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. Raquelle

    No one knows how to stop this thing. I don't expect out president (democrat or republican) to know how to stop it just because he is president. He is human. Forming a comittee is not a bad thing as we need to get advice and understanding from people that actually know what is going on. There is no point on wasting money on ideas that won't work (unless it's BPs money...then who cares how much they waste) They are probably getting tens of thousands of ideas a day from random people. Just like when there is a reward for a missing person...the calls pour in as everyone and their mama thinks they know the right info. The poor people of the gulf (where I am now) are suffering and will in the years to come. The fact is, it is easy to point the finger...but remember that you usually only have a tenth of the facts.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    Russia could have fixed this by now.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skipfrmdc

      yeah... like Chernobyl?

      June 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rob

    I have listened to nearly every speech this president has given; this one left me flat! I expected to feel better after this speech, but instead, I was left wanting, for the first time! It is appearing more and more each day, that we have elected a leader who gives a great speech, but it all ends there....he doesn't appear to be a great leader!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 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, we have to "get behind our President", and "give him a chance".

    June 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viewer #21

      Some of you are saying: "he's spending too much". Others are saying: "the government isn't doing enough". I'm assuming that you people are not on the same "side" right? Those are rather conflicting statements. Doing something requires spending money in this case; this isn't simply legislative action, this is physical action. The clean up effort and the efforts to make sure that this does not happen again by learning from the mistakes that were made means materials and and man power and most importantly time. Any misconceptions about this are based in ignorance.

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

      Sorry, I intended to add that to the general discussion.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Knoe the Area

    Having served in the USCG in the past specifically in that are for 4 years including several oil spills on the Mississippi River from New Orleans South through Venice and out Southwest pass into the Gulf, I will tell you that that ecosystem along with the barrier islands of Lousiana and Mississippi is taking a hit worse than Hurricane Katrina which I was there for. I was very disappointed with his speech, I was expecting much more. It was way too general and really did not accomplish much. I wanted to believe that he wanted to change Washinton when he came in, and he has not shown that to date. We need someone who is a true leader, not a handpuppet for a politcal party. He was 1 of many senators and congressmen who came down following Katrina to talk to us, and like all the others, it was obvious there agenda was just to get their name in the paper. They were all just sight seeing. Many of you on here need to learn to do real research and think for yourselves and not believe every "news site", forwarded email, and every other thing you hear through opinion based sources. That goes for both Democrats and Republicans. Our only hope in 2012 is if former Admiral Thad Allen runs for President. I have seen that guy lead first hand, he has tons of respect from all of Washington on the left and right, and he is the most capable person this country has ever seen to really get our country on the right track. We need to best man for the job regardless of what party they belong too. We need someone who can truly lead and get everyone working together for the common good. Thad Allen 2012!

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

      There is no comparing this with a natural disaster such as Katrina. You have to note that it is a chemical poisoning of the coast, it is a totally different matter. I think there has to be better ways of actually containing it than they are doing, but lets hope this new plan will work and we will see a cut of 90% of the oil that is spilling out now.

      Politics is going to come into play, and what he had to say is not completely political. The fact that we are to dependent on oil is obvious. Yes it is the perfect time to point that out, and to use the disaster in a way that will improve the current energy issues of the nation. Pushing the energy issue is not drawing attention away from the spill, it is using it to bring an issue long neglected to the front where it needs to be. The longer we use oil as we do now the more we risk more spills, and continue to poison the Earth.

      I agree Obama has been handed one of the worst administrations in the history of the US, I hope he can get past the current hurtles in his way and make the improvements we need to improve our nation.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jack

    All Hat & No Cattle. Makes the preceeding prez look like a man of action, and that's pretty pathetic!

    June 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DaddyDave

    As a fiscally conservative unaffilliated voter (previous democrat), I found it as his best speach yet. Seriously. For once I only heard him blame previous administrations about twice!! He is improving!! I want a leader not so much finger-pointing, and weak as his lead was, he was being more of a leader-in-chief than the blamer-in-chief he has been.

    Thats one of the few things I always respected about Bush, he very seldom pointed to "previous administration" or "inherited" situations. (like GDP crashing in 2000 before he took over in 2001, Cole bombing, first tower attack, other AlQuaida growth during years up to 9/11)

    If Obama continues trying to provide leadership instead of finger pointing, I might start listening/supporting more. I'll still probably not vote for him, but will be more receptive to his leadershp position during the remainder of his term(s)

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

      Balanced budget, fiscal surplus, world respect. No wonder. He defies comparison.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Know the Area

    Know the Area*

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

    President Obama could have blown on a vuvuzela for 15 minutes and it would have been as useful as that speech.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. james

    The speech did nothing to make me feel we are taking control. A fear of mine includes the possibility we get to the point the relief well fails...and BP says we cant do anything. Then a war for the cash to fix this ensues. BP can afford to walk away. At this point I think they know this well will be closed at ENORMOUS loss...so goodbye USA.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ugh

    Just another SPEECH. Obama has no substance. He's a one-termer and his handling (non-handling) of this catastrophic disaster has sealed that fate.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • madelyn

      you wish......

      June 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tamera Rahim

      Obama has a lot of substance and so did his speech. The changes he is talking about are necessary for continuing our nation in the way we are used to living. He covered the steps being taken to control the spill, and let the populace know that we are doing everything in our power to control things and repair the damage done.

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

    So what do we do? Do we just go through the election process and end up with the same results we have had forever? Are people really this short-sighted and naive? Do they really think that the other political party has the solutions to this? That is more disappointing than anything the president could have said in my opinion. I swear, people WANT to be polarized. People seem to want this conflict, so they can be angry. That doesn't help anything. Stop spewing filth unless you can do so in a cognizant manner. If you are so sure that you, or someone else has these answers, please step forward. The entire nation could use your help if you really aren't just full of hot air.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Proud to be an American

    Great speech! I am so glad that there is a path to take. This poor man is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, My thoughts go out to him and his family and hope that the stress of running this country only makes them stronger. I still have a lot of hope for this country and hope to see the changes soon! 🙂

    June 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      There was absolutely NO direction in this speech at all. What do you consider the big points of "great direction"?

      I'm an Obama supporter, but this speech was pure drivel at a time when strong leadership was required, not more waffling from the Oval Office.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert D.

    The president's speech tonight could be likened to throwing the net, without ever leaving the dock. Why make a speech before you meet with BP executives? The entire speech, while being a grand vision, lacks details and action. 57 days have passed but yet we do not have the necessary equipment in place to clean up the oil. 57 days have passed, and yet the oil continues to flow at more than 35,000 barrels a day. 57 days have passed and no meeting with BP:. 57 days have passed and millions of peoples livelihood have been destroyed, and still no fund in place from BP.

    Sorry, I am pessimistic....I think the President who was going to change Washington, has become one of them.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brenda

    PEOPLE, the SPANISH Green energy bill actually LOST jobs in teh economy. All the idiot liberals promise new "green jobs" but Spain's experiene was teh oposite of that. Why would we be different. In germany, teh Gov't subsidized tons of jobs to make them viable....it isn't because it is good business. Remember Pelosi promised tons of jobs with the Health Care Tax bill...but none of those materialized either. The only thing the Democrats have accomplished in two years is TO TAX EVERYONE MORE. Pretty soon we will be at Jimmy Carter 75% tax rates, a 35 hr work week, 30% unemployment, 15% mortgage loan rate, and a GDP 2% below the world (just like liberal Europe)....or better yet, we will be GREECE.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
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