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. Rob

    I am so disappointed!!! Our shorelines are screwed!!! It's going to be business as usual it seems!! OMG it's sickening many of us were waiting for a yes we can moment and we just got a political bull something, anyone want to buy a boat and some dive gear cause I'm not swimming in that pollution...... Oh God seriously!! Where the he'll is All Gore botching about going green now and how about all the movie stars and singers now, our government is going to "over see" this disaster like they have been and we need to bond together as a people and do it our selves with out their leadership!

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

    He can say anything he wants about being in charge, etc. He's also re-writing history and the statements of all his own people. Fact is, LA governor Bobby Jindal requested dredging to save bayou lands on May 10th. Obama and crowd have still taken no action while oil washes up. But in the nearly 40 days since this started, he's done far more political fund raisers than he has visited the area.

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

      And again, why would any governor WAIT and watch his own state get destroyed...again. Thought they would have learned the first time, that they take matters in their own hands if things are not moving fast enough for them.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Agree that in hindsight he should have gone ahead and broken the law (law says Army Corps of Engineers has to approve of such actions). He had requested the action before any significant oil had in fact washed ashore. But after all, given this government's weak / lack of response to potential nukes in Iran, the North Korean's continued violations of international law, giving away the store to Russia in return for weak sanctions on Iran, etc. – probably would have been no harm in 'lil ole LA illegally moving around some dirt to save their shores (except of course that Obama has been harsher on Republicans than he has on this country's true enemies).

      May 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Greg

    Does anybody have a link that proves all the Oil in the Gulf is sold only to the United States.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sergio

    we talk and we talk but nothing get resolve let's get something resolve know lets get all the scienties and engineers to resolves these pronto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      That's exactly the kind of thinking the GOV should use... let's not worry about pointing fingers... let's bring people together to solve the problem. It's like this President wants the turmoil!?!?!?

      May 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Sounds good serge but they will have to get approval from bp or is it the uscg uh doesn't matter no one down here knows who is in charge either!?

      May 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jacob S.

    I find it funny that Bobby Jindal wanted the government out of the private sector until something like this happens to his state. Then he cries that they aren't doing enough. Republicans want small government until they need something.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      your point?? thats how it is suppose to don't ask for help unless u need it...thats why we are a union of 50 states and not a single state nation...

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

      You're wrong, Jacob. Jindal couldn't do anything because of the process by which it had to be done (i.e. government red tape). The government could have easily gave the go ahead but made the wrong choice instead.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pat51

    If you people want to blame somebody, then blame yourselves. Blame yourselves for your complacency when it comes to driving your SUV's and your unwlillingness to extricate yourselves from depending on oil. You complain when there's too much government, then you complain when there isn't enough government. Yes, we want oil, but we don't want the risks associated with drilling for it! Wake up! The federal government is not equipped, nor should they be, for handling this type of disaster. Place your blame where it belongs...on BP and America's greed.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob S.

      I agree with this completely. Greedy America is to blame just as much as BP.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      funny how you post this message on CNN...owned by Ted Turner one of the wealthiest men in the United States...

      May 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      We all know we need to find an alternative fuel for our cars! So your saying we should just all stop using our vehicles and do what? And being that your making this statement that must mean your not driving a car or using electricity or eating foods that have been delivered via a truck to the store that is using electricity to keep the food cold and putting your food in plastic bags which are made from a oil by product go through stones at your own glass house first

      May 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Can'tCutAllRedTape

    For all of the people that say that they should cut all the tape and green light all efforts you have to think about one thing. How often do these large corporations take advantage of the situation and add unecessary purchases and bills. A few months from now CNN will report that X & Y items were charged for someone's personal use and then the administration would get blasted again.

    Think of how Haliburton's lips must be watering at the sound of cutting red tape. Sure they will be fined and forced to pay for some of this tragedy but I bet how much they would make when it's all over would surpass it.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Many of us are speaking of the red tape our local government officials are having to go through to get things done not unleashing the hounds, that is why many of us think the military should be in control because they cut through the tape and have the command structure

      May 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Harry

    why is it Obama's fault that this oil crisis has happened. From what I can see, he's working as fast as he can. Just not fast enough for those who sit around with nothing to do but complain. Its very tragic that this is happening and I pray that this doesnt effect our economy; such as raises gas prices even more.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in DBQ, IA

      He's working as fast as he can!?!?!???? I guess that explains partying-it-up with the Pres of Mexico...

      May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    The President should immediately stop all offshore drilling that is deeper than current technology can handle. This is an industry problem not just a BP problem. If the industry or any other government had a solution, the leak would be stopped by now. No new permits out€side of this range should be granted until the industry proves it has the technology to deal with worst case senerios. Relief wells need to be drilled along withn the exploritory wells as is the reqiurement in Canada. Reduce speed limits nationally to a maximum of 60 mph and preferably to 55 as Reagen did in the early 80's. Most cars get maximum fuel efficiency around 55 – 60 mph. Impose a "Unpatriotic Fine" of $200 on those who speed and waste the nation's resourses. This fine would be in addition to normal state speeding fines. This measure would reduce feul consumption by at least 10% and would save any accident victims in the process.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    Where are the Tea Party? They should start cleaning that oil spills.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Seth - Sarasota, Florida

    " @ Holly – "You're pretty beach won't mean much if no one is able to enjoy them because of all the job losses."

    What about the ecology? You SUV gas guzzling redneck

    May 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler ....racist?

      May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    They should stick those purple lips of obamas right on that oil leak...for all the good he is . Time for his vacation , go spend some more of our money....

    May 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Maybe they should shove you down the hole to plug it up.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Dan that was totally racist and uncalled for. Amazing how spineless people like to abuse someone through a computer but don't have the guts to run for election themselves.

      May 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Winn, WA

    I am an Obama supporter, however, I don't get it after watching the press conference. Of course, we didn't/don't know the Fed from behind the scene cos' the Fed has not updated us on the progress in the past few weeks. We only need to know the Fed action plan!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Notaobamafan

    Obama is going to use this oil spill to advertise his NEW ENERGY PLAN what a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If we had a president that new anything about governing a country we would be alot better off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The oil spill is a disaster and the government for the US is a disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!! We need the years for Obama in the white house to hurry up and be over!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Notaobamafan – you sound like the chicken running around yelling the "sky is falling". Get a grip. Disasters happen. Every President has dealt with disasters in one manner or another. And every time people scream the "government" isn't doing enough, fast enough or smart enough. Funny thing that elusive "government" is people....just like you. What you in effect are telling the world is Americans aren't smart enough. I for one still believe America is still # 1 and can resolve this problem.

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

      I'm not to sure about that Brian. I think it will take a Canadian to come to the

      May 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BigGrant

    Does Obama ever take responsibility for anything? According to him, everything wrong in the world is due to things from prior administrations. Surprise, with the exception of George Washington....every President has had to deal with prior administrations. His response or lack of response is his responsibility and not a prior administration.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
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