Obama WH now distancing itself from BP response efforts

posted at 10:12 am on June 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The old paradigm:

The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy.

We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.

But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. I’ve designated Admiral Thad Allen, who has nearly four decades of experience responding to such disasters, as the national incident commander. And if he orders BP to do something to respond to this disaster, they are legally bound to do it.

The new paradigm:

Struggling to convey command of the worsening Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Obama administration is taking steps to distance itself from BP and is dispatching Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to the Gulf Coast to meet with federal and state prosecutors. The Holder trip could signal that the environmental calamity might become the subject of a criminal investigation. …

The relationship between the federal government and the oil company has been an awkward collaboration all along — “We have them by the neck,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said of BP in congressional testimony last week — but it reached a turning point Monday when the administration said it no longer wants to share a podium with BP at the daily briefing in Louisiana. Instead, the national incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, will give a solo briefing wherever he happens to be.

The public relations shake-up comes in a tense period, with the Gulf Coast rattled by news that last week’s attempted “top kill” of the well didn’t work. A government forecast shows the oil slick potentially striking the popular tourist beaches of Mississippi and Alabama later this week. The official arrival of hurricane season Tuesday has incited a new rash of dire scenarios. With bad news washing up everywhere, the administration has been desperate to convince the public that the government, and not the oil company, is fully in charge of the crisis and mounting a robust response.

The administration and BP have disagreed over whether the company’s next maneuver would cause a temporary increase in the flow of oil into the gulf. In the coming days, BP plans to saw off the top of the leaking riser pipe where it emerges from the blowout preventer that sits on the well. BP will then lower a containment dome, or cap, onto the riser in an attempt to capture the leaking oil.

Unfortunately for the White House, Barack Obama has yoked himself to BP by insisting that the federal government has been in charge since Day 1 and continues to dictate all of BP’s actions in response to the spill.  Obama deliberately took ownership of the response in Thursday’s press conference.  It’s a little late now to start putting distance between BP and the federal government, especially in the present tense, when everyone now expects the federal government to run the show.

Even the Washington Post has trouble swallowing this:

President Obama and his lieutenants have insisted that the government has full authority. Before BP attempted the top kill, for example, the federal government issued a statement saying it had given approval for the maneuver. Allen, the incident commander, has said that while BP is the “responsible” party, the federal government is “accountable” for the response and that there’s no meaningful way for the government to assume greater authority.

But the daily news briefings have not always bolstered the government’s stature as the commanding authority in the crisis. The briefings have been held at the Unified Area Command headquarters in a Shell Oil training facility in the town of Robert, La. The two principal briefers have been Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry and BP’s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles.

If the White House attempts to wash its hands of the Gulf spill response now, it will only feed the perception of incompetence that has increasingly taken root in the coverage of the disaster.  Just the backpedaling seen in this effort after Obama’s “buck stops here” moment on Thursday will be seen as vacillating and hardly courageous.  The Post describes the BP response as “seat of the pants,” but that also appears to describe well the White House strategy for both managing the disaster and running the PR campaign that supports it.


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I guess the blaming Bush line did not take off like they wanted it to.

Not only has Obama stated that they were fully engaged and in charge from day one….it looks like it is the law for them to be engaged since day one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/01/us/01gulf.html?ref=todayspaper

But it is still the government, in this case the Coast Guard, that has the final say. A law passed a year after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster makes the owner of a rig or vessel responsible for cleaning up a spill. But oversight of the cleanup is designated to the Coast Guard, with advice from other federal agencies.

There is already mountains of video and articles where the administration said they were there and in control from day one….this is liberal desperation at it’s worst.

This does not make it any better for Mr. “Hope and Change”:
The Obama administration knew weeks before the well exploded that it was having serious problems…..


BP Was Concerned About Well Control Six Weeks Before Incident

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/31/bp-concerned-control-weeks-incident/print

E-mails released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee show BP told regulators they were having trouble maintaining control of the well six weeks before it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reported. 


…and what did Obama administration do concerning it’s responsibilities of regulation and control over this rig…
.

AP IMPACT: Fed’l inspections on rig not as claimed
By JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writer Justin Pritchard, Associated Press Writer Sun May 16, 4:34 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – The federal agency responsible for ensuring that the Deepwater Horizon was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that the rig be inspected at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.

U.S. exempted BP’s Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 5, 2010; A04

The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 – and BP’s lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions – show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.


….BP’s lobbying efforts paid off….Hope and Change baby…Hope and Change!!!!

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.


…waiting for the self-righteous liberals to link up all that big oil money Obama took with letting BP slide….


Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

By: Erika Lovley
May 5, 2010 05:05 AM EDT

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

…and all the favors that the “green” crew get from those awful oil barons destroying the country….

BP’s strange Democrat bedfellows

http://rpc.blogrolling.com/redirect.php?r=503d6378b0e7bbf4f5488ec58d1fd50d&url=http%3A%2F%2Finstapundit.com%2F

One of the top media consultants for British Petroleum gave free rent to a politician who became White House Chief of Staff.
And, no, this was not Karl Rove giving a freebie to Andy Card.
No, the recipient of the favor was Rahm Emanuel and the benefactor was Stanley Greenberg. 
  


It’s a good thing Obama came on the scene to clean up Washington,stop “business as usual”,”install confidence in government”,”eliminate lobbyist and special interest controlling policy”,and PUTTING THE “ADULTS IN CHARGE!!!!”.

Baxter Greene on June 1, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Hilarious.

Midas on June 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Maybe now the Zero Regime will go back to trying to pin this on Bush.

Cicero43 on June 1, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Not only do these people know socialism better than we do, they also know how to agitate, infiltrate, organize and implement, with or without the consent of congress or we the people. Wen are behind the curve and the 8 ball.

Kissmygrits on June 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Obama “took ownership” the day it looked like the crisis was at last under control. Typical dirtbag posturing.

Sorry, I meant to type “Democrat posturing”, but I guess my fingers made a Freudian slip.

drunyan8315 on June 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Never let a crisis go to waste = nationalize the oil industry.

Dhuka on June 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

So, anybody else watch Fox News this morning where they were discussing how the Obama Administration is debating NATIONALIZING BP’s North American division to take direct control of the clean-up?

Skywise on June 1, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I didn’t, but that is dangerous territory. Would the Brits nationalize British divisions of American banks in retaliation? They surely want to investigate and pin the blame on American banks etc for the financial mess. Where would it stop?

journeyintothewhirlwind on June 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

The ONLY reason Obama held the press conference and “took responsibility” was because he thought the top kill was going to work and therefore he would get the credit.
It didn’t and now he doesn’t want to take the blame.
This guy is transparently pathetic.

ArmyAunt on June 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Maybe now the Zero Regime will go back to trying to pin this on Bush.

As I recall, according to Democrat policy, everything that happens after September 10 of the President’s first year is 100% his fault, and it is a disgrace to even suggest otherwise.

Has everyone forgotten about that? The media certainly has.

drunyan8315 on June 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

perception of incompetence

FIFY

Purple Avenger on June 1, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Obama: Quack (limp) quack (limp) quack (limp) quack…

pugwriter on June 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

I know President Baracky is all about looking out for us, his faithful servants, in times of crisis. As proof I remind you it wasn’t that long ago when he was telling us to check our tire pressure as gasoline prices surpassed $4.00 per gallon.

The man is a genius, pure genius.

fogw on June 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Last Friday Obama was taking credit for successful plugging. Kinda premature and immature doncha think??

seven on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Send in the lawyers, they make good mops, if you use their head end..

tarpon on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I didn’t think Team Obama could have made things worse except by “temporarily” taking over BP operations, but they found a different avenue to appear horrible. This Day One responsible/BP’s at Fault ping-ponging proves that Obama is so political as to be hamstrung to incompetence. Rather than solve the problem, it’s all about the prism of politics… exclusively. This Executive still cannot execute anything effectively unless the solution is hand-delivered by other agents.

This is really, really bad.

AnonymousDrivel on June 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM

+1

tartan on June 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM

BP cleaning it up and, if they can’t fix it, hiring the company that can solve the problem is exactly what should be happening. They should be paying bills for cleanup, too, either while it’s happening or after in lawsuits. Their shareholders and we, the consumers, would make the decisions on whether they performed adequately and whether the company survives or fails.

The feds (Obama) should be focused on managing the problem now that it has reached the shore and, if fines exist (and I’m sure they do) for uncontrolled leaks per whatever regs are in place at this moment, making sure that those regs are followed. But no vindictiveness, and no Boot/Neck talk. Follow the law and, if you don’t like it, change it (the real, non-Healthcare way) so that the next statistically unlikely time this happens we’ll have learned proper process and response techniques from this time.

And, same as BP, we, the voters, would make the decisions on whether they performed adequately and whether the company administration survives (politically) or fails and must leave office.

Everyone work within your realm of the law, contract, and responsibility. How hard is that? Oh, wait. Crisis/waste. I keep forgetting that part.

rogerb on June 1, 2010 at 10:31 AM

+1

tartan on June 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Abbott and Costello live.

Who’s on first?

booter on June 1, 2010 at 11:58 AM

This is how you vote ‘present’ when you are the POTUS

skanter on June 1, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Note to Obama:
First make sure the problem’s solved,
Then steal the credit!

Haiku Guy on June 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I’ve long since been relying on BP for more factual and up to date info that the “Unified Command” website http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

The BP has already made an end run around the Feds in reporting what the Feds don’t even understand.

Kermit on June 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

“The White House is in charge of every facet of response and decision being made in this disaster….except for the ones that don’t work.”

POTUS ~June 2010

BobMbx on June 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM

In other words….when the assumption was, that the top kill would work, Obama wanted to take a leadership role, and take credit for ok’ing this measure. Now that it hasn’t worked, they want to distance themselves.

So if BP’s next maneuver works, Obama will take full credit, because he authorized, and even thought of this himself. That’s my assumption here.

He REALLY is thee most transparent president ever. I can see the dolt all over him!

capejasmine on June 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM

So if BP’s next maneuver works, Obama will take full credit, because he authorized, and even thought of this himself. That’s my assumption here.

Well, when he was in LA last week, I did see his toe touch the water. I’m sure that alone is having some impact on the leak.

BobMbx on June 1, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Robert Reich is saying that the govt needs to take over BP North America.. SCARY

reshas1 on June 1, 2010 at 12:17 PM

What a surprise, foyr days ago when it looked like the “top kill” was going to plug the hole, Obama jumps in and takes responsibility. Now when it’s clear it’s failed, he’s passing the buck again, what a tool.

clearbluesky on June 1, 2010 at 12:19 PM

I was waiting for the crap to hit the fan over the big Zero. Prior to his holy words about the spill, the Top Kill was working and would stop the leak. Then the news was Top Kill was on hold and would resume the next day.
Now Top Kill failed.
The Zero is an utter failure at the president thing.

ORconservative on June 1, 2010 at 12:35 PM

What a surprise, foyr days ago when it looked like the “top kill” was going to plug the hole, Obama jumps in and takes responsibility. Now when it’s clear it’s failed, he’s passing the buck again, what a tool.

Bingo. Obama wants all of the credit and none of the blame. Fortunately for him, he’s been surrounded by racist white liberals his entire life who are so blinded by his skin color that they can’t call out his bull.

northdallasthirty on June 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I was waiting for the crap to hit the fan over the big Zero. Prior to his holy words about the spill, the Top Kill was working and would stop the leak. Then the news was Top Kill was on hold and would resume the next day.
Now Top Kill failed.
The Zero is an utter failure at the president thing.

ORconservative on June 1, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I’m waiting for the secretly reoorded meeting where Jug Ears asks BP for their opinion on the top kill so he can go on TV and stuff with good news.

BPs answer: “Its a slam dunk, Mr. President”

BobMbx on June 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Rush reported this morning the Rahm Emanuel was living with the Market Director in charge of BP’s rebranding to “green”. Strange bedfellows indeed.

katablog.com on June 1, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Incompetence personified. With this administration’s talent, if all else fails, we’ll sue the well closed.

paul1149 on June 1, 2010 at 12:56 PM

But… but. . . but. . . . I thought the government was on top of this since day one! Make no mistake, the government is in charge. Whatever they tell BP to do, BP is going to do it. Right.

kens on June 1, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Bingo. Obama wants all of the credit and none of the blame. Fortunately for him, he’s been surrounded by racist white liberals his entire life who are so blinded by his skin color that they can’t call out his bull.

northdallasthirty on June 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I think a lot of them see it as bull. However…admitting Obama’s failures is admitting their own failures. As journalists, analysts, and as voters. The last thing they want to do, is admit they were wrong…so they’ll continue to carry the water for Obozo.

capejasmine on June 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM

We have Sitting Bull surrounded.

- General George Armstrong Obama

nico on June 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Somehow,

THIS reminds me of the Obama Administration, his PR advisers, and his MSM water-carriers, all rolled into one.

Disintegration

franksalterego on June 1, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Never let a crisis go to waste = nationalize the oil industry.

Dhuka on June 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

The problem for Obama & Co. — and the problem all along — is that BP is not a U.S. company. They can try and do what Robert Reich called for today and nationalize BP’s North American arm, but that immediately creates a major international incident with Great Britain over seizing assets of a London-based company, let alone likely creating pushback as well from Holland (Royal Dutch Shell) and France (TotalElfFina) who have companies with significant U.S. based assets and would now be worried that Obama might go full Hugo Chavez on them as well and nationalize their American assets at some future date.

I have no doubt if this had been the ExxonMobil Deep Horizon blowout, or the ChevronTexaco Deep Horizon blowout, Obama, Reid and Pelosi would have had the nationalization bills before Congress a month ago. But since much of BP’s corporate structure is out of their control, it’s a lot harder to use the normal big oil demonization card, because the risk level is a lot higher than pulling the same stunt on a U.S.-based oil company.

jon1979 on June 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Somewhere in the bowels of the DOE, a bureaucrat is computing how many power plants can be replaced with the amount of backpedaling now occurring at the WH.

ya2daup on June 1, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Hey! I remember this story. Same thing happened with closing Gitmo and the KSM trials in NY. It’s exausting for Obama to keep his boot on the neck of BP, why can’t the Democrats just ‘deem’ the oil leak to close up?

TN Mom on June 1, 2010 at 2:32 PM

I guess this is what Dems mean by nuance.

Give me a straight talking leader any day. One who will stand by his/her words.

God I just hate perfidy disguised and transparency.

And I hate hating.

I hope this helps.

Shivas Irons on June 1, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Hey Barkey, guess where my boot is going to be come November?

drunyan8315 on June 1, 2010 at 3:06 PM

What I enjoy most about these stories is how clever the liberals are at defending Obama…it never ceases to amaze me, the endless distortion of facts, of taped statements even, and trying to convince everyone he never said them or “meant” them, or whatever the excuse de jour is.
The mindless energy they spend trying to defend this goofball is absolutely the most entertaining three ring circus on the planet.

right2bright on June 1, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 …

… Ummm, send in the lawyers?

Maybe now some of the folks that voted for Obowma realize it’s not the same as voting for American Idol…

Seven Percent Solution on June 1, 2010 at 3:35 PM

I didn’t, but that is dangerous territory. Would the Brits nationalize British divisions of American banks in retaliation? They surely want to investigate and pin the blame on American banks etc for the financial mess. Where would it stop?

journeyintothewhirlwind on June 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Exactly. The American government can’t “nationalize” a foreign-based company without setting off international retaliation. BP’s name is probably “mud” in America anyway because of this disaster, but that’s their problem. If the Government wanted to punish BP (as a corporation, not the British people) for the spill, they could exclude BP from consideration for leases on new drilling until BP has paid all claims for damage from this spill.

But Obama’s decision to ban all new drilling takes this “carrot or stick” out of the equation, thereby putting other oil-drilling companies who behaved responsibly on the same level as BP.

Steve Z on June 1, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Four days after owning them.

God what a pathetic administration.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 1, 2010 at 4:31 PM

How about we “Nationalize” Obama’s government so it represents the American people again and not the world’s? November’s a great place to start!

chickasaw42 on June 1, 2010 at 4:50 PM

I’m not sure too many people realy care–at this point anyway–about the criminal actions of a mega-corporation. Sending the idiot Holder to LA does nothing for anyone. I mean, people are going to ask, “how does this help with the clean-up of Obama’s Katrina….er…the oil spill?”

WarEagle01 on June 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM

Obama WH now distancing itself from BP response efforts

-
And possibly hoping for a bigger crisis to distract everyone until the problem is solved… So, question the timing of the flotilla/ramping up of aggressions against Israel. Could be a bone from Obama’s muslim brothers…

RalphyBoy on June 1, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Electorate 2008 – CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!

Electorate 2010 – CHANGE THE CHANNEL, PLEASE.

Good Lt on June 1, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Our ‘emperor’ was “all in charge” when he believed the plug to be working…now, he’s distancing…what a child!

Schadenfreude on June 1, 2010 at 10:39 PM

I feel like I am living in an extra chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Everything is falling apart, there is a hole spewing oil a mile down in the ocean, and all the Petroleum engineers decided to go for a hike in the Rockie Mtns when Obama anounced that only those making over 250k were going to pay — for purposes of fairness. Now Obama is left trying to plug the damn hole with the help of Steven Chu, PhD and Nobelprizewinner!!! and James Cameron:

The “Avatar” and “Titanic” director was among a group of scientists and other experts who met Tuesday with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for a brainstorming session on stopping the massive oil leak.

bitsy on June 1, 2010 at 10:52 PM

I think Barry spends too much time thinking he can channel the David Palmer character from “24″

Fed45 on June 2, 2010 at 2:08 AM

“We will demand that they pay every dime they owe for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused. And we will continue to take full advantage of the unique technology and expertise they have to help stop this leak.”

and

“We have them by the neck.”

The guys who said these things are American?

Ira on June 2, 2010 at 2:57 AM

Before the sawing started there was a thorough inspection and an attempt to move the position of the sled. It’s positioned so that the weight of the broken pipe will squish one side of the cut.

After inspecting it, seeing that they had an obstruction they could not deal with, they elected to start cutting.

Then they stopped, not half way though. I suspect the blade is pinched and they cannot pull it through. And there’s no way to drive a wedge in to open up the kerf. I wish they luck!

And I wonder who ordered them to go ahead with the cut rather than rebuild a piece of the sled to get around the obstruction. There would be a several day delay to do that. But better that than a stuck blade.

{^_^}

herself on June 2, 2010 at 3:46 AM

Always push the blame and always grab for the credit if it works.
Obama wants to tax oil comanies. He says we have been subsidising them. He really doesn’t know acccounting any better than he knows Oil.

seven on June 2, 2010 at 1:25 PM

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