OBAMA ‘WILL NOT TOLERATE MORE FINGER-POINTING’…. This week’s congressional hearings on the BP oil spill disaster were unpleasant to watch. The problem was not just the painful subject matter, but also the circular quality of the responsible companies desperate to avoid accountability.
BP, for example, blamed Transocean for the equipment failures. Transocean blamed Halliburton for manufacturing breakdowns. Halliburton blamed BP for faulty design. BP blamed Transocean….
President Obama spoke in the Rose Garden this afternoon, and in addition to updating the public on the status of the response, he sounded pretty annoyed about the buck-passing.
“Let me also say, by the way, a word here about BP and the other companies involved in this mess,” the president said. “I know BP has committed to pay for the response effort, and we will hold them to their obligation. I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter. You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.
“I understand that there are legal and financial issues involved, and a full investigation will tell us exactly what happened. But it is pretty clear that the system failed, and it failed badly. And for that, there is enough responsibility to go around. And all parties should be willing to accept it.
That includes, by the way, the federal government. For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill. It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore. To borrow an old phrase, we will trust but we will verify…. I will not tolerate more finger pointing or irresponsibility.”
Update: CBS News White House Correspondent Chip Reid told viewers, “The president seemed genuinely angry today, on a beautiful spring afternoon in the Rose Garden. Having watched him on a daily basis for about a year and a half, I’m confident he wasn’t faking it.”