New White House excuse: Obama won't talk to BP's CEO because the board of directors is in charge

Indescribably stupid. Between this and the “Sestak was only offered a nonpaying advisory position” nonsense, they’re not even trying to come up with good lies anymore.

Gibbs said Obama hasn’t called CEO Tony Hayward because — according to what Gibbs called the “executive structure of corporate governance” — the CEO alone isn’t the final word on company decisions, which are made by the board of directors.

“Look, the CEO is elected by the board. Anything that the CEO wants to do has to be approved by the board,” Gibbs said.

Later, he added: “I’m telling you, based on the corporate governance structure, in order to implement what — whatever you get from BP the CEO has to get clearance from the board to do. That’s — that’s the corporate governance structure is — is laid out.”

So did that mean that Obama had picked up the phone to talk to some of these powerful board members?


My handle on corporate law is rusty, but doesn’t the CEO report to the board? Seems like he’d be an ideal conduit, short of a conference call, to communicating with them. But never mind that. As WaPo notes, Obama’s been meeting with CEOs of various stripes for 16 months. In fact, it was at a special meeting with financial CEOs in April 2009 that he uttered his immortally thuggish warming that “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” Is Gibbsy so short-handed to explain The One’s silence towards BP that he’s ready to pretend that never happened?

Tell you what. Let’s agree to let him slide on that if he’ll give us a straight answer on this Houston Chronicle report about the Dutch government offering to send oil-skimming tankers to the spill site early on — and being politely rebuffed. Wonders the Chronicle: “Even if, three days after the rig exploded, it seemed as if the Dutch equipment and expertise wasn’t needed, wouldn’t it have been better to accept it, to err on the side of having too many resources available rather than not enough?” That’s part of a pattern by now of slow-go on containment and I’ve yet to see a story with a good explanation for why boats and booms are being refused. How about it, media?

According to PPP, Obama’s approval rating has only really taken a hit from the spill among people who disapprove of him already — but that may be changing, especially with reports like the Chronicle’s now trickling out. In fact, Jesse Jackson Jr laid into him just this afternoon, albeit for his “messaging,” of course, not for anything truly damaging that he might have done wrong. For your viewing pleasure, here’s the Upright Citizens’ Brigade’s take on containment, BP-style. Content warning.