June 14th, 2010
03:40 PM ET
5 years ago

White House dispatch: Obama highlights optimism in Gulf

ALT TEXT
Obama poses with a local resident during his trip to the Gulfport, Mississippi. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Theodore, Alabama (CNN) - President Barack Obama used a lemon-lime snow cone to show that parts of the Gulf Coast remain unaffected by the oil spill –and that he's fully engaged in the ongoing crisis on a day and a half visit to the region.

At his first stop in Gulfport, Mississippi, the president was briefed by Admiral Thad Allen and other officials on the latest effort to cap and contain the oil. And the president said that many locations are still open for tourism and unaffected by the spill.

"We just want to make sure that people who have travel plans down to the Gulf area remain mindful of that, because if people want to know what can they do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality," the president said.

The president said he was updated on the need for better coordination of Skimmers and other assets involved in the effort, so that more oil is kept off area beaches.

Obama said they also discussed concerns about problems residents are facing as they file claims to recover money from BP.

In another Gulf state where the president heads next, there is optimism and despair.

Some residents around Theodore, Alabama, where Obama will tour a staging area in which booms are cleaned and de-contaminated, are glad to be getting the administration's attention.

But one man says it's nothing more than a "photo op." Jim Hall, a retired executive and longtime local resident who has lived and fished on the Gulf since the 1980's, wants the administration to talk less and do more.

There is plenty of pain to go around.

Harry Jemison, the owner of Jemison's Bait-N-Tackel shop reeled in a nice trout that he cooked up for breakfast, but the longtime family business is hurting.

He was on course to realize a record year for his small business. But the oil spill put a stop to his season.

Everyone is "afraid to fish," he said.

Some days he shuts down early. Sunday was so slow that he sent two employees home early.

The ocean views are still spectacular here. Large pelicans are perched on what once was a dock. Sometimes, it's hard to imagine that a crisis bubbles below. Or, in some spots, on the surface.


Filed under: Alabama • Mississippi • Popular Posts • President Obama • Thad Allen
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Restraining the oil industry in Louisiana is hardly a sign of optimism.

    June 14, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Obama the liar

    Another day, another lie from the liar-in-chief.

    June 14, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Obama smile, Obama drink Kool-aid, Obama take picture, Obama talk to strangers, Obama,Obama, Obama.

    June 14, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. reatte texas

    LOL,LOL, What a joke this person is this cat ain't got a clue on nothing but photo ops for his so called party.

    June 14, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Stacie

    I love how some of the same people who just recently were shouting "drill baby drill" and complaining about "big government" now are complaining that the President and the federal government need to do MORE to clean up a multinational oil company's huge disastrous oil spill approaching their beaches.

    Me thinks big government is only a problem with it's helping someone else, not when it's helping you.

    June 14, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Joe

    he shoulda got a grape one

    June 14, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Bull

    dearleader hasnt got a snowcones chance in hell of being reelected.

    June 14, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. priorities please

    30 minutes later..."Well, glad to see y'all are getting by. Gotta go now and get another four rounds of golf in. Hopenchange y'all!"

    June 14, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. lolbama

    This is surreal.

    June 14, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. rovers

    Stay away obama, everything you touch turns to crap. we this country doesn't need you.
    we need a leader not a punk and american hating thug.
    go home to chicago and stick your head in the sand
    I despise you sir.

    June 14, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. ster

    Wow... glad to see he's taking things so seriously that he stopped for a snowcone before he left to go golfing!

    June 14, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. AndNowHeOnlyEatsGuitars

    Worst. president. ever.

    June 14, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. GreenCrusader88

    Obama has the courage to eat a snow cone, but he wouldn't face down the unions for almost 8 weeks to allow foreign oil spill response ships to enter US waters. Within hours of the spill Belgium and the Netherlands offered to send the world's best oil spill response ships, but the WH bowed to union pressure and refused to waive the Jones Act to allow foreign ships to assist. It now appears that the White House is trying to quietly reverse itself and let foreigners help with the oil spill – better late than never.

    June 14, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Suki

    Photo op! Harry Jamison is so right!

    June 14, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Karl

    It's a snowball. You can't even get that right. Tools.

    June 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Eric in Denver

    I will predict that Oblabla will continue to look for lawsuits and distract the public away from how inexperience and clueless he is as a president not just on oil issue but all issues.

    June 14, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Mark from Louisiana

    The only thing obama is fully engaged in is "Fundamentally Changing America" as told to the cheering crowd at an SEIU campaign rally

    June 14, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. 2centsworth

    Perhaps the problem with the President's air of detachment is directly related to this: He seems to view so many outings as some type of entertainment to be enjoyed with a sno-cone, ice cream, piece of pie... I have never seen a President so "into" social fare. I know they want us to percieve this as a common bond he shares with us, but I think it gives him an adolescent air. This is the photo-opping of campaigns, NOT GOVERNANCE.

    June 14, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. JES

    All I see is a Rock Star trying to get another photo op.

    People don't think you are a leader and guess wha your not.

    June 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. richard hyytinen

    A SNOWCONE A SNOWCONE.. Boodles spent how much to fly down there for a photo op with a snowcone? OMG!

    June 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Scott Smith

    Whilst America is suffering under the debt load of drunken federal spending and horrible legislation, Obama is yucking it up and eating a freaking snow cone? Can you say "out of touch?"

    June 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Texantwo

    We feel for the Gulf coast folks, but will be spending our vacation $$s in Arizona to help them recover from the California boycotts.

    June 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. gt

    thats about obama can do is eat snow cones and get his picture taken .... pitful how little is being done to help those poor folks... oh well eat snow cone and smile....ugh

    June 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. NOLA

    Louisiana is the estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Obama's response is going to kill the fish and birds for decades. La. does not have beautiful beaches, but it is where all the shrimpers and fishermen go. France is the biggest importer of shrimp from La. More than half of the crabs that get steamed in Maryland come from Louisiana. If this little man would have acted like an American instead of like a community organizer, these marshes may have had a chance. The oil could have been removed from the water before it reached the marshes. They may be able to walk along the beaches of the other states and pick up tar balls, but you can't do that in the estuaries. Learn somethng...look at a map and see the difference between the coast of Florida and the coast of Louisiana.

    June 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Jimini

    too little too late, thanks for the photo op Mr. President, eck!

    June 14, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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