In an article published in the Financial Times Tuesday, BP CEO Tony Hayward admitted that his company had not been fully prepared to deal with a deepwater oil leak like the one it is now contending with in the Gulf of Mexico. “’What is undoubtedly true is that we did not have the tools you would want in your tool-kit,’” Hayward told the British newspaper.
Asked about Hayward’s comments on CNN’s John King, USA, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said that BP should have never been allowed to drill at depths like those of the gushing well, located some 5,000 feet below the sea’s surface.
“Well, what it tells you is they shouldn't have been doing it in the first place, in my opinion,” Crist said of Hayward’s admission. “I think that, you know, if you didn't have backup plans, if you weren't prepared, if you didn't have the tools necessary to stop something like this once it began, then you shouldn't have been doing it from the get go. And so that begs the question, why were they doing it? How did this come to pass? And we've got to put a stop to it.”
Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether he trusts BP, the Florida governor equivocated.
“Well, I think, you know, hard to say,” Crist told King. “I mean, if they tell us now that they didn't have the tools necessary to deal with it, and obviously that is the case, you know, you want to be able to trust them, but you have to be very skeptical at this point.”
That said, Crist also told King that his state has gotten everything it’s asked of BP so far.
“We received an original $25 million in order to help prevent the oil from coming on the shore in addition to cleaning it up. Then another $25 million thereafter to promote tourism so long as the tar and the tar balls and the oil didn't come on the beach. We've asked for additional monies on top of that because it looks like it's fairly imminent that this will hit Florida.”
And unlike his counterpart in Louisiana, Crist did not criticize how the Obama administration has responded to the oil spill.
“I think the president is doing everything he can,” he said.
Crist added, “You know, it has to be all hands on deck, we have to be working together, we have to work together in order to try to stem the tide of what we're dealing with here. I don't think it's the time to be pointing fingers, I think it's a time for us to come together, work together and do everything we can to protect the Gulf states and in my case, Florida.”
Crist is running for Florida’s open Senate seat in this November’s midterm election. After polling showed him lagging behind his primary GOP rival, Crist made the decision to skip his party’s primary and run instead as an independent, non-party-affiliated candidate.
Crist’s embrace of Obama’s stimulus package, which has turned out to be extremely unpopular with the GOP’s conservative base, and his actual embrace of Obama during a visit to Florida to promote the stimulus plan both proved fatal to Crist’s aspirations to secure the Florida GOP Senate nomination.
A poll released early last month showed Crist leading his former primary challenger Marco Rubio and Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic nominee, in a three-way general election faceoff.