It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
As the president visits the Gulf anew, Richard Wolffe reports that he was first briefed in April on how bad the spill would be. Plus: the real reason the White House is so mad at Carville—and why Obama would rather talk about the economy.
Critics have bashed President Obama for being slow to seize the political initiative in combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely believed to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed—and deploying the Coast Guard—within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole.
Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.
As they plot course, Obama’s team is determined to avoid two scenarios. They’re mindful of BP’s habit of scheduling rounds of TV interviews to tout a new development—only to discover that the news was more disappointing than expected. And they want to avoid the perception that the president is focused exclusively on the oil spill, at a time when both public and private polling shows Americans have greater concerns—and care far more about the economy at this stage than they do about the oil spill.
“If jumping up and down and screaming were to fix a hole in the ocean, we’d have done that five or six weeks ago. We’d have done that the first night.”