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. TK

    This president has absolutley no idea what he is doing...

    June 9, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama exerts zero influence on Hayward, and he knows it.

    June 9, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Palin wants Obama to call her because she had experience dealing with the Exxon Valdez spill. She was only 14 years old, but she knew how to deal with big oil. I think it was her 8th grade science project, you betcha.

    June 9, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. patNY

    And if Obama did speak with BP CEO Steele and the repukes would accuse him of cozying up to big oil.

    June 9, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Why is the funny old man from the muppets telling the president what to do?

    June 9, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Linda

    It sounds as if the President believes that talking to Haywood would be a waste of time. Perhaps he's right. President Obama wants results not just words. Apparently he does not trust the man. Can anyone blame him?

    June 9, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Conservative Democrat

    Sarah Palin? An expert on Alaskan oil spill? Why, because she could see it from her house? Once again, the Republicans are all about perceptions. Talk to Hayward. Because it looks good. If Hayward knew anything about stopping the oil spill, he would have done it already. It's better that the President talks to experts who could actually contribute to the solution. Now if he wants to learn how to cut corners and disregard rules and regulations in order to make a bigger profit no matter who it hurts, then he can talk to Hayward.

    June 9, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Marty, FL

    I don't get it – these Republicans ditto the same talking points over & over.

    Think for yourself – not push, play, repeat – "stealing" someone else's words.

    June 9, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. A True Centrist

    I'm not a fan of Steele but he has a point here...the fact that President Obama has not spoken with Hayward is incomprehensible. It's understood that the President needs to delegate a big portion of things that come his way, but we're talking about one of the biggest disasters in our nation's history when you think about the eco, financial and safety concerns.

    Another example of poor judgement from a President that is making poor judgement more the norm rather than the exception.

    June 9, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Angus McDugan

    Keep in mind that Obama was elected on hope and change. Therefore, his approach to his oil spill is to sit back and hope it will change for the best.

    No strategy...
    No plan...
    No experience...

    Hay, let's put ACORN on it.

    June 9, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    oh my god, shut up

    June 9, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Mike

    You wont talk or work with Obama, why would he listen to you?

    June 9, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. BillE

    Ah...........Let me think about it for a second. Oh, I remember, because Iran would nuke us if they could. Go back to the bondage club you grandstanding GOP whiner!

    June 9, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. all the news that's fit to omit

    The fraud in chief after SEVEN WEEKS of golfing, campaigning, doing the concert thang........... got around to feeling our pain at the coast by doing a couple of photo-ops for the cameras, but yet still, NO ACTION on the cleanup, stopping the spread and loosening up of the paperwork to get Jindall what he has been screaming for.

    Day one, the records show you are again LYING.

    Steele is exactly right, if the lying. gutless fraud is looking for some booty to kick, start with his own (THX to John Stewart and Carville and other DEMOCRATS for the truth) and then Hayward.

    You talk to everyone around the world but not the person in charge of the company that caused the spill?????

    Manchurian candidate, PERIOD.

    June 9, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Pam

    The only thing Sarah Palin is an expert at is putting on lipstick!!!

    June 9, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey Mikey! Did ya' miss the interview where he answered that question?

    What is the point of talking to someone that is going to tell you what you want to hear as oppossed to DOING what needs to be done? There is NOTHING the CEO of BP can say to the Prez or to us other than what we already know: BP SCREWED UP!

    Try to keep up Mikey. We're past the phase that deals with admission of sins, we've moved into the: LIABILITY part of the program.

    All you have are half-baked criticisms and still NO SOLUTIONS just like your followers, all 12 of them.

    June 9, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Viet-nam Vet

    What would sitting down with Hayward accomplish? Obviously Hayward does not know what to do or he would have done it. The Republicans just can not get over losing the election. By the way, the person he should sit down with would be Chaney since we might get some information regarding the energy conference he chaired. We might find out that the Bushies are the ultimate cause of this leak by not requiring redundant safety measures.

    June 9, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Ann

    "I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions."

    You??? You are nothing but WORDS Mr. Obama.

    June 9, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Obama can not be bothered with this, he is busy looking for some one to blame.

    June 9, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Linda

    Obviously these idiots have nothing better to do but spew irrelevent
    nothings.

    Palin's executive experience with oil spills? Come on CNN, she
    quit the job as governor, and most likely was in the backwoods
    of Alaska during the Exxon disaster.

    Steele? A mouthpiece for all the fanatics running around in circles
    who claim to be Republicans!

    June 9, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Bacus

    Michael Steele needs to work on removing the tree trunk blocking his vision so that he can see the speck in President Obama's. There is no connection between his contention here and what is happening on the ground in the Golf Coast.

    Has Michael Steele visited the Gof Coast since? What would Michael Steele have done differently if he were the POTUS? What exactly does Mr. Steele expect the POTUS to say to the BP Chief?

    June 9, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    BP wants nothing more than for the federal government to step in. From that day on, no more liability for BP. Can't you hear Tony now..."We beleive that we were ALMOST there. It would have been shut off within 24 hours if the government had given us just a little more time". It's all about liability. Nothing more, nothing less. And if we had moved on day 2 or 3 to take over management of this spill, Tony would have already had his life back. And the taxpayers would be on the hook for decades. No, this is BPs mess and no one with a half a brain is going to let them slip away from that responsibility.

    June 9, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. radycal

    Sarah Palin has no right to bag on the president for the oil spill. Why doesn't she go down to the gulf and stand on the beach and give her "drill baby drill" speech. The answer is no oil ... public ground transportation needs to be all alternative and not ethanol. We don't need to sacrifice crop land while people starve. BP was negligent ... stay focused.

    June 9, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Michael

    Why should Obama talk to Hayward directly? Before Obama talks to him, there are several other people can talk to him, including, congress, scientists, news media, his Administration, FBI, CIA, etc. Give us a break here.

    June 9, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Anthony Beasley

    Really? You really want to go there! All I can say is if the temperature with the President doesn't come down soon, my fear is people will have a Kennedy moment. And I will be one of those people marching in the streets if even an attempt is made on the President's life! And then Steele, you will see what happens when you keep pushing buttons for your own political gain! I wouldn't meet with the CEO of BP either! He's not bigger than the President and people need to stop pushing that mentality! I support the efforts the President is giving. I'm tired of people who make this about him when it's clearly not! Thanks Morning Joe for the mention of the memo this morning from April 22 where the President informed every part of the Federal Government that the oil spill was PRIORITY ONE! But like everything in America, people will deny how big of a factor race plays in it all. I'll make this simple for Steele and Palin and others: What is your scientific solution to stop this spill? And the answer better not be, bring in people who know how to handle this. If it is, SHUT YOUR ******* MOUTH! We're already doing that!

    June 9, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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