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. R

    Good luck Rob. I hope things get under control before the your beautiful beaches are ruined too. Most of these people we are talking with have never even seen these areas they are so quick to comment on. Maybe if they had, they would be more worried about the horrible damaged that is being done, and less about all of these other issues, distractions, ect.
    And your are right, its all about capitilization, globalization, and greed. Who cares about the people that just go to work everyday to raise their families.

    May 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RonJohn

    DON'T LET BP CUT THE PIPE ABOVE THE BLOW OUT PREVENTER (AMERICA WILL BE DOOMED)! INSTEAD, CRIMP THE PIPE LIKE BENDING A DRINKING STRAW IN SEVERAL PLACES(AFTER THE BOP BUT BEFORE THE FIRST LEAK!!!!!! ALSO, THE MUD/CONCRETE SLURRY WON'T WORK BECAUSE THE FLOW VELOCITY (SPEED) OF THE MIXTURE IS TOO FAST OUT OF THE LEAKS TO SET UP AND HARDEN! I HAVE A CRIMP DESIGN THAT WILL WORK!:: PICTURE A BOX THAT IS CLAMPED TO THE PIPE AND INSIDE THIS BOX IS A PINCHPOINT GATE VALVE THAT (BENDS/CRIMPS) THE PIPE CLOSED. DO THIS IN SEVERAL LOCATIONS. ASKS YOURSELF, WHEN WILL THEY RUN OUT OF MUD AND CAN CONCRETE REALLY SETUP IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND IF ITS FLOWING?? BP IS RUN MY IDIOTS WHO REFUSE TO HIRE TALENTED PEOPLE!!!! AMERICA IS FULL OF COMPANIES LIKE THIS AND IS RUN BY TOO MANY ACCOUNTANTS IN TECHNICAL POSITIONS!! THEY CAN ONLY COVER-UP ISSUES BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TECHNICAL ENOUGH TO SOLVE PROBLEMS!!! I CAN NAME A FEW OTHERS COMPANIES!

    RON JOHNSON

    May 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sam

    It is now called Beyond Petroleum and the British don't own much of it anymore.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Damião Carlos

    No word to describe S.OS, please, save our souls...http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com

    May 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. patricia page

    Why do you think that the Federal Government should pay for a mistake made by a private comany? BP iis the expert in drilling for oil not our government. Any damage that occurs in the gulf and on the shores of La and Ala should be paid by BP not you and me.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. T'oley from La

    Sorry guys this one is on Obama.When they look back in the future this will be all on him,no matter how you may want to spin this.The only thing they will remember that the Worlds worst oil spill happened during the Obama administration.Period.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Stephen E. Stafford

    Amazing. We are at a point in our nation where facts do not get in the way of opinions. President Obama has been communicating about this spill since it began. On a daily basis the American people have been kept abreast of developments. I have seen things people rail about even on this thread addressed by Administration functionaries during the course of the crisis. Today, the President spoke about what has been going on, and answered reporter's questions.

    The posts on this board show many did not use their "listening ears". These posts show some have such deeply harbored disdain for the President that there is nothing he could ever say that they are willing to hear.

    My hope is that the President continues working hard, and shakes off the haters' bile as he continues to work on the nation's behalf. Some people will never be satisfied, even in the face of the evidence. There are enough Americans who hear what he has been clearly saying, and we will continue to support him through victory in the next presidential election. Those who are saying "over my dead body" should consider finalizing their eternal arrangements.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marktmurphy5

    All of us obviously want the Gulf spill resolved as successfully and quickly as possible. There's no question Obama cares about this issue deeply. Adm. Allen is THE guy you want handling the clean up but he seems to be hamstrung by the overall strategy dictated by the 1990 Oil Spill recovery law. Obama needs to forget the lawyers and turn Allen loose. Everybody is going to wind up in court anyway so let the lawyers focus on that, let Chu and BP focus on the well, and let Allen focus on the clean-up and logistics. I never want to hear Allen mention the well again, just booms, barrels, berms, and Sham-Wows.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. USA1

    OBAMA DID NOT HAVE ANY REAL OVER SIGHT IN PLACE.
    BIDEN STATED: WAS WORST THAN WE THOUGHT, BUT OBAMA WAS GOING TO HAVE REAL SERIOUS OVER SIGHT IN PLACE.
    OBAMA, JANUARY 20, 2009, HAS COME AND GONE. YOU OWN THIS MESS LOCK, STOCK, AND BARREL.
    OBAMA GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE GOVERNOR OF LOUISANA AND THE GULF COAST STATES GET THIS MESS FIXED.
    OBAMA AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ARE TO BLAME COMPLETELY. I AM IN CHARGE: WELL OBAMA IT IS OUT OF YOUR HANDS AND NO SYMPATHY FOR YOU. THIS IS NOT VEGAS OBAMA.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. daniel t

    "Tourism is dead. Fishing is dead. We're dying a slow death," my job here is done, next mission, the Alaskan pipeline.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GinasDailyOpEd

    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." Watch Rachel Maddow – She has tapes going back from the 70's when the very same situation occured with a fault blow out valve that resulted in an explosion with oil gushing out and no plan to stop it. It was TransOcean but of course, under another name. They attempted to cap off the gushing oil with what they termed as an "Sombrero Hat" -which of course, didn't work. Now, they call the cap a "Top Hat".
    They had over thirty (30) years to work on prevention and disaster recovery. More than 30 years later and they are attempting the same dysfunctional methods. The Oil Industry, in all their glory and arrogance have never truly put forth any real "ENERGY" and/or "RESOURCES" in the prevention and treatment of disaster recovery. Forget the Sombrero and Top Hat – It's a DUNCE CAP they should be wearing.

    BP's only attempt seems to be in "hiding" the truth about the oil gushing into our waters, as well as, hiding the visual aspect of it. Spraying an "oil dispersant" is now adding toxic chemicals to an already toxic oil. How can that make things better? If the oil is in pools, wouldn't that make it easier to remove than to break it all up into small bits. Once broken up the oil can flow more easily – and travel further, now affecting even a larger eco system.

    BP is acting like a child – like a REAL BRAT. Lying about the damage they have caused. Refusing to disclose how bad the problem is then attempting to cover it up. Like a child who refuses to eat his vegetables, will take a pile of peas and drop some down on the floor so no one will see them, then spread the remaining pile around the entire surface of the plate so....... it doesn't look like a whole lot of pea's are left.

    Who in the Mineral Management Office will be receiving a PAYCHECK TOMORROW? Why have these people who are responsible for regulation and inspections receiving ANY CHECKS since this explosion? Maybe MM should stand for Michael Moore -have him in charge of inspections.

    GO AFTER THEM OBAMA. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE BEHIND YOU. JUST DO THE RIGHT THING.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anonymous

    Wow. It took him 3 weeks to acknowledge the spill and when he does he says something stupid. Wonderful job Mr. Obama you made America a live sitcom enjoyed viewers all over the world.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anonymous

    Wow. It took him 3 weeks to acknowledge the spill and when he does he says something stupid. Wonderful job Mr. Obama you made America a live sitcom enjoyed by viewers all over the world.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GinasDailyOpEd

    The lettuce people eat have killed them
    The Peanut Butter people ate have killed them
    The Mines are unsafe and Miners have been Killed.
    The Oil Riggs are unsafe and the 11 workers killed.
    The drugs are not adequately tested and brought to market to early – Thousands of people dead and thousand more living with liver and kidney failure and disease.

    THE BANKS LIE CHEAT AND STEAL
    THE LAWFIRMS LIE CHEAT AND STEAL FROM THEIR OWN CLIENTS

    AMERICA'S CORRUPTION NEEDS TO END NOW.
    TAKE A STAND. PRESIDENT OBAMA. WHO'S SIDE ARE YOU ON?
    IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR YOU.
    YOU DON'T NEED THEIR MONEY – YOU JUST NEED OUR VOTES.
    DO WHAT'S MORAL AND THE VOTES WILL COME.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BreakingNewsBlog.us

    .
    .
    Wall Street Journal and Washington Post just said that "top kill" has failed its goal
    .
    online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269204575270081524288118.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEADSecondNewsCollection
    .
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/27/AR2010052701957.html
    .
    that's (probably) the reason why BP no longer shows the oil riser's leak live video...
    .

    May 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
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