Video: Obama can't explain why he hasn't spoken to BP's CEO

More fun from this morning’s exercise in ass-kicking on “Today”. Skip ahead to 2:36 for the key bit. The One’s logic, such as it is, is that it’s not worth talking to Tony Hayward because he’ll only end up giving him the runaround — a curious position coming from a guy who campaigned on the virtues of “dialogue” and who’s been locked in halting negotiations with Iran for fully 16 months. Even Lauer is openly incredulous. Captain Kickass has nothing to say to a guy who potentially holds the fate of his presidency in his hands? Even after yesterday’s hair-raising Times piece claiming that BP’s effort to cut the leaking riser may have actually increased the flow of oil many times over? I thought this was supposed to be the new, improved, “engaged” Hopenchange.

That’s the second half of the clip. I gave you an extra two minutes up front so that you can watch O once again throw himself a pity party over the “24-hour news cycle” (TV critic David Zurawik is pounding him for that today) before insisting that none of his critics seem to have any suggestions for what he should have done differently in the early days of the spill. Don’t they, though? Byron York highlights this bit from a recent NYT piece:

For example, it took the Department of Homeland Security more than a week to classify the spill as an event calling for the highest level of federal action. And when state officials in Louisiana tried over and over to win federal permission to build sand barriers to protect fragile coastal wetlands from the oil, they got nowhere. “For three weeks, as the giant slick crept closer to shore,” the Times reports, “officials from the White House, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency debated the best approach.”

And here’s something hot off the presses from ABC:

A leading scientist following the BP oil spill said Monday that if the company or the government had made realistic estimates about the amounts flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, they could have had sufficient tanker space ready on the surface to hold the crude being pumped up through a make-shift collection device…

In an extensive interview with ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, [oceanographer Ian] MacDonald examined underwater video from the early days of the disaster and concluded that BP had been underestimating the scope of the spill, with little objection from the U.S Coast Guard or other federal agencies

Coast Guard officials told ABC News that BP refused to allow them to release the more startling images, arguing they were proprietary. But at the time, the agency was doing little to convey to the world what the images were showing. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry was sticking with estimates, calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which put the spill’s size at about 5,000 barrels a day for several weeks.

Don’t forget either that Bobby Jindal’s request for hard booms on May 2 was still woefully undermet three weeks later. Exit question: Another two or three sanitized photo ops of Obama inspecting tar balls on the beach should smooth this over, no?

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