Exclusive: Senator LeMieux says he sees “no leadership” from Obama on Gulf disaster

posted at 5:35 pm on June 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I spoke with Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) about the current state of affairs in the Gulf disaster and the federal response, and the Senator did not mince words. When asked about the government’s response, LeMieux stated, “I’m exasperated with the federal response” in the Gulf. I asked about his assessment of Barack Obama’s performance, and LeMieux replied, “I don’t see leadership from President Obama.” LeMieux says that no one seems to know who’s in charge or where the assets are, and states like Florida have simply started responding on their own instead:

Here’s a short transcript of the start of the show:

Q: Welcoming to the show for the first time Senator George LeMieux – welcome to the show, sir.

A: Thanks for having me on, Ed.

Q: It’s a pleasure to have you on, and we’ve posted the video of your full speech on the Senate floor today, but, why don’t you tell us a little more about what’s going on, because we’re hearing different things about the federal response and the Gulf. You had Governor Crist today saying that he was actually pretty happy with the response that was going on there, and folks in other states that they’re not happy with it. Governor Jindal is extremely unhappy with the federal response, and you are noticing that there are resources that aren’t being applied here. Why don’t you give us an idea of what’s actually happening down there.

A: Well, Ed, I’m exasperated with the federal response, really the lack of the federal response. The thing that I’ve been so shocked by is the lack of skimmers off of our coast. These are these vessels, these ships that can suck up the oil and the water and remove it before it gets on our beaches and gets into our coastal waterways. I met with the President last week, a week ago today in Pensacola, along with Admiral [Thad] Allen and Governor [Charlie] Crist and some other folks, federal and state officials, and at that time we had 32 skimmers off the coast of Florida, which to me is amazing in how little it is. Today, it’s only 20 skimmers, and I can’t even get a straight answer —

Q: We have fewer?

A: — to be honest with you, from the Coast Guard, as to how many of these vessels are actually operating. And we find out now from Admiral Allen that there are two thousand skimmers in the United States. We have not gotten around to, as the federal government, asking for them or processing them to get them to the Gulf Coast. At least 21 offers from foreign countries have come in. It really looks like it’s actually 56 now, that number’s a little old, and we’re not accepting their offers of assistance. We had a Dutch company come in and offer us a huge vessel that could be used for skimming, a vessel that could take up to 20 thousand tons of oil and water off the Gulf, and bring that it and process it out so it’s out of the ocean, and it was — they never got a call back from the federal government. Instead, a much smaller vessel that is flagged — an American-flagged vessel was used, one that only had one-twentieth of the capability. I’m just so frustrated because I can’t get a straight answer, I can’t see any sense of urgency yet in this administration. When I meet with the Navy and the Coast Guard, no one seems to be in charge. We’re the greatest country in the world and we can’t marshal the resources to suck up this oil before it gets on our beaches. So I keep sounding off. Thank you for posting the speech today, because it’s just beyond belief what lack of focus and lack of urgency there is in addressing this problem.

I may add to this transcript later, but watch the entire show. LeMieux is in no mood to let anyone off the hook. Later, LeMieux discusses the Jones Act and his anger over the confusion within the Obama administration whether it’s in force or not, telling me that “this is no time for protectionism.” Don’t miss it.


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Hey, there’s a tiny bit of leadership there… it’s just from Air Force One to the nearest golf course.

teke184 on June 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Crist: Bang up job, Barry.

lorien1973 on June 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM

racist!

joeindc44 on June 22, 2010 at 5:39 PM

He breaks the law

This moratorium requires an open comment period.
Obama’s sleazt salazar twisted the report from the consultants.
They lied about what the experts recommended.
All these actions require the involved states to provide statements and consider impact on the states Obama was sneaky and ignored the states. That is illegal.

seven on June 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Daggett says he sees no leadership from GOP on the Obama disaster.

Daggett on June 22, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Senator, you better speak to your Governor. Crist say Obama is doing a bang up job…

sandee on June 22, 2010 at 5:42 PM

“I don’t see leadership from President Obama.”

Neither do I…

Seven Percent Solution on June 22, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Hopey’s Abyss!!

canopfor on June 22, 2010 at 5:43 PM

This makes Crist look even more idiotic.

SouthernGent on June 22, 2010 at 5:44 PM

MackDaddy: “Let them drink oil.”

davidk on June 22, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Joe Barton could not be reached for comment.

Bugler on June 22, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Obama said he was going to use the US Military!!

Me thinks tho,that he hasn’t followed through,
because,there competent!!!

canopfor on June 22, 2010 at 5:46 PM

This makes Crist look even more idiotic.

SouthernGent on June 22, 2010 at 5:44 PM

I think he’s hit the saturation point. The more oil washes up on the Florida shores the worse it will be for Crist.

clnurnberg on June 22, 2010 at 5:47 PM

I’m staying with my liberal daughter. One of their favorite shows is on HBO about New Orleans after the flood. It opened with a long monologue bashing Boosh and ended with a satire song about W. Liberals must be stuck in this era.

What about the situation in the Gulf today? God help my patience.

HellCat on June 22, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Senator LeMieux says he sees “no leadership” from Obama on Gulf disaster

He’s absolutely correct – however, he shouldn’t be too upset as the world hasn’t seen any leadership from this wanker President on anything to date. . . .

karra on June 22, 2010 at 5:47 PM

I’m guessing LeMieux is very angry at Crist over his political prostitution – otherwise I can’t imagine him publicly contradicting the guy who gave him the Senate seat.

fiatboomer on June 22, 2010 at 5:49 PM

LeMieux was appointed to the senatate by Charlie Crist after Martinez stepped down.

LeMieux was Charlie Crists’s Chief of Staff for crying out loud!
I don’t trust him(yet) and I think he is just trying to make points with Florida’s republican voters now so that he can run against Florida’s democrat senator Nelson in 2012.

I do agree with what he is saying…

AnthonyK on June 22, 2010 at 5:54 PM

I’m guessing LeMieux is very angry at Crist over his political prostitution – otherwise I can’t imagine him publicly contradicting the guy who gave him the Senate seat.

fiatboomer on June 22, 2010 at 5:49 PM

LeMieux reportedly would like to oppose Dem Bill Nelson when Nelson is up for re-election. So LeMieux is no longer a “Charle Crist Senator” but a loyal member of the Florida GOP.

Wethal on June 22, 2010 at 5:54 PM

The chorus swells: The Emperor Has Nada But Grief

maverick muse on June 22, 2010 at 5:58 PM

I’m staying with my liberal daughter. One of their favorite shows is on HBO about New Orleans after the flood. It opened with a long monologue bashing Boosh and ended with a satire song about W. Liberals must be stuck in this era.

HellCat on June 22, 2010 at 5:47 PM

That would be “Treme”, which just finished its first season Sunday night. It was renewed for a second season just 2 days after the first episode.

I haven’t seen the finale yet, which I assume is the episode you’re describing, but to be fair the series in earlier episodes placed just as much, if not more, blame on Mee-Maw Blanco and Schoolbus Ray Nagin.

In fact, in one long diatribe John Goodman’s character placed more blame on those two than on Bush.

Del Dolemonte on June 22, 2010 at 6:00 PM

EPA Response to BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/

canopfor on June 22, 2010 at 6:05 PM

That disgusting piece of human crap Charlie Crist is now sticking up for Obumbles for a reason – to get Meeks to basically drop out of the race so the Orange Man can win. Then Charlie will join Obumbles band of Democrat thieves in office.

Ogabe on June 22, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Skimmer death panels.

John the Libertarian on June 22, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Oil Spill ? What oil spill?
Get your priorities straight !!
Golf , Cap n tax , Golf ,Criticize BP ,Golf, Amnesty ,Golf,Offer wage incentives for illegals ,Golf , Cover up that MMS knew in Feb that Horizon was in deep trouble ,Golf,Post signs forbidding Americans in parts of AZ because of ” known drug and human trafficking VIOLENCE,Golf , Pop concerts ,Golf , fund raisers , Cover up of Blago corruption , Golf , make fund raising videos for cap n tax , golf .
Hey is it racist if Obama did not play gold while on the Gulf Coast?

ELMO Q on June 22, 2010 at 6:11 PM

And Crist is singing Obama’s praises.

I wonder how much tax payer money is being deposited into Crists bank accounts right now?!

capejasmine on June 22, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Senator LeMieux says he sees “no leadership” from Obama on Gulf disaster

Perhaps if he pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at Obama, he could spot some. Of course, even with all that magnification, it would look like a distant star.

Tav on June 22, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Wow! Sen LeMeiux sounds like a racist</strong

Rememeber, being a Defeat-o-crat means ‘never having to say you’re sorry.’

Dick Turpin on June 22, 2010 at 6:21 PM

Obama will get on this as soon as he sees oil filling up the pin holes on the greens of his favorite golf courses.

xrayiiis on June 22, 2010 at 6:23 PM

great interview, thank you. How Floridians can be pulling to Crist in the midst of this, Crist who says Team Obama is doing Grrreat!! on the spill I dunno.

ginaswo on June 22, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Key West Reader
was that info on what was happening in February public at the time? Cuz if not SEC needs to look at Golden Slacks and Tony Hayward selling tons of shares before the accident off that info. if it was public, no foul in the share sales.

ginaswo on June 22, 2010 at 6:35 PM

I’m still waiting for a panel of oil experts to have a meeting with Obama and go over options if the relief wells fail. There appears to be no federal contingency plan other than to simultaneously blame BP for everything which went wrong and yet rely on them for every technical solution.

Nobel Prizes in Physics aren’t as useful as oil knowledge when it comes to capping gushers apparently. Yeah. Who knew?

I say again, I expect my president to at least take the steps Morgan Freeman would take when a giant asteroid is heading for Earth. You know, have a big meeting with all the experts. Preferably sooner than later, if you can fit that in around the good tee times of course.

Beagle on June 22, 2010 at 6:40 PM

If a guy can’t manage an oil spill, how the hell can he lead a war?

Blarg the Destroyer on June 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM

But when a general bad mouths decisions from some in his Administration he all over that in a less than a day and has the general in his office ASAP.

Yakko77 on June 22, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Key West Reader
was that info on what was happening in February public at the time? Cuz if not SEC needs to look at Golden Slacks and Tony Hayward selling tons of shares before the accident off that info. if it was public, no foul in the share sales.

ginaswo on June 22, 2010 at 6:35 PM

The Administration knew and MMS knew, and BP knew. The Admin is closely tied to Gold-Men-Slacks. They all pulled their stock out right before it blew. Now, if we can sic the SEC on the BP investors that liquidated their stocks, or are/have been invested in Gold-Men-Slacks, perhaps we’ll find answers. Probably not for years to come.

Key West Reader on June 22, 2010 at 6:54 PM

But when a general bad mouths decisions from some in his Administration he all over that in a less than a day and has the general in his office ASAP.

Yakko77 on June 22, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Thall shalt not poke or bruise or dent the thinnish skin.

commandment # 1.

Key West Reader on June 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Crist, call your office.

tarpon on June 22, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Thall shalt not poke or bruise or dent the thinnish skin.

commandment # 1.

Key West Reader on June 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM

LOL!

Sad but true I’m afraid.

Yakko77 on June 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM

A livid Charlie Crist just called to dress down LeMieux for going off message.

Crist was so mad, LeMieux was sprayed by little flecks of orange goo popping through the cellphone speaker.

Edouard on June 22, 2010 at 7:22 PM

has lemieux endorsed rubio yet?

reliapundit on June 22, 2010 at 8:36 PM

reliapundit on June 22, 2010 at 8:36 PM

I don’t know if he endorse Rubio but he disavowed Crist when he left the Republicans.

Cindy Munford on June 22, 2010 at 9:51 PM