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. Carl L.

    The spill is not a diplomacy-it needs action

    May 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EmmaJames56

    There's a felon in the White House

    May 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CT

    Brian in MD what would you think if someone said they want you to die ASAP. Now enough with the foolishness he is still the President wether you like it or not. I don't care what President he is, he is still the president. You talk about an @ss hole look in the mirror. You want a President dead where the hell is your patriotism.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in MD

      Where is President @$$ hole's patriotism? He's intent on destroying this country.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • RetVet2wars

      Brian of MD – tell what have you done for this Country?

      May 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tyler

    Nno questions about sestak or economy or Obama's memorial day plans???

    The fourth estate really has become the fifth column....

    May 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    This wouldn't be such a huge mess if they weren't forced to drill so far off shore. All the crazy enviro wackos against our country being self sufficient are to blame. If this rig were in a hundred feet of water 1 mile off shore the leak could have been fixed in a day. Place blame where blame belongs. Accidents do happen, we can mitigate their impact by making wise decisions or magnify them by making poor decisions.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    this president scares the living crap out of me. i've been more than patient with him knowing the he was a new president with new administration and new fresh ideas. i HOPED for better. this man has does absolutely nothing since taking office.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    A whole month has gone by and this thing spews oil constantly. Russia has suggested bombing it. Others have stated it should have been encircled with booms when it first began and lit on fire. Now it is out of control and will ruin the gulf of mexico. Louisiana was waiting on emergency permit to sand dune the entrances to the marshes but never got it. they've had to take matters into their own hands and proceed without a permit. Our governments response to a crisis is simply not acceptable. This president and our government is all mouth and no action and things need to change.

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

      AMEN, BROTHER!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Tell em Mike!!! This is sickening!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    Please, let all of us know how Mcain and his running mate
    would have responded to this Oil crisis.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bertina

      He would be saying drill baby drill and bomb Iran and bomb the leak.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      They would have used the "TOP KILL" method right from the start and prevented this disaster completely. Obama has used this to create a disaster so that he can blame the oil industry and demonize them and create the feeling that the GOV needs to protect us from BIG industry... Does he realize it's the AMERICAN PEOPLE that make up these companies!?!??

      May 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EmmaJames56

    He wants to walk on water without getting out of the boat!

    May 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Corien

    i expected better from him.

    May 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EmmaJames56

    Ralph Nader would have done better!!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Damon

    This is just oil folks, it occurs naturally, something I wash off my face every day. Let's put this in perspective, clean it up, and get back to business as usual. Sure we should analyze the failure and devise a remedy, but let's not stop exploring and drilling for oil. This president stopped our manned space missions; let's not let him take away our oil industry.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Are you serious? So I can send you some of the shrimp and fish from down here and you can just wash the "just oil" off and eat it

      May 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      You go Rob!! You provide the seafood and I'll provide this gentleman with the dawn dish soap to wash off his dinner 😉

      May 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      What a callous statement! "Just oil." Millions of gallons of oil do not gush out of the sea naturally. Do you have a heart, brain or either or does death and destruction appeal to you?

      May 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Governments role is to protect the people. Small government means more personal decisions and less government making decisions for us. Don't paint small government proponents with such a wide brush.

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

    I applaud those states that are standing up to Obama's ineffectiveness to do anything unless it politically profitable to his socialist and racially motivated agenda. AZ stood against the government and is solving their own illegal immigration problem and now LA is taking matters into their own hands. Is this a sign of the beginning of the end of a unified USA?

    May 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sergio

    Mike you might be right >>>>> we are looking for oil <<<>>>!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
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