Barack H. Obama, the current president of the United States, just held a press conference, his first in over a year. As you probably know, a foreign oil company has been spilling a lot of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It started more than a month ago (April 20) and apparently our current president thought it was time he said something about it.
Obama said his people ordered the company to drill two holes as part of the effort to control the spill instead of the single one that executives had proposed. “BP is operating at our direction,” Obama said. “Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance,” adding that, “if the Coast Guard ordered BP to do something, they are legally bound to do it. BP is not running around wherever it wants and nobody’s minding the store,” Obama said. “Our teams are authorized to direct BP, in the same way that they’d be authorized to direct those teams if they were technically being paid by the government.”
When a reporter asked about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s comment that the administration has their “boots on the neck” of the oil company, Obama replied “We don’t need to use language like that. What we need are actions that make sure BP is held accountable.” It is unfortunate Salazar did not consult with the vice president about the use of language before making that statement.
Elizabeth Birnbaum was head of the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that oversees offshore oil drilling. She just resigned. A reporter by the name of Chip Reid asked our current president about it. He replied that he knew she was gone, and added “I don’t know the circumstances in which this occurred.”
Presumably as a courtesy to clear Ms Birnbaum, lest she be blamed for the accident, Obama told the reporter that corrupt practices of the Bush administration are what led to the disaster.
The President announced he was running BP at about 1:16 pm. By 1:38 pm BP executives declared the flow had begun to slow and the oceans had started to clean. Obama will visit the Louisiana shoreline tomorrow to view the damage. It is presumed that from there, he will walk out to the sight of the spill and turn the remaining oil into wine.
The transcript of our current president’s more or less annual press conference is here.