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. Glen71

    Carolyn keep dreaming. Party of No has no one that can beat him.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      WOW!!! Watch out!!! This is from Obama's address?!?!?! He really knows how to take action!!! All are a form of inaction... of NO. Knida sounds like the President of... NO!! QUOTE – "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."" WOW, that's a lot of action... wish he would've just told his GOV workers to step in and plug that leak!?!?!?

      May 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joseph Kelly

    Drew and the president need to wake up... have you listened to any of the things Govenor Jindal has been asking for – but he has bee getting no response – who owns the "on the ground" clean-up force – BP? HA. Who has authority to get the skiimer tankers out there but they are in holding pattern out there now... Two countries have offered help – why keep them at bay the president says it may be woo much too soon – but unless those resources get here it may to to little too late... tones of examples – this will turn into Monday morning Quaterbacking saying yes we are not perfect, yes mistakes were made – but what has been attempted by the gov't – and the coast guard has no authority – show daily leadership or assign someone that can say they are on running all logistics ... if it were up to you, the future of one of our greatest natural resources would all be left with BP (a foreign firm) to mange and that is just not enough ... or acceptable....WAKE UP

    May 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. EmmaJames56 the buck really doesn't stop at the presidency....good one

    May 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CT

    ex cnn viewer

    I saw the special and if anyone else wants to see it go to 60 minutes on cbs and watch it for your self.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey many times can Obama re-arrange his words to mean the same thing? "Let's work together...", "bipartisan", sounds more like he is trying to blame the republicans for his problems.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian in MD

    The buck stops with you President A $$hole. Stop blaming everyone else. I hope you asap.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • RetVet2wars

      You FIRST!!!!!!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. melissa

    He moved forward for driliing because we were crying about the price of oil. Drill baby Drill, remember.. Now look at us. People stop the madness. We as Americans have to learn no pain, no gain.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I agree...but people have to stop and think. It is not just the gas in your car that is made from oil. Your milk jugs, baby bottles, plastic grocery bags, the asphalt you drive to work on, the shigles on your roof...HECK EVEN YOUR TOOTHBRUSH is made with some petro product. Wake up America! You want convienence products you have to pay for them. We are really paying for them now huh? 😉

      May 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ex cnn viewer

    1st news conference in 10 months. Number of questions regarding the economy from our "free press", ZERO.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Number of questions on Afghan an Arizona 2...Person who didn't understand this press conf. was about the oil spill...PRICELESS

      May 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!?! Obama thought "they had their act together" but didn't check to see what the worst case scenarios were about off shore drilling and didn't check to see if they had actual plans for the worst case scenario???

    May 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Librarygirl

    You people get on my nerve always talking about how the government needs to stay out of everything. Then expect the government to fix everything when things go wrong. Whether its this oil spill or katrina. The real problem is with bp and greed. Always looking for profit over the environment and people.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      yes cause bp likes seeing oil ooze out into the gulf of to blow...give me a break...go drink some coffee and think about climate gate..

      May 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    2012 can't come soon enough. I just hope the U.S.A. can survive 2 more years.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kim

    OK, now let's talk about Joe Sestak. Is he a liar or is there a felon in the White House??

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Leona Tjan

    Republicans and right wingers are crazy. They are the ones that say " We want Government out of our business" Then when the maneuver the fan, They want to blame government or Obama . This stuff has been going on without supervision under the republicans and right wingers for a long time. You cant have it both ways unless they think it politically suit them.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      The oil companies would not be drilling in the risky deep waters if they were allowed by the GOV to drill in the shallows much closer to shore!!!! Our GOV forced them into deep waters FAR off shore!!!
      As for blame... Obama says the GOV was there from day one. He says they were in charge from day one. He says BP can't do anything without the GOV's approval. Now we know why stopping this leak has taken so long!?!?! Looks like the GOV wanted to allow the leak to go on as long as possible to create a disaster and make BP pay for it...

      May 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    I have several solutions:

    1. Plug the well with Obama's teleprompter (oops! sorry it is not waterproof)
    2. Plug the well with Obama's ego, audacity, and arrogance
    3. Plug the well with Obama's magic charisma- he's the annointed one- thought he could walk on water, so why can't he stop the flow of oil as welll?
    4. Put a transparent cover over the well just like the transparency he's shown in the last 17 months- oh wait, there is NO transparency!
    5. Let Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus talk about the racism they perceive in callng oil "black gold" and just maybe the oil will feel the oppression they jam down our throats and it will cower back into the well!

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey

      Great list! I vote for #2 or #3 or #4...damn I can't decide!

      May 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      WELL DONE!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bertina

      And you wonder why nothing gets done in washington- people like you are running the govt.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      @Bertina, Just by reading this article and the posts here we have proven that we can do more than most in Washington... I'm sure reading what's here is about the equivalent to reading AZ illegal immigration law... which the top in Washington can't quite handle!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen E. Stafford

      Publish that racial invective using your full name. Take off the cyber sheet and show us who you are.

      May 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glen71

    Gov Jindal asking for federal assistance? Isn't he in the Party of No that says keep out, to much gov't interference, called the President and socialist and Communist, no more handouts, if you don't have helathcare to bad , i have it find a way to get it youraself. No he is looking for a handout? What a flip-flopper you G-NO-Pers and Tea Baggers are. And where has Queen Sarah been durinf all this, I reall need a Drill, Baby, Drill chant right now!

    May 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
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