[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/18/art.romney.0606y.gi.jpg caption ="Mitt Romney accused President Obama Friday of mishandling the BP oil spill."]Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney accused President Obama Friday of mishandling the BP oil spill, and specifically charged that the president had a dangerous hands-off approach in the early days of the crisis.
Romney, appearing a campaign stop in South Carolina for gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley, called the Obama administration's response to the spill "ineffective" and said the White House has relied too heavily on BP to cap the oil leak.
"In this kind of a crisis situation, the president's response should have been to step in, bring in the experts, people from various oil companies, from leading institutions, academic and engineering firms and look at the options for actually capping this oil spill and then actually making those decisions," Romney said.
He added, "That is something which he has delegated to BP. As the company responsible for causing the spill in the first place, I think it was a mistake to rely on BP for 60 days or so to make the decisions on how to cap the oil spill. They have been ineffective in that regard."
The former Massachusetts governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate would not comment on a controversial remark by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. Barton apologized Thursday for saying that BP's $20 billion fund to pay for oil spill damages was the result of a "shakedown" from the White House.
Romney said he is "pleased that funds are being put aside" to help Gulf residents affected by the spill.