Energy giant BP issued the following statement after President Obama's Oval Office address Tuesday:
"We share the president's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow for a constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals."
Washington (CNN) - Saying it was an essential safety measure in the wake of the disastrous Gulf oil spill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling following the President's Oval Office address Tuesday.
"The president told us that because we don't know what caused this accident, we can't afford to continue drilling those 33 [deepwater] wells without knowing what happened. The president didn't feel comfortable with that," he said.
Gibbs was responding to a question previously submitted to the White House online.
Critics have argued that the six-month moratorium will hinder economic recovery in a region that is largely dependent on the oil industry.
Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, issued the following statement after the president's Oval Office address Tuesday night:
“The ongoing oil spill is nothing short of a catastrophe. It is a source of pain and suffering for Gulf Coast natives and wildlife alike, and it will have long-term consequences for the Gulf Coast environment and economy. Tonight, President Obama made it clear that his Administration is doing everything necessary to address the ongoing disaster in the Gulf, and that they will continue to do so. That message is in keeping with the President’s efforts to date and the message that he delivered to Gulf Coast business owners and workers earlier this week and in previous trips to the Gulf.
“The President’s commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast is unwavering. He is dedicated to ensuring that they are fully compensated for the short-term economic losses resulting from the spill, that they are empowered to return to their businesses and way of life as soon as possible, and that they suffer no long-term harm as a result of BP’s failings.
“In addition, the President is taking steps to prevent a catastrophe like this one from occurring ever again. The bold measures outlined in his address, from rooting out corruption and reinvigorating enforcement of the energy sector to jumpstarting the clean energy sector with a comprehensive energy and climate bill, are the basic ingredients of a sustainable future.
“The President has made it clear that America’s energy future should not be a partisan issue. In that spirit, I urge Republicans to join with Democrats in Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation and take all necessary steps to assure that we have all of the tools that we will need to end the BP oil spill crisis, compensate spill victims, stave off major spills in the future, and chart a course toward energy security and sustainability.”
(CNN) - In a timeline, the Kirk for Senate campaign states Rep. Kirk's comments during the Blagojevich controversy were consistent with his role as a congressman and permissible by military rules regardless of being on active duty.
They also say Department of Defense rules do allow for some civilian political activities - particularly while in civilian clothes and acting in a civilian capacity outside of military facilities. Kirk did not make any statements during deployments to Afghanistan, according to the campaign.
Kirk campaign press secretary Kirsten Kukowski also released the following statement:
"These questions have been addressed by the campaign in the past and had there been any issues documented in Congressman Kirk's military record, the Department of Defense would not have issued a second waiver for his deployment to Afghanistan. The campaign has made all of the Congressman's military fitness reports available for review and no concerns were documented."
The statement continued:
"The reality is that voters will have a clear contrast on Election Day between someone who served honorably as a legislator and service member and someone who lost millions of dollars of other people's money due to his recklessness and incompetence. Putting all of the posturing aside, Alexi Giannoulias represents the very same brand of politics that led to corruption, waste, abuse, historic debt and 11-percent unemployment. Voters in Illinois want a change and will stand with Mark Kirk, a thoughtful, independent leader who has a track record of delivering for the state."
California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued the following statement after President Obama's Oval Office address Tuesday night:
“After receiving an in-person briefing at Unified Area Command, I was informed that we are in danger of losing tens of thousands of jobs permanently as companies are actively considering moving operations to other areas in the world. Conspicuously absent from the President’s address was a plan detailing what to do to replace and retain the tens-of-thousands gulf region jobs that have been suspended due to the six-month moratorium that halted operations on 33 permitted deepwater wells. With the nation struggling with a prolonged period of joblessness, immediate action is needed by President Obama to get the workers he displaced back to work.
“The politics of this crisis should not result in the permanent loss of tens of thousands of American jobs. In the State of Louisiana alone, where one-in-three jobs is related to the oil and natural gas industry, the moratorium will cripple their economy and leave thousands of families without income. The President faces a decision to either let these jobs permanently leave the Gulf Region resulting in irreparable economic harm or pursue an immediate avenue that can put these well-operators back to work without drilling in high-pressure zones that aren’t safe.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, issued the following statement after President Obama's Oval Office address Tuesday night:
“Every day seems to bring more bad news about the size and scope of this crisis, and reversing that trend should be the President’s priority. Legislation to respond to this oil spill should be an opportunity for genuine bipartisan cooperation, the kind that the President so frequently says he wants and the kind that has been sorely needed and sorely lacking in this midst of this tragedy. The White House may view this oil spill as an opportunity to push its agenda in Washington, but Americans are more concerned about what it plans to do to solve the crisis at hand.
“Like most Americans, Republicans support an energy policy that seeks to produce more American energy and use less. But while the BP-endorsed legislation the President supports will raise energy prices for every American family and business, it won’t end our dependence on foreign oil or protect the coastline and marshes of the Gulf coast.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued the following statement Tuesday in anticipation of President Obama's Oval Office address:
“While President Obama is speaking tonight, oil will continue to leak from the well and extend its stranglehold on the lives and livelihoods of the people in the affected areas. Even now, nearly two months after disaster first struck, the federal response remains inadequate and disorganized. Americans are rightly angry about this failure of government, and they want to know that their president is focused squarely on stopping this leak, cleaning up this mess, and finding out what went wrong.
“President Obama should not exploit this crisis to impose a job-killing national energy tax on struggling families and small businesses. Both parties should be working together to craft responsible solutions in response to this disaster. There’s nothing responsible or reasonable about a national energy tax that will raise energy costs and destroy more American jobs.
“President Obama will also reportedly address some of the financial issues surrounding the crisis, including the establishment of an escrow fund. These resources should be used to help the victims of this disaster, and not as a slush fund for trial lawyers or Administration officials seeking to paper over their own misguided decisions. BP should be held accountable for the full cost of this disaster – the taxpayers shouldn’t pay one dime – but that money must be directed to where it can be most effective in stopping this leak and aiding the recovery effort.
“I sincerely hope that the Obama Administration will not try to use a crisis made worse by its own failings to score political points on the backs of Americans living and working on the Gulf Coast. This moment demands a call to action based on our shared interest in stopping this leak, cleaning up this mess, and finding out what went wrong.”
Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee issued the following statement after the president's Oval Office address Tuesday night:
“Manipulating this tragic, national crisis for selfish political gain not only demonstrates President Obama’s inability to aptly lead our nation out of a disaster, but also reveals the appallingly arrogant political calculus of this White House. Exploiting the tragedy in the Gulf to try to ram through a devastating job-killing national energy tax is more of the same Chicago-style politics that has the President’s approval ratings plummeting to an all-time low. Instead of leveraging this crisis to manufacture knee-jerk political support for cap-and-trade energy taxes, President Obama should focus on providing the people of the Gulf with real and honest solutions to this horrible environmental disaster that this Administration has been slow in waking up to.”
Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois was counseled by the military twice in the last two years for violating rules that bar members of the armed services from partisan political activities, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.
Kirk is running for President Obama's former Senate seat. He recently apologized for mischaracterizing portions of his 21-year military career.
In December 2008, as then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich fought accusations that he tried to sell the Senate seat after Obama's election, Kirk "participated in video discussions in the media" while on active duty, according to a statement from Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. April Cunningham.