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Has the Obama administration’s response to the oil spill been enough?

May 27, 2010

As one of the country’s worst environmental catastrophes unfolds on his watch, President Barack Obama is under increasing pressure from lawmakers and residents of the fouled Gulf coast to take over the oil disaster response.

The word at the White House is that Obama is frustrated at the delays BP has encountered in stopping the leak. “Plug the damn hole,” he has told senior government officials.

The most immediate concern is stopping the leak. The problem for the White House is that it has no real alternative except to rely on BP’s technology and expertise to do it.

That means Obama is forced into an uneasy alliance with BP — outraged that the leak took place but hopeful that the energy giant can stop it.

Has the Obama administrations’ response to the Gulf oil spill been enough? Take our poll and share your thoughts below.

Do you approve of President Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill?

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Should the federal government be ordered to take over operations from BP?

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PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama talks after touring the Coast Guard Venice Center in the Gulf of Mexico region to view environmental damage caused by the sinking of BP’s oil and gas Deepwater Horizontal drilling rig while in Venice, Louisiana, May 2, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing


The BP executives that knew “harm could come” BEFORE the spill occurred and did nothing stop it, should be fired. BP is criminal and should be treated as such. Their continued rape of our planet is ridiculous. Somebody needs to stand up to them NOW.

Posted by LRG | Report as abusive

IF we listen to the GOP these are our choices:

1)Lower taxes and smaller government with limited leadership that allows industry to write it’s own rules that are backed up by taxpayer funded bailouts.


2) Higher taxes to fund bigger government that is capable of bailing out private industries when they are incompetent to deal with problems they cause?

The GOP doesn’t care about America or our health and safety. They are only capable of playing politics and have no real ideas, as usual. Ideology is not what America needs now. The BP-Tansocean-Halliburton disaster is a perfect example of why we need to regulate all industries more closely and protect the environment and the Amercian public from those who seek only to profit from it.

Posted by 5280hi | Report as abusive

You’re rating Obama on this??? You gotta be kidding. I’ve got two words for ya.


Now rate Obama.

Posted by duddleyfuddle | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin was just interviewed by Katie Courich again: “Oh Katie, it’s the ‘GULF OF MEXICO!’ It’s not our problem! Drill baby…DRILL!”

Posted by JohnZNYC | Report as abusive

Obama is at fault until his administration brings criminal charges. Then he’s still at fault until the BP decisionmakers are in prison.

Posted by clsgis | Report as abusive

Obama is the best president EVER! He is the clear reason why I only vote for Democrats. Thankfully Obama is in office for 8 years, so he can clean up the mess the Republicans created (everything bad that happens in the nation/world can be and will be attributed to Bush for the rest of time) only to hand off to the next Democratic president.

My only concern is that the next president must be far, far more liberal. Remember: Only liberal Democrats need to be in office. They will help, protect, and give you what you need/want. Only they can save America.

Posted by blueyes1077 | Report as abusive

Who wrote these questions… seriously?

“Do you approve of President Obama’s response…?”
Shouldn’t it be “…the Obama ADMINISTRATION’S response?” Or is the questioner seriously asking one man to do it all. Even with 911 and Kartina, no one asked Bush to handle everything; we asked FEMA Director Michael (“Heck of a job, Brownie”) Brown to be competent and so forth. The same standard needs to apply here. The EPA and applicable agencies’ responses should be at issue, not those of one man.

And most laughingly, “Should the federal government be ordered…?”
Ordered by whom?

Seriously, who wrote these? It reads like a failed high school assignment.

Posted by texasbrian | Report as abusive

What would the Tea Party do if they were in charge?

What have the GOP leaders, who are continually re-elected by voters in the Gulf States, been doing with all the royalty money they collect from oil & gas companies for the privelege of drilling there? They should have a huge slush fund put aside to deal with emergencies. But NO. Instead, the GOP leasdership looks to the Feds to save them. The same thing would be true in Alaska. Ask Lisa Murkowski what type of emergency fund she has developed with all her roaylty money?

What a bunch of lying hypocrites. A death sentence for GOP incumbents is the only answer, and maybe brain transplants for the voters who keep electing these shills.

Posted by 5280hi | Report as abusive

There are two parts to the question:
1) Capping or stopping the release of oil from the well-head;
2) Clean-up.

As to the first: BP has what expertize there is and should be “point” with Gov’t oversight. In this regard, President Obama gets a “c” grade for his response.

As to the second, Clean-up: President Obama gets a “F” grade. Obama and his team should have been like stink on sh_t, from day 2; the Army Corps should have been building sand dikes outside of beach and marshes; Coast Guard and Navy should have been deploying booms and skimmers in concentric rings around the platform/up-welling areas. The Gov’t should have taken over the clean-up and backcharged BP.

Posted by dcitizen | Report as abusive

BP should be barred from operating in US waters until they can pass a re-application test which would involve them building a full scale rig at a test site (NOT IN US WATERS) where government scientists and engineers could run any accident scenarios they wanted for at least TWO YEARS!

why? (a) because they lied about the readiness of the ‘blowout preventor’ (b) didn’t do sufficient testing with government inspectors on site 100% of the test time. (BP should have demanded this!) (c) they ignored operational warnings about the overall performance of the rig. and (d) the most damning of all: BP had no DEMONSTRATED contingency plan for the case where the ‘blowout preventor’ failed!

the government should impose a ‘three strikes’ law for all industries working with food or in environmentally sensitive areas based on three level contingency plans. if all of the plans fail for any test scenario, then you’ve ‘struck out’ and you’re out of the game until you can pass a vastly more rigorous re-application test regime.

Posted by jborrow | Report as abusive

I believe JBorrow is on to something. The fact all this is so under-regulated is amazing! We (the US) are so greedy with oil and our unwillingness to sacrifice (god forbid) our SUV’s and lackluster efforts to improve efficiencies nationwide. Hopefully this administration will finally move forward on reducing emissions so our great grandchildren have clean air… and in doing so lessen our ridiculous dependance on Oil, as we clearly go extremes, despite environmental impacts to our oceans, wildlife and eventually our own food source.

This administration is doing far more then has been done in the past, though his concessions to the republicans have lessened the effectiveness of certain policies, its still a huge leap forward. The oil companies have made more money they know what to do with, and zero interest in safety. I believe serious regulation should be implemented, and hopefully this will be a final wake-up call for those who believe large industries should be left to run rampant in a free market society.

Posted by TheJMan | Report as abusive

wait, OB did his part! he held up a tarball!

Vacation time now!

Posted by Chase4568 | Report as abusive

I hope some one HEARS this we can build ships in a day at war, and I say we are at war with this oil leak that BP loves because it means there is alot of oil for them.There are PLumes of oil that a tanker already fitted with pumps can suck up IT just takes a 100ft piece of pipe, Also we can build a scimmer ship and scim 12 inches of the top of the ocean treat (pull the oil out then keep the oil spit out the water there are ways and this is a war against this oil which is still coming out into the ocean soon to reach around florida and ruin much more. The Russians blew there run away oil hole to bits may be it is time to do the same not like they did it, but there are ways to just stop it but then BP would lose that hole they already put there, they care much more about that then the ocean death they are creating all day every day and all this other bull is “being tried) I really hope someone is hears this , But CORP. will win out again and screw the earth we only live here.

Posted by sandy0052 | Report as abusive

Obama being judged for this is like judging Sara Palin on her intelligence. What’s he supposed to do; Dive down there (with a cigarette in his mouth) and stuff a sock in the pipe?
Regulations and laws had to be in place to authorize a president to act before this happened. Regs that Shrub disposed of.
Can you imagine the screams of SOCIALIST if Obama acted to take over this company?

Posted by Paraglider | Report as abusive

Obama’s job is to manage. He is elected to manage this country, and along with this to manage the blow-ups that come up.
Where are experts called to testify, where are independant observers, where are other people who did this before?
While BP is trying to plug the hole, where is the concerted effort to keep the oil from reaching the shore?
Where is the plan?
He spends his weekend fishing with his pals – this is not what a good manager should be doing with this kind of an issue to deal with.

Posted by ForeverSPb | Report as abusive

It is amazing to witness.

Obama attacked for expanding government by Fixed News NeoCon Artists and TeaBaggers and now he is railed against by the same antagonists for not using enough government weight to solve a private enterprise calamity caused by the biggest GOP supporter: Big Oil.

The same Big Oil that has paid off our politicians and supported GOP candidates for decades to stave off regulations, and ensure they will keep their obese profit margins…all in the name of our so called ‘free enterprise’ system.

The “DRILL BABY, DRILL” idiots should be made to take a good long swim in the Gulf. Or, as the Fixed News talking heads are shouting, Obama should have the Government do more by identifying every person who was at a Sarah-’Drill BABY, DRILL’-Palin rally and force them into work camps along the Gulf until the mess is completely cleaned.

Perhaps then they would finally open their eyes and see those they support for who they are.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive

put your money where your mouth is. park your car, oil company haters. ooh, big oil, it runs the world. it rapes the planet. well, put them out of business. park your car, if you own one. and you better keep hoping the free enterprise system stays. it’s the only way faux-prez. barry can skim money for you incopentent libs you cant hold down a job.

Posted by nogo | Report as abusive

“The President of the United States could’ve come down here, he could’ve been involved with the families of these 11 people” who died on the rig after an explosion, James Carville said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “He could be commandeering tankers and making BP bring tankers in and clean this up. They could be deploying people to the coast right now. He could be with the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard…doing something about these regulations. These people are crying, they’re begging for something down here, and it just looks like he’s not involved in this.”

His voice rising, Carville cried out, “Man, you got to get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving! We’re about to die down here!”

Posted by nogo | Report as abusive

“helluva job, barry.”

Posted by nogo | Report as abusive

thats sounds like a very innovative idea Dewayne, hope someone hears you out and considers it.

Posted by Alyosha | Report as abusive

blueyes1077: Do I detect some sarcasm here?

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

It’s not enough to just be angry and frustrated. Obama needs to spend more time in the affected Gulf States just talking to people — one at a time — and trying to help them find solutions to their economic and environmental problems. One of his problems is that common folks don’t see him as relating very well to their real problems. Despite his experience in community organizing, he’s seen as detached and aloof.

Posted by dglinnehan | Report as abusive

Interesting results (thus far): Most respondents think Obama didn’t do enough, and most think the government should let BP run the operation. People, please make up your mind because you confuse me.

Posted by frank654 | Report as abusive

take it easy lefties. your man obama distanced himself from this disaster in order to not look to be close with that entity most despised by the left; a “big oil” company.
rather than the posturing of “keeping our boot on the throat of bp”, and starting criminal and civil investigations by that incompetent bumbler eric holder, obama would have been better off by taking the high road, and showing some real leadership by offering all the fed govt’s resources to work WITH bp. i guess he just doesn’t have it in him to do that. or plouffe, emmanuel and axelrod are advising him not to.
by the way, getting involved in a crisis is not the same as expanding the government. get real.

Posted by nophir | Report as abusive

This is wrong–>”The problem for the White House is that it has no real alternative except to rely on BP’s technology and expertise to do it”
They could have an oil spill Czar, and consult with other engineers from the other super major oil companies, Chevron, Exxon-mobil, and verify the correct path. But they haven’t even done the first step- appoint someone to be the executive in charge of the federal response, an oil czar. Who is in charge when Obama is on vacation or out with the Mexican President? Someone needs to be in control of the Federal response even if BP is doing their work. The lack of concern from the Obama gross. They are virtually ignoring a spill that is now the largest in US history.

Posted by agent534 | Report as abusive

Prevention is better than cure. Why didn’t Boy George’s administration insist all offshore wells have actual working blowout preventers like Norway requires? Why were they so lax in enforcing what few regulations they were willing to enforce? This may have occurred on Obama’s watch, but all the preconditions were set in place by the pres and VP from the “ahl bidniz”.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, here. The ‘Obama administration’ has but one boss. Obama. Saying it’s somehow not the PRESIDENT’s responsibility to intervene is pure and utter ignorance of US law (see below) and of the role the man is REQUIRED to play. You can’t blame oil-boy Bush and not blame the federal government under Obama at the same time without what amounts to self-deception. Yes, of course BP should have had a contingency plan, but Obama is REQUIRED by law to have one.

Of course Obama didn’t cause the blowout. It doesn’t let him off the hook. US Title 33, Chap 40, SubCh I § 2706 & 2711 clearly spell out it’s been Obama’s responsibility for addressing it since day one. The National Contingency Plan referred is supposed to be in place ahead of time (not letting industry or previous administrations off the hook. They all bear responsibility, but saying “We don’t have the tech or training” means “We all did a pretty lousy job setting up a ‘contingency plan.’)

“The President, or the authorized representative of any State, Indian tribe, or foreign government, shall act on behalf of the public, Indian tribe, or foreign country as trustee of natural resources to present a claim for and to recover damages to the natural resources”

“The President shall consult with the affected trustees designated under section 2706 of this title on the appropriate removal action to be taken in connection with any discharge of oil. For the purposes of the National Contingency Plan, removal with respect to any discharge shall be considered completed when so determined by the President in consultation with the Governor or Governors of the affected States. However, this determination shall not preclude additional removal actions under applicable State law”

If US citizenry decides he hasn’t done a good job upholding that responsibility, and most recent polls suggest the majority think he hasn’t, then there is opportunity for him to work harder to address that concern. Working with Gov. Jindal is mandated. If Gov. Jindal says during ‘consultation’ that remediation needs to be stepped up or actions taken, Obama is obliged to listen.

Yell all you like at prior oil-industry-linked administrations, but to be honest a President that ran on environmentally-sensitive statements and just trotted out a new energy plan that *supposedly* paid close enough attention to risks to justify limited drilling ought not to have been caught with his pants down when a rig accident happened. Cynics will begin to wonder if he allowed the burden to fall on BP to allow for a mess that ‘proved’ his prior concerns regarding drilling.

Of course BP needs to be held liable – that’s the letter of the law and restating it as if it showed leadership is a bit of a stretch. They lost all credibility sticking to the 5k per day number, which is most likely a crass attempt to avoid the per-barrel charges they know are coming. The message regarding the rather large number of involved personnel and materiel would be a better one for Obama to focus on, but until that stupid hole is plugged nothing else will do.

Posted by johannesg | Report as abusive

Its amazing to me all the Bush bashing that takes place. WHAT EXACTLY HAS OBAMA DONE SINCE HE ENTERED OFFICE????????????????? Do you feel safer in this country??? He’s got about the same number of crooks in his cabinet as any other president. What do you expect. The gave Obama the Nobel Peace prize for doing nothing.(Which by the way now makes that once prized award completely worthless) and now you expect a different result—-MORONS—”YOU” voted for him, now deal with it. Obama is all talk and no action. We’ll make sure its fixed in 2012.

Posted by S.O.B | Report as abusive

O and by the way, hows that new “OBAMACARE” plan workin for ya. Theres nothing like footing the bills for a bunch of illegals and people who dont want to work for a living, but keep working your tails off, millions on welfare depend on YOU!!!

Posted by S.O.B | Report as abusive

The energy companies have serious political clout in Washington … I am wondering how much they contributed to his election campaign… and how much he is hoping to garner for the next.

Posted by abrosie | Report as abusive

53% of the responders say
the fed should not take over…..
59% say they don’t approve of the fed’s (obama) response

Posted by rangjung | Report as abusive

How many of the people who voted on this question even know what Obama’s options actually were? BP must cork the leak. BP must pay for the cleanup. Were the government to say, “Step aside, sonny, we’re in charge now,” the taxpayers would end up footing the bill for this.

Obama has done all he could.

Posted by Fishrl | Report as abusive

What CAN he do? He should wave his hand and just make it stop spewing oil. Where are the Drill Baby Drill people now?

We never should have drilled so close to our shores unless there existed technology to take care of this type of problem.

Were are the right wing nuts who pushed for off chore drilling?

Obama has done as much as he can.

Posted by dennisaa | Report as abusive

The environmental wackos pushed America so far off shore. We need to drill closer to shore and on land. I’m sick of leftist nuts dictating the demise of our country.

Posted by KansasGirl | Report as abusive

With Obama now so inept, such a socialist pacifist anti-free enterprise, should BP be forced to pay for the La. oil slicks that he would not allow Jindal to build??? Should Fla. whack him for its spoilage ? Can this guy do anything but destroy our capitalistic framework? His leftist policies have dealt blows to America, our allies, and our citizens. Yet, the MSM covers for this inept Alinskite. Some may be waking up as Dowd, The Post, even some mags. who are asking—–Is this the end of Rico???? The Chicago Thug?

Posted by phillyfanatic | Report as abusive

I think a “Bell form” it will be more exactly for the container. double walls for presure controle ,engines for motion and then central “sucking pipe”. (sorry)engenieers could design the density of fluid to charge “Bell walls”.how ever, what’s deep it’s happend?

Posted by iuliannastase | Report as abusive

The plan is to dig another well by the end of August. That’s the plan. Burn off the oil inthe meantime and keep cleaning. What else can they do? Get real about this. Americans want it all today or yesterday. That is a national trait. We are an impatient people. Do you expect the CEO to stand on the beach and wait this out, wringing his hands? They go on with life and do what they have to do.

Posted by Odysseus221 | Report as abusive

The size of the disaster has grown beyond the Coast Guard to handle. It’s not Coast Guard Admiral’s fault. But the regular military has a far more robust chain of command and far more robust capability. Passing the National guard off to the States may appear to give President Obama cover, but the paralysis there hurts him more than it hurts local governors.

President Obama may also be thinking too much like a lawyer. Sitting back and letting BP continue to screw up might work for a smaller scale problem, but it makes the U.S. government look inept or calloused at the larger scale of the currently understood Gulf Disaster.

Another dangerous mistake is for the Obama administration to conclude that since the oil can not really be stopped (once it is in the water) that there is no reason to over exert itself as the oil comes ashore or into the marshes. But this isn’t what the public needs right now. If the administration were to mobilize troops (and naval vessels) directly and on a grand scale.

This is a case where struggling valiantly and losing against the incoming oil works far better politically than doing less, because we “know” that it doesn’t matter anyway.


Posted by sean7phil | Report as abusive

I would like to know who are these people that are ever polled about anything?

I read today that Obama’s approval rating was lower then ever and that America had lost faith in obama poll by the Washington Post.

Funny thing is I work with people from nearly every spectrum and most all whom I speak with seem happy with Obama. There are a few who are not but they are usually faithful to the GOP and their bias disqualifies them, as does the few who are far left.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to see how many people were polled, what the language of the poll looked like and how many responded. I would love to see what the Washington Post considers the American People.

They have been openly accused of reporting on anti-Obama chain e-mails without sufficiently emphasizing to its readers the false nature of the anonymous claims.

I would advise Reuters to use a disclaimer with anything the Post reports.

Marcus Brauchli, editor of The Washington Post, wrote in a memo to employees that was obtained by Reuters. …”We are not a national news organization of record serving a general audience…”

So I ask you… Whom do they serve?

Posted by SantaBarbarian | Report as abusive

Who pays for Obama’s campaign travels during this mid-term election?
Obama, get back to work!

We need some help from the GOP concerning Obama’s campaign travels.
Obama is the President and he should be running the country.
Obama should not be spending my tax dollars to campaign for the Midterms.
How much money is he spending on plane fuel, secret service, hotels, and food?
It all comes out of my tax dollars.
I am a Republican and I don’t want my tax dollars spent on Democratic campaign apperances by Obama.
Obama, get back to work and run this country!!

Posted by rgrowley | Report as abusive

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