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. Claire

    Wow, what a disappointing speech. And to use this tragedy to push cap and trade...pathetic. Mr.President, why did you ignore this devastating disaster for so long, having parties for the President of Mexico, have sing-a-longs, parties etc while people are losing their way of life? This speech offered no answers, nothing we the people did not already know. I'd like to see the faces of all the people who think it was just great when they realize how much they will be paying out of pocket for this cap and trade. If there ever was a time to stop pushing debt on the citizens, this would be it. I agree with other posters that The President appeared tentative, defensive, unsure of himself and weak.

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

      BP is going to pay, Really? Cap and Trade energy taxes, Really? Why do liberals think that railing against corporations, regulating them or taxing them is the answer? Corporations, businesses and the rich never pay their fair share. Regulate them and they find loopholes or move their businesses outside of the U.S. to punish the regulators, tax them and they increase the costs of goods and services, reduce their employee roles through layoffs and find otherways to screw consumers into paying the increases. At least Conservatives understand this and try to reduce the costs to the consumers by rewarding the businesses. Marxists never believe in lifting everyone up they try and drag everyone that is up down... America has a choice in November,,,,,, VOTe OR DIE..

      June 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rosenjeff94

    Come on people, BP cannot do this all by themselves. Some of these states need to think and do for themselves, and bill BP for the costs. BP says they will pay all the ligimiate claims. Stop waiting on them who are also trying to get the leak stopped to sdtop the oil from coming ashore to the beaches and marshes. "GOD HELPS THEM WHO HELPS THEMSELVES". Stop twiddling your thumbs and start helping yourselves. Don't get me wrong I do think this is a terrible tragedy. It is going to take everyone and everything possible to get it cleaned up.
    It appears that everyone is too worried about playing the blame.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scvlptr

    Theres NO PLAN, NO SPCIFICS, very un Presidential, and I am a Dem and voted for Obama.

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

      I can agree on that!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cynthia emanuel

    Now it is time to criticize the President- What do they want him to do? Get out there and clean it up himself? He is trying He is doing the best he can. I thought his speech was very encouraging. Mr. President I am with you all the way. Also, I use to love watching CNN, but they are so negative now towards our President. If they feel he is not doing enough, then get out there and clean it up yourselves!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom zork

      What can he do you ask? He can accept the help (boats and cleanup technology) offered by other countries over 40 days ago, NONE of which he has allowed to go to work in US waters yet. Ask OBAMA why he won't accept their help!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lynn

    Okay, so we're going to have a set aside account with an independent administrator. And how many government jobs will be created and how much money will it cost? People who don't trust bp sure seem to have a lot of faith is this independent! And since it is our legislators pushing for it, whose cronie do we think it will be?

    When we are done bashing bp and forcing them to not do business in this country, what are you going to do with the jobs lost, the retirees who have lost their retirement (MANY of whom are former AMOCO employees, a good ole AMERICAN company, etc. etc. At what point to our DEMANDS become counter-productive? How about supporting the process and then doling out blame, etc.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad Ape

      I will guess that the third party will be the Financial Terrorists on Wall St...in particular Goldman Sachs.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jason

    I felt President Obama's speech was weak and disappointing...
    It was around 15 mins long....that's it?
    I voted for Mr. Obama, but the American people needed him to say much more in my opinion.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. barnyardog

    We need General Honore to take charge !!!! Days went by after Katrina with no one knowing who was in charge. His past shows that he is a LEADER and would not stop at any cost until this damn leak is stopped. . He turned things around for Katrina as soon as he took over. President Obama and Thad Allen step aside please!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave Holsinger

    Jimmy Carter deja vu

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

      Lord Help us but your right

      June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lockdownis

    Obama goes after BP We like:)
    But not even President Obama can create new energy sources.
    Wind, solar geez it has been around for decades.
    It can not replace oil just because it is the wishes of the president

    June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosenjeff94

      Also take into considering

      June 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosenjeff94

      Also take into consideration the the cost of "green energy" is not cheap either.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MisterScientist

    The speech did not give me any hope for the future of Obama's Presidency or this country. We've got thousands of the brightest Scientists and Engineers working for the GOVERNMENT. We should utilize our resources at NASA and hundreds of corporations already under government contract to form a task force to meet and come up with a plan to stop this thing NOW. If we could get guys to the moon decades ago, why can't we stop this with our technology that is 1000 times greater than it was back then?

    There is no organization or leadership present in our current government. I know many other countries would have taken over the disaster response IMMEDIATELY rather than let a corporation look after its own interests for 2 months while decimating entire species of fish and destroying an ecosytem for decades to come.

    I consider this a failure on the part of our government, not BP.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Srull

    I love how the same people who tore Bush apart over Katrina and his "slow response"are now defending every move Obama makes.
    All of a sudden, the same people are asking "what do you expect the President to do"?

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

      I like Obama's quip the other day, "The same people who were critical of me doing too much are now critical of me doing too little." He just doesn't get it that there are some things government should not, can not and/or will not do and there are some very legitimate things government should be ready, willing and able to do. Our President is totally clueless.

      June 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikole

      Bush could have sent people and water into New Orleans to save starving people. Not the same thing.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mac

    All this Obama bashing is getting annoying "when is he gonna do something about this?" "why doesn't he do this or that?" Geez, people c'mon does a general fight the battle or do the soldiers? Does your boss do your job or do you? Does the baseball coach hit the ball or do the players? Shut up complaining an do something yourself. That's what this country is about. If everyone would take the time, instead of complaining about the job he's not doing, and do something constructive in your own towns and cities to help this country, maybe we could get moving again. History tells us we can't rely on government to help, we have to be willing as American citizens to knuckle down and do things for ourselves. So stop the negativity and do something positive for a change and then you'll see the "change".

    June 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rck

    I thought is was good speech regarding our intentions to move away from oil dependancy in the future. I would have liked to hear how in the coming days, we will be capturing 90% though. The lack of any sort of detail makes me believe the administration doesn't know how they are going to achieve that. I was very disappointed to hear it will be August before we hit 100% containment... that's a lot of dead animals.

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

    Oh, and another thing. If Obama was serious about energy independence he would require all Semi's to run on Natural gas like most the buses in the big cities AND fast-track (interpret as stopping environmentalist lawsuits) building nuclear power like France (70% of total energy)….BUT he won’t do that because it doesn’t involve A NEW TAX. ALL Obama proposals involve NEW TAXES and WASTEFUL spending. After all, where are Pelosi’s promised 40,000 new “health care jobs” that were supposed to IMMEDIATELY happen?? More Lies.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Margaret

    P.S. What is CNN's rationale for accepting ads from BP? After taking such pains to expose them, how can you allow their propaganda on your website?

    June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad Ape

      Mainstream media is a corrupt instrument that aids in the Mass Financial Destruction of the USA. The US Military Industrial Complex own the mainstream media and using weapons of mass financial destruction have destroyed the world economy, while at the same time raking in trillions.

      The USA is a Casino Gulag Economy where they flip a coin and it is heads they win and tails you lose.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
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