Obama at the Gulf Coast

8 years ago

President Barack Obama offered remarks in Grand Isle, Louisiana that provided an update on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig disaster.

U.S. President Obama tours oils spill disaster on Gulf Coast

Obama re-stated his assumption of responsibility, gave his reassurance that the government will hold BP (and all others deemed to be culpable) accountable - both legally and financially, and his promise that those communities that are experiencing damage will not be abandoned. (Full text of speech can be read here):

We’re also going to continue to do whatever it takes to help Americans whose livelihoods have been upended by this spill.  Gulf Coast residents should know that we’ve gathered all pertinent information regarding available assistance and the federal response in one place at whitehouse.gov.

...As I’ve said before, BP is the responsible party for this disaster.  What that means is they’re legally responsible for stopping the leak and they’re financially responsible for the enormous damage that they’ve created.  And we’re going to hold them accountable, along with any other party responsible for the initial explosion and loss of life on that platform.

But as I said yesterday, and as I repeated in the meeting that we just left, I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis.  I’m the President and the buck stops with me.  So I give the people of this community and the entire Gulf my word that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this catastrophe, to defend our natural resources, to repair the damage, and to keep this region on its feet....

Obama delivered these comments, which reinforced much of what he said at a White House press conference, after having toured an area beach and participating in a briefing session with federal, state and local officials in regard to the continuing catastrophe.

There is no doubt that the efforts yesterday and today reflect what a USA Today/Gallup indicates: Americans hold BP most responsible, but the federal government and the president are not far behind.

But what effect will they have on Obama, and more importantly, on the lives of all the individuals and entities affected by the oil spill?

SoundoffSister at RadioViceOnline.com gives this probably "too late to do any good" advice:

The trial of damage claims will go something like this.  BP will freely admit, as it has to, that it is responsible for the explosion.  But, as a result of the president’s statements [that is ultimately is responsible], it will also be able to now say to the jury, look, the federal government, not BP, was in charge of stopping the spill and the resulting damage from day one.  Had we, BP, been in charge, we could have stopped the leak much sooner, and there would have been far less damage.  But, our hands were tied by the federal government.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee ("NRSC") isn't missing a chance at amplifying this perspective.  They've released a video they call, "Never Again: Obama and the BP Oil Spill."  Having Democratic strategist James Ragin' Cajun Carville be angry at you cannot be a good thing either. From Maggie's Notebook:

Louisiana resident Chester James Carville's rant went something like this: These people are crying down here. Man you gotta get down here. Put someone in charge of this....These people are crying down here. We're dying down here." Watch the video for the whole performance....

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu tries to pile on Obama but Digby doesn't find her to be very authentic. Digby asks rhetorically, "Has there ever been a more loathsome hypocrite than Mary Landrieu?" after Politico quotes Landrieu complaining about a lack of Obama face time and how he will, "pay a political price for it."

As a counter-balance to Landrieu's piling on, listen to U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon (D, LA-3) as Rachel Maddow first shows the clip of him breaking down during a Congressional hearing as he tries to read his remarks into the record.  He then speaks with Rachel about the immediate and long-term costs to not only the Louisiana people and economy, but to the nationwide and global economy:

...main focus right now is plug the hole, simultaneously continue and try to continue to figure out what it is that will protect America‘s wetlands, these coastal marshes that are so important to this country.  But a lot of people didn‘t know and I didn‘t know, the parishes along this coastline in Louisiana, if they were rated as an economy, would be 29th in the world -- 29th in the world.  That‘s how important we are to this country.

WhiteHouse.gov now offers a comprehensive webpage, "Deepwater BP Oil Spill," for information ranging from how to pursue spill-related damages and claims, opportunities to volunteer generally or through state by state opportunities to daily updates and information on what each of the numerous government agencies involved are doing. Lawsuits.com's ambulance chasing-style Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuits webpage offers help as well, but people should probably check it out with their attorney general's offices first, to be on the safe side:

Total money damages in the Gulf oil spill could easily eclipse the half-billion dollars awarded in the Exxon Valdez disaster, reaching well into the multi-billions of dollars. In addition to lawsuit damages, BP America faces millions, if not billions of dollars, in clean-up costs. If you've been impacted by the Gulf oil spill, contact a Gulf Oil Spill attorney for more information about your options.

Taking matters into their own hands, Greenpeace volunteers have been arrested and charged with felonies, while the organization wonders how it is that neither BP nor its executives have been charged with anything.

If you were president or even just advising a president - any president - during a time like this, what would you advise him or her to do now and moving forward?

More resources:

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