As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Gulf

Is Mother Nature Working for Obama?

Setting an unusually blistering pace for White House spin, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton today tried to claim credit for cleaning up the Gulf, when it’s pretty clear that most of the work is just happened on its own.

Well, if you’ve seen some of the reports out today, we’ve obviously been able to make a lot of progress on cleaning up some of the oil that’s spilled out into the Gulf and stopping the oil from coming out of the well.

Well, no you haven’t. An article in today’s New York Times notes that as much as 40 percent of the oil probably evaporated upon hitting the surface. Much has been also dissipated by storms that hit the Gulf. And oil eating bacteria appear to have gobbled up a bunch of it too.

The keystone cops trying valiantly to scoop up the rest into ships have probably only taken a small percentage of gunk out of the water.

But the President’s view is that we’re not going to rest until we ensure that we’ve cleaned up all the oil, restored the damage that’s happened to the Gulf, and make sure that the people of that region are whole again.

So the president will continue to press those bacteria to finish the job. “Eat, bacteria, eat!” he will yell from the shoreline during his upcoming token weekend vacation in the Gulf.

Obama Blames Millard Fillmore for Oil Spill

President Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) had taken a lot of crap over the years, but his reputation sunk to a new low today when President Barack Obama put the blame squarely on his administration for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Oil drilling has been going on in the gulf, including deepwater, for quite some time,” Obama said during an White House Prime Time (in Egypt) East Room Press Conference. The drilling, Obama suggested, was something Millard Fillmore started, not Obama

Obama in the East RoomThe president lamented that Interior Secretary Roger Salazar had been trying to clean up the fetid legacy of Millard Fillmore, but that all the scrubbing had yet to erase it.

“When Secretary Salazar took office, he found a Minerals and Management Service that had been plagued by corruption for years,” Obama said. “This was the agency charged with not only providing permits but also enforcing laws governing oil drilling. And the corruption was underscored by a recent inspector general’s report that covered activity which occurred prior to 2007, a report that can only be described as appalling.”

A White House official slyly noted that 1850-1853 is “prior to 2007” and that 2007 is “prior to Jan. 20, 2009. Get it?”

Obama said “Salazar immediately took steps to clean up that corruption,” adding that, “For years there’s been a scandalously close relationship between oil companies and the agency that regulates them.”

Obama also blamed Millard Fillmore’s allies on Capitol Hill for giving his Minerals Management Service too little time to perform environmental reviews of newly slated drilling areas.

Millard Fillmore“Congress mandated that only 30 days could be allocated before a yes or no answer was given,” Obama complained. “That was by law, so MMS’s hands were tied.”

An Obama aide later noted that instead of asking Congress to change the law, administration officials simply through their hands in the air and said, “oh WELL.”

Obama unveiled several new steps to address the problem, including formation of the National Commission to Find Out How Millard Fillmore Could Have Completely Screwed This up.

“The purpose of this commission is to consider both the root causes of the disaster,” Obama said. The roots presumably predate the Obama administration, which is kind of like the plant on the surface, you see?

Obama ended the press conference calling for everyone to do the Macarena, prompting stunned looks on the faces of reporters in the East Room. But several then loosened up, saying “Hey, why not,” and started performing the 90’s dance fave.

Obama Presser Live Stream at 12:45

Yes, yes Obama appears to be finally doing a press conference. But let’s be careful, so you don’t get buyer’s remorse. The White House is not saying it’s a press conference. Read closely: “In the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks and take questions in the East Room.” They’re making it nice and casual which leaves open the possibility that Obama will bolt before the usual 50 minutes are up.

This event is less about taking questions than trying to right the ship on the Obama response to the oil spill, for which the public is giving the president poor marks. He’ll start off which an announcement that, “Oops, I’ve changed my mind on increasing the amount of drilling,” and probably offer an exhaustive and exhausting list of what he’s doing about the fact that the Gulf has become the new Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

And then my White House press corps colleagues will likely follow up with several questions on the spill, giving him even more message time on the issue. So, voila, you have a PR coup in which what seems a general press conference is an opportunity for Obama to “set the record straight” on the Gulf – the very place Bush’s presidency sank after Katrina.