“Work-focused” trip for Interior chief of staff: white-water rafting

posted at 8:48 am on May 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

While the Obama administration tries to sell its response to the Gulf spill as complete and total from the first moments, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that one of the men supposedly leading the effort was knee-deep in the water.  Unfortunately, Interior chief of staff Ted Strickland wasn’t in the warm waters of the Gulf, but in the Grand Canyon on what the White House called a business-related trip.  Maybe they should consider moving Strickland’s travel arrangements to something more modern that careening through white-water rapids:

Though his agency was charged with coordinating the federal response to the major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Department of the Interior chief of staff Tom Strickland was in the Grand Canyon with his wife last week participating in activities that included white-water rafting, ABC News has learned.

Other leaders of the Interior Department were focused on the Gulf, joined by other agencies and literally thousands of other employees. But Strickland’s participation in a trip that administration officials insisted was “work-focused” raised eyebrows among other Obama administration officials and even within even his own department, sources told ABC News.

Strickland, who also serves as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, was in the Grand Canyon with his wife Beth for a total of three days, including one day of rafting. Beth Strickland paid her own way, Obama administration officials said.

Well, they did upgrade his travel method eventually:

The Stricklands departed for the Grand Canyon three days after the leaks in the Deepwater Horizon pipeline were discovered.  Ultimately, after the government realized that the spill was worse than had been previously thought, officials decided that Strickland was needed in the Gulf so Strickland was taken out of the Grand Canyon by a National Park Service helicopter.

Officially, the administration insists that Strickland’s trip was work-related.  He went to the Grand Canyon to discuss meaty issues like humpback chub and tamarisk controls.  At least, I assume those are meaty, especially the humpback chub.  It’s apparently is a higher priority than the cleanup in the Gulf, as is the whitewater rafting trip.

Unofficially, Tapper’s sources wonder what Strickland was thinking.  As chief of staff to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, one would have presumed that Strickland could have put off the pressing humpback-chub crisis in order to deal with the more minor problem of thousands of barrels of oil rolling up on Louisiana’s shores.  “Work-focused” whitewater rafting sounds a lot like a vacation in the middle of a disaster, and the list of issues that Interior’s spokesperson claims Strickland was addressing is almost a parody of bad prioritization.

And even if there weren’t a disaster in the Gulf unfolding when Strickland left, couldn’t every one of those issues have been addressed via telephone or video conference?  For a department that sounds so concerned about carbon emissions, they seem rather unconcerned about their own travel and carbon footprint, right down to that helicopter that rescued Strickland from his own bad sense of timing.


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Well, it’s not like they were out shopping for sexy stompy boots, like Rice was during Katrina!

/leftist apologist

JamesLee on May 6, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Rumor has it he killed a rabbit with an oar.

Akzed on May 6, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Rumor has it he killed a rabbit with an oar.

Akzed on May 6, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Thanks for the guffaw.

Disturb the Universe on May 6, 2010 at 8:55 AM

These guys only get 8 weeks of paid vacation per year, they need to take it when they can. Besides, ol’ Ted had a $200 non-refundable deposit on the rafting excursion.

Bishop on May 6, 2010 at 8:56 AM

The Gulf Oil Spill is Barack Obama’s Katrina and Halliburton All Rolled Into One

That’s like Obama’s Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who stayed on a ski vacation post-Christmas instead of returning to deal with the panty-bomber.

petefrt on May 6, 2010 at 8:56 AM

FAll guy.

artist on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Officially, the administration insists that Strickland’s trip was work-related.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the BS flag has been officially raised.

Johnnyreb on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Smart Power!

And “meaty Humpback Chub”? Really Ed? Let the double entendres begin! lol

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

I think the attacks on Strickland are very unfair.

Do people not realize that he is a democrat?

/

Vashta.Nerada on May 6, 2010 at 8:58 AM

The guy went on vacation instead of TCB. Par for the course for his boss’s boss as well. Even if he went to the gulf, what’s he going to do besides look at it and pose for a picture like his boss’s boss. Wasn’t there ‘from day one’ though.

Kissmygrits on May 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Wait a minute.

He was doing business in ARIZONA?

Hmmmm

artist on May 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM

And “meaty Humpback Chub”? Really Ed? Let the double entendres begin! lol

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Secret Service code word for Janet Napoletano.

Disturb the Universe on May 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Humpback chub makes me giggle.

myrenovations on May 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM

“Work-focused trip” is govspeak for “a taxpayer funded family vacation”. To coin a phrase from Michelle Obama: Gimme some of that!

Buy Danish on May 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Come on don’t fall for this crap!

It’s way too convenient for Obama to use this guy as a shield to get out of from under his own responibility for this oil spill fiasco. How seredipitous for the administration to think it’s ok for this guy to go on vacation right at this point in time.

He’s an insignificant cog in the chain. Wake up!

rollthedice on May 6, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I’m scared to ask what “humpback chub” means.

vcferlita on May 6, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Officially, the administration insists that Strickland’s trip was work-related. He went to the Grand Canyon to discuss meaty issues like humpback chub and tamarisk controls.

And the Grand Canyon is the obvious place to discuss such issues, too, especially from a white water raft. Your tax dollars at work…

ProfessorMiao on May 6, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Secret Service code word for Janet Napoletano.

Heh.

I had assumed it had something to do with a certain activity in performed with a hot staffer in an astroturf lined raft…Silly me!

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Wonder if the regime needs a Stripclub Interior chief of staff?

Keef Overbite on May 6, 2010 at 9:09 AM

And even if there weren’t a disaster in the Gulf unfolding when Strickland left, couldn’t every one of those issues have been addressed via telephone or video conference?

I don’t have a problem with a top Interior Department official going to the Grand Canyon (it’s an important part of the American interior). So it doesn’t bother me that this wasn’t done via videoconference.

But obviously, the timing was awful. He should not have gone last week.

YYZ on May 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Didn’t one of Obama’s national security team members go on holiday after the Ft. Hood shootings?

taney71 on May 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM

This guy will be called upon to sacrifice his job in order to attempt to cover for his glorious leader’s incompetance.

kingsjester on May 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM

White guy. I can hear the bus starting up. Those wheels go round and round.

jeff_from_mpls on May 6, 2010 at 9:15 AM

FAll guy.

artist on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Of course you are right.

faraway on May 6, 2010 at 9:16 AM

It’s a good thing these people aren’t putting themselves in charge of our healthcare and our economy…oh wait! We’re totally screwed.

gwelf on May 6, 2010 at 9:18 AM

If this were AOSHQ I would say something “I’ve got a meaty Humpback Chub for you,” but I won’t do that here.

WarEagle01 on May 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM

White guy. I can hear the bus starting up. Those wheels go round and round.

The wheels on the bus go thump thump thump!

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM

White Water is how you get ahead in DC. Just ask Hillary.

Laura in Maryland on May 6, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Come’n guys, Mr Strickland WAS working his way to the gulf, he was just taking a more enviromentally freindly way of getting there….

/sarc

My Gawd, it is unbelievable what the are getting away with.

mjd6852 on May 6, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Officially, the administration insists that Strickland’s trip was work-related.

Sounds like the Commerce Clause argument. You can use it for any situation you desire.

BobMbx on May 6, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Interior chief of staff Ted Strickland

Ted Strickland is the crappy Governor of Ohio.

loudmouth883 on May 6, 2010 at 9:31 AM

artist on May 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM

It’s not Arizona, it’s Aztlan. Get it right.

gitarfan on May 6, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Unfortunately, Interior chief of staff Ted Strickland wasn’t in the warm waters of the Gulf, but in the Grand Canyon on what the White House called a business-related trip.

Strickland was dispatched to Arizona by Obama to assess the effect of Arizona’s new immigration law…on white-water rafting.

BuckeyeSam on May 6, 2010 at 9:32 AM

And “meaty Humpback Chub”? Really Ed? Let the double entendres begin! lol

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Secret Service code word for Janet Napoletano.

THIS NEEDS TO GO VIRAL!!!

mjd6852 on May 6, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Obama: “”Tell them I’m on vacation….they’ll just have to wait. Oh, tell the Iranians to hold off on their attack plans until I get back to the office….Israel will just have to wait.”

Sent from my Blackberry

BobMbx on May 6, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Ted Strickland is the crappy Governor of Ohio.

loudmouth883 on May 6, 2010 at 9:31 AM

You’re right. But who can keep the crappy Obamaphiles straight?

BuckeyeSam on May 6, 2010 at 9:34 AM

It’s perfectly reasonable to go on vacation during a crisis, after all Dear Liar has spent more time playing golf in 1 year than Bush did in 8.

rbj on May 6, 2010 at 9:40 AM

So why did they ignore the flood in Nashville?

Remember Joe Romm the climate guru says droughts come from rising greenhouse emissiions.

seven on May 6, 2010 at 9:48 AM

The Interior Sectretary was in Arizona handing out “get out of jail free cards” and “How to Void the ConstituTion” pamphlets to illegals swimmin across the riva.

Oh, and givin them “Motor/Swimmer Voter” cards for the favored dem in this falls election.

See he was on important business!

dhunter on May 6, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Sounds like the administration has a fall guy now. :-)

JeffinSac on May 6, 2010 at 10:11 AM


So according to the “adults”…doing everything possible from “day one” is:

…is having the President going on vacation then off to yuk it up with Leno days after the spill…..


…..not enacting their own plan to contain and burn off the spill before it spreads beyond control…..


…..not having enough resources or even the proper equipment ..like fire booms….on hand to enact their own plan…..


….not taking the lead in fighting this disaster when it was obvious within days that BP could not handle it…which is exactly what the Federal governments responsibility is……


…..having one of the main government officials who is in charge of coordinating and addressing this disaster white water rafting while hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil pour uncontrolled into the ocean….


…..Federal regulators whose Commander and Chief Obama was the biggest recipient of cash from BP, giving Bp a pass on their environmental initiatives because they did not think an oil spill was very likely…you know…coming from a huge oil drilling facility in the middle of the Gulf…..


…..Heckuva Obama!!!!!!!!!!

Baxter Greene on May 6, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Like any other union or government worker or official….

” Im on break!”

Sonosam on May 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Great job, Strickie.

profitsbeard on May 6, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I’d rather they all were on vacation than passing idiotic laws.

Dark-Star on May 6, 2010 at 10:25 AM

I long for the days when we had grown ups in the White House. This bunch all seem to be on a permanent vacation.

thekingtut on May 6, 2010 at 10:31 AM

“A Bureaucracy Runs Through It”

Noel on May 6, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I’m scared to ask what “humpback chub” means.

Did you ever hear of a movie called The Ritz?

Emperor Norton on May 6, 2010 at 10:34 AM

TED Strickland is the Governor of Ohio. This guy is TOM Strickland.

BuzzCrutcher on May 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama and his regime minions are trying to live the high life and could care less about the US! I can’t wait until this whole lot of losers is voted out and we repeal all their policies especially those that when gone will reduce the spending and the debt…

CCRWM on May 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Speaking of Interior Secretaries, Dick Cheney was one long before he became Bush’s evil Vice President. And guess who blamed him for the oil spill? Chrissy Matthews, of course!

In the last administration, which put in place apparently a lot of these people that are regulators, these headless nails that are in there, supposedly regulating the oil industry, had a role. They got in there because Cheney was in there with his secret task force. They met at the White House. We never found out who, in the oil industry, was involved.

h/t to Weasel Zippers, who got it from Newsbusters

Del Dolemonte on May 6, 2010 at 11:26 AM

And “meaty Humpback Chub”? Really Ed?

Battlecruiser-operational on May 6, 2010 at 8:57 AM

That’s what she said.

Jaibones on May 6, 2010 at 11:33 AM

I didn’t care about this story when I heard about it two hours ago on Fox news either.

Ideally this guy shouldn’t need to be running around to every natural disaster under the sun. So he took a half-business half fun trip to the grand canyon. Whoopty crap.

Seriously, as indictments of the administration go, this is so weak tea that it just makes us wingnuts look petty. Like we’re grasping for ANYTHING to make the administration look bad no matter how much fairness or merit it really has.

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 6, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Dude, you said Chub.

Oyster on May 6, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Those “shovel-ready jobs” President Obama spoke of: digging through the continuous stream of BS coming from him and his administration.

RDuke on May 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM

So when the Christmas Bomber was making hay, a high level DHS Chief was out on vacation ‘because he deserved time off’, and now when the Gulf is on the precipice another high level government official in Interior goes whitewater (isn’t that racist?) rafting. Why couldn’t he have gone blackwater rafting? Or water of color rafting? Is he a secret tea partier?
Or maybe this was work related, after all the Caribbean has been dangerously unsettled during this oil leak, and the whitewater river is also dangerously unsettled as well. Maybe the official was planning to do some scuba diving near the well and this was the most hands on way to get such experience?

eaglewingz08 on May 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM

How seredipitous for the administration to think it’s ok for this guy to go on vacation right at this point in time.

rollthedice on May 6, 2010 at 9:04 AM

But, that’s just the point folks, he was NOT on “vacation”, he was working, being paid, earning his benefits and addressing time-critical, nationally important issues much more important than a gulf oil-spill by an Administration donor. Stuff like chubby humpbacks and Class 4 rapids absolutely require an up-close and personal experience. Sheesh, he’s an elite “Government” worker after all you guys! Jiminy, the way people are talking one would think the people here thought he worked for them, or was being paid by them, or something!

Sheesh!

/

Fatal on May 6, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Did they open the dam releasing billions of gallons of water for his trip as was done for Al Gore’s photo op?

RJL on May 6, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Strickland’s a trial lawyer and a hack who ran against Wayne Allard twice and lost. He then went to work making millions as a lobbyist. He was awared a cushy job at Interior by his pal Ken Salazar. He is no more qualified for that job than Mike Brown was at FEMA. I wonder when we will see the stories of how unqualified he is….

***crickets***

rockmom on May 6, 2010 at 3:56 PM