May 26th, 2010
08:40 PM ET
13 years ago

Carville: Obama needs to tell BP 'I'm your daddy'

Washington (CNN) – Just hours after completing a tour of oil soaked wetlands on the Louisiana coast, Democratic strategist James Carville blasted the Obama administration for its response to what he calls "a disaster of the first magnitude."

"The chairman of BP said that BP was a big important company and the United States was a big important country…BP is not the equal of the United States government," Carville told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "And this president needs to tell BP: I'm your daddy, I'm in charge. You're going to do what we say."

Joined by his wife and fellow CNN contributor Mary Matalin, an emotional Carville stressed the urgency of the situation. "We need some action here, and we need to get this thing moving very quickly," Carville said Wednesday on CNN's John King, USA.

Asked by King whether the disaster response has become a question of presidential accountability, Carville suggested that Washington lobbyists hired by BP were influencing the administration's response to the spill. "They've [BP] hired everything that walks in Washington," the Louisiana native said.

But Carville, a staunch supporter of President Obama, said he is still optimistic that the federal response will change after Obama visits the Gulf Coast later this week.

"I think when this president comes down here Friday and actually sees what is going on, I think we are going to swing into action here. I think we are very optimistic that we are going to have a sea change here Friday. I just think that the president is not being told what the situation here is in a very candid way, and I urge him to come and see."

Clutching a plastic bottle filled with oil from the wetlands, a visibly upset Matalin said that during their tour of affected areas, "We sailed through these marshes for two hours. We didn't see one boat, not one rescue effort, not one skimmer, not one container."

"But before we get to accountability, America just help, just help," Matalin said. "If everybody could help, put pressure on those that can help, there will be plenty of time for accountability and criminality and all the rest of it. But now, get down here, clean it up, contain it, don't let it do any more damage."

Filed under: Energy • James Carville • JKUSA • John King USA • Louisiana • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Pierce

    Meh, Carvy, we is all Louisianad-out.
    Katrina, corruption, oil spills, criminals . . . .

    For once, fix it yourselves!

    May 27, 2010 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  2. Mark

    This is pitiful. There should be an overwhelming national response to this disaster, there's time for blame later, but this is only going to get much worse. The President needs to deploy the military and whatever else is necessary to contain this.

    May 27, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  3. FredThorne

    I have been tirelessly defending our POTUS throughout this oil spill fiasco, stating that "I'm sure he is doing all he can." I've battled with trolls iin forums, I've lost sleep worrying about the oil washing up on shore. Well, the oil made it to land. The skimmers are not out skimming, the dredging ships are parked because Thad Allen refuses to listen to the locals, and it appears that Barack Obama is more concerned with raising money for republicans in California and rubbing shoulders with Big Oil. Friday it will be too late,.. actually, it's too late now. They (LA locals) could have had miles of barrier islands in place by now, but because of Thad and you, Barack, the bureaucratic red tape has halted any progress. All you would have had to do is made a phone call. I cannot express my frustration in words. I hope you get this message from your loyal supporters, Barack,.. You have dropped the ball, my man, we are Beyond Pissed!

    May 27, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  4. Joseph Banken

    Carville is right-on. Tell, but more important show BP who is in charge here! BP caused this problem with greed and now make them fix it with their checkbook. For once, this county needs to stand up to corporate misbehavior! I hope that I never have to buy a single gallon of a BP product the rest of my life. Let's make BP stop the blame-game and get this fixed, now!

    May 27, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. Drew

    Seeing with his own eyes shouldnt be a factor. And if Obama really isnt being told how bad all this is by his own people, what about by watching one of the many news media outlets in his downtime? Their experts have been painting a very clear picture of just how devistatng this is. Does CNN have better experts than the White House? Or is this just one big epic fail from the current administration?

    May 27, 2010 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  6. Olaf Big

    I think the reaction of the White House to this oil spilll is very typical of how politicians deal with crises. For them, if it is pending crisis it is not a crisis, if it is a potential disaster' it is not a disaster. They wait till people die, or the damage is in the billions, or both. Then they show up on national TV with somber faces and pledge to do everything "humanely possible" , to "bring those accountable to justice", to "make sure it never happens again" .... Obama unfortunately is no different. It was clear from day one that this spill has a potential to cause unprecedented environmental and economical damage, because the oil keeps gushing at a rate of at least 5,000 barrels a day at a depth where there is no reliable way to close of the well. Yet, until the oil hit the Louisiana shores, the administration did not bother to sound the alarm or to start working on a plan to contain the damage. There were more pressing matters like Wall street reform. Obama's Katrina? You bet, and you ain't seen nothing yet.

    May 27, 2010 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  7. Tim

    BP needs to pay dearly for this disaster that will affect us for at least a generation.
    No amount of money will ever repair nor replace the way of life that once was in the Gulf.

    Let's fine them in the billions not millions.....Obama get busy doing your job. YES YOU CAN!!

    May 27, 2010 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  8. derek

    the guy's right...obama been backstage on this mess bp created and continued to so on american shore. too many hired guns stand against obama. he need to disband these ppl and appoint some credible overseer to stop the leak. there a criminal element to this spill. bp has nothing to lose but money...american are losing there livelyhood. i too wish obama stop being so polite in the face of opponent. it ok obama to care for something so justly that it make u lose ur normal composer. i call it putting on your armor, drawing your sword to cut the b/s.

    May 27, 2010 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  9. DNA

    This man is right on the money.

    May 27, 2010 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  10. vwrtb

    If bp used union labor that actually follows safety regulation this disaster would have never happened... Keep hiring your cheap labor... Its all about profit!

    May 27, 2010 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
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