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. SRB

    James and Mary agree that situation is bad – I beleive it now.

    May 26, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Farshad

    Below is the solution:
    Adm Tad Allen has to be fired as soon as possible. He is on the side of BP and has done nothing efficiency so far to reduce the impact of this event. BP and coast guard are not following the USA government and EPA. A team made of US military, nasa, and scientists under the US government supervision has to resolve this problem and not the BP.

    May 26, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    YES, right James Carville! PLEASE tell President Obama that he needs to put the "screws" to BP. Someone suggested we should be fining BP....... $100, 000 MILLION A DAY for each day they do not contain the oil!

    May 26, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. JLP

    I live in LA; I voted for Obama... Come election time, I don't care who is running, anyone but Obama has my vote. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with and his people have become a BP cesspool. Turn this mess over to the military and that doesn't mean that worthless Coast Guard Admiral or the Corp of Engineers – both have proven worthless – Admiral (FIGMO); Corp (think Katrina). LA deserves better!!!

    May 26, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Jim Nickerson

    Come on you really think there is a goverment group out there that has been working on the answer to this problem for the past 50 tyears or something...the government knows oil as you do about the government. BP is the expert granted, I'm not happy with the whole "This has never happened before so we don't know what to do" stance....but they are the ones best suited to come up with the ideas of a solution. You put this in the government's hands – they will use it as an excuse to pass legislation to spend your tax money on some military project – I can see it now...Star Wars reinstated, A new fleet of space shuttles, and a satellite to shoot a lazer into the well in the attempt to melt stone and cap the well....should only cost us our first born and left legs dont you think? Leave it up to the experts and shut up unless you actually have a feasible idea!!

    May 26, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. jay

    I think these people need to understand Gods word that says forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us. BP had appologized and is trying to fix the problem. We need to stop trashing them, and wishing they were out of business. According the Gods word, if you make a mistake in the future you should be held to the fire like the way you are holding them. Forgive, forget and move on to fix the problem...

    May 26, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. Richard

    When Carville and Matalin agree on ANYTHING, you can take it to the bank that they are both right. BP is interested in only one thing...covering their own *ss, and their response to everything has that as the number one priority. Obama needs to take the reins from BP, tell them to go home and wait for the bill, and then get the Army Corps of Engineers, the best deep water drilling experts in the world, (those that haven't been bought off by BP yet) and clean this thing up. Then, as Matalin said, there will be plenty of time to put on trial the BP employees who knew there was a problem and did nothing, and the ones that covered it up. That includes the CEO. Jail time for every last one of them.

    May 26, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. DS

    Sorry, but I was utterly disgusted to see and hear Mary Matalin on your broadcast tonight. Is this not the same Mary Matalin that as Cheney's Chief of Staff, oversaw the private White House meetings with the energy companies just a few short years ago. I am no fan of huge government, but I detest these little government types like her and Jindal who only want little government on issues that do not pertain to their personal interests.

    I am deeply sorry about the accident in the Gulf. But to listen to her as part of the team that gutted the federal government and neutered the civil service make such a fuss is beyond my patience. Hopefully, she will have some opportunity to reflect on her contributions to the sorry state of affairs at MMS and in the Gulf.

    May 26, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. wayne

    "We need some action here, and we need to get this thing moving very quickly" Q'ball.

    Just words, rambling, meaningless words. What do you suggest Carville? Seems like you're doing that screaming, hysterical thing done at the Dome during Katrina. The best plan is being implemented now.
    ALL of YOU, all of you would still buy gas from GP if it were the only option. So just shut up and let BP do their work.

    May 26, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. F Obama

    Why should it take a visit to a devastated area for a President to get motivated and proactive? Is there some bizarre requirement we were not informed of? That to be President, you have to sit on your lazy, fat incompetent hole when things go terribly wrong? Why is this such a trend in American politics?

    Neither a simpleton caucasian or a faux radical black man can do the job. We need a one legged, chinese atheist down syndromed lesbian for President. In fact, the corpse of a one legged chinese atheist down syndromed baby would do a better job than Obama and Bush combined.

    May 26, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. Joe

    Right. Daddy is coming to Lousiana friday to tell everyone that his sons and daughters at BP stop the leak. It will stop by friday and Obama going to take as much credit as he can out of it. Maybe a coincidence or a set up, time will tell.

    May 26, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Let me get this straight...Bush (not lower level management) was excoriated over and over by the Democrats for inattentiveness during Katrina, but Carville gives Obama a free pass on this oil spill, saying the President "hasn't been advised appropriately of the magnitude" of the oil spill, therefore shifting blame to advisors. Nothing seems to be Obama's fault if things go south. The blame goes to Bush (still) or lower level management (who were hired by Obama). Another double standard by the Dems. If Obama needs to be advised, have him read any newspaper or cable show. They've been screaming about this for almost 40 days. Good grief.

    May 26, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Carville and Matalin are correct. We need everything out there picking up something. The more the better; the less we have to do later is the more we save LA's fishing and tourism businesses.

    May 26, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Obama: He's not your father's Jimmy Carter.

    May 26, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. jim

    What, Obama doesn't have a t.v., doesn't read any newspapers, doesn't have a single aid wit the guts to tell him the truth? if that is the case, he should resign tomorrow. Obama is another sad, very sad, example of a president out of touch with the country.

    May 26, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. dan

    good for carville, and even for matalin, who usually i do not trust. I think however they are a tad optimistic. the damage is quite massive already. An interesting idea floating around on the internet, use air filters to clean the oil soaked water.

    but the real thing to do is rein in the influence of oil companies which is clearly out of control.

    May 26, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  17. Elizabeth

    Will someone please explain to me what can the President and all the experts from MIT, NASA, etc do that has not been done or considered to stop this leak?

    I would personally feel better if Mr & Mrs. Carville were taking steps to get volunteers to help clean up the mess instead of frigging whine about something that they are trying to get a handle on ASAP!

    May 26, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. Bob Of Lompoc

    This guy was ALWAYS for Mrs. Clinton in the Dem Primary, and was very upset when she lost, not counting how nasty he was toward NM Gov Richardson, who came out for Obama. And Ms. Carville has never been anything but a talking head for Bush The Father, Bush The Son, The Lying Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and many another Republican. Why is what they say important? They are a poster boy/girl for "English Only". They both sound as if they were talking with mouth full of crawfish.

    May 26, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  19. Discernment

    Everybody with a problem wants the President to stop what he is doing and scratch their back.

    What happened to the wisdom of John F. Kennedy:
    "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country".

    I am very sympathetic to the people of the Gulf Coast. But the fact is the southern GOP voters brought it on themselves when they twice voted Bush/Cheney; who stripped away EPA & MMS power that could force BP not to cut corners which led to this disaster.

    May 26, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. craig

    I agree with Carville – Obama needs to get off his butt and tell BP: Your profits are OURS until this is fixed. All of them. Hell, nationalize BP. Pull all their leases. Make them BLEED. Obama is so in the pocket of big oil that he just is doing NOTHING...spending more time on his FUND RAISERS than dealing with this unparalleled disaster.

    BPs response has been measured, careful. I don't see them spending millions on clean up crews. I don't see them spending millions on containment booms. I don't seem them handing every single fishing outfit $50K and saying please, please help us by cleaning up the sand on the beach, going into the marshes with skimmers and cleaning up oil.

    Obama's history if he doesn't FIX THIS NOW!

    May 26, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  21. Thomas Arceneaux

    Carvile is full of crapp. Why don't you find someone who knows someting about what is really going on. Pitiful coverage.

    May 26, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. OARFNY

    Even Carville gets it. While Obama is waiting for Axelrod and Emanuel to tell him what he thinks the Gulf Coast is being damaged. For God's sake, we all know it's Bush's fault. The La Brea tarpits were built by Halliburton 65 million years ago and Bush made Pilate sentence Jesus to death. We know all that. But please, have the federal ggovernment assist in DOING something not just having hearings chaired by airheads.

    May 26, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. AccessFuture

    Obama isn't going to tell BP anything like what James Carville has said because "Obama shirks anything that would directly hold him responsible" mark my words, Obama will never put himself into a position of responsibility. Never happen!

    May 26, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  24. Isaac

    I thought Mary Matalin was all for offshore oil drilling. I don't understand how this is even happening, being that offshore oil drilling is 100% safe, but who cares, what's a little oil in the water going to do?

    May 26, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. No Incumbents 2010

    I have great respect for Mary Matalin and James Carville in this situation. They love Louisiana. The response by BP is very slow and Obama shares the blame for doing nothing.

    May 26, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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