TOPICS: Oil spill, Obama reaction, Obama approval rating, opinion of BP
Workers on a contaminated beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Six in ten Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama's handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a jump from last month, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that vast majority of the public disapproves of how BP has handled the environmental disaster and two-thirds say making a profit rather than cleaning up the spill is oil giant's top priority.
Fifty-nine percent of people questioned say they disapprove of how the president is dealing with the spill, up eight points from May. Forty-one percent say they approve of how Obama's handling the crisis, down five points from last month.
While the president's numbers are dropping, he still fares better than the federal government. Only one in four give the federal government a thumbs up on how it's dealing with the oil spill, with 74 percent saying they disapprove.
The survey is the first national poll conducted entirely after the president's Tuesday night prime time television address on the oil spill to the American people. Obama's speech directly followed his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast since the environmental disaster began on April 20.
Washington (CNN) - As BP CEO Tony Hayward gets grilled on Capitol Hill Thursday, a senior administration official acknowledged Hayward never had any direct one-on-one contact with President Obama during Wednesday's White House meeting.
In defending that decision, the official said there was nothing the president needed to say to Hayward that he didn't say to the entire group.
Obama met for 20 minutes with the group of BP executives, then individually in the Oval Office for another 25 minutes with Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.
Asked if the president used strong language to scold the executives, the official insisted that the tone was "businesslike."
The official, who was present for part of the meeting, suggested the real arm twisting took place in the days leading up to the meeting and that while there were still sticking points, BP executives showed up aware of what they needed to do.
Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Joe Barton had some harsh words for the White House at a key hearing Thursday on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster: "I am ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation would be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown - in this case a $20 billion dollar shakedown." Barton was referring to BP's establishment - at the behest of the administration - of an escrow account to pay for claims.
(CNN) - Lawmakers on Thursday will get their first chance to grill BP CEO Tony Hayward, the man fighting to save his and his company's reputation as BP fights to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Hayward will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. The hearing will examine what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in April and the oil disaster.
A letter to Hayward from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, says a congressional investigation alleges that the besieged oil company took a low-cost, speedy approach to drilling the now-broken deepwater well responsible for the growing spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The hearing comes a day after Hayward met with President Obama, who last week charged that if it were up to him, Hayward would have been fired by then.
“He hasn’t clearly made any decision yet,” Bachmann said of her state’s Republican governor in an interview on CNN’s John King, USA. “And I haven’t backed any candidate yet or said that I’m going to be necessarily on their team. It’s very early in the process.”
“If you could pick, who would it be?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked the Minnesota lawmaker.
“Well, we’ll find out,” Bachmann coyly replied, “I think after 2010, it will become much clearer.”
But the conservative Republican did have one 2012 prediction which she was willing to share.
"Members are angry. Members are frustrated," Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, told CNN's Dana Bash. "They're going to take his hide off, as they should."
Stupak, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, outlined evidence his committee has put together from thousands of pages of internal BP documents.
In Thursday's hearing, Stupak intends to focus on what the lawmaker sees as a pattern of behavior on BP's part that risked safety in order to contain costs and make up for the drilling project's being behind schedule.
(CNN) - BP will continue to pay the costs for the oil spill cleanup and will work out with its drilling partners later who is liable for the costs, an executive for the oil giant told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday.
"BP is paying all the bills right now," Darryl Willis, the vice president of resources for BP America, told the senators. "We are focused on making sure that the costs associated with this cleanup and spill in the Gulf of Mexico are paid and that the people who have been hurt along the Gulf Coast are compensated for their losses, and any federal costs that are associated with the cleanup are paid back to the American people."
The government bills the companies responsible for the disaster on one invoice, said Craig Bennett, director of the National Pollution Fund. It doesn't matter if one or all companies pay the bill.
(CNN) - The Gulf oil disaster "never should have happened," and BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says he is "deeply sorry" that it did.
Hayward is scheduled to appear Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing on the oil rig explosion and fire that killed 11 workers and set off the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. In written testimony obtained by CNN, Hayward repeatedly says he is fully aware of the harm caused to the Gulf Coast region and commits BP to "do what we can to make certain that an incident like this does not happen again."
"Let there be no mistake - I understand how serious this situation is," Hayward's testimony says "This is a tragedy: people lost their lives; others were injured; and the Gulf Coast environment and communities are suffering. This is unacceptable, I understand that, and let me be very clear: I fully grasp the terrible reality of the situation."
Hayward says he was personally devastated by the deaths of the 11 workers and called attending their memorial service "a shattering moment."
"I want to offer my sincere condolences to their friends and families - I can only imagine their sorrow," Hayward says in the written testimony. "My sadness has only grown as the disaster continues."
Saying he wants to speak directly to the people of the Gulf region, Hayward adds: "I know that this incident has profoundly impacted lives and caused turmoil, and I deeply regret that." He notes that many of BP's 23,000 U.S. employees live and work in the Gulf Coast region, and that BP has always tried to be "a good neighbor."