about the damage," Obama says, adding that the government has fallen short in checking out BP's information on the extent of the catastrophe.

[Updated at 1:38 p.m.] Asked if he regretted calling for expanded offshore drilling as part of the nation's energy strategy, Obama says he made the mistake of believing that oil companies "had their act together" when it came to assessing worst-case scenarios.

[Updated at 1:37 p.m.] Despite the oil spill, Obama says he continues to believe that "domestic oil production is an important part of our overall energy mix," but it is insufficient to meet the nation's future needs on its own.

[Updated at 1:33 p.m.] Prior to the oil spill, "there was lack of anticipating" what the worst-case scenarios could be, the president says, and "that's a problem."

[Updated at 1:31 p.m.] The president says he takes some responsibility for not moving quickly enough to change a culture at the Minerals Management Service in which "oil companies were able to get what they wanted." He added, "We should've busted through those constraints."

[Updated at 1:28 p.m.] Obama says he learned of Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum's resignation today.

[Updated at 1:26 p.m.] Prior to the Obama administration, there was a "habit" of signing off on environmental waivers because the Minerals Management Service couldn't complete the necessary studies within the allotted 30 days, the president says.

[Updated at 1:23 p.m.] Obama will "leave it" to the media to compare his oil spill response to former President George W. Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina: "I'm confident that people [will say] this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis."

[Updated at 1:22 p.m.] The president asserts that if "BP's contractors are not moving as nimbly or effectively as they need to be, then it is already the power of the federal government to redirect those resources."

[Updated at 1:20 p.m.] Obama says, "This is a big mess coming to shore," and even with a perfect organizational structure, "spots are going to be missed."

[Updated at 1: 18 p.m.] BP has emergency contracts on hand in the event of an oil spill, Obama says, and "their job is to activate those and start paying them."

[Updated 1:15 p.m.] The federal government does not have "superior" technology, compared to that of BP, to help cap the broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the president says.

[Updated 1:13 p.m.] Obama says the federal government has been involved in decision-making since Day One of the crisis: "This notion that somehow the federal government is sitting on the sideline for the last three or four or five weeks, we've just been letting BP make a whole bunch of decisions, is simply not true."

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.] "Those who think we were slow" in responding to the Gulf oil spill "don't know the facts," the president says.

[Updated at 1:08 p.m.] The president says the oil spill is a reminder of the need to push for comprehensive energy reform legislation.

[Updated at 1:06 p.m.] The crisis has been "the highest priority" since it began, and Obama says he has had more meetings about the spill than any other matter besides the Afghan troop buildup.

[Updated at 1:03 p.m.] Every day the oil spill dilemma continues, Obama says, "I'm angry and frustrated as well."

[Updated at 1:02 p.m.] Obama lists four actions the administration is taking: suspending exploration in two sites off Alaska, canceling plans for leases off the coast of Virginia and in the Gulf of Mexico, suspending permits for new deep-water wells in the Gulf for six months and suspending  33 current projects in the Gulf.

[Updated at 12:59 p.m.] Obama says oil industry's "cozy and sometimes corrupt" relationship with government officials resulted in inadequate regulations.

[Updated at 12:57 p.m.] White House has insisted that BP pay injury claims, Obama says, adding that the U.S. is "not going to abandon our fellow citizens."

[Updated at 12:56 p.m.] President says about 20,000 people are working on the cleanup effort.

[Updated at 12:55 p.m.] Obama, speaking at a White House news conference, says BP is operating under government supervision and must consult administration before undertaking any measures.

[Posted at 12:53 p.m.] Top-kill method for cleaning up oil spill offers "no guarantee of success" and cleanup process could take months, President Obama says.

soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. EmmaJames56

    Obama's heading off to Chicago for weekend, no Arlington for him.

    Just face it America, he's just not that into YOU!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Notaobamafan

      Isn't this embarrassing. Our own president will not be in Arlington to support the troops that died for our country!!!! I said "OUR COUNTRY". Obama could care less.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      ya you are right. The President is off to Chicago – I am sure he will shut off all his phones, not have contact with anyone but family and just kick back and play. What a stupid statement Emma. Man these Tea Party comments are getting annoying.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Notanobamafan – he is visiting a National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Or don't other dead soldiers and their families deserve recognition too? You can't make a statement to sound like the President is being unpatriotic...tell the whole story or non at all.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Notaobamafan

      Brian, Unpatriotic? I don't have to make a statement sound that way, our president is very unpatriotic. If you think he is visiting a memorial in chicago you are stupid! Obama has taken bible and prayer out of the public schools. We need gods help not Obama's help. It sounds you worship the ground that Obama walks on. I am wasting my time talking to a ignorant individual as yourself. Goodbye and may god bless your pitiful soul!!

      May 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shilpy

    why it took so long? the first few weeks were spent in trying to not cap the well but using it as producing well. It was greed. That was the point of that 4 story high tower. It did not work. then they tried another method to continue in the same vein of using the out of control well as a produing well. that too did not work. a lot of days and weeks were lost in this greed. hence finally they decided to cap the well, which was easily done once the decision was made to cap it. in short, if greed had given in to environment, this well could have capped with 4 days of it going rogue.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Because there is a segment that believe when they are ready to strike at rich (like hitting the lottery) they do not want government and regulations standing in the way. We need to clean house and pray that someone will purchase a network that reports the news and does not feel the need to create the news.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    RIGHT ON VAVoter! I agree!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Brian,

      Thanks for the save. I mis-spoke. My intention was not to offend academics. They are of the best our country has to offer but the really good ones doe their jobs and do not attempt to take the place of persons experienced in the fields they are asked to advise for.
      Brian, do you work directly for the Obama administration or are you a DNC flunkie?

      May 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. alivewithhope

    If there is anyone in this country who thinks that the President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is not thoroughly informed about any major happening in this country, good-bad-indifferent, then that person(s) should not be allowed to pollute the airwaves with their feeble minded assertions. We get very limited and filtered information through a “COMMERCIAL” new organization which is absolutely nothing compared to the “penetrating” briefings that the President gets each day. People, it’s ok to hate the person, if that’s your thing, to hate his policy but to talk as if you are an authority on matters and, therefore, more informed and smarter than him or his people is, I apologize, just plain ignorance!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Well, when you consider the 44th president surrounds himself with unqualified liberals who are for the most part academics who have never had a real job how do you expect this "community organizer" to behave like a real president. He's good for one term then he will be voted out on his progressive behind.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Gary, academics don't hold real jobs? Wow you just insulted thousands of hard working people in this country. Way to go.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LING

    Just a comment on Fox' Major Garrett. My face turned red when he stood up, not being abel to look at President Obama face to face, and dared a feeble attempt to take the President to task. Being the gracious man he is, President Obama readily and roundly responded. Garrett is typical Fox product.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EmmaJames56

    President Lincoln was wrong: you can fool 100% of the people all of the time

    Blind faith, in some instances, is foolish

    May 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. truthis

    This is the worst man made disaster ever on American Soil. If you couple that with questionable leadership it equals a complete catastrophic event. It's unimagineable and indefensible that no one ever developed a contigency plan which is a complete lack of leadership from BP to the top of our governement. The lack of due diligence is staggering with a problem of this magnitude. This is criminal neglect at every level and worse is the crimes they have committed against nature. This is Day 38 of this and no one know when it will end as the carnage continues.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SickoftheDroner

    Poor Harry, you are so naive! While you blindly tow your partisan line, worrying about if this will affect your gasoline price, let me explain what's happening. Currently, there is immeasurable amounts of crude oil and other toxic petrochemicals floating on the ocean surface, plumes on the ocean floor, and completely polluted water in between at all levels. ALL LIFE IN THIS HUGE AREA OF THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL PARISH! The inaction of this administration has allowed the pollution to encroach into the fragile marshland. ALL LIFE IN THE MARSHLANDS WILL PARISH. The marshlands, our first line of defense in downgrading the strength of hurricanes, will no longer shield the coast. The full force of the hurricanes will devastate the Gulf Coast states, including all the petrochemical refineries. Don't worry about the cost of gas, you won't be able to get any! THIS SPILL IS NOT CONFINED TO THE GULF OF MEXICO. Hurricane season begins in 5 days, and this toxic soup can be picked up by a hurricane and dumped on everything in its path. Really, stop and think what a nice heavy rain of petrochemicals, especially the kind that stalls, would do as it travels inland up to the north! Oil would make it into our farms, rivers, lakes, forests, and the underground water table. Of course, all animal life, including human life, would be exposed to these toxins. And, it’s only a matter of time before this spill spreads further east, hits the loop current, and pays a visit to the east coast states. For any of you that think that this will not affect you personally because you don’t live in the Gulf Coast region, I’ve got some nice Gulf Coast property for sale!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andy

    So we will have a six month moratorium on offshore drilling. Tell me this Mr. President, how are you going to get the 13 other countries (including Russia and China) from drilling in the Gulf and Caribbean?

    May 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paula

    If President Bush had the same slow response to this matter, especially since there has been no assistance in trying to avoid further destruction of the gulf shores, as President Obama, the media would have raked him over the coals. Why hasn't the federal government done anything to help these people in the region or to get in there and begin the cleanup. It was a joke that last night on the news James Carville said of the president, 'He's a good man, he'll do the right thing.' Where is the accountability. The media always gives this president a pass, no matter what.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I was wondering the same thing. I live here on the gulf coast in Pensacola Florida and we here are just hoping the oil stays away ( we know it won't) I as many I know had hopes as those of LA did that Obama would come on and say he was taking real action, and yet I viewed in disappointment and now just hope that out local government doesn't wait for the red tape and permission from BP or USCG whoever is in charge because Obama may say but we all see, anyway Esacmbia county officials please don't sit it wait mobilize before our coastlines are covered as LA's are

      May 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Notaobamafan

      James Carville is an idiot. He needs to be thrown in the oil. I laugh at that man everytime he talks. CNN will give anyone a job.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • marjan

      Carville LOL. Wonder if his wife Mary(a REP) gave him hell afterwards. Good people tend to finish last,.We need sharp astute people in the White House. And the lip service continues ad infinitum . Sadly all the rhetoric is now mostly about political damage control and finger pointing.

      May 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoJola

      Paula, this is totally different from the hurricane disaster. You don't have hundreds of dead bodies floating around LA while in the mean time, the president is giving pats on the back and praises for a job "well done" to the person he put in charge. On the contrary, this president is taking blame for his actions. Now grant you, the oil spill is a major disaster that is going to leave a devastating affect for decades to come but think about it, what was Obama to do? If the major oil companies along with the actual engineers who built the darn oil rigs are clueless as to how to stop the leakage, what exactly do you expect from the president? To blame him is just totally unmerited (or just plain stupid). Instead, put the blame where the blame is deserved, BP! It's their mess (and theirs alone) and they should be solely responsible for making sure every drop is cleaned up. They should also be responsible for paying the salaries of each and every fisherman whose lively-hood they have totally destroyed. And let’s not forget the head honchos – CEOs. They need to be brought up on negligence charges and be prosecuted as criminals for the killing of the eleven that lost their lives behind this mess. Now that's putting the blame where it belongs.

      May 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary

    "We are relying on every resource and every idea," he (the 44th) said Thursday. "We will take ideas from anywhere, but we are going to stop it."
    Wonder why he did not include the word "qualified" in this statement. Guessing it is because he is so used to taking advice from UNqualified advisors..

    May 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. suzie

    How pathetic CLEAN UP THE OIL –GET THE COUNTRIES IN TO HELP and yes the President should order that to be done
    NOW!!! Get with the picture......

    May 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buck Rodgers

    Wow, about half the comments on here come from people obviously lacking about 2/3 of their brain. How bold to bare your ignorance before us all. Stop parroting the media - wake up and use your mind. Stop being an empty vessel. That's your knee jerking...

    May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I don't know about the rest of the people on here Buck but I have been on here since day 4 of this leak screaming for mobilization to protect our coast so I say to you my knee is getting tired from jerking for 37 days of nothing being done and political bull while the oil gets closer and closer to our shores here on the AL FL coast and hope that our local officials are learning from the response and protection that LA is getting

      May 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jaime Greer

    Who I their right mind would want to President. Good morning here is a big hot cup of world conflict and you can pour this Gulf oil over your bowl of illegal immigration flakes.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. R

    Whoever thinks that the soulution to this mess is for us, the residents of Louisiana to get in out boats and clean up the oil is ignorant!! The National Guard is not letting anyone (besides BP and goverment workers/idiots) on the beaches or into the marshes. THEY ARE CLOSED!!!!!
    If you don't know what you are talking about, SHUT UP!!!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Then tell your Governor to open them up so the citizens can get to work.

      May 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Say it louder!!!! This is exactly what I have been saying for a month now!!! Our local officials here in Pensacola Florida and mobile ala are having the same issue we want to be proactive and protect the coast before the oil hits but the getting approval from bp or USCG whoever is in charge because I don't know about you but it still isn't clear to us.... I hope the best for you!

      May 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      R already answered this Brian "If you don't know what your talking about then, SHUT UP!!!!" our local government is being controlled by BP and the USCG and are not getting approval in time to do anything, it takes weeks to even get an answer, our town hall meetings with BP officials are filled with questions with no answers there is no central control in and no one locally has the power to say yes or no, the federal gov isn't letting our local gov do it's job! This is what all of us here on the coast are trying to get across!!

      May 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
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