TM NOTE: Will be on the BBC’s World Today talking about Pres. Obama and the BP blowout later tonight.
Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama. – New, giant sea oil plume seen in Gulf
Pres. Obama’s opening statement.
Throughout the press conference, Pres. Obama has used “federal government” and “we,” making a point to distance himself personally from what’s being done, going on and the decisions being made. It is a very odd tactic by a president, obviously attempting to keep himself from being attached to BP’s blowout, but who’s job it is by statute to enforce the laws of the land.
“I am confident that the federal gov. has acted consistently with a sense of urgency.” – Pres. Obama
Meanwhile, Fox News, CNN and CNBC all showed a split screen of Obama and the oil spilling out into the Gulf.
As for Pres. Obama saying his critics “don’t know the facts,” I beg to differ. I was on the first conference call Thad Allen when I believed they had a handled on this situation. Today’s press conference brought Pres. Obama and the federal gov. up to today, but there are still questions. For instance, why aren’t tankers, if supertankers can’t maneuver, which is what reports are saying, being dispatched to help with the oil clean-up? What about this new “massive oil plume.” Obama got caught up, hopefully smoothing out the optics, but he’s nowhere near over the perception that the federal government, under Pres. Obama, has massively misjudged what was needed to be done, as well as the problem with having BP on point, who is still low-balling oil estimates, with transparency nowhere in sight.
It wasn’t until the close that Obama got personal, talking of “soul searching,” offering an anecdote about when he was shaving and Malia knocked on the door to ask, “did you plug the hole, daddy.” Pres. Obama then talking about the “incredible bounty” that we are charged to protect. Then finally, after the entire press conference of the “federal government” and “we,” Obama steps up to say, “I take responsibility. … The federal government is fully engaged and I am fully engaged.” It took him 38 days and a full press conference to finally evolve to these words at the very end, something that was obviously very difficult for him to say.
The fact remains that if the federal gov. has been in charge from the beginning, Pres. Obama’s job of directing that effort has been a failure up to this point, simply because it took so long to get anything close to a solution in place.
The press, but especially Republicans, are already swarming about the fact that Obama seemed not to be aware of MMS head “resigning,” while also saying he’d heard she had. I’ll let them fight over that one.
This news of a “massive new plume of oil” is the backdrop of Pres. Obama’s press conference. It comes amidst deepening criticism for his lack of leadership since BP’s blowout. In politics, if you’re asking the Is this Obama’s Katrina? question, the answer is moot. The good news is that BP’s “top kill” efforts are reportedly working.
However, the report that scientists have now found a “massive” new plume of oil suggests worse dangers that BP has not even begun to address.
I’ve uploaded a clip from Dylan Ratigan’s show yesterday, because Matt Simmons, an oil expert, warned of what is now being reported by scientists, which is news just breaking.
Pres. Obama should take BP off point, then put the military in charge, as well as move in small tankers, as Simmons and the other expert in the clip below suggest. Obama is making a fatal error if he keeps BP on point. If the new “massive” plume is what Simmons and other experts are now saying it is, there is a wider issue that BP isn’t even beginning to address about the blowout.
As for the wildlife catastrophe, it’s catastrophic, as is the damage to seafood and the very bounty that Americans harvest and enjoy from the Gulf.