First Oval Office address — an “inflection point” on spill – but which way?

June 15, 2010



To underscore how seriously he is taking the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama has chosen to make his nationwide address on the environmental disaster his first speech from the Oval Office, a setting presidents typically reserve for the gravest occasions — President George W. Bush spoke from there after the September 11 attacks, President Bill Clinton announced air strikes on Iraq, and President Ronald Reagan chose the Oval to talk about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

Administration officials said Obama will lay out how to deal with the oil that has leaked so far and what must be done to clean up and restore the Gulf, talk about what is being done for those who have lost jobs and business because of the disaster and discuss changing U.S. energy policy to reduce dependence on oil and fossil fuel. 

As he grapples with the spill, Obama has been pushing Congress to pass a new law that would fight climate change and ramp up production of renewable fuels, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Republican leaders are sternly denouncing any effort to link provisions of the energy bill with the Gulf disaster.

“Tonight’s speech comes at an inflection point in the oil spill,” aides said, using the expression for a point marking the beginning of a significant change on a curve, or a chart.

“President Obama understands the challenges and has clear plans to meet them,” they said.

Time will tell whether Obama wins the fight for his energy bill, or whether his address tonight will do anything to change the direction of the Gulf disaster.

An inflection point marks the start of a change in a curve, but the change can be an upward movement — or it can be a downward one.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage.

Photo credit: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a briefing on the BP oil spill at the Coast Guard Station Gulfport for in Gulfport, Mississippi, June 14, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young


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I think that Obama is making the right choice in using the Oval Office as a backdrop during this horrible event. Sure, it didn’t always work for Carter or Bush, but he stands a change to gain back some respect.

Unless, that is, he decides to cave into the segment of the population that want to see him pull his hair out, just so we know that “he feels our pain.”

On that note, readers might enjoy a moment of satire on the cries that we need to see more outrage:

Posted by bondwooley | Report as abusive

[…] main talking points from Robert Gibbs’ morning show shuffle around MSNBC and Fox News. Front Row Washington explains the allure behind an Oval Office speech and The Daily Beast has the same explanation […]

Posted by Obama’s Oval Speech Layups to Game 6 | White House Correspondents Weekend Insider | Report as abusive

I wonder if he will have an American flag nearby for this one? I hope so.

Posted by Tininator | Report as abusive

He should have given this from the site of the disaster. The oil company executives should have testified from the site also.

Posted by AmericaninCan1 | Report as abusive