June 15th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Obama: We'll fight spill with everything we've got

[Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET] BP issued the following statement after the president's Oval Office speech:

"We share the president's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow for a constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals."

Read the transcript of Obama's speech

Read the full CNN.com story

[Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET] The president ended his Oval Office speech by saying that what sees the nation through tough times "is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it."

"Tonight, we pray for that courage," Obama said. "We pray for the people of the Gulf.  And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. "

[Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET] The president said the oil disaster "is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now."

"I am happy to look at ... ideas and approaches from either party, as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels," he said. "Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development, and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

"All of these approaches have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet."

[Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET] President Obama said he knows the government's six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling "creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs."

"But for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue," Obama said.

[Updated at 8:13 p.m. ET] President Obama says he's asked the secretary of the Navy to "develop a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan as soon as possible."

"The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region," he said.

[Updated at 8:11 p.m. ET] President Obama said he will tell the chairman of BP to "set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness" during their meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

"This fund will not be controlled by BP," Obama said. "In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party."

[Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET] The president says that despite best efforts, "oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife."

"And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That's why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast," Obama said.

[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] President Obama has begun to address the nation, saying that the oil spill "is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced."

Obama said his administration has directed BP to "mobilize additional equipment and technology."

"In the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well," Obama said. "This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that's expected to stop the leak completely."

"Make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes," he added. "We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy."

[Posted at 7:46 p.m. ET] President Obama will detail plans for dealing with the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in an address to the nation tonight at 8 ET.

Check this post for updates on the president's speech as he gives it.

The 18-minute speech, Obama's first from the Oval Office, will emphasize the government's containment strategy in conjunction with oil giant BP, which owns the broken well, to capture as much as 90 percent of the leaking oil in coming weeks, two senior administration officials said.

Watch it live on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN iphone app.

soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. Matteo

    This whole country has short term memory loss...... Does anyone remember what went on with the Bush crime family. Just do a quick speculation of what would have happened had this disaster occured on his watch. We would probably just be hearing about this leak a couple of weeks ago and I can guarantee there would be NO underwater live footage of the leak, zero trancparancy. Obama has his faults and failures but I do believe he is taking this issue seriously and giving it all the attention he can. Everyone is so quick to discount him and his efforts with out thinking what would someone else have done better, like a republican? hmm....nothing.... hid it and done everything to give BP the power..... We have seen what the republicans do with the ball in their court, it destroyed this country, we still are suffering for it. I for one am glad that Obama is in charge to combat this disaster, better then the alternative.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William Hopper

    GET THIS THROUGH YOU THICK SKULLS PEOPLE!!! From the time the leak happened there was ever only one way anyone short of Superman was ever going to stop it: Relief wells to draw off the pressure, then cap it. It has been this way since drilling first began. Every driller (and the POTUS) knew from the start that the song-and-dance of longshot solutions were just treading water. Unfortunately the relief wells take time, and there nothing anyone anywhere can do about this.
    Because this doesn't fit with people's need for instant answers, I still I keep hearing people blame Obama and complain how he "did nothing". I'd like for those who attack Obama to lay out a clear agenda of what they think he SHOULD have done, instead of getting everybody upset about nothing. The man is dealing with 2 wars, a screwed up economy, Israeli commandos attacking the flotillas, imminant war in the Koreas, Israel about to bomb Iran (should be next week) as well as normal POTUS politics. McCain would be long dead of a heart attack by now had he won. And still people say Obama is doing nothing. It's polical mud slinging that has nothing to do with reality. Get over it.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • brenda

      Wasn't Obama supposed to fix the war in Afgan, Iraq, Solve the North Korea problem (not make it worse), usher in a new initiative of peace and understanding between Israel and Palestine??? That is what he promised. That is what people like you believe..YET HE HAS DONE NOTHING IN TWO YEARS BUT MAKE IT WORSE. When is he going to take responsibility in the year 2030??

      June 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brenda

    Trickle down economic VooDoo of Reagan? You have to be kidding me? Even Christine Romer, OBAMA's super-liberal economic advisor admits (and wrote at Stanford) that low taxes STIMULATE JOBS AND GROWTH. EVEN A LIBERAL ADMITS THAT. You must be a socialist who thinks high taxes are good for jobs?? Low taxes stimulate private business to expand which is where most of the jobs in this country come from (except with Obama, his jobs are all government GS jobs for lazy people who can’t be fired).

    June 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    You have to live here to appreciate the weakness of tonight's address from the Oval office. Obama made me realize our vulnerability not only as a region but as a nation. Pitiful. The idea of money as a fix is a joke from all the folks I know from New Orleans to Apalachicola. The President DOES NOT have a clue! Where are the 17 other nations who want to help??? I'll vote for Billy N or General Honeré to take over the job. Kevin Costner would do a much better job than Obama with the same resources..

    June 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. usa-all-the-way

    I have to wonder why he is taking so much criticism... He happened to be the man in power when it happened, but it was going to happen sooner or later... We need oil and jobs. People need to learn that they should not be living on coast lines anymore. Let the fishermen go nd work on oil rigs. BP will pay for their retraining. We need real leadership from BP on this one to make sure their are enough offshore rigs to create enough jobs, but I think they can reasoned with.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tessi

    I live in the affected area and this speech its worthless, I don't care what other people say, if they don't live here they shouldn't be given there opinion. I can see the face of my dad concern every single day of how he its going to provide for his family. how we are going to pay our mortgage, how he it's going to put food in the table; my mom was layoff she works in a hotel, no turist's no job, my dad a fisherman; I wont even go there because it makes me more angry. We want to see action nobody it's doing nothing not BP not the goverment for those that say he its doing something think again. Because we the affected ones know that he or his goverment has done NOTHING! We don't need speeches we need ACTION!

    June 15, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • keeping it real

      why is it when a private company profits shoot through the roof, every one says " government get out of the way"
      but when the greed causes a social issue.. every blames the government for not acting

      June 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • usa-all-the-way

      Tessi, Since there is no way right now to cstop the oil, the only action that can be taken is for someone to guarantee that all of the money (lost wages) your mother and father are experiencing get replaced... and that is what the President just did. You can eat and sleep better because of it.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAG

      I agree, but bashing the President over something BP should be totally responsible for that went on long before he was even elected is kind of silly – Try refocusing the energy into something productive for your family, neighborhood, and region. It's hard to develop sympathy for someone who comes out swinging at everyone when someone is trying to help. He's not Superman...It's not going to be perfect overnight and all aren't going to be blissfully happy when they wake up tomorrow...

      June 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pedro

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com In fact I support the Obama's government and honestly I desire that everything is going to be all right. The world will be affect with the tragedy, unfortunately we cannot figure out how much damage the enviroment, the fauna and flora.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony FL

    For RNC "disruption event" this August (St.Pete, FL), join us at whatsthatemail@gmail.com libertarians, honest conservatives, liberals, all free thinkers, the opportunity is ripe and the timing could not be better. The rumor has it, republikans are considering change of venue...some uninhabited, unpolluted deserted island somewhere I hope. On one way ticket. We already have too much sleazy goo coming toward the West Coast of Florida as it is...Anti-BS "booms", maybe?

    June 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NC

    After listening to President Obama's address, my assessment is that our President is lost!! I wanted to hear a real executive plan on how our government was going to facilitate stopping the 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day leak in the Gulf. Without stopping the leak 100%, all the other political pie in the political sky dreams that the President spun was just a distraction to solving our immediate Gulf disaster. Help us Mr. President! Roll up your sleeves and get to work on our country’s problems: stopping the Gulf Oil Spill, creating real Jobs in all 50 States, winning both Wars against Islamic Extremists and Global Terrorism, enforcing our Country’s Immigration Laws and protecting the US borders, and controlling/reducing our Country’s National Debt.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • LUIS

      You forgot to ask him to give me the winning numbers for the next mega million, moron. The last two republican presidents have left this courntry bankrupt. I can picture the last one saying "by the way, you're a heck of job Mr. Hayward".

      June 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jed clampit

    clamp the leaking pipe shut with a giant metal clamp

    June 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      What a great idea.

      Too bad the community organizers, activists, lawyers and academics that make up the Obama administration's "Think Tank" are too busy trying to figure who to sue to realize that an engineer in the mix might help.

      Seriously, I wondered a couple of weeks ago why – if they have a remote controlled sub powerful enough to scissor the well pipe (which they do) – they don't have one that could just clamp the pipe closed. It might not be totally crimped, but it would be better than nothing. Also, why couldn't they pump several thousand tons of liquid nitrogen or liquid hydrogen around the wellhead and slowly freeze the water and the oil. Then just dump enough concrete on top of the ice to seal it up. But then, I'm not an engineer.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lwh19

    For the life of me, I still do not understand why every resource we have (or is available to beg, borrow, or steal) is not down in the Gulf Coast trying their best to head this off at the pass.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Drew

    Usher in the "Ghetto of Mexico" and say goodbye to hundreds of species of fish. A CEO witch hunt will not breath life into a dead ocean mr. resident "LAWYER". Business does not come before the environment. I will never follow you Obama. Ron/Rand Paul for president.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Margaret

    Comparisons to the Katrina disaster are inappropriate. Katrina was a natural disaster. The oil spill is a man-made disaster that could have been prevented if the president hadn't been asleep at the wheel. Ultimately he is responsible. He let this happen.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • usa-all-the-way

      correct, President Bush was asleep at the wheel .. and now we pay

      June 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      Amen. His sluggish reaction makes his strings connected to private interests more obvious.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brenda

    Why doesn't everyone in America DEMAND natural gas or hydrogen powered cars. If we demand it, we will get it. Natural gas is a lot cleaner than gas, its is easy to convert current vehicles, and is a bridge to more hydrogen powered cars and away from oil. I.....Oh, its because Obama can't TAX it in an 1800 pg. bill. Why does he want HUGE bills instead of passing nice, small, easy to understand bills everyone supports...like 1) in 5 years all semi-tractor trailer's will convert to natural gas. The conversion is tax deductable. (that's the whole bill) or 2) Nuclear power plants will replace all coal energy plants in 10 years, no environmental lawsuits are allowed after the energy department approves the plan.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. enigma65

    Just shove Joran Van der Sloot's fat a$$ in the well head to stop the leak. In a few more days in Peruvian prison his sphincter will be loosened up just about right for a tight fit on the 18" pipe.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
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