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. D.

    Why didn't the RNC and followers go set their happy rear ends on the spill and the world would be all happy again. Face it- all the talk and political posturing the only thing that might still be done against our unions is bring in the tankers from Netherlands. Our President can override the 1020 Jones Act.
    I have no doubt the new voters are sorry they botheredd and the olders are sorry they didn't vote.
    Can one thing be said for our President? The Dems were pleased with President Bush with the mic but there has yet been a coomon denominator in our current President.

    June 16, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. BillE

    After Katrina, they would be experts in the art of dithering. The RNC didn't dither when it came to going to the strip joints though.

    June 16, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Anne

    OK...enough is enough....

    "President" Obama is doing more with this HUMAN catastrophe than GWB ever did for the people of Katrina. AND...stop comparing the oil spill to Katrina....there is NO comparison. I will never take away the pain and suffering of the 11 people who died...but to compare 11 deaths to thousands lost in Katrina...get real!!!

    You cannot compare natural disasters to HUMAN error...

    On one hand you say to the government..."Stay the h...out"....then on the other hand you say..."Government should get mad"....what the h.. do you want?

    Obama is NOT to blame for the oil spill...BP is...take note.

    June 16, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. lolo

    What do you people want him to do. Go lick up the oill himself with his own tongue. You republicans and tea partiers are just ridicoulous people. No matter what Obama does you are against him. Please get a life. If it was not from deregulation this would not have happened, but you do not here the republicans crowing about this because they are the ones that approved it. Please get a life. i am tired of hearing about the Gulf oil spill. Let's move on. BP will have to get themselves out of this one alone. The government should not assist them at all. You Repulicans can't have it both ways. Sit back and think for yourselves. You definitely look stupid to me.

    June 16, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. JS in CT

    Talk about politicizing the crisis! THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS SHAMELESS. These are the people who gave us the anti-regulation mentality that contributed to the government ineptitude in monitoring BP. These are the people who have told us to trust our future to corporations. If there had been government spending proposed to have an oilspill cleanup system in place, they would be against that spending. If there was a tax on oil companies to create a fund that would promote cleanup technology, they would have opposed that tax. If there had been a requirement, like Canada and Norway, to have relief wells be required, they would have said this was a burdensome regulation. The republican party is nothing but hypocrites!!

    June 16, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. cjr

    why don't republicans just go away – they bore me – no to the party of no!

    June 16, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Ramon

    Does not matter what Obama does the GOP hopes of failure for this president. They hope unemployment doesn’t change when they created this problem. They hope that financial reform doesn't pass and oil spill continue to flow when they deregulate the industries. They hope he doesn’t have success in the war. If they had dithered a little we would not have gone to war in Iraq. GOP want failure for American to regain power to do what?

    June 16, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Jim in St. Johns, FL

    Gloria Borger is an indiot. "errant and ugly oil?

    No, Gloria, the largest environmental disaster this country has ever faced.

    "But this was about a president asserting control on the ground, not soaring rhetoric."

    Right Gloria, after 58 days he decides to "assert control on the gorund", Great....

    No bias?



    Editor's note: Gloria Borger is a senior political analyst for CNN, appearing regularly on CNN's "The Situation Room," "AC360°" and "State of the Union" as well as participating in special event coverage.

    Washington (CNN) – We're not used to seeing President Obama in the Oval Office, and that's for a good reason: He's never spoken to us from there. Yet Tuesday night, he chose to address the nation from behind the desk on the stage that yells a few things before a word is even spoken – importance of topic, urgency of task and, of course, commander in chief.

    Trappings in place, Obama did sound like a president waging a fight, using the language of war to talk about the "battle" in the Gulf, one that is "assaulting" citizens; a "siege" for which he has a "battle plan."

    But the warrior soon morphed into a company man with a PowerPoint presentation: an authorization to deploy 17,000 National Guard members, 5.5 million feet of boom laid across the water, the building of new islands in the barrier reef, more burning and skimming to collect the errant and ugly oil.

    If you wanted to hear inspiration about the cleanup effort, it happened in the last paragraph of the speech when the president invoked the national "strength" and "resilience." But this was about a president asserting control on the ground, not soaring rhetoric.

    June 16, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Enough

    Poor Obama is in way over his head. He's a community organizer and doesn't have a clue. I still want to know why on day 3 after the explosion when the Dutch offered their assistance, it was turned down.....explain that Obama!

    June 16, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    There is no question, that the criticisms in the media, were necessary, to make something happen.

    June 16, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    These republicans really are getting on my nerves. These are the same people who voted to deregulate the oil industy and now that we have this oil spill they are trying to say they are better equipt to handle the situation. They are the one's who almost brought our country to it's knees. Now they want to take over and finish us off. American people can't handle another 8 years of hell.

    June 16, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. BS

    So Obama's speech wasn't politicized? Yea right.

    June 16, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Johnathan

    Republicans are the most destructive force in the progress of the nation. Anytime one begins to flap their lips, RUN!!!

    Limbaugh and Beck are trolling for an assasin every time they speak.

    Their mess. shut the F up, sit down and get outta the way.

    June 16, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Dale

    ... And if he had jumped in and taken control as the Republicans now believe he should have, all those same Republicans would have been wailing about how Obama "nationalizing another corporation."

    Maybe the Republicans should do something productive instead of whining for once. Maybe go down to the ocean and stick their heads in the water, as they certainly seem to have the ability to suck.

    June 16, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. lstro

    Sorry Party of No, I don't buy it, your party has long ago lost its creditability and your comments here are yet another political attempt to make the President look bad. If you really cared about the American people try doing more to work with the President to get things done. We know that's not going to happen.

    June 16, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. David

    What has the GOP done or even offered? Nothing but gripping and pointing fingers. Do something!

    June 16, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. caliguy57

    The RNC has become a fantasy generator, churning out nonsense for its followers to consume. And, as its money dwindles, I'm sure it'll become even more detached from reality, which of course is in line with the thinking of most of its members. For me, November can't come fast enough so that I can sit by and laugh as the RNC and its monkeys wander around like chickens with their heads cut off, wondering what went wrong. Already, the fight between the RNC and the tea baggers is providing entertainment for those of us, who like to watch political theater. One can only imagine what the rest of the primary season will be like as fools confront fools over meaningless matters.

    June 16, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Betty SC

    What could Obama have done meeting the idiot of BO early. Well the Repubs knows more than BP. Maybe BP wasn't ready because they had not even figured out what was the problem or how it happen. Repubs get a serious life and stop asking the American people to look at things one sided.

    June 16, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. TCM

    absolutey he dithered...and stalled...and then has a 20 minute meeting with BP's CEO? About the nation's worst environmental disaster.? He spent longer kicking sand on the beach while Charlie Crist kissed his behind....Obama let this drag on, spilling millions of barrels more than necessary into the gulf, killing jobs, wildlife, ways of life...all to further his agenda of energy taxation. Then, which energy company do you think will benefit from the lucrative government contracts? BP of course!

    June 16, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Patrick from Minnesota

    The Republicans deregulated the minerals industry so this could happen. remember Reagan and Bush? I'm sure if McCain won and this happened he would respond by privatizing the Management Service along with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

    June 16, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Justin

    Actions, facts, and outcomes don't matter. What matters is whether or not the president matches your party affiliation. If McCain were president (and nothing else were changed), we'd see the Democrats criticizing and the Republicans defending. Partisan criticism is just a part of the endless campaign. It's sickening.

    People's livelihoods are in trouble, rig workers are dead, and the environment is seriously threatened, yet we're all running around trying to find people (in the opposite party, of course) to blame so that we can score political points for the next election.


    June 16, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. mark

    Didnt seem to care until his poll numbers or a white house aid made mention of it.

    June 16, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Joan

    Since the permits for these deep oil wells were issued under the last administration and it is well known the ties they have with big oil (eg Cheney and Haliburton) the Republicans should be apologizing not criticizing. It is them who are trying to politicize this. When this is over, the clean up is well under way and the commisions give their reports, it is a pretty safe bet that many Republicans will be indicated in the blame for this whole mess. They are definitely trying to put up smoke screens to divert the real issues. Business as usual for them.

    June 16, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. GW

    The GOP fails again. Plain and simple. Its not like the situation in AZ, financial reform and the economy werent on the POTUS' plate. Not to mention BP has misrepresented the scope of the oil spill. When it first happened it was only thought to be a 1000 barrels a day.

    June 16, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Patricia

    Talk about finger-pointing. That's about all the Republican party can do!!! This is an idiotic suggestion that Obama is sitting around twiddling his thumbs and playing golf and going on vacation.

    If you will recall our former President......

    Get a grip on reality and think about where we've been the past 8 years with the Bush/Cheny debaucle....

    and one further thing to think about. It's time we all took some responsibility for what happened in the Gulf. WE are all responsible, we are so dependent on oil that we turned our head for generations and now we get what we deserved, but the Gulf states got hit hardest and we all need to be responsible for making it right

    June 16, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10