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. SayWhut

    What good would it do to talk to the CEO?? If my computer system crashes at work, I'm not going to call the friggin' CEO!? He won't know crap about how to fix it! Really?? You think it is necessary to sit down with the entire executive office of BP to impress upon them how pissed off the POTUS is??

    I don't care who the heck he talks to, as long as it is with the people who can actually get something done! DUH.

    June 9, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Meka

    BECAUSE, BP is controlled by CHENEY/HALIBURTON!

    June 9, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. D.

    When someones have no executive experience they shy away from executives. When someone has no foreign policy experience he is willing to talk with everyone who is not willing to talk with him (resulting in the same shying away from talks). This catch 22 presidency could have been laughable, if it was not endangering the nation and the world!

    June 9, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Terry B., Lexington, Ky.

    Of course you don't get it Mikey. YOU, Sarah, and the rest of the GOP can only think two demensional and THAT prevents you from looking outside the box and away from the GOP of yesterday. EVERYTHING YOU or your party wants or says is how it use to be done. Get some new ways of thinking, new ideas, and new fresh candidates instead of the same old re-runs YOU always give us and then and only then WILL YOU GET IT!!!!

    June 9, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Chuck, Tennessee

    Ahmadenijad will also "say all the right things" also. This president is so naive, it's scary.

    June 9, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    By Republican logic the POTUS should talk the CEO of any company that causes a major mess. So George Bush should have talked to the CEO of all the banks and financial firms that caused the last financial mess.

    June 9, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. SC

    This is how it goes, Steel. Let me put it bluntly for you. He is the President. He can talk whomever he wants to talk to. By me saying this, I'm not supporting the notion of the fact that the President can do whatever he wants. That's how it goes. This guy is like a little puppy. Every time a puppy needs an attention, what does it do? BARK!

    June 9, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Ryan

    Same reason you won't?

    June 9, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. SC

    Talk to Hayward? Steel, you sounded very much like Palin. You can only be as smart as people you hang with. She even took a step further in saying Obama should call her for advice. I don't know what advice she could give to Obama. Maybe HOCKEY advice. It's laughable that she wanted him to call her for the advice from someone who did not even have a clue about the bailout.

    June 9, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Peggy - TX


    I am not expertise in this issue, but clearly neither is Steel, so Steel’s willingness to publicly express his outrage with our President in the mist of a national crisis, with absolutely no basis, speaks volumes about Steel’s lack of creditability and Steeels lack of respect for the office of the Presidency and Steells caluseness towards the well being of the United States.

    Maybe talking face to face with the leader of a nation that is both powerful and hostile toward American helps cool things down, so talking with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sound reasonable to me.

    Our President’s response that he does not talk with BP CEO Tony Hayward also sounds reasonable because Tony Hayward IS SIMPLY NOT CREDIABLE. Our President appears to be focused on having discussions with those with the expertise to offer credible advise, those who have credible information to offer and those capable of taking action.

    Steels issue with President Obama has zero substance, but is consistent with the Previous Administrations bravado in foolishly and eagerly making things worst with nations that are hostile to the US and to also to foolishly believe sources such as CEOs and the like who want to remove the requirement for a $500k Acoustic triggered emergency shut off valve on deep water drilling because $500 is too much cost for these companies.

    June 9, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. DMS-AKA

    Talk to the CEO of BP for what............he has a host of people doing the talking for him .....why should he be subjected to the continued lies of BP's CEO who as NO answers ................................Obama WE LOVE U.

    June 9, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. bill

    how can this man steel look in the mirror.rush sarah steel .all FOX SOOO CALLED NEWS REPS.JESUS CHRIST COULDNT PLESASE.THESE IDIOTS.its time they get called out.there is such a thing as truth.in reporting.

    June 9, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Rod

    The Ahmadinejad vs. Hayward comparison is a false argument. In the military, when a high ranking officer inspects your unit that officer doesn't talk to the commander of that unit because he/she knows that the cdr is well trained at handling VIPs. If you want to really know what's going on in that unit, you go find a Private. He'll be more than willing to spill the beans on everything he likes or dislikes and you'll get the real story and not the dog/pony. Ahmadinejad is an "elected" politician in another country as well as a decision-maker as to the direction the country. If you want to attempt to change that country, you're at some point going to have to run it by him.

    In other words, the situations don't relate, so you can't compare them.

    June 9, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Living in America

    Stop the madness. Why should Obama call a Governor who quits, has a son and grandson the same age, writes on her hand while she sees Alaska from her house. Did the state of Alaska blame her for the Exxon-Aldez oil spill while she was Governor.

    June 9, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. jeremy..Big D..Tx

    And what effort is Mr Steele and republican party putting to help the suffering Gulf citizens? We are tired of empty words from these idiots. We want actions not empty words. Let him support repealing liability clause if he is serious.

    June 9, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Big George in Big D

    Because he's chicken!!! He's ill-equipped to handle this presidency!

    June 9, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Dan, TX

    But the republicans are interested in words over action. They don't want to fine BP they want us to resume deep sea drilling without Socialist government interference. Business knows better than government, right? Or, maybe the republicans want the government to take over BP and run it? I can't tell what the heck the republicans are trying to say. Other than stir up as much trouble for Obama as possible, of course.

    The government has talked to experts in industry and academia. They have taken the best advice and are implementing the consensus of that advice. There is always a need to talk to locals and improve what is happening on the ground. If the republicans hadn't filled the government jobs with industry insiders we might not have had this mess.

    June 9, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Joe

    Sorry Michael, you don't get it! Obama views or considers Ahmadinejad as a buddy, whereas Hayward and private business and capitaliusts by extention are enemies of socialism. Why should Obama speak to the latters?

    June 9, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. dee

    You're dead scapegoat walking! Stay out of sane folks work! Work on your same sad ideas. We voted you and yours down!

    June 9, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. E2

    Just wondering, if he talked to the BP CEO, would those blasting him had loved it?

    June 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. ramtruck2500

    personally I think micheal Steel should simply shut up on things he has no clue about. Talk about the ranting of a frustrated and angry black man. maybe he just needs a mama grizzley!

    June 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Margo

    This is all the Republicans have to say about everything going on with this country. This is sooooooo important. What a joke. Keep it up so the Dems can maintain control and actually get something done.

    June 9, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Larry

    STUPIDITY .... with a mouth

    The VOICE of the GOP ?????

    What a sad, disgusting bunch ...

    June 9, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. sonny chapman

    The people of Valdez, Alaska may have a different opinion of what Former 1/2 Term Gov.Palin did for their situation than the elevated opinion that she has of herself.

    June 9, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Foolish Steele

    Steele, it is about time you exit the party which is dying to see your black back. Shame on you to have the GOp using you in this manner. Come on over to the place where you will fit in quite easily, i.e the DEMS!!!

    June 9, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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