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

White House dispatch: Obama highlights optimism in Gulf

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. D. Bunker

    I see the GOPbaggers are out in full force today, and ignorant as ever. Here's a hint for ya'll: The US doesn't have the necessary cleanup equipment. I suppose Obama could confiscate oil industry equipment to expedite the clean up, but then ya'll would be screaming "Fascist government takeover!"

    PS: That bit about the Jones Act waivers is a massive lie that's been debunked. No one has asked for such a waiver. Grow up and get educated.

    June 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. RedTruck

    he should be worried about how much equipment he can get on site – something he should have arranged many, many weeks ago.
    There should be skimmers bumping into each other.
    Scientists on barges and navy ships and whatever, whatever it takes.
    This is a big political opportunity for the President and he will play it to the max. Hopefully enough Americans have taken the time to think clearly about this man – and realize – WE HAVE A BIG BIG PROBLEM.

    June 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. OG2

    Stacie dear....its governments corruption that got us into this mess and deserves the blame as much as BP....wake up and stop watching Jersey Shore reruns.

    June 14, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. KoKoMoMo

    That's....reassuring?!?!?! I-I-Idunno.

    and Stacie dear, git off it. You're use of oxymoron and non sequitur doesn't impress. sorry shug!

    June 14, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Just another party day for this clown,,, I am surprised he didn't invite some guys down to the beach and have a good ole Chicago BBQ,, right there on the beach,,

    His party is just about over

    June 14, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. JCJess77

    Maybe the President should have suited up in an airforce uni and landed on an Aircraft carrier. What is so wrong with having a snow cone one the beach, investing in one of the local shops????

    I guess whatever he does is just open for hatred from the right. Absolutely everything he does is vilified. Justifiable or not.

    June 14, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Deborah

    The level of childish name-calling and playground rhetoric in most of these comments is pitiful.

    June 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. 2centsworth

    Stacie, you seem to have th talking points down well. There are few (limited and enumerated by the Constitution) that the government is responsible for and this is one of them. What the government is NOT to do is TAKE, as in property, and taxes to spend on the responsiblility of the state. I know that it's complicated for you, but if you take from one and give to another, it is NOT EQUAL. It is a sophomoric response to say what you did because government by both parties has and does take liberty with our liberties. Often, the false choice of one or the other stifles the creative into thinking of the many alternatives. This is the problem of our times – there are so many more options, alternatives, and possibilities than this President or the two parties for that matter, allow voice to.

    I reject your assertion that it is either big government or no government. Silly really, silly.

    June 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. KoKoMoMo

    wishin', and hopin', and changin' woo ooo

    June 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. JCJess77


    Since when does the President work for the EPA? Its not his job to be directly involved in the cleanup. Where in his resume does it say, "Oil cleanup expert" or where is that in the qualifactions for President?

    June 14, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Peter

    lolbama June 14th, 2010 4:48 pm ET


    " 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.
    ----–wow your poor bobby who cant even put a coherent sentence together!!! your por jindal who cries for small govt yet cant wait to have his palms outstretched to this predient for handouts!!! your gross imcompetent jindal!!! Republicans make me laugh alot!!! lol i still cant wait for Nov to work to flush out the true destrroyers of our country the Republican party!!!

    June 14, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Cowboy Ranger

    A leader would have done a worse case scenario analysis on DAY ONE. So would a good attorney. A leader would have marshalled all available assets to be ready to respond in the event the worse case scenario started happening. This is the type of situation we DO need government to respond to, major trouble, like terrorists, hurricanes, earthquakes, because the federal government can pull the stops out and get all hands on deck. A leader would ask high profile 'friends' to talk up tourism in the Gulf states, like the celebrities did after 9/11 for New York. Tourism photo ops aren't for leaders, they are for celebrities, and it shows a lack of compassion for those effected by this spill. A leader would organize the locals to help combat the spill, pay them up front with govt money and get reimbursed by BP so the locals aren't starving and losing their businesses or homes. A leader would set up a HQ on site, especially one who is 'supposed' to be concerned for the environment, instead of flying in and out for a few hours every few weeks. A leader would put social engagements on hold or pass on them due to the seriousness of this situation. But these are the real differences between a true leader and a community organizer, a leader leads, an organizer doesn't.

    June 14, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Peter

    Jeff June 14th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

    Just another party day for this clown,,, I am surprised he didn't invite some guys down to the beach and have a good ole Chicago BBQ,, right there on the beach,,

    His party is just about over
    ---your ex-president george bush sure made sure the party was over for America by sending all our jobs overseas and outsourcing the production of American passports(really, yes really) to foreign nations...i wanna cry.....but i have hope! hope that Obama who all republicans hate will saave our nation and stop the outsourcing of the manufacturing of America passports overseas. Thank you President Obama! Keep hating obama republicans even though you know you are wrong and misguided!!!

    June 14, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. hero

    Obama fail. Obama could have lifted international waivers on foreign aid flotilla's to come and help set up booms and containment areas from DAY 1.

    He has yet to lift the restrictions despite assistance from many foreign countries as far away as Norway.

    He shows zero leadership, zero executive experience, while the gulf drowns in oil.

    Local private fishermen have gotten boats together to protect their own bays, yet Obama can't deal with the facts that BIG GOVERNMENT is not that panacea of utopian rainbows and unicorns Obama believes it is.

    What a disparity between the reaction of Katrina residents who cried for Gov help while doing little to lift themselves out of their problems, comparted to the small business people in the Gulf who are doing everything in their might to save their land and shore.

    Sometimes it takes a disaster to see the differences between a Liberal child, and a grown up Conservative.

    June 14, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. SarasotaPete

    Do you have any idea of the mark-up on SnoCones? The president probably paid $3 for 20 cents worth of product. We need a full Congressional investigation in the sno cone price gouging going on in America. Perhaps we should nationalize the sno cone industry, so that fair and equitable pricing for sno cones can be the rule, rather than the exception!

    June 14, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. One_American

    Obama and the Democrats are getting their just rewards for falsely trash-talking President Bush's Katrina response.

    May it pay back to you Communists ten-fold.

    June 14, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. KoKoMoMo

    Leon? is that you??? Where have you been??? US debt is projected at something like 19 TRILLION by 2015. What are you smokin' dude? Obama is not qualified for the job he got.

    June 14, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. teapartyjack

    This president is not an expert in ANYTHING except lying.

    June 14, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Yair

    Is he working against his wife? I thought his wife is fighting against obesity!

    June 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. rahhhhh

    I want a snowcone! I want my monies. My daddy tel me da union will give me a job with lots and lots of monies. Im goin to buy a big TV and a lamborginini. Daddy sez Obama needs to give the states our union monies. Pleze Obama, give the states my union monies.

    June 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Good Job, Pres Obama...we...the silent MAJORITY support you....we WILL come out and vote in November. Keep up the good work!!

    June 14, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. OG2

    Also......when he's eating a snowcone in hell then I'll really be impressed

    June 14, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Stacie

    Oh, no 2centsworth, BP is responsible for this. The government is responsible to creating laws that force BP to clean up ITS mess and to prevent something like this from ever happening again!!! I say NO tax money should be spent to clean up the mess created by corporate greed!

    Your sophomoric response is laughable. What is the difference between my tax dollars going to clean a beach far away from me that other people use to make money (fishing, tourism,etc...) and my tax dollars going to provide a solid education someone else's children who will use that education to make money (running the fishing company, starting a restaurant, etc...)? There are many times when the government takes money or property for the good of the country. The military is a GREAT example of that! I could go on...the highway system, postal service, social security, medicare. All are constitutional. Please don't try to talk down to me. It just makes you look like a fool.

    June 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. Larry

    I just hope that the Government and BP doesn't forget to clean up all the oil sludge on the bottom of the Gulf after they get done with the beaches. I really feel for all the people on the Gulf.

    June 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    So the Obama administration is based on Beer Summits for crazy professors and Sno-Cones for un-affected areas. Meanwhile, Iran tells him to go to hell, as does Hamas, Hezbollah, N. Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey, Mexico, etc.; and Obama stands impotent.

    June 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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