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. Daniel

    James has lost it. I don't think he or Mary have any credibility. There's no way the two of them could espouse such wildly diverse viewpoints and live in the same household. They are just two more in Washington who "do it for the money".

    May 26, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. Trooper Bri

    Why did we fail to deploy the Coast Guard and other divisions to assist with defending the shorelines around the spill area?

    We had no problem cranking out enough intelligence to study every aspect of the situation, but offered no help where the help was needed. We just sat back and studied what BP did, while shaking our finger at them. Meanwhile, countless gallons of crap have now fouled the shoreline with little or no resistance.

    God Bless Larry Hooper. A friend who retired to Empire with his wife Jo in 2004 and become a fisherman. Who is now out assisting with the cleanup. Good luck buddy, it's been a bumpy 6 years! 😉

    May 26, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. McCain-Palin

    "Drill Baby Drill"
    Now it is "Spill Baby Spill"

    May 26, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. Discernment


    Southern GOP voters put Bush-Cheney and his oil men in for two terms. Soon after entering office, Bush-Cheney began stripping away all EPA, MMS, and OSHA power that would have prevented this BP disaster.

    Now the same Gulf State GOP (anti-government) voters who were against federal assistance to U.S. auto-manufacturers in northern states, are crying out for President Obama to come with federal assistance that is basically non-existent.

    May 26, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. mac316

    what an opportunity to nationalize the oil companies i bet obama is frothing at the mouth over this one //////////////// any bets?

    May 26, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. Bobb

    Easy to point the finger isnt it Mr Carville. Perhaps some one should point the finger at you for creating a demand for oil that prompted BP to drill in such a risky way. I am not taking the blame off of BP, they screwed up...but, if those of you that drive cars either switched to electric or pedal power where applicable...perhaps the demand would not be so high for oil. All I am saying, is I see many cars around the city with only one occupant going across town. How can we as a nation turn a blind eye to the waste of gas that creates a demand on oil resulting in a spill of this magnitude? Shouldnt all those who drive cars needlessly feel some of this blame? It is easy to point the finger when it does not point at you.

    May 26, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Colin

    Ah carville, Mr. Big Government... the feds are NO one's "daddy" nor should they be. BP should be held accountable but asking the feds to step in would be like asking Popeye to fill that wouldn't happen. The government should not be the answer to everything. But hey, you are a closet commie...

    May 26, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. w l jones

    Some people could not find there way across the street when it come to what the government should or should not do. Those Oil contract were least to a privtate company and have to waite and see what the company going to do before the government step in and direct what it expect of them.

    May 26, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. sbkilb

    I am disgusted once again by the inaction of the gov't!!! This is an enviormental holocost that for 38 days very little has been done. What the hell is Congress spending the time with hearings now when the problem is not being addressed quickly enough. Fix the problem then investigate. I voted for Obama but this is his "Katrina" and I will not forget it in the next election! We should be ashamed as citizens that we as a people our not more in an uproar over this. This isn't going to just affect the Gulf states, or that enviorment this will cause damage to the entire nation for generations.No amount of money from BP will ever replace what has been lost for generations to come!! We all should be voicing our disgust, anger, and disbelief that once again we pander to big business,corrupt gov't here at home and abroad.SHAME ON US!!!!!

    May 26, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. Dannyg

    Maybe someone needs to tell Carville that his daddy is incompentent and don't know what to do.

    May 26, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  11. Too Busy

    Too busy campaigning for miss " i'd rather be in cuba" out in CA. No leadership quality in this bunch of so called leaders.

    May 26, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Is Mary asking for the government to step in?

    May 26, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  13. Jeffmarek

    This is Obama's Katrina....

    May 26, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. Colorado Scott

    You are joking correct? 37 days in and we have to wait until this Friday for the President to see the spill and then and only then will he realize we have a catastrophy big enough to kill the gulf. Seriously?!

    That is as bad as Salazar saying he is frustrated last Monday.

    If the President hasn't seen TV, internet, or a paper and his crack staff has not informed him how serious this situation is, then the gulf is but a grain of sand in the bucket of issues we face as a country.

    As for Salazar, he needs to realize he IS the boss. A boss does not get frustrated. Rather, the boss will fire the people not accomplishing the job, find people who can get it done, and bust down the barriers that get in the way. Someone needs to coach Salazar on how to be Zar Salazar (Boss).

    I also recomment putting the CEO of each of the three companies tied to the spill in a large jail cell, with laptops, phone, and all other office equipment they need to run the business of cleaning up the Gulf. They will be released when the Gulf spill clean up is complete and the restitution of all the good people along the coast has been fairly implemented.

    If anyone in the top levels of Government has an issue with managing this situation, let me know. I'm a boss. I manage thousands of people internationally. I get big things done and done now.

    May 26, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. Gator

    We have been trying to get a fed permit for weeks to build berms between the barrier islands to stop the oil from getting to the marsh. While the washington do nothings sit on their collective butts, the oil has reached the marshes, I'll bet if it was threatening martha's vineyard they would be jumping to do something. This bunch has no clue about anything but being full of empty words and crap

    May 26, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. boundsdh

    Boycott ALL products made in England.
    If we place pressure on all of England (where BP is) we may get more action.

    May 26, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Karen

    Keep after the administration James & Mary – you are there and see what is going on. This is totally unacceptable and ruining the lives of so many as well as the marshes, land, fish and birds. Crazy! I hope you get right in Obama's face on Friday (day 39)!

    May 26, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  18. Cheryl Clermont

    I really don't buy that the President isn't fully aware of the oil soaked wetlands on the Louisiana coast. Anyone who watches CNN knows what's going on!

    May 26, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. Donald Norman: Louisville, KY

    I'm a liberal Democrat and I excitedly supported Pres. Obama: but not this time. Actually I am duscusted and saddened. Mr. Carvelle, why should the president have to be told what is going on in LA? Thee weeks ago I thought that unless this oil gusher was immediately stopped, this country could suffer the worst ecological devistation in history. And now, sadly, its coming to be. After the president vfiewed the area he should have returned to Washington and summoned the best scientists, engineers, the military NASA etc, and attacked this situation as if a million man army was about to invade the US. Instead he acted like that dumb ass Bush who viewed New Or. from a plane and then did nothing. After all the criticism why is he waiting until Friday to return? He should go tonight!

    May 26, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Just what in the world does Carville or anyone else think
    Washington can actually do but talk!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Its insane-
    Unless Obama wants to nuke the wellhead there is not much expertise in Washington for solving the problem-
    Not that politicians are expert at anything anyway but talk and taxes.

    May 26, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. twinsdad

    I live on the Texas coast about 15 minutes from Lousiana. This is and for a very long time going to be a disaster. Things need to be done now. Fine if they plug it soon but now is the time to do anything possible to contain it. I am not sure what the toxic crap they are experimenting with can do except sink it so you can't see it. The Gulf will be a toxic dump. Get it together now or never!

    May 26, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  22. Josef Ochsenfeld

    The depth of my disappointment with the response to this spill can only be contrasted to the hope and excitement I felt when We elected President Obama. No more talk (esp from BP), No more Big oil, No more lobbyists, just clean it up before we've killed the Gulf of Mexico.

    May 26, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Hey, BP said they could handle a spill 50 times the size of the one in the gulf!

    May 26, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  24. Jane

    I can only wonder if this disaster happened on the east coast causing damage to New York, Virginia, or Maryland if the WH would have responded differently. It seems because it is in the south and is affecting poor southern people it is not being handled as rapidly.

    May 26, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. Pretend Hero

    Mr Carville is being far to kind to the President. People need to understand this is quickly becoming worse than Katrina, and as days and weeks turn into (literally) months, nothing is being done. As Ms Matlin states, nothing is being done. There should be pump boats, skimmers, rescue people, national guard troops, etc swarming over this place.

    Even if our Govt does not want to step up and take action on stopping the flow of oil, there is a great deal that could be done to contain whats in the water and begin the cleanup effort. Again, we are nearly 40 days into this, and Mr Carlins hope is that in a few more days the President will realize this is a big deal???????????????????????????????????????????????????

    May 26, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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