June 16th, 2010
11:43 AM ET
8 years ago

RNC alleges Obama ‘dithered’ in Gulf crisis



Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee accuses President Obama of failing to focus his full attention on the Gulf oil spill, specifically criticizing him in a new web video of waiting 58 days to meet with BP executives to discuss how to address this environmental disaster.

Obama met with BP officials Wednesday morning in the Roosevelt Room, less than 24 hours after he returned from the Gulf and delivered a primetime address from the Oval office outlining his plan to revive the region.

The RNC’s hard hitting video, which CNN viewed before it was released publicly Wednesday, alleges that instead of trying to find a solution to the Gulf crisis, Obama was too busy playing golf and attending events such as Paul McCartney’s White House concert.

The video weaves together devastating images the Gulf, Obama playing golf, a fictitious day planner and footage of him singing with McCartney.

In a statement that will accompany the release of the video, RNC Chairman Michael Steele charges “President Obama and his administration have dithered while the worst ecological disaster in American history has unfolded, wreaking environmental and economic havoc up and down the Gulf Coast.”

“The American people are looking for Presidential leadership during this time of crisis, not executive finger pointing or backroom political power-plays seeking to force through yet another unpopular Democratic proposal that would only devastate the economy even further,” Steele also contends in the statement.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET:

In a statement sent to CNN, Democratic National Committee National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan fired back at the RNC and accused it of trying to "politicize" the situation. Sevugan also highlighted a recent scandal about an RNC-financed night out for donors at a risqué Hollywood nightclub.

"While the President has brought to bear the resources of the entire federal government to addressing the leak, is holding BP accountable to the families and businesses of the Gulf, and is working to ensure that a leak like this never happens again, the RNC has used its resources – which are ever dwindling by the way – to politicize this tragedy. That's actually a more pathetic use of their money than table service at a sex club."

Filed under: Energy • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • President Obama • RNC
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Brian

    That is like the pot calling the kettle black. No one including the operator of the rig and BP really knew the extent of the explosion on April 20th. Although I think the President could of been more direct and forceful but towards what? You do not unleash the National Guard because you have what appears to be a sinking boat. You may want o do that only after you have determined that there is a pattern of sinking ships and we need to solve the problem.

    The RNC is using this to score political points and push their own agenda so to me the criticism has little merit. The nation needs to support the President while he is dealing with this situation caused by big business and the republican non-existent regulation of oil companies that has happened over the last 8 years and beyond. I find it Ironic that all of the individual that never supported the President in the coastal states now want him to solve this overnight. They need to remember their “drill baby drill” chants as their livelihoods so depend on the oil and the fishing industry in that area.

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Hall for Obama

    RNC Chairman Michael Steele, what have you done? Did you go down to see how bad the oil was coming out? I know you did, because you are busy talking about the President I just know you are doing your part. If you have not plug that hole dont talk, act there is no where it is write that the president must do every thing you can help. I know your sorry A$$ wont but it make me feel good to tell you. If you think people are going to blame all of this on the Presidnet, wrong.

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Anne P

    "Devastate the economy even further", you say? Do you mean by actually regulating oil companies and holding them accountable for their reckless decisions and for demanding that they pay whatever it takes to restore the Gulf environment and lost wages? Forget about the 75M limit. Or, do you mean to prevent further unsafe deep water drilling practices that have proven catastropic? What does it take for you nitwits to wake up and see the impact? I am continually amazed by our ignorance. RNC, please go away.

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. John Parksville BC

    " have dithered while the worst ecological disaster in American history has unfolded, wreaking environmental and economic havoc up and down the Gulf Coast.”

    It appears Mr Steele has the memory of a gnat, he has forgotten the elementary school approach of the previous president to Katrina and the damage to New Orleans. Which still isn't cleaned up after how many years?

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Lili, FL

    How is Cap & Trade going to plug the hole?

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. ray

    the racists, red necks , immigrant haters on the right always finds some thing to cry foul, these racists on the right cant run their house and wives muchless the government.

    June 16, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Bill

    If the RNC has a plan to stop the oil leak, let's hear it.

    June 16, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Michelle

    The RNC has a heck of a lot of nerve to talk about quick response times to environmental disasters. Can anyone say Katrina???

    June 16, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Janet Decker

    It's true....Are a team of lawyers and a handful of lousy politicians making speeches stopping the leak...How stupid to believe that a bigger tax on energy is the answer...ignorant at best...incompetance on it's face!

    This man is not qualified to manage anything...and everyone knows it too!

    June 16, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Leave it up to the RNC to politicize this. I mean, WTF is the President supposed to do? Plug the hole himself? Answer this RNC: Who deregulated these oil companies? (crickets chirping)........................

    June 16, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Dustin

    Which party is trying to exploit this disaster now???

    June 16, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Tom C

    The RNC blaming the other party for "finger pointing" is laughable. They are experts at negative campaigning and that's all this amounts to. You'd find fault with Obama even if he used his own hands to clean up that oil. Well, fact is, that oil is a result of your own hands....now deal with it! Come up with solutions of shut the hell up because most of us are sick of your hypocrisy and grand-standing! Send Rush down there; he could use the exercise somewhere other than his fat jowls.

    June 16, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. macguysea

    Ummm.. yeah... like the Republican party suddenly cares about the environment... uh uh.. sure.

    June 16, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Here's a thought, Steele.

    Even on Obama's worst days, and yes there have been many, he STILL manages to run circles around all of you GOPers.

    But, you all already know that, don't you - hence the trumped up rhetoric.

    June 16, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Jon, Palo Alto, CA

    GOP blather. Pfui.

    June 16, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Henry

    Hey, Steele: If you're so smart, then why don't you go down to the Gulf and....

    Oh, wait. you're NOT that smart. Never mind.

    June 16, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. gary

    While the RNC dithers at strip clubs!

    June 16, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Joe in PA

    While the catastrophe in the Gulf is tremendous and requires a great deal of effort for solution. It is not the only issue confronting the president. It doe s not require that Obama roll up his sleeves, grab a shovel and heave oily sand. While it clearly must be one of his top priorities, It does not requiree that he spend every waking moment addressing the issue. As president he needs to meet with those field experts and managers who are spending evry waking hour addressing the issue. It is the presidents role to establish a team of experts to assess the impact and designate the appropriately skilled personnel to lead the control and clean up efforts. This is exactly what he has done from the very beginning of this man made (oil company made) crisis. The RNC and M. Steele are doing what they are good at. They are good at no6hing but whining complaining and politicizing each and every issue in an effort to thwart Obama's sincere efforts to improve this country for everyone.

    Michael Steele needs to give it a rest. Michael Steele and the repubs needs to grow some balls and do something about addressing the problems facing this nation rather than continue to act like court jesters.

    June 16, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Yeah, but the timing of this whole thing with the oil well really conflicted with the primary elections. He's the President, not the Minister of Oil. We have other people that can deal with this, don't we?
    What, they expect the administration to send the Minister of Oil to a Harry Reid fundraiser?

    June 16, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Da Professor

    "The Republican National Committee accuses President Obama of failing to focus his full attention on the Gulf oil spill"

    Just more right-wing extremist blather, misstatements, and idiocy.
    And we are supposed to take them seriously?

    June 16, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Pat F


    The truth hurts, eh Barry?

    June 16, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. Diane

    Okay, if President Obama has concentrated solely on the Gulf crisis, then the republicans would have complained that he wasn't spending enough time on the economy. He can't win with those guys. Mr. Steele, the President of the United States has to divide his attention between a lot of different matters, he cannot, nor should he, concentrate solely on one thing. In case you didn't notice, there are other people in this country besides the people in the Gulf region. I truly sympathize with the people down affected by the oil spill. Perhaps instead of rhetoric, you and yours could help out by regulating the oil industry and making safety standards a priority.

    June 16, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Nellie Bly

    Honestly, President Obama could be out in the gulf in waders, personally cleaning this up himself and the GOP would still complain.

    June 16, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How long did Bush and his administration take to really understand what was going on? I don't think that they fully understood that it was a disaster.

    Obama's issues are different since the spill is on-going and a completely man made disaster. Part of the issues are that BP skirted around safety isssues to make money faster. BP has a record of not adhearing to safety requirements and having enough equipment to make sure that any mess can be cleaned up. Another part is that MMS has been mismanaged for a long time before Obama; you can't clean up that mess in a year or two.

    June 16, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Millie (GSO)

    RNC & Steele are a joke. What's next complaining about all the time Obama has wasted on things like, eating, breathing, sleeping

    June 16, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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