Obama’s oil oratory — Katrina, drill baby drill, boom and shave
President Barack Obama, in his first formal press conference in almost a year (since July), answered questions about his handling of the oil spill.
There was the one about Katrina comparisons. (Slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina turned into an albatross for former President George W. Bush).
“I’ll leave it to you guys to make those comparisons … and make judgments on it, because what I’m spending my time thinking about is how do we solve the problem?” Obama said.
But it turns out he did have an opinion about future judgment about past actions. “I’m confident that people are going to look back and say that this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis.”
Did he regret calling for expanded offshore drilling before the spill? Obama said he continues to believe that “domestic oil production is an important part of our overall energy mix,” but is insufficient to meet future needs, which is why investment in clean energy is needed.
Then, the president, himself, without any prodding, brought up the phrase that Sarah Palin made famous.
“Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky,” Obama said. “And so that’s part of the reason you never heard me say ‘drill, baby, drill’. Because we can’t drill our way out of the problem.” (If someone wanted to get technical, he actually did say it to make the point that he never said it).
And there was lots of boom talk.
“Let’s take the example of boom … I’m not an expert on this but this is as it’s been explained to me — predeploying boom would have been the right thing to do. Making sure that there’s boom right there in the region at various spots where you could anticipate, if there was a spill of this size, the boom would be right there ready to grab. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case,” he said.
He repeatedly hammered the point that he cared — “this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about. The spill.”
“And it’s not just me, by the way. You know, when I woke up this morning and I’m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?”
Obama will visit the Gulf Coast on Friday. What do you think of his handling of the spill so far?
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama at news conference), Reuters/Sean Gardner (Garret Graves shows his hand after collecting oil samples in Louisiana)