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. Jeremy

    This speech was horrible! Obama says, "We have no idea where we're going"... what the hell happened to Obamas "vision" of what he can do for America! This speech showed a lack of intelligence and honestly Obama looked weak. It's pretty obvious to me this administration (or any for that matter) has no control over the serious issues this county is currently facing.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnEuF2EVKYk&w=640&h=360]

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

      ..and how is any other president aany different?

      June 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chaney, La.

    I think we need to just skip elections and do away with politicians and let the press handle everything, this arm chair Quarter backing is getting old.....also I live in La. and its a rabid red state, they dont like anything Obama and hate to say it but if they can make political hay, believe me, they will.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ScottsdaleHokie

    he maintained the drilling moratorium, killing jobs
    he pushed an energy tax, killing jobs
    he pushed deficit spending on new green energy, killing future jobs
    he got most animated IMO when discussing the TPA for claims allocation
    he failed to do anything meaningful on the Command and control over the spill, epic leadership fail

    June 15, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sameeker

      another BP toadi

      June 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay Reiss

    Alien technology or a nuke are going to be the only things that is going to stop this disaster.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 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 cha
    rges 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 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick

    For those of you who want a General... that's what keeps Republicans in power... a total fantasy world that quick and dramatic actions can solve these problems. Take the famous Bush picture standing in front of the 'Mission Accomplished' flag after invading Iraq. Although that one backfired, it's a basic strategy that has worked for Republicans. They maintain only half the power even though they have huge, huge corporate funding and strategists.

    The other half of us are too smart to fall for that type of fantasy, think for ourselves, and are thrilled to see someone who can tackle a problem AND the underlying causes. It's a far cry from Bush and Katrina.

    Guess who is doing most of the oil well development work in the Bush/Cheney Iraq debacle now?

    Yep. BP.

    I dare you to Google it.

    When will people start thinking for themselves?

    June 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • pete

      I'm all for clean energy- but he did not address the problem at hand! I live down here in LA and we need solutions for this NOW- not lofty aspirations for tomorrow!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike, formerly from Syracuse

      Yes we want quick action. It took 39 days for Obama to even show up. It's a disgrace.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      Patrick – I couldn't agree with you more. People want a "quick fix" and strong words so they can feel better – instead of a thoughtful, intelligent Presidential response. Maybe people would feel better if Pres Obama had a "mission accomplished" banner behind him.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      only someone with the handle DC could say something so stupid and shallow....

      June 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      Arlene and Michael Goldsmith

      BTW, News flash DC... the mission was accomplished.. I am sure you are so ignorant to reality that I will help you understand. There are thousands of missions in war. The mission being praised was accomplished. WOW, you libs always need to show how slow you are. Great job, keep the bush bashing going… You are with out a doubt helping our cause.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • brenda

      Its pretty clear you have never served your country in the military. Really, even Christopher Hitchens believes the best and the brightest people in our society join the military. How dare you malign something you obviously know nothing about. You are a coward.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nolan

    Obama is to America, what Barney is to Mayberry.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      God help us if he ever finds the bullet in his pocket. Too bad we didn't "nip him, nip him in the bud."

      June 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • BHS

      At least Barney was entertaining.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BHS

    He is either overly optimistic, mis-informed, or stupid. AND now he is misleading the American people. It's disgusting. Under hiswatchful eye, the Gulf of Mexico as a natural resource and the revenue generated by it will be destroyed. He's late on the task and ineffective in response.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      What scares me is how many americans are still waiting for him to do something great, and in the meantime keep showing their support? It is so hard to undertstand

      June 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. edward

    WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!!! He is Politicizing this. Get that Clown Thad Allen out of there and get the Navy or oil people in there to prevent as much coastal exposure as possible. This government is a political clown act.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lewis

    I thought this guy ran for President as the solution to the American people problems. Now we shoudl feel sorry for him when he underperform and he can not pull the "inherit" excuse. In any company in this country this President woudl be fired for his lack of action to this crisis. I supported some of his ideas but he is definitely losing any support I had for him. This Predsident may be smart but he is sorrounded by very incompetent advisors and his lack of experience is showing.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Viewer #21

    It is starting to sound like many of you who are commenting missed half of the speech. Yes, he certainly did make some "political" statements regarding the corrupt regulation, monitoring and enforcement of the oil industry as well as stress the need to get off of fossil fuels.
    It seems like when he started mentioning these things you completely ignored all that he said about how BP is going to pay, how the clean-up is going to be run and specifically what measures have been and will be taken (although he did not give a time frame, which surely is in part due to the fact that we have no way to be sure how much is even out there and where is going to hit next), and when we should expect the leak to stop and that we should expect roughly 90% of a reduction in the daily outpouring by the end of the month.
    Point is, could he have gotten through the speech without mentioning the reason that this occurred (the terrible and corrupt regulation of the oil industry) and the fact that we are nursing from a bottle that is running out of milk fast? No I don't think so.
    Overall, I was impressed with the framing of the speech and the completeness of its message.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I watched every second. My only question is what law will he use to justify forcing BP to pay before a court issues rulings. BP would be well within it's rights to stop paying any damages now and just tell Obama and the Feds, "I'll see you in court." Fortunately, they won't do that.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viewer #21

      I agree, but I think BP has already publicly committed to paying for the damages specifically to businesses that are directly located and impacted by the effects on the coastline. I think they said something like any "legitimate" claims, whatever that actually means.

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

      They said they would pay all legitimate claims BEFORE the President and the Attorney General announced they were going to seize 20-billion dollars from BP. BP should take a day off and tell the Feds, "It's all yours while we rest for awhile." The result could be a new NBC comedy show.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian against Obama

      Jim, that is a great point, us in louisiana are worred about the same things.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viewer #21

      Pardon, I'm a little confused Jim. Do you feel bad for BP in this situation?

      June 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Well, what most Americans don't get is that absolutely the only thing that bothers a corporation is losing money, or being made to pay it. That's why the Republicans are so loved for corporations... it's the last thing Bush or Cheney would have done in this case. What they would have done is mobilized a ton of subcontractors, on no-bid contracts, of course, and start dumping a million dollars a minute into the coffers.

      An example of this was when Bush declared war in Iraq (for mysterious reasons to this day... Al Quaida wasn't there, Iraq was the only country where women could walk around with their heads uncovered, and, as we all know now, there were no weapon's of mass destruction there). BUT, Bush went in and they were able to start handing out a billion dollars a day, much of it to Halliburton, the company Cheney was CEO of before he became Vice-President! Yes, the Halliburton now involved in this spill.

      They wouldn't have missed a beat in figuring out how to start pocketing public money on this one, too. The one thing the certainly wouldn't have done is perform the number one Republican no-no: force a corporation to pay.

      Of course, that much of the American public is too stupid to even be bothered, much less aware, of the insanity of having a Vice-President issue no-bid contracts to the company he was just running does leave me sometimes skeptical of our national future.

      And of course, much of the same American public will have no clue that Obama's forcing BP to pay is actually the only thing that will prevent this sort of thing.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Margaret

    I hate to say it, but I think the president appeared tentative, defensive, unsure of himself and weak. He lacks credibility at this late stage and he didn't do anything to improve his situation with the speech. Most of it had been leaked already and was old news. I'm beginning to wonder if he is a "chicken!" He seems to shrink from confrontation and wants committees, commisions etc. to offload potentional blame. Disappointing.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RDN

    The Goverment had the Plan in Place for a situation such as this one in the Gulf. The President failed to implement it and not look where we are now. Why has this Administration refused help from other nations who have the equipment to deal with this situation. The President has the legal authority to fix this issue but he will not act. When we judge someone it is by his actions not his words. So from what I can see its politics as usual and if his lips are moving he is lying.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave D.

    I completely support the president, and moving the country to Energy Independence.

    If the resources are mobilized to clean the gulf, then the hundreds of thousands of jobs that was used to support off-shore drilling can be applied to support the gulf cleaning.

    Even if BP successfully caps the spill, there is the oil plumes and pools under the water that need to be tracked and cleaned, and the sooner the better.

    It is the specialists who know about deep-sea drilling that would be the best to help clean it up!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BHS

      If there was a mechanism and know-how to clean a spill of this type, it would be deployed already. This mess will be in the gulf for generations to come.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
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