May 29th, 2010
10:34 AM ET
5 years ago

White House says Carville doesn’t know all the facts

Gibbs says Carville doesn’t fully understand what the administration is doing in response to the BP oil spill.
Gibbs says Carville doesn’t fully understand what the administration is doing in response to the BP oil spill.

(CNN) – James Carville doesn’t know all the facts, the White House says.

Amid repeated criticism from the Democratic strategist and CNN contributor over the president’s response to the BP oil spill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday Carville doesn’t “understand all of what we’re doing.”

“Truthfully, I think the president answered this yesterday. I think people - I don’t think James understands all of what we’re doing. I don’t think James understood the facts,” said Gibbs on board Air Force One when asked what the president thinks that some supporters like Carville have been critical of the administration’s response to the crisis.  In a press conference Thursday, Obama insisted he and his administration understood the magnitude of the crisis from day one.

Related: Obama promises support to oil-stricken region

Carville, a Louisiana native, has repeatedly said the president is not being tough enough on BP for its bungled response to the massive leak in the Gulf Coast.

"BP is not the equal of the United States government," Carville told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King earlier this week. "And this president needs to tell BP: I'm your daddy, I'm in charge. You're going to do what we say."

After completing a tour of oil soaked wetlands on the Louisiana coast Wednesday, an emotional Carville also told CNN, "We need some action here, and we need to get this thing moving very quickly.”

Carville also expounded on his criticisms Friday while giving the commencement address at LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

“I don’t like criticizing the president,” he said. “My goal is to make our case — you don’t understand what this is — the magnitude of it…if he’s getting poor advice — if he’s not understanding the nature of what’s going on — then I have to hold him accountable too.”


Filed under: James Carville • President Obama
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. mamacoo

    No, he doesn't and neither do the many people vilifying the President rather than holding BP responsible. These people are so eager to blame the President for what ever they can think of rather than learning what the government has been doing. Even then they won't accept that President Obama and his administration are doing everything in their power. Too many people have no intentions on giving President Obama credit for anything. I still find it interesting that they aren't going after BP but then I think I have figured it out. The people in Louisiana want BP to pay them so they won't do anything to anger BP.

    May 29, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. JJ in NY

    The only relavent fact is that Obama has been dithering in his leadership, although he has time for social evenys and more golf .

    May 29, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. phoenix86

    Carville now realized just how unprepared and inept the president is. Welcome to the real world James.

    May 29, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. haren

    I don't see republican governor Bobby Jindal and Hally Barbour in photographs behind president.
    May be afraid from rush limbaugh and tea party.

    May 29, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Obama the liar

    i'm going to miss this twit when obama throws him under the bus.

    May 29, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Larry

    Carville is like every other critic of this spill–he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

    Carville, if you can stop the leak any faster–DO IT!

    May 29, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. sue from canada

    The White House is tone deaf and WAY too full of themselves. They only hear what they like. I WAS an Obama admirer. No more.

    May 29, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw Gee,
    Ya gotta be kidding! Now when did Carvelle ever know ANY of the facts! A policital hack for Bill Clinton should tell you all you need to know. I guess the Gulf Coast is getting all it can handle. First Katrina and now the Oil Spill. Tell the people in the Red River and the people in Nashville, and Rhode Island and the recent floods how it is. You have to adjust like it or not.

    May 29, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    This was a CATASTROPHE, from the moment that they knew it might blow and forged ahead.
    Once the fire was out, someone should have attached all of the assets and detained the families of every BP executive ("for security reasons") and notified those executives that their families would be released when the leak was stopped and their assets released once the "spill" had been thoroughly cleaned up.

    As it stands, it is my bet that they (BP) has an "out of sight out of mind" mentality and they will only clean up what can be seen, leaving the vast majority for the already overtaxed planet to clean up.

    Personal ACCOUNTABILITY is what is missing. Hold them ACCOUNTABLE.

    May 29, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. art in kingwood

    We can't but believee that Gibbs is having as sexual relationship with Baghad Bob.

    May 29, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Lynda

    Carville has been waiting in the wings for months to blast President Obama in the same manner that he did during the campaign. He has not fooled anyone.

    May 29, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. thor

    They use this tactic all the time when people disagree with what they're doing.For instance .on the healthcare plan they said once people understand the bill they will change their minds and embrace it. Well, guess what most people still don't like it !! Hello, White House.

    May 29, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Susan in Arkansas

    Mr. Carville needs to cut the gritchin' and ask what he can do to help the situation. I'm so tired of all of these finger pointers! This was not a natural disaster like Katrina, where FEMA had time to prepare their response. This was a BP, et al. disaster, and they are responsible for immediate action. If the federal government had rushed in initially, folks would have been screaming about the "government's continued inappropriate involvement into private business." You just can't have it both ways, boys.

    May 29, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Charles

    Typical Gibbs. People are either stupid or misinformed if they don't toe the WH line, even some of the most partisian Dems like Carville. And since Gibbs wouldn't dare say anything the President hasn't already approved......well, then. So, if the previous administration is marked as "A Confederacy of Dunces" by the left, guess that means this administration is "A Confederacy of Jerks," considering the way they treat members of their own party and the Gulf Coast communities.

    May 29, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. watchtheflows.blogspot.com

    If the Obama team is doing something, and it's not at all clear what that something is, then it needs to inform the public. That's not only good governance, it's also good politics. In any event, kudos for Carville for calling out the administration on it's handling of this disaster.

    May 29, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. ncparalegal

    Obama is a doer. He has never been one to brag about what he is doing, he just does it and moves on. I truly believe that he is doing everything that can be done and I believe him to be upset that the spill is still on going. However, there are people who need a leader to be out front telling everything he is doing because they need reassurance. This is something that Obama the leader will have to change in his way of doing things. President Obama put high expectations on himself and therefore I am assured that he set those same standards to his staff. He is doing everything that he said he is and most likely more.
    James Carville is a good man with good intentions but he may be too emotionally attached to see the entire picture and we all can fall under that category

    May 29, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. ajax

    People and Carville alike can see with their own eyes the little effort that was being put forth to prevent oil from reaching the shores and marches.When you stroll the shoreline stained with oil and don't see anyone out on the coast trying to prevent this the White Hosuse can yell as loud as they can that they are in control and it's not going to change a thing.Gibbs should shut up if all he's going to do is mouth off about Carville who's actually down there and can see whats happening first hand.

    May 29, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. trupti

    People are acting like Obama can just wave a majic wand and stop the leak. I personally think he should just take a presidential dump in the hole and plug it.

    May 29, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Dan Rivers

    As James Carville said he is the one on the front line. If the government is in charge why is no government official on the rig while BP
    makes decisions to stop for 16 hours. Let's stand up to these folks at BP.
    Spin doctors don't cut it down here. Fish or cut bait.
    Keep the pressure on the White House white wash.

    May 29, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. karen

    James Carville knows all when compared to Robert Gibbs who by his own remarks to press briefing reporters, knows little if anything.

    May 29, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. PalmReader

    “I don’t like criticizing the president,” he said. “My goal is to make our case — you don’t understand what this is — the magnitude of it…if he’s getting poor advice — if he’s not understanding the nature of what’s going on — then I have to hold him accountable too.”
    __________________________________________

    What a walking disaster Carville is. Sounds as if he is still angry that Obama overcame Hillary in the primary.

    What's the matter James? President not paying attention to your rants and raves. My question: WHY haven't you and others, Jindal for an example, ever thought to map out a plan prior to a catastrophic event occurring?

    After all, it is your own backyard being threatened, isn't it?

    May 29, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Darrell

    James Carville, the Ragin Cajun, needs to put a sock in it!

    May 29, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. S Callahan

    Wow , I have to say from the WH that is arrogant !!!
    Carville is a NATIVE to the land, he hears the locals, he knows the long term impact on families, community, state (economy).....I trust what Carville says, and Fat Pat, over what DC would say....they are in the mess..DC only is visiting.

    May 29, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Lib Hunter

    The Obama administration seems to know absolutely nothing

    May 29, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Steve (the real one)

    And I suppose Gibbs knows all the facts? All he know is what's on that little sheet of paper before him! I don't agree politically with Carville but I sure admire and respect his passion about what he believes!

    May 29, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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