June 9th, 2010
11:44 AM ET
11 years ago

Steele: Why will Obama talk to Ahmadinejad, not Hayward?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/08/art.steelernc.gi.jpg caption =" Steele is taking aim at Obama for not speaking with Tony Hayward."](CNN) – Republicans are continuing to put pressure on President Barack Obama for not speaking directly with BP CEO Tony Hayward during the ongoing oil crisis in the Gulf Coast.

Speaking on Fox News, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Wednesday that he doesn't understand why the president is apparently willing to talk face-to-face with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but not Hayward. In a 2007 presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Obama suggested he would be open to meeting with Ahmadinejad, a comment that drew heavy criticism from his Democratic and Republican opponents. Obama later said that he is willing to meet with Iranian leaders, and that such a meeting "could include" Ahmadinejad.

"I don't get it - you tell the American people that you want to sit down and talk face-to-face with Ahmadinejad, but you don't want to talk face-to-face with the guy that has a hand in creating the mess in the Gulf right now, and to try to figure out from him what needs to get done," said Steele.

The comments come a day after Obama told NBC he has not spoken with Hayward because "when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me – I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions."

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took a swipe Tuesday night at Obama for his remarks about Hayward, writing on her Facebook page that he should take a more active role in consulting experts who lived during the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill – including her. Palin was 25 years-old at the time of that spill and writes in her book that "most everyone we knew was directly affected, knew someone affected, or went to help clean up the spill."

Speaking on Fox, Steele said it is imperative Obama speak with Hayward "to impress on him what you as the president of the United States think he as the CEO of B.P. should be

Filed under: Michael Steele • President Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. chris

    talking to him would be "Big Government" getting in the way again of the corporate world? Why would the republicans want that? I think not talking to him says more about what needs to happen. Sarah Palin...shhhhhhhhhh...you really should not speak anymore...people are starting to realize who you really are.

    June 9, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. dawnie

    This is the first time I ever agree with this man. OBAMA need to go to the source.

    June 9, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Robert J

    I just read where another Repubklican moron (SARAH PALIN) thinks talking with a CEO is productive. (This disease of being a moron that Steele has must be contagious and spreading like an Alaskan wildfire!) If Palin ever had a real job, in a fortune 500 company, she would know most CEO's can't think beyond their nose without a huge group of people supporting them and telling them what to say. In Haywards case this of course would be the same idiots that allowed this mess to occur, and now don't know what to do with it! More great thinking from Palin- and then this moron wants the president to call her? For what? Now she knows how to fix the mess? Wonder woman unleashed! She can't fix boiled water!

    June 9, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Paul

    This is the same guy who blasted the Obama Admin for interfering with big business – and who can forget the comments from Grand Wizard Rand Paul about being too rough on BP!. Now they want Obama to get up into their faces. What a joke. Just another stunning example of how clueless the GOP and Steele are.

    June 9, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. chris

    The twisted workings of Sarah Palin's mind continues to astound me. She nows considered herself an expert on oil spills because she happened to live in Alakska during the Exxon Valdez disaster. It's the whole "I'm an expert on foreign affairs because I can see Russia from house" malarky again.

    "I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in actions" – we tried that approach with George W. Bush and see where it got us. No thinking or planning, just blindly rush into everything – like not bothering to double check if there really were WMD's in Iraq, or having an exit strategy, or including the wars in the budget, or anything of remote relevance.

    The she criticizes Obama for not being experienced enough when she wanted to be one heart beat away from the presidency with even less experience then him.

    As for Steele and the rest of the Republicans, and their constant critcism – the GOP spends the first year Obama's presidency screaming for the need for small, non-activist government. That if businesses like GM, Citibank and all the rest get in trouble, they should have to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and the federal government shouldn't be sticking their big noses in. And during Katrina they kept insisting disasters are the responsibility of the states and not the federal government. But the Republicans see the oil spill as nothing but an opportunity to tear down the President and score some political points.

    June 9, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Because Ahmadinejad is a politician and Obama knows how to talk to him. Tony Hayward is a CEO, actually knows something about running large organisations, and would thoroughly embarrass Obama, who, never having done it, knows nothing about running anything.

    June 9, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. reggie from la

    Ya know, unless you [Obama Oil Spill critics] march down to the gulf with sponges and better ideas, you really should jusk keep your flap to yourselves. It's much like Bush. What did you want? Whose "ass would you have wanted him to kick"? Gods? I know he didn't move as fast as we all wanted, but the damage was done. The oil is spilled/ spilling. If fist pounding would shore up those holes in pipeline, I'm sure that would have been the first resort. You clowns have taught your flock how to be stupid on this. The President's job is ALL things of national interest although the oil issure is of urgent concern. You are going to spin everything he does anyway, so he might just as well proceed to deal with issues while you do-nothing critics masterbate.

    June 9, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Gil

    What can he tell Hayward? Steele and the Party of No didn't do anything bi-partisan for the Health Care Bill or for other key issues. What a bunch of hypocrites. It will be a laugh when their right wing nut case candidates lose big in November!

    June 9, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Mesa Mick

    Obama won't speak to JD Hayworth because he has proven himself to be nothing more than a corrupted political grifter from AZ out to steal or take anything from anybody.

    That nut job from Iran on the other hand is only a few months away from having nukes.

    So I ask you rhetorically Mr. Steele – If you were POTUS which of those two would you chose between for the sake of protecting our country.

    It's a tough call I know, but nukes are nukes and Hayworth is just another sleazy rethugliCANT so the answer should be obvious – Unless of course you're a paid political party hack.
    OH, I forgot, you are a paid party hack, sorry...

    June 9, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. The Weatherman

    Mr. Steele,

    Don't confuse the democrats and Obama with the facts. It is sad to see confused people try to act smart.

    I notice your old buddy, Bob Erlich, is in prime position to be govenor or Maryland again. The times are a changin....Can you call of the dogs on immigration and gay rights and stick to building the economy? My vote is tied to economic intellect.

    The Weatherman

    June 9, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM


    A terrible disaster and this moron tries to make political hay... Go clean up a beach, moron!

    June 9, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Ramon

    Steet! could you say NUCLEAR and cant you say SPILL OIL SPILL or bondage clubs

    June 9, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The president of the United States should be dealing with heads of state. His staff should be dealing with the low lives from big oil that have been screwing the American public for the last several decades. Of course, when Cheney ran the Bush white house, big oil was treated like royalty and given the keys to our natural resources.

    June 9, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. NVa Native

    Steele, the GOPers, and the tea-baggers (fox followers) are a sad joke. Everybody knows by now that their only "work" is to slander our President with lies and deception while promoting the failure of the US on all fronts. Playing nasty political games while our country is in dire need of people who will work together for the benefit of all Americans.
    The baseless and unending attacks have reduced the GOPers and the teabaggers to "side show" staus as far as the independents and moderates go.
    Sure the general population is tired of the Senate/Congress not getting things done, but saying NO and doing nothing, or continually obstructing the people who actually are working to make things better is not a solution, it is a major part of the proplem.
    So keep talking trash "top of the heap trash-man" Steele it only confirms your exposure for the political hack you are.

    June 9, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. JFS

    Just what does this guy know about anything ???? He should be talking to the TRUE Republican Party so he can get a clue as to how many modeate Republicans are jumping ship on his watch. Nov. is going to be UGLY for the GOP. It is all of us silent GOP that will be taking our votes someplace else. Believe me Palin IS NOT where we are at....

    June 9, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    As opposed to republicans having BP and big oil on their speed dial.

    June 9, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I thought the crazy party of the right wingnuts did not want the government to interfere with big business.

    June 9, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Renee' McDuffie

    Michael Steele don't you get tired of looking like a horses ass. You repbulican need to give the Pres a break. No matter what he does all of you whine just like punks. When Bush was Pres it did not do any better. Rush had the nerve to call Obama adminstation a regime that fits you law breaking republicans.

    June 9, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Ken Jackson

    President Obama, in response to a reporter's question, made the following statement: "I like to know what I am talking about before I open my mouth. Michael Steele should adopt that philosophy. Too often, he [Steele] opens his mouth and does not have a clue. Given Tony Hayward's statements during this crisis, the man is either an abject liar, out of touch with his own operations, out of touch with reality or a mindless bufoon. Why would the president waste his time. Tony Hayward and BP has no idea of what they need so all he would get from Hayward is doubletalk. I think the President is taking the best course of action at this time. After the well has been capped and the clean-up well underway, they should enact a mandatory oil clean up reserve fund that oil companies must pay into based on the amount of oil extracted, the type of drilling involved and certain other risk factors to be used to offset the cost of any such future oil spills.

    June 9, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Duck Fallas

    Is it true that Rush hired Steele to do a soft shoe at his wedding?

    June 9, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Peace

    Because Ahmadinejad wants to wipe out a country from the map. Are you not aware of this Steele???

    June 9, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Michael in Orlando

    I understand why the President doesn't want to talk to BP. As he said, BP is going to say all the right things but you know people by their actions, not their words.

    Come on guys, the Republicans have been crying for smaller government, letting the private sector handle it's own but as soon as one of the Republican CoHorts screws something up BIG TIME and is told they will have to pay for it as in BP, the Republicans start throwing a fit and asking why the US isn't handling it.

    If you're honest with yourselves, which Republicans seldom are, you will note that the President has done everything humanely possible except taking his shirt off and doing manual labor.

    June 9, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Stacie

    Excuse me Mr. Idiot, Don't you see that Adm. Thad Allen talks to the jerk Hayworth on a daily basis. Heck, even James Carville ran into them having a dinner meeting in New Orleans the other day! You act like there's no communication. They are following the proper chain of command. Adm. Allen is dealing with the BP CEO and Secretary Chu is working with the BP scientists. DUH!!!!

    June 9, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. greg the progressive

    So we should just sit back and watch the rest of the world, except israel, interact with iran. yeah, that seems like a smart move.... to a bunch of self-serving christian zionists. as for BP, they should be finding solutions not talking about it, all of them from top to bottom until they have their mess cleaned up even if it takes them into bankruptcy... which i am hoping for.

    June 9, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Joe in PA

    Time after time Steele grabs on some tidbit of BS and tries to extrapolate to turn it into more than it it is worth. The republican party over the last 15 months has been doing the same. The loonies need to either propose some solutions to improve this country and move it forward or get the hell out of the way. Hopefully the voters will assist with that in November.

    June 9, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8