June 14th, 2010
03:40 PM ET
4 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. willtruth

    I hope the President enjoys his snow cone. What a fool! It just shows the lack of interest in this whole catastrophe!

    June 14, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. San Diego Steve

    What a great vacation Obama is having! Not so nice, however, for the people who must live and work on the Gulf.

    June 14, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. thor

    So this is how Obama spend his time in the Gulf area.Posing for a picture of himself with a local resident,lemon-lime cone in hand.I guess it reminds himself of better days out on the golf course or partying it up in the White House with McCartney.Said he was going to the area on a fact finding mission.After this many days and you don't have that infomation, another trip to the Gulf is not going to change anything.

    June 14, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. jOANNE

    Big photo op.. eating a snow cone... why didnit he put on a clean up suit and work along side some of these clean up people... he is not going any where near where people are really pissed off....we are so screwed with this so called Leader

    June 14, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Red

    It seems like every time some major issue comes up the picture is Obama partying it up. It's always smiles, golf courses, celebrities in the White House, parties in the White House, vacations, escapes, dinner out on the town. Is this guy this stupid to facilitate an image of being disengaged? Whether he is engaged or not, his handlers are completely incompetent. The guy gives the appearance of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. For the guy who was supposed to relate to average America, he seems more distant and out of touch than Bush.

    And now with this 'new' effort of multiple trips, he looks desperate and like he's pandering. The community organizer has lost touch and is now an inside man.

    June 14, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Stacie

    Oh jOANNE, should he behave like Bush Sr did with the Exxon Valdez spill?!?! Go look up how many times he visited Alaska. How many times he "put on a clea up suit" or how many times he talked to people who were upset about the disaster? I'll give you the answer. It is ZERO. Oh, what short memories we have...

    June 14, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Anthony Beasley

    I hate some of the comments on here! These comments are hypocritical and triffling. But what should we expect. We live in a country where people have a 30 second memory and they constantly point fingers when they don't have answers themselves. Oh, yeah, that's right, Government was too big and then when it is politically nice, they complain that government isn't big enough.

    June 14, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Betula

    Quote..... "President Barack Obama used a lemon-lime snow cone to show that parts of the Gulf Coast remain unaffected by the oil spill"

    Personally, I think he should have used a rainbow colored snowcone to represent people of all colors looking for hope at the end of the rainbow.........and then covered it with nuts to represent whoever wrote the article.

    June 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Pearl Nelson

    Does the man own a pair of Levis, a casual shirt? How ridiculous does he look in those clothes on a beach.

    Petty yes, but just another checkmark in the outta touch box.

    June 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Fred

    Michele looks a little pale in the photo. Nice curvature though.

    June 14, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Soylent Green is US

    On day 3 the Dutch offered skimmers to the US that could each hold 20 tons of oil. Obama would not waive the Jones Act to let this happen since it would enrage the Unions.

    This oil - almost all of it - could have been contained at the site of impact. BP could have sold that oil so there is no credibiity to the claim that BP opposed bringing in those foreign ships that could have saved us.

    The devastation to the Gulf habitat is all on Obama. BP is in charge of stopping the leak but they can only use methods allowed by the Administration. The Gov't has fallen down on the cleanup portion of the project because they wouldn't go up against the unions.

    Obama owns this. Hope he enjoys his snowcone because he isn't going to like the change coming in November.

    June 14, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. bkal

    What do you expect he is beholded to the Union Thugs. He would sell the coast out for the union support. When are liberal and people in the media going to wise up and see this pretender for what he is. He is a foolish, uninformed, unprepared person that was elected to office becasue the media did not report his credentials or look at his background. Too bad for the United States of America I hope we can last through his administration.

    June 14, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Phil

    Don't you all realize that he wants things to get really bad so he can point to the environmental devastation (which his lack of action made worse) and say look, because of this we have to pass cap and trade and ban all off shore drilling.

    June 14, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Stacie

    I'm sure that small business owner is happy President Obama staged a photo op by her concession stand so the world can see that tourists should still visit.

    June 14, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. staceeatl

    thank goodness Obama is continuing to show genuine concern for the oil spill in the Gulf! He's eating a snow cone to show that food, snacks, etc are SAFE - and if it was a photo opp, do you know how hot as heck it is down here? Think the criticism is unwarranted. He's shown up to see where it stands. Love how people are pointing out the problem, but can't offer any solutions – of course not, that's why we elected him and not you. He's a strong leader, seeking the opportunity within this utmost, environmental challenge. everyone needs to help out – it doesn't just rest on his shoulders.

    June 14, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Rich

    This Presidency is a nightmare! The country's falling apart – more appropriately, being methodically dismantled by some Marxist President – and he's partying "like it's 1999 in the White House, on the golf courses, and eating snow cones for photo ops.

    This is the guy who bows to dictators and snubs our traditional allies.

    My only hope is that once he's rendered impotent (in November) that there's still some chance at undoing the "change HE can believe in" while we, as citizens, still have rights.

    What a disaster BHO has proven himself to be.

    June 14, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. JTHC75

    Ugh. It's hard to fault a guy for wanting a snow cone, but talk about poor work by his handlers. This is exactly the kind of image Obama does not need at this point.

    June 14, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. willtruth

    Barack Obama = WORSE version of JIMMY CARTER

    June 14, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. yoodles

    Wow, I am speechless. Can this guy actually govern or tell the truth, just a for a few days, I beg you. Wow

    June 14, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. lolbama

    @Joanne

    " why didnit he put on a clean up suit and work along side some of these clean up people"

    He thinks he's too good for that...rolls up his sleeves all the time, but never gets his hands dirty. At least Jindal put on a suit, got in the boats and tried to help...maybe it was only a photo op, but at least he tried.

    June 14, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Nelson

    What a joke we have for president. Nov 2012 cant come quick
    enough. Why didt he let the ships from Netherlands come here
    and help..... First stop is Nov 2010 for new Congress......

    June 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Peter

    AndNowHeOnlyEatsGuitars June 14th, 2010 4:17 pm ET

    Worst. president. ever.-–Republicans never cease to amaze me at least the president is on the ground, im pretty sure she asked to take that picture with him!!! george bush still takes the crown for waving at helpless Americans stranded on their rooftops as he flew by on airforce one!!! Americans he swore to defend and protect!!! Obama stopping for a cone with local residents as he chats with them is at least a sign he is comfortable spending time and showing he cares to the people he swore to protect and defend!!!

    June 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Leon

    The repub's are in full bloom. What a bunch of garbage they are. Most know a that most of the TARP money is being repaid, so that the deficit they have been complaing about will be a plus in the near future. Good going Mr. President.

    June 14, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Linda

    why is he going to a clean beach that is unaffected by the oil spill? I thought he was going down there so assess the situation, get a first hand look @ the devastation & talk to some of the poor shrimpers, fisherman, restaturant owners, charter boat owners, hotel operators, etc to find out their concerns, hear their stories of how they're losing their houses & their businesses & look the devastation in the eye. what is the point in going down there just to go look @ a clean beach? makes no sense. defeats the whole purpose of the trip! and don't go in your dress clothes!

    June 14, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Doug Rose

    He's so Stupid ,he didn't get it when they say "Don't eat the Yellow Snow" !

    June 14, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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