Washington (CNN) – A Louisiana lawmaker expressed frustration Wednesday about the schism that has been revealed between the advanced technology used to drill for oil and gas and the less advanced technology available to clean up an oil spill.
“Part of the frustration I have not only with our government but with the oil industry is they are drilling with 21st century technology and we’re trying to clean up with 20th century technology,” Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, said on CNN’s John King, USA. “That dog doesn’t hunt. We should have the best.”
Melancon also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that in the wake of the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989 the federal government probably should have had a commission look into new technology for cleaning up oil spills. The Democrat imagined the development of something like the fire extinguishers many Americans have in their kitchens that could be quickly deployed in the wake of a massive oil release like the one caused by the out of control well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. “That’s not been done,” Melancon told King.
Coast Guard officials in charge of the response effort do not dispute that much of the effort involves older equipment and technology.
But they also say they are rushing to add new approaches to the mix, including Dutch skimming arms that arrived in recent days. Also new on the scene: "current busters" from Norway which can skim oil at speeds of up to 4 knots.
Most vessels must travel much more slowly, at .7 to 1 knot.
"We are trying to bring in the most advanced technology we can," Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferriere told CNN Wednesday.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Despite predictions that the Republican gubernatorial runoff might be nastier than the bitter four-way primary fight that preceded it, candidates Nikki Haley and Gresham Barrett traded only mild jibes Wednesday as their campaigns re-grouped and wrestled with strategy following Haley’s dominant showing in the polls the night before.
Barrett lost out on a potentially significant endorsement Wednesday when Sen. Jim DeMint, who has ties to Barrett and his advisers, declined to get involved in the race.
But Barrett’s campaign beat Haley to the TV airwaves, launching a quirky statewide television ad in which Barrett promises to “shake up Columbia.”
Haley’s campaign announced that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will visit South Carolina to campaign for Haley along the coast June 18, though how much influence Romney has over GOP voters there is an open question after his dismal finish in the state’s 2008 presidential primary. Haley will also roll out endorsements from state Republicans on Thursday.
Barrett’s advisers acknowledge a difficult path to victory against Haley, who now has the backing of the Republican Governors Association and their flush war chest, but see no upside in dropping out of the race with just 14 days until the June 22 runoff.
They and other South Carolina Republicans also recognize that negative attacks against Haley are likely to backfire, as Haley’s surge in the closing days of the primary demonstrated.
Washington (CNN) - Alvin Greene, the 32-year-old unemployed South Carolina Democrat who surprised party leaders by easily winning Tuesday’s Senate primary, vowed in an interview with CNN to remain in the race despite facing charges of “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.”
“The voters of South Carolina have spoken, we have to remember that,” Greene said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his home in Manning, South Carolina. “They have chosen me as their Democratic Party nominee and we have to be pro-South Carolina rather than anti-Greene.”
South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler issued a statement Wednesday calling on Greene to relinquish the nomination and noted that she had personally made the request to him.
“Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race,” said Fowler, who cited an Associated Press report about Greene’s prior arrest. “I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee. But this new information about Mr. Greene … would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters.
"We are proud to have nominated a Democratic ticket this year that, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greene, reflects South Carolina’s values. Our candidates want to give this state a new beginning without the drama and irresponsibility of the past 8 years, and the charges against Mr. Greene indicate that he cannot contribute to that new beginning. I hope he will see the wisdom of leaving the race."
Washington (CNN) - Several top Obama administration officials Wednesday vowed that new United Nations sanctions against Iran are just one in a series of three punches that the United States and its allies will deliver against Tehran's nuclear program in coming weeks.
The officials candidly admitted in private that despite all of the public celebration at the White House about "tough" sanctions getting pushed through the U.N. earlier Wednesday, those sanctions alone would not be
sufficient to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.
But the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private diplomatic relations, said the point is that the U.N. sanctions are just a predicate to lead to even tougher unilateral sanctions by
both the United States and various European Union nations in coming weeks.
"You have a one-two-three punch," one of the senior Obama officials said of the combination of U.S., European and U.N. sanctions in the works for this summer.
Waiting to be interviewed by affiliate KXTV Wednesday morning, Fiorina is clearly heard taking a dig at her rival for the California Senate seat, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California.
"God, what is that hair?" a laughing Fiorina said, while quoting a friend who had recently seen Boxer on television. "So yesterday."
Fiorina also questioned why Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman had decided to go on Sean Hannity's show the day after winning her party's primary.
"It's really surprising that on the first day of the general [election], Meg Whitman is going on Sean Hannity," she said. "I think it's bizarre…I think it's a very bad choice actually. You know how he is."
Contacted by CNN about the comments, a spokesperson for Fiorina downplayed the remarks. "This was nothing but early morning small talk," Fiorina campaign press secretary Amy Thoma said in an e-mail to CNN.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday defended the Obama administration's six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling, which has come under fire from critics who argue that it's vital for reducing the dependence on foreign oil.
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Salazar said the moratorium was necessary so "as we move forward with any kind of deepwater operation, that we can assure the American public and we can assure that everyone who was watching that in fact it can move forward in a safe way."
The moratorium comes as President Obama's oil spill commission investigates what caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion April 20. Its report is due in six months.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – Despite pressure from national Republicans, Gresham Barrett vowed Wednesday to remain in the runoff race against Nikki Haley for South Carolina's GOP gubernatorial nomination.
"We are in it for the long haul," Barrett told reporters at his campaign headquarters when asked if would drop out of the race.
Barrett made good on that promise Wednesday by releasing the first television ad of the runoff race – a follow-up to the well-received "Drill Sergeant" commercial that helped drive up Barrett's poll numbers in the final weeks of the race.
In the 30-second spot, titled "Shake Up Columbia," a drill sergeant walks alongside Barrett asking him a series of questions about how he plans to do business in the state capital if elected.
Washington (CNN) - A group of conservative evangelical leaders broke with their political brethren Wednesday, coming to Washington to push the White House and congressional leaders to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status.
Political conservatives have long balked at an immigration policy that includes what they term "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, but the evangelicals see the issue differently.
"A significant part of our churches and denominations are part of the immigrant community so we have a very close connection and a very great interest," Leith Anderson, president of the influential lobbying group National Evangelical Association, said Wednesday, " ... but our interest is really rooted in what the bible teaches how we treat people and how we treat particularly people who are aliens or strangers in the land."
Anderson's group last year authored a resolution in favor of reform using biblical immigrants Abraham, Joseph, Naomi, Mary and Jesus. Their examples, the group said, "reveal God's hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith and God in difficult circumstances."
(CNN) – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday there have been no second thoughts over President Obama's coarse language directed at oil giant BP earlier in the week.
"No, I have not heard any regrets about the language," Gibbs told reporters in his daily White House briefing.
Obama's eye-brow raising comments came in an interview with NBC earlier in the week when he said he was talking with several experts about the Gulf oil spill so "I know whose ass to kick."
"I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be," said Obama in defense of his reaction to the crisis. "And I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar; we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."
Gibbs also said he was not aware the White House had recieved any complaints about the comments.
Washington (CNN) –It appears that the buzz over Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg's arrival has done more than restore faith in the ailing baseball club's ability to win big this season.
Strasburg's start was also the catalyst for a bipartisan moment on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
After briefly congratulating last night's Nevada Senate Republican primary winner Sharon Angle, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid praised Strasburg for his successful start.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell interjected that he was actually at the game and mirrored Reid's enthusiasm, adding, "We can only hope and pray that his arm holds up and that he has the kind of career that everyone is anticipating. There was literally an electricity in the air."
Reid responded that, "It was really, even watching it on TV, gee whiz... a remarkable performance. Really for Washington, which has been so starved for a good athletic team of some kind, it was nice."
When asked about the Washington Capitals, who have made the NHL playoffs for the past two years, Reid's office responded saying "There wasn't a lot of hockey growing up in Searchlight, Nevada. Nothing against the caps, but Senator Reid is a baseball fan at heart."
McConnell closed the discussion with a prediction of future bipartisanship, saying, "What one can conclude from this is next year when the Senate is not in session in the evening, both Democratic and Republican leaders will be at the Nats games."