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. Williams

    Thank you Mr. President, this is a very effective speech and we shall get this done. People want Mr. Obama to dive under the sea and plug the hole. This is not going to happen. HE will not do it.
    Mr. President has shown the way, let us see what happens... this is a good beginning

    June 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      Finally a sensible response

      June 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      LOL what the heck are you talking about we are multiple month into this and a speach has you seeing the way. May the hand of god help you my lost soul. All I heard were MORE words nothing more... come on people you cannot be serious.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jeff

    so the president is going to deploy 17000 guard to the coast how about sparing a few for the border. it is time for him to quite flying around the country and world and stay home do his job and quite talking about it!!! he wants the citizens of the us to quit relying on fossil fuel however air force one is not an energy efficient or clean burning machine. time to stay home use the phone or video conferencing and lets get a leader.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pete

    So......what about the oil disaster? Windmills won't fix it. Obama is beginning to look alot like Don Quixote.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Imbecile

      Except Don Quixote actually DID something, even if it was attacking windmills.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jacques cousteau

    where are the specifics on his plan? i heard nothing that makes me believe that they can make BP do anything than what they've already done... nothing

    June 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBrown

      What did you think he was going to do say Presto and it disappeared? I never like people who try and call shot from the sidelines

      June 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick

    What a relief... a President who can speak, think, and take action.

    President Obama is having to clean up for years of Republican and Democratic inaction in many, many departments. I hope we will give him the eight years necessary to make changes.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DBrown

    Another spectaular speech from this great man. I understood everything he said. The vilest part of america is ten times worse than the oil spill. Anyone who takes pleasure in trying to find something wrong in everything the president says shows a certain sector of american that are really very bitter, jealous and powerless.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I really would like to know what you've been smoking. A "great man?" Gimma break.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      DBrown...he talks, talks, talks, but that is about it...the boxes he does check off will help ruin America (healthcare, financial reform, etc...)

      June 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Dbrown-stop drinking the cool aid.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dianne nadolski

      I understood the president to say in 21/2 weeks, 90% leaking out of the well would be captured. What about the millions since April 20th. How much of that will get cleaned up.
      It's nice to able to use the Fisher mans traditional get togethers to lead into a thought of prayer. No prayer in the world is going to save the region. Ya! this is big. It makes people sick to their stomacks to see how our country responds, or companies that do business with America handle issue. Time will tell in this case. I like the fact the president put a 6 month moratorium on drilling. Thats huge.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LaJollaRich

    Mabus as the Gulf Recovery 'czar' was a good appointment. BP needs to set-aside funds to address the needs of the people in the region that have lost their livelihoods. What a huge mess this is. Poor President Obama can't seem to get a break.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LJ

    I see that people are already becoming nay-sayers. The president mentioned wind energy, but most of the plants that create the equipment is outside of the US because of Big Business, moving to other countries. Blame that on lax labor agreements and tax laws that allow a company to claim they are building in the us, but all of the prime components are built else where. If we do not bring manufacturing back to the us we will never be able to solve our energy problem. GM sat on their duffs with electric car, and now Nissan has beat them to the draw on the main part needed for electric cars (batteries). Fat-Cats sit on their profits and the demise of the US faces us everyday. We have rules of business, but until we actually start enforcing them we will always be 6 steps behind. The Wall-street collapse happened and we still don't have rules to keep the fat cat banks from doing it again!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill r

      Isn't it the liberals on each coast who don't want to see windmills from their beach front home? It was a 20 minute speech and we on the gulf coast are disappointed. My god, that's like 2 holes of golf.(he's played 5 rounds the last ten days).

      June 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Definitely agree. Obama campaigned on a platform of getting America into the clean energy manufacturing arena as this will be the next great economic frontier. But Republican's are so short sighted, America is doomed to be a nation of consumers, not producers.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry Gipp

    I still have to think that the government can not solve this problem, the technology and ability rests with the oil industry. They know the right way to do this and BP ignored those guidelines. This simply points out that they require oversite. Again big business is in the business of making money and it doesn't matter how. Time to reign them in.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rich

    The gist of the speech is right on: we need to quit using oil! It's a dirty fuel and its price doesn't reflect its true costs. We will have many more spills and many more wars and send many more billions of dollars overseas unless do something.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt (Costa Mesa)

    I think the oil spill just cleaned itself up after that speech!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lori Supports Our President

    The President is very believeable, very knowledgeable, and very active in the plan to address the damage caused. What the President can't do is demand that the leak be stopped when the people working on it don't know how to stop it themselves. He can't dive down and do it himself. The resources to do this lie in the corporations in charge of the rig and equipment. Demand BP kill the well!! We the public, who benefit from the products produced by BP (Castrol for one) must sell the stock, boycott the business and write to the CEO. THAT is our job, not the President's. We can choose other forms of transportation, cut back on petroleum produced products and encourage other natural energy forms. Don't blame the President...blame yourself. Shut your yap and get to it!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      Thumbs up!!!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Lori if you beleave that speach, I would love to sell you real estate.......

      June 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      What would Al Gore do?

      June 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      I agree. Let us ride bicycles or simply leave more time in the morning to walk to work. Mr. Obama I'm sure will not use his plane to go to meaningless meetings or to take his wife on dinner dates anymore. And O'Biden will stop with the trips to Africa to watch sports.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gandoman

    WELL WELL ... Americans have spoken!
    I am wondering though, in what language?
    If you have an IQ over 90 (higher than George '3 below plant life' Bush) & are able to read & write above a 6th grade level and do not have your head up-the-backside of Rush Limburgerbutt ... you might be able to come to a sensible & resonable conclusion.
    Which is ...
    1. The Bush administration took away the controls necessary to prevent accidents of this type.
    2. Corruption in the Bush administration allowed people with responsibilities to supervise themselves.
    3. In-the-backdoor, bribes, kickbacks, payoffs, under-the-table are simply words which describe the Bush administration's policies.
    Not one of the Governors of AL, MS, LA & FL believed that BP was lying to them when the oil spill started. Certainly we cannot blame Obama because of the corruption in the system. The response has NOT been adequate because who knew that there was a huge coverup going on. Mistakes were made, however, the truth was uncovered quickly & Washington has put more than its share of obligation into rectifying this disaster.
    Why not quit your whining & wondering who is to blame!
    If you voted for Bush & you are a republican, stop crying in your lattes & admit you had it good for awhile, you probably cheated to get ahead & as the saying goes, "What goes around comes around."
    I only feel sorry for the wildlife because they deserve better.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Gee, don't you think it would have been a nice gesture for Obama to start the ball rolling by offering to donate the $1 million in campaign contributions he received from BP to the recovery effort. See, I said that without calling anybody any names – which is more than I can say for your original comment.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      GAndoman...u may have a few valid points, but wait 6-9 years and things will be so bad from Obamanation that you'll wish you were back in the Bush years...

      June 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      LOL, Bush bashing... GIVE ME A BREAK

      June 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Gore had a lower GPA than Bush did in college...so who is the stupid one??

      June 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ScottsdaleHokie

    Wow, he actually used this disaster as an excuse to push his cap and trade bill.

    Barack, you have officially become the worst excuse for a leader this country has ever seen occupying the White House. YOU ARE A DISGRACE!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debra Scatlif

      The cause of this catastrophe, no requirement to drill relief wells simultaneously with primary wells and lack offshore drilling regulations, predates the Obama administration. It is absolutely unreasonable to hold the president responsible for BP’s mess, including BP’s initial and continued misrepresentations. The decision makers at BP must face criminal charges for this catastrophe. I have full confidence in our President to mitigate and cleanup BP’s mess and to properly regulate this money-hungry industry. The lack of foresight will not continue.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      It's good that you wrote that to Pres Obama...I'm sure he'll read it and really take it to heart. You got him! Way to go!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      We knew he would, he is the definition of insane. As he said before, never let a tragedy go to waste, because in everyone of them is an opportunity... Basically the fundamentals of his speech tonight... Sad thing is so many people cannot see through his aggenda. Thank god most people are waking up. Hope its not too late to stop this poor excuse for a leader.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      LOL Debra Scatlif, good luck with that

      June 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LUIS

      You sore losers. You lost the election remember. It must hurt to have a black man running the white house. But don't worry only 6 more years to go.

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

    The Media should talk about the fumes not the oil but the fumes being released from the oil spill and how harmful it will be for the people breathing it in, also when a storm hit carrying those fumes across America what will it do to people

    June 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
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