[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/28/art.obamapodium.getty.jpg width=300 height=169]
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama has suggested the federal government is effectively calling all the shots on the Gulf oil spill. But with more and more of those shots seemingly going astray…well, what is a faithful pen pal to do, but post yet another letter to the White House?
Dear Mr. President,
Seriously? You’ve suggested that the federal government is calling the shots in the Gulf at the big oil spill, that we can all rest assured BP is acting only under the direct supervision of your administration, and you’ve clearly given the impression that you are personally engaged. But if any of that is the case, how is it possible that their big, fancy “top kill” procedure was stopped for 16 hours while apparently almost everyone… including your Coast Guard commandant…did not know?
I know that you came out with a bunch of strong statements, pledging unflagging support to fix this situation, and saying you get it. “The federal government has been in charge.” “Make no mistake, BP is operating at our direction.”
Again, I ask, seriously? Is it at your direction that the public is being kept in the dark? Does being “in charge” mean allowing a corporation that has already stumbled into a calamity to treat the public’s interest and concern as if it is something they can get around to addressing whenever they feel like it?
Presidential power, in case you haven’t noticed, is driven in large part by perception. When any president allows circumstances to make him look weak, easily fooled or cowed, the country itself is undermined. It is not enough to simply say strong words. You must take strong actions. You need a team that delivers strong results. And there is simply no clear evidence that you have that in this crisis…at least not yet.
I can’t explain how this is happening. I don’t know the inner-workings of it all. Maybe somehow you have a great, secret, don’t-pay-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain solution to reveal in the 11th hour. But at the moment this I do know: Your response to this disaster is still looking inadequate at best, inconsequential at worst.
Call me for advice if you need it, but frankly I can give it to you now quicker: Get down to the Gulf and stay there until you really are in charge…not just saying it.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with