June 9th, 2010
11:44 AM ET
4 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. ja

    where are the oil spill experts, don't exsit, who is the bigger nemesis, Barack Obama was elected president , had you held Bush 2 accountable we would be dealing with half the mess to date, of course water under the bridge, shutup and backoff, sudden enlightenment

    June 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Bob

    Seems like Steele is more interested in making Obama look bad than actually helping anyone in the Gulf. Why isn't Steele on the Gulf coast helping clean up the oil? Stupid hypocrite...

    June 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Dano

    Here's how the conversation should go.

    President Obama: Mr. Hayward I want that pipe closed NOW and I want the oil cleaned from the Gulf Coast very quickly AND I want you to place 10 billion dollars in a trust fund to help businesses directly affected by YOUR oil spill to get through the summer. If this is not done in the next 24 hours I'll instruct the Justice Department to begin proceedings to freeze all BP assets in the USA. Once the oil has been removed from the water and the coastline and all persons have been compensated for their losses I'll then instruct them to release the frozen assets.

    June 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Dave

    Yeah, have to agree here. Makes no sense not to talk to the CEO of BP. Has his puppeeteers told him to back off Hayward?

    June 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Robert J

    Another mindless comment from a Republican moron. lets see a carreer politician talking to a know nothing CEO about engineering – Expectation "0" – Now a career politician and president of the most powerful country in the world talking about starving this idiots people and if necessary removing his country from the face of the earth. Expectation now "100" on a scale of 1-10. Why doesn't Steele talk with Hayward and then report back to the country? That will acomplish a lot – Right! about the same if he (Steele) talks to Amehijahd-Right!

    June 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Jersey Girl

    Dear CNN: Sarah Palin is a dumb bunny. Stop reporting on every stupid thing she says – which is pretty much EVERYTHING she says. She didn't win, she's a quitter, so stop putting her up on that pedestal. She's an embarassment to Republican women. I want to hear from Elizabeth Dole – not this idiot.

    June 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Eric in Denver

    Easy answer is that Ahmadinejad wants to destroy the USA and Obama is presently destroying the USA. 2012 couldn't come quick enough!!!

    June 9, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Albert

    Republicans need to find real issues that concern the average American. Issues like fixing the economy they broke, creating jobs which they sent "offshore," ending the wars they began, cleaning up the mess they made in the Gulf of Mexico after deregulating oil corporations, ending oil dependency which they refuse to think of, passing a bill that will force BP to pay for the harm they caused rather than stopping Congress from doing so, taxing the rich because those jobs that were supposed to trickle down after lowering taxes on the rich never happened; the rich just got richer and are now buying up all the foreclosed homes. The American people don't want Obama to talk with the worst CEO in history, he has nothing to offer the American people except a life sentence.

    June 9, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. k

    Why should he talk with Tony Hayward? He has experts at the helm and Hayward isn't one of them. Palin would be about as helpful in this situation as Hayward. She is constantly flapping her mouth or should I say fingers on Facebook. The question is, who is writing her page?

    Steele you don't get anything.

    June 9, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. joe m

    sure it's politically motivated, but a good question none the less. the president, if he trully wants to 'kick some asses', should be talking to the BP head, bc if there is a posterior that needs to have a boot upon it, it is this guy. maybe the president is worried about the 'optics' of a meeting. still, if the president is left to having to rely on BP to manage the bulk of the work in repairng the broken pipe and cleaning up the mess, then he needs to be in the face of BP's head to find out what the hell he's doing and planning. mr. president, enough of politics and talking and more doing. first step to this is to sit down across a table with the head of BP. put your heads together and fix the problem and then we can worry about investigations and blame when it is all over. please.

    June 9, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. j russ

    He agrees with Ahmadinejad not Hayward

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

    Dear Uncle Mike,please buy a clue,your time as a talking head will be over as soon as the Corporate scumbags have used you up.

    June 9, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Video Guy

    What is sad is that Sarah Palin thinks she has something to say that President Obama would find useful. Why would he waste his time on either her or Hayward. Let Hayward talk to the nice people at the AG Office.

    June 9, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Johnny DC

    Good luck criticizing any of the statements made in this article.

    It's common sense that Obama should have met with the heads of BP weeks ago, but has yet to even consider this.

    To be fair, I have no leadership experience and haven't been faced with such a conundrum. But also to be fair, I'm not the President of the United States, either.

    June 9, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. SocialismBad

    Meet with one of those evil no-good corporate devils?! NEVER! It is beneath this intellectual light weight.

    It's probably because Obozo has more in common with the kook in Iran than a high level person corporate person that knows how to manage and large corporation and make money.

    June 9, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. RN

    If Hayward does not know what he is expected to be doing he should not be CEO of BP.
    If Steele does not understand why it's important to talk to Ahmadinejad then Steele needs a few lessons in world history and politics.
    If Steele thinks his ideas are relevant, he needs a reality check.

    June 9, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Norm

    Really? That's it, don't try to solve problems, don't try to make anyone's life better... just play politics. What a waste! We have a multi-party system for a reason, not everyone is going to agree and there are different views on how to solve problems. BUT when you continue to try and make hay over ridiculous "issues" for the sole purpose of political gain, that's just sad and transparent to those who use that thing on their shoulders. I can only hope that come election time, my fellow Americans will consider how their representatives have spent their time. Are they working on issues that matter to you or are they spending their time fighting, blocking and objecting?

    June 9, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Bill

    Sarah Palin, the oil spill clean-up expert and Mchael Steele, the domestic policy expert have spoken.

    June 9, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. CNN=corporate news network

    Why does Steele and other repubs let BP off the hook so easily? Why is it so anathema for any republican to consider any regulation?

    We have questions too, Michael?

    June 9, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Carly Fire-eena

    Does he know Obama's never talked to Ahmadinejad?

    And as far as Para Sailin the Pea Tarty she says Obama can't trust oil companies, but wait isn't that just what he said in the interview that BP CEO would just blow smoke?

    Are these guys helping the fastest growing community in the biggest state in the union grow by buying up and using all the meth?

    Funny Pea calles Obama a community organizer as his "experience". Lets see if we go back in time as to what Pea Tarty was doing? Flunking out of bimbalism school.

    June 9, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. JR

    I have a better idea, why doesn't Steele make a conference call to Hayward and Plain, they could then all three tell each other what's wrong with Obama and generally waste time.

    June 9, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. kk

    What is there to talk to Hayward about-clean up th oil spill.

    June 9, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Tom in CT

    President Obama gets it – the BP executive will say all the right things, but he's not interested in words, he wants actions. Too bad he doesn't realize that's what America wants from Obama. We are tired of empty words and promises. We want leadership and action. Based on his first year and a half, I think we will be waiting until 2012 to get it.

    June 9, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    Grasping for straws much Steele? This is so laughable, I really have nothing to say....

    June 9, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Alan Jones

    Steele has a lot of nerve! He should have been speaking to the lust buckets who was spending RNC money on fetish clubs and telling them not smart. Let this President do his job and quit arm chair quarterbacking, Repudicans!

    June 9, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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