The commentators must be off their rocker. They said the president did not seem engaged and that he rambled at Thursday’s press conference. No matter what they said, from my position seated in the East Room, President Obama did a great job at Thursday’s press conference.
He was direct about the cozy relationship between the regulators and Big Oil. He talked about how Secretary Salazar was cleaning house, but that it had not been quick enough. Putting a personal element on the sill, he added that he wakes up to his daughter asking him if he has plugged the leak. The tabloids made fun of him for it, but to me it was heartfelt. The president says he goes to sleep thinking about it, too.
Do they think he is making this up? Has America become that cynical?
For those anti-Obama folks who are saying the government should do more to stop the oil in the Gulf, he was clear that everything BP did had to be approved by his administration. When BP wanted to drill one relief well, the U.S. government decided to make BP drill two wells. He said the government did not have the means to effect the clean up but that it was an open question to see if that is something we would want the government to do in the future. My question to the blame Obama group is, what on Earth would you want the president and administration to do?
Critics on the talk shows have said the president should have called in foreign governments and other Big Oil companies to help with the spill. I have heard talk hosts say the clean-up team should have used other containment measures and they would have contained things better. Obama addressed this as well by clarifying that his team has looked at each option and each offer of help in terms of the long-term ramifications to the environment.
Many are saying that this is the president’s Katrina. There is a vast difference between this and not taking action while thousands of people are homeless from a hurricane. The environmental impact, while disastrous, can’t be helped by strong intervention by the government to make sure people in the gulf are not financially ruined. The Obama government has not shirked its duties in that area.
The oil spill has quieted down the “drill baby, drill” crowd. Obama reiterated what he said during the campaign, saying we can’t drill our way out of this and we must move toward alternative forms of energy production. This is obvious. Why is there such anger at Obama’s statements?
The press conference was not focused totally on the oil spill. Afghanistan, immigration and the Sestak job offer came up as well. Republicans say the president paused before he answered the question about Sestak being offered a job to drop out of the race. They said he did not give a good answer. What were they talking about?
Obama said the White House would get an answer shortly, not in weeks or months. Sure enough, the very next day the White House Counsel’s office issued its report.
Despite Dick Morris believing that this is an impeachable offense, even Republican attorneys have said this is not a crime. The president delivered what he said he would at the press conference. And there is not going to be an impeachment. Sorry Dick, you are going to have to find something a lot worse to get the president out of office.
My major concern is why the president doesn’t do more press conferences. By this time in his administration, President Kennedy held 34 pressers. Depending on what counts a press conference, the number is around 10 as some press availabilities allow reporters to ask questions. He should do press conference more often.
The American people want to hear our chief executive answer the questions that are on most people’s minds. He handles the press corps well and shows his grasp and fund of knowledge. To borrow a quote from former President George W. Bush, “Bring ’em on.”