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. Randy

    As a CEO of a fairly large company, I agree with Obama. I'd tell him what I thought he would want to hear.

    Granted Tony et al have done a really shi..y job so far, but he runs a business that also has Shareholders. His problem now is that the Shareholders are taking a BIG hit because he's not done HIS job in stopping the "flow".

    Fudge pumping it up to the Ships, GET IT STOPPED.

    June 9, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    What would be the point in talking to him, anything he says is going to be more BS anyway. Do you actually think this guy is going to tell what happened, what was ignored or for how long its been going on? The US govt is all over him like white on rice and BP is doing everything they can, Albeit :its not enough. BP knows theyre chum in the water and have said they are going to give $ for damages. Dubya signed into law that any civil suit despite the damages could only yield a certain amount of money so I dont know if all the injured parties would get what they got coming. My outlook is if BP didnt plan on how to put a cap on the leak then why should there be a cap on what they owe to the people they screwed?

    What I would like to know if someone out there can explain if Dubya deregulated the oil companies, meaning there were no govt regulations for BP to follow, how can they get in trouble ? Intelligent comments only please

    June 9, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Georgia, Joe

    This has to be one of the dumbest lines of attack that the Steele and Palin could potentially take. What difference could it possibly make for the two of them to sit down for a chat? The people on the ground, from both BP and the Coast Guard, are in constant contact and talking about the detailed logistics of addressing the spill. You can be assured that if Obama had spoken with Hayward, the criticism would be that he was too cozy with him and letting him off the hook. This is simply an attempt to confuse the public about the steps being taken by both BP and the Government to actually address the spill and cleanup.

    June 9, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Carmelle

    What????? Are you serious???

    Steele...don't you have so teabags to suck on?

    June 9, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Will

    What a joke. Anything to criticize.

    If Obama was talking with Hayward consistently then he would be labeled as too close and personal with Hayward. If he doesn't talk to him he gets criticized.

    And does Sarah Palin really think she is an expert on the Exxon Valdez spilled just because she lived in Alaska during that time? How does that make you an expert?

    June 9, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Comments like this from Steele only reinforce the idea that republicans are not ready for leadership roles.

    June 9, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. NYCitizen

    Not only has Obama proven no leadership during the Gulf oil gush crisis, he has also proven that he runs the other way when a crisis as epic as this one comes along! Just visiting the Gulf region is not enough! The U.S. Government should have stepped into control long ago over this oil gush disaster. There is absolutely no excuse why this has not happened until now, which is only a meager effort by this Administration. Demanding BP to pay for those large sand barges Louisiana wants to build to protect the marshes is not enough of a demand to make on BP. I am thoroughly heart-sickened over the marine life and wild life adversely affected by this. Kevin Costner's machine is able to separate the oil from water, and the water that goes back into the ocean is 97% purified. Why is nobody putting him there!


    June 9, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. steve

    Producer Alexander Mooney,
    You are displaying a serious case of incompetence as a journalist because you are wrong on your facts about the claim of president's meeting with president of Iran in person. No wonder your ilks are the least trusted.
    Stop being the GOP stenographer . Do your home work on what the president said in 2007 debate for Gods sake.

    June 9, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Dave

    Steele and Palin are some of the most annoying people I have ever heard of. I really cannot figure out why the BP board of directors still has Hayward as the CEO. This guy is a textbook case of how not to handle a crisis such as this.

    Obama talking to Hayward would be like Obama talking to a fool. Hayward is just a figurehead in this struggle. He is a pretty face that BP is putting on TV to try to sooth the general public. What good could talking to this guy possibly do in the long or short run?

    June 9, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. ART

    What is wrong with these war mongers? Steel is nothing more than an uncle tom with absolutely nothing substantial to say

    June 9, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Tilly

    All this Advice from the likes of Palin and Steele.....they haven't a clue as to what has been done and what is being done and above all what can be done.......they sure seem to have a lot of advice for this administration but can't figure out how to do anything but OPPOSE, say NO and do nothing......these Republican politicians haven't been saying a whole lot during this disaster and they best NOT.....because they are the ones so deep in the back pockets of Big Oil companies....it was their President Bush that created the slack rules for these Big Giants and just like the economy that Bush put us in the whole and Obama has to come in and clean house, the same goes for these big Oil companies........Hayward is getting the message and that is that his company is going to be paying for this mess for a long time......all the experts in the world might have some ideas on how to fix this mess but just like BP until they try their ideas they are no more sure that their ideas will work any better than the ones BP thought would work.......we're in a mess and it is going to take every politician in DC and everyone else to work together on this or kiss the Gulf Coast goodbye........maybe the prediction in Revelations is coming to be......where 1/3 of the animals in the air and oceans will die.......

    June 9, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. derbysailor

    No Mr. Steele, Ms Palin, et.al, there is nothing that BP would like more than for the govt to step up and intervene. It's called liability and it's all about money. Had the feds stepped in on day 2 or 3, Tony would be all over the airwaves declaring that if they had just been given another day or two, it would have been over. If we take over today, Tony would say that they needed just another few hours and they'd have it licked. And that is what they would be saying in court for the next 50 years..."they shoved us out of the way JUST when we were about to stop this thing". No, the taxpayers have no business helping BP to skate on this one.

    June 9, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. stonebuke@yahoo.com

    Why should Obama talk to the guy, it would only be more BS anyway. BP knows theyre toast, theyre trying everything they can think of to stop the spill, albeit ; it aint nearly enough. They have said they are going to pay $ to the injured parties along the coast. Prob with that tho is that Dubya wrote into law that anyone suing a big business entity could only yield a certain amount of $ so who knows how much anyone can really get. The rule of thumb should be if BP wasnt worried about how to cap such a catastrophe then no one should worry about capping what the injured parties receive from BP.

    If anybody knows the answer to this question please reply. If Dubya deregulated the oil companies from any oversight from the govt, then how can BP get into any trouble with the govt (and the People) if there were no regulations for them to break? Intelligent answers only please

    June 9, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Bruce

    I don't always agree with Steele but on this issue he is dead on.

    June 9, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Ron in California

    What a joke Obama says He won't talk to 'Hayward because he wiil only say the right thingsand he is interested in actions. HUh! Ahmadinejad has been doing te same thing for years in Iran's quest to get a Nuke. You think an Oil spill is bad. Just wait.

    June 9, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    Here is a guarantee. If John McCain was president when this happened he would not be taking the role of a confused bystander. He would not have waited 6 weeks to figure out who was ultimately responsible for protecting the country.

    June 9, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Adam in Colorado

    Ahh, the Republicans believe that they have found an issue with sticking power. Now they will dig dig dig and open it up! Yes, try to make the connection with Ahmadinejad relative to this situation. Palin, take some diggs at how much better you would have handled it.... if you just... had... the... power.

    But help the President? No, this is just his problem. We'll be critical from the sidelines.

    June 9, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Glennis

    It does seem strange that he doesn't speak to Hayward. It sort of makes him look less than presidential. He needs to go down to the gulf, not for more photo ops, but to actually speak to Hayward so that he understands what's happening and Hayward understands that the president isn't going to be satisfied with anything less than his best efforts. Seems to be just another example of the all talk and no action persona that is Obama.

    June 9, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. billybob 'n NC

    Steele, just shut the he!! up! I am so tired of you "do-nothing" re-publican'ts coming our with these meaningless criticisms. Why would anyone want to talk to haywood....like you, he is a lying idiot!

    June 9, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Dave

    It's comparing apples to oranges. Then again, a brainless idiot like Steele couldn't possibly understand either situation.

    June 9, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Cindy

    Talk talk talk talk talk. That's all politicians ever do.

    Except Sarah... she "talks" on Facebook.

    Enough with the grandstanding, posturing and pontificating... do something!

    June 9, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. n. passard

    Mr. Michael Steele is so IRRELEVANT from his past comments, adopted stances and manufactured outrages that this latest stance only emphasizes how RIDICULOUS and SILLY this moron has become.

    June 9, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. ART

    Sarah Palin is an idiot , she is void of any common sense and needs to stop spewing her brand of hate and crazyness and stupidity. The only help she could possibly offer in this circumstance is if she was phisically used as a plug to stop the flow of oil

    June 9, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Jon

    Haha, now Sarah Palin has oil spill recovery experience the same way she has foreign policy experience: she was within several hundred miles of them.

    June 9, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. pc

    this coming from a bunch of DO NOTHING SLIME REPUBLICANS , makes me sick!
    we all have gotten the message, everyone blames the president on being to slow, doing to much in front of the camera, not talking to the right people, showing weakness etc: so repuks just give it up unless you old dudes have a salution to help obama clean this mess up, until then SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

    June 9, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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