June 9th, 2010
11:44 AM ET
5 years ago

Steele: Why will Obama talk to Ahmadinejad, not Hayward?

 Steele is taking aim at Obama for not speaking with Tony Hayward.
Steele is taking aim at Obama for not speaking with Tony Hayward.

(CNN) – Republicans are continuing to put pressure on President Barack Obama for not speaking directly with BP CEO Tony Hayward during the ongoing oil crisis in the Gulf Coast.

Speaking on Fox News, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Wednesday that he doesn't understand why the president is apparently willing to talk face-to-face with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but not Hayward. In a 2007 presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Obama suggested he would be open to meeting with Ahmadinejad, a comment that drew heavy criticism from his Democratic and Republican opponents. Obama later said that he is willing to meet with Iranian leaders, and that such a meeting "could include" Ahmadinejad.

"I don't get it - you tell the American people that you want to sit down and talk face-to-face with Ahmadinejad, but you don't want to talk face-to-face with the guy that has a hand in creating the mess in the Gulf right now, and to try to figure out from him what needs to get done," said Steele.

The comments come a day after Obama told NBC he has not spoken with Hayward because "when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me – I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions."

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took a swipe Tuesday night at Obama for his remarks about Hayward, writing on her Facebook page that he should take a more active role in consulting experts who lived during the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill – including her. Palin was 25 years-old at the time of that spill and writes in her book that "most everyone we knew was directly affected, knew someone affected, or went to help clean up the spill."

Speaking on Fox, Steele said it is imperative Obama speak with Hayward "to impress on him what you as the president of the United States think he as the CEO of B.P. should be
doing."


Filed under: Michael Steele • President Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. EBC

    Michael Steele needs to shut the hell up. President Obama has more important things to deal with than this clown's petty opinions and ignorant comments.

    June 9, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Libertarian

    Base on the comments I've seen from Hayward, a conversation with him would be fruitless. I think Obama's plan to speak to the "feet on the street" will actually accomplish more.

    IF Obama had decided not to meet with the people at ground zero, Mr. Steele would be bashing him for not meeting with the people actually doing the work and just taking photo-ops with the CEO of BP.

    PLEASE....the GOP plan is obvious: REGAIN POWER AT ANY COST. it's that simple folks.

    June 9, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. nookly23

    Hayward is below Obama. He has a job. A terrorist on the other hand is on the same level as Obama. Obama knows how to talk to them. He spends time with his good friend Bill Ayers and rev wright, so has something in common with people who hate America.

    June 9, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. js007

    After enabling companies like BP and Halliburton to get away with murder (literally) through lax regulation and appointing oil industry insiders to regulatory agencies, the GOP are trying to blame Obama for this disaster. So much for moral values. As soon as this spill is over BP will employ all possible legal means to avoid paying for the damage. Sitting down with a CEO who has displayed nothing but arrogance and apathy and is now likely dead in the water would be simply ridiculous and beneath the President. Of course, did anyone expect any better from Mr. Steele?

    June 9, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. nookly23

    "when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me – I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions."

    Sounds strange coming from the liar in chief

    June 9, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Dominican Welfare Recipient for Obama

    he answer is simple... Obama is incompetent and has no idea what he is doing. This guy is so bad he is making Jimmy Carter look like the best president we have had in the last 100 years.

    June 9, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. PalmReader

    Do come up with something original for once, won't you Steele? Repeating Palin's facebook talking points is so, well . . . stupid.

    Unless, of coarse, Steele considers Palin's fancy pageant walking during the Valdez oil spill clean up as expertise . . .

    June 9, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. js007

    Palin wants Obama to consult HER because she was in Alaska at the time of the Exxon Valdez spill? Just like she's a foreign policy expert because she can see Russia from her house? What an idiot.

    June 9, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Steele shut up. Every time you speak you sound more uninformed and ignorant than before.

    June 9, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. lforlegend

    Who is Steele, Sarah's echo? President Obama has already said why he won't talk to Hayward. Them rethugs are insecure flip-floppers out looking for something to be negative about. Furthermore Hayward will clean up his mess but the entire planet will suffer irreparable damage from a mess made by Ahmadinejad.

    June 9, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Take America Back

    The main reason Obambi will have a sit down w/Ahmadinejad & not the CEO of BP is it will not advance his political agenda also, the CEO of BP doesn't have as much in common as Obambi/Ahmadinejad has! I cannot understand why Obambi has such an extreme negative view of the "Greatest Nation on Earth.....America"! It will not be Obambi's mis-handling of theGulf oil spill, nor the 20 trillion debt he has saddled our grandchildren with.....but it will be his insistant spite for the USA!

    June 9, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. A Guy

    You're right about one thing, Mr. Steele: You DON'T get it. You never have and you never will.

    June 9, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. rta

    it is imperative for steele and palin to come to the realization they are not in charge of anything, this president has done more than either one has ever done in a short period of time. time for these two to shut their mouths.

    June 9, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Columbia Business School 101

    Any executive that has managed a business crisis where poor performance by one party has a powerful and influential stakeholder / customer [ in this case the United States Government] upset knows that you don't give ready access to the "top man" to the poor performing party. Any Supply Chain Management professionals care to dispute that? I didn't think so.

    If Mr. Haywood doesn't pay the claims or attempts to wiggle out of sanctions by disputing the amount of oil pilled ... he'll hear from the PRESIDENT alright .... by way of Attorney General Eric Holder.

    That's how a real executive handles a corporate performance problem like this. I'm with you Mr. President.

    PS to the media: Why do you think we gave them a bill for $69M so quickly??? Answer – it's just shy of $75M. Don't Start None ... Won't Be None

    June 9, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. gg

    she was out there with a 22 helping the birdies covered in oil an expert thats a laugh her only expertise is sucking money out of brian dead listener.s

    June 9, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. Larry

    Steele, crawl back in your hole. I'll let you know when to come back out.

    This is a problem for adults, not for people who like to hear the sound of their own voices.

    June 9, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Iwalked

    Now why would obima talk to Hayward>

    Kings don't talk to mere CEO's

    Obima is the self annointed one..... remember?

    He is also Mr Motor Mouth.
    ;-)

    June 9, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. DIANA

    I agree with the President. What's Haywood going to do, tell him what he thinks he wants to hear.

    As far as Palin is concerned, what advice will she be able to offer – how to quit in the middle? He IS consulting experts. I'm frusterated but talking to these people won't solve anything. Instead of critizing the President, why don't THEY offer solutions. Why aren't they there helping to clean up or offer assistance.

    June 9, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    Maybe because Hhayward is a scumbag and doesnt represent a country.

    June 9, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. speaking directly with BP CEO Tony Hayward

    first of all, BP CEO Tony Hayward has nothing to add

    Obama can see what is being done and watch what is being done, any 'feel good' talking from CEO Tony doesn't do any thing but cloud the issue of GET IT DONE, clean the mess up

    now, Shaft, I was hoping you had embarassed yourself enough the last year that you might stop this yell first strategy

    please, sit down and think about things before you speak, you are amusing however

    June 9, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    It's because Hayward is not an enemy, he's just an incompetent CEO. The Iranian leader is considered an enemy. You know the old saying, "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer".

    Steele is just a stupid "hip-hop hatemongerer".

    June 9, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. IKHAN

    Mr.Steele is great at demonstrating the paucity of intellect & what a brilliant moron he is.
    Talking to Ahmedinejad & BP CEO are two entirely different issues world apart. One relates our vital national security interests, economic interests, foreign policy goals& our military deployment in a region which is all important for our geo-political strategy. The two wars we are fighting may depend on how we handle Iran. Shunning Iran can have catastrophic results for the entire region & the world.
    BP CEO can be summoned by the Congress at any time or by a high ranking administrative official.The president does not have to talk to him.

    June 9, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. John in Brooklyn

    For the leader of the party that, for decades, sought to deregulate the oil industry and to dismantle the environmental protections that were put in place by, among others, moderate Republicans like Nixon and Ford, to be demanding ANYTHING from this administration regarding this environmental crisis is beyond cynical...its politics of the absurd!

    June 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Senator

    He has to talk with Palin first: She wants to talk to him remember. She talks about her experience as Governor in the largest state in the union and I guess that was pretty tough looking out her window at Russia and managing all of that snow! Wow what experience she has: She continues to call Obama a 'Community Organizer' as if working in your community is a bad word: She needs to read her history which she more than likely flunked and see that the greatest Americans Kennedy, King, even Reagan. She forgets that she quit! this is sick, next Steele will be asking the President to talk with his X Brother in-law Mike Tyson.

    June 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Steve

    Yes, because the Republicans would sit down with Hayward (and believe every word he says), work out a reimbursement plan for BP, discuss how they can save the company and improve its image, and then how they can profit from this moving forward. That was the Opinion piece on Faux news last night...a right wing moron discussing how BP can recover from this disaster and how they can help their image....

    This is what the right is concerned with, really?

    June 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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