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. frayedcat

    Such copycats, trying to recreate anti-Bush/Cheney memorabilia. Not an original thought in the head with the GOP of late. And no humor – their jokes fall so flat. Boring boring boring no wonder tea parties look exciting by comparison.

    June 16, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. REG in AZ

    Why always the double standard? So much of what is said today not only seems completely biased but also accusations are literally untruthful. Many want to hold Obama to achieve near perfection and yet they just accept the Republicans doing nothing but fault finding and obstructing. Critics are a ‘dime a dozen’ and only a disgusting distraction when constructive cooperation is called for. Our government is designed to function and be effective with bipartisan cooperation to fine tune and adjust everything and when the politicians, currently mainly the Republicans, put their political ambitions above all else, at any cost, and just depend on scare tactics and emotional appeals (the BS) to manipulate public opinion while offering nothing worthwhile, it is not only totally irresponsible but also downright dishonest. Politics, all of it and all politicians, in general stink but I think it currently has gotten to its lowest level ever and the people are just being manipulated to contribute to the problem! Doesn’t really offer much hope and ever returning to ‘more of the same’ of 2001-2008 would just be a catastrophe.

    June 16, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    So? Maybe he wanted as many facts and figures as he could gather before making a decision. Unlike the war to get rid of WMDs. (Billions a month and our young people's lives meant nothing to the GOP).

    I say the Party of NO has DITHERED two years on doing anything useful FOR THE USA. They are NOT earning the money they are paid by their republican constituents. They ARE, however, earning every bit of the money paid them by the corporate lobbyists - 66% of oil corporaton money has gone to republicans. Check the facts.

    June 16, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Alan Jones

    Michael Steele is one for talking, huh? The chief blunderer of the RNC. I am so tired of all these arm chair quarterbacks attacking this President when they aren't doing a darn thing to help or assist him. Shame of these Repuds who can't tie their shoes without directions hate our President because he has something we didn't have in the WH for the last 8 years....A BRAIN!

    June 16, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. hobart

    More outright lies from the Party of No.

    Why don't Republicans support an all out inquiry into VP Cheney's secret negotiations with the oil companies, where they got to write their own regulations?

    Why don't Republicans support an all out inquiry into how and why Bush/Cheney stocked the MMS with oil company hacks who don't enforce what few regulations do exist, and who gave lavish gifts and junquets from the oil companies?

    Why aren't Republicans calling for criminal investigations into BP and themselves for deliberately ignoring the laws and regulations that caused this disaster to happen?

    Why is that Republicans want oil drilling to continue in the Gulf, full steam ahead, even while the current leak and crises has no end in sight?

    Why is it that Republicans care so much about lost oil company jobs, but don't care a rodent's buttocks about everyone else on the Gulf who has lost their jobs?

    Why don't Republicans offer even one good idea?

    Could it be that they so hate America, that they'll sacrifice the livelihood of Main Street Americans (lost jobs, lost homes, lost health insurance) just to regain power?

    June 16, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. JFK

    Michael Steele and the RNC are just desperate. Do us all a favor and either contribute something positive to this country or go away!

    June 16, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. J-J

    Yeah, like bush was not busy playing golf and growing a garden in Crawford his first year in office. Hello! Our new and improved president just worked his A$$ for several years to become president and for millions of Americans that were dieing in need of health care. Please, RNC– you need to get a life. The oil companies have more than enough cash and finances to fix this spill and they did not, have not and will continue to ruin the planet one year at a time.

    June 16, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. J-J

    Yeah, like bush was not busy playing golf and growing a garden in Crawford his first year in office. Hello! Our new and improved president just worked hard for several years to become president and for millions of Americans that were dieing in need of health care. Please, RNC– you need to get a life. The oil companies have more than enough cash and finances to fix this spill and they did not, have not and will continue to ruin the planet one year at a time.

    June 16, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Mesa Mick

    Dithering?!? What a hypocritical joke that comment is...

    You rethugliCANTs have been OBSTRUCTING for years now.

    Where's your outrage on that fact Mr. Steele?

    June 16, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Wil in the VA.

    Instead of making these stupid videos maybe they the republicans should take that money and help the suffering folks in the gulf and add to the 20 BILLION dollars the president got BP to set up to help. You are good at taking attention away from the president but wont lift a finger to help. Either put up or shut up

    June 16, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Oh sure, the President doesn't have much on his plate right now....right? I'd like to hear Mr. Steeles solution to the oil spill. In fact, any Republican know -it-all out there is welcome to solve the problem. If by some miracle, the President was to take one month off and let someone on the right take over, I would love to see how he would solve all of the countries problems and how quickly he would throw up his hands in frustration! They are quick to criticize, and very short on answers!

    June 16, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Angus McDugan

    Well, I don't know about dithering, but he is NOT a man of substance or action.

    He is well educated but...


    June 16, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Captian Canada

    Dithered , you say. Well it is valid that this horrible spill was dealt with earlier but coming from the crooks who allowed the Oil Giants to ignore saftey concern in order to make money, I would be carefull throwing rocks. Even now your minions are arguing that regulation would cost jobs. I agree. More jobs for people to pick up the next mess. I wonder how you balance your rabid hatred for people & their safety & your image as giving a d@&&mn

    June 16, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. MichaelK

    What was GOP doing when the MMC let BP slide on technical and safety reviews?

    The system is set up so that the top people do not have to meet. It is only unsophisticated thinking, partisan hackery and the news media's pursuit of ratings that make a face-to-face necessary.

    June 16, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Val in MA

    The video is very true and very effective. Poll after poll shows that Obama has done a poor job on handling this crisis – people don't even need to see the video to know this. It is obvious Obama is lacking the very vital and necessary leadership qualities. This was a real test for him and he blew it big time. Well, the next time people go to the polls they will know that executive experience IS A MUST for a presidential candidate (and running a good campaign is nothing).

    June 16, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Bill from GA

    It's too bad John McCain is not President. He could get in a fighter jet, crash it into the water (experience counts) and plug the hole.

    His VP, Sarah, could quit and have a book written for her, so she could make more millions.

    June 16, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. one voice

    The GOP are Ridiculous, They talk out of both sides of Their mouths. On one hand they say they want Government to be smaller and stay out of peoples lives and now they say Obama didn't act fast enough. Make up your mind FOOLS.

    June 16, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Larry

    The RNC is made up of a bunch of LAZY people that don't care two bits about this country or the people that live here

    I have yet to see the Republican party do anything positive for this country for a very, very long time

    All they seem to do is criticize, make false promises, and criticize some more ...

    Obama is the best thing that has been in the Oval office since Carter and Clinton

    Hey RNC ... go get some real jobs if you can, though I feel quite confident you have NO marketable abilities

    June 16, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. JD in Moraga, CA

    This from the same group that says there should be less government involvement in states' affairs and commerce. The hypocrisy would be amusing if it wasn't a national tragedy.

    June 16, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Skeeve

    When I hear words "ecological disaster" coming out of republican mouth It makes me laugh so hard. Wow, republican actually learned how to spell "ecological". Funny though that they conveniently ignore that very simple fact that disaster like this would never happen if certain GW Bush and his very REPUBLICAN administration did not relax oversight of off-shore drilling to the point of being meaningless piece of paper.

    June 16, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Julia

    I have lost all faith in our leaders. Obama has wasted time by not getting skimmers (offered by other nations from day 2) and surface booms out there. Instead, he has chosen to politicize this disaster ( a repeated theme of his ) to push his cap and trade bill. He is bankrupting our country people! We owe China $900,000,000,000 and Japan $800,000,000....not to mention all the other loans out there! This is nausiating. He's been in office for 18 months, how are they going to spin this into beng Bush's fault?

    June 16, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. miketexas

    I guess the GOP didn't dither during Katrina. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    June 16, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Steve in Denver

    Mr. Steele and RNC: What, exactly, would you recommend Mr. Obama do? Bring our military oil drilling rigs in, push BP out of the way, and fix it himself? Oh, right, the US Government has never been in the deep sea oil drilling business, and has no expertise. Deploy the military with oil booms? Wait, that would make the government the owner of the job, rather than BP (and even so, some of your minions accuse Obama of nationalizing oil).

    This is yet another solid example of a petty, childish, out of power party kicking and screaming to attract attention by criticizing others rather than the responsible thing to do is be part of the solution. There are only two choices: Pitch in and be part of the solution, or fillibuster, criticize, and drain resources which makes you part of the problem. Like every other issue since January of 2009, we see where you stand.

    This reminds me very much of a candidate for president in 2008 who said he knew how to get bin laden, if only we'd elect him. Well, just like McCain, you really don't have any answer, other than the Democrats are wrong.

    I sure hope the public starts deciphering your obstructionism, because that is all that the republican party is doing on any issue.

    June 16, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Peter

    I don't care who is president, you don't blatently second guess him like this.

    June 16, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Ken, AZ

    Only the RNC and GOP would think that the President must do everything himself. Why do they think he has a cabinet and all those folks in his administration? They were on the job, focusing their attention on trying to solve the oil spill crisis. The President knows how to delegate and only the oposition party would call this "a lack of leadership". If the President had dropped everything else and focused on the oil spill crisis only, he would have been criticized for grand-standing and not delegating. This crisis is bad, but the world did not stop when this happened. And, the major difference between how the President has handled thins and the how the GOP would have handled things is that the President gathers alll the facts before acting and the GOP acts before even thinking, which is why this fiasco happened in the first place.

    June 16, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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