June 15th, 2010
09:22 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Pres. Obama Outlines Oil Response Plan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/06/15/obama.speech/story.obama.gulf.afp.gi.jpg caption="Pres. Obama made his fourth visit to the Gulf this week." width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight Pres. Obama outlined his administration's efforts to tackle America's worst environmental disaster - the Gulf oil spill. It was his first prime-time television address to the nation from the Oval Office. It came just hours after he returned from a two-day visit to the Gulf.

"The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years," Pres. Obama said tonight. "But make no mistake: we will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy," he added.

Pres. Obama said his administration directed BP to mobilize additional equipment to the Gulf. "In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well," he said. The President stressed the leak won't stop completely until BP finishes drilling a relief well later this summer.

When Pres. Obama meets with BP CEO Tony Hayward tomorrow at the White House he said he will tell him the company must set aside "whatever resources... to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness."

"This fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party," Pres. Obama said.

Tonight on 360°, we'll talk about all these developments with Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, former presidential adviser David Gergen and New Orleans Radio Host Garland Robinette. Did they hear what they wanted from Pres. Obama?

What Pres. Obama did not mention in his address to the nation is the new estimate from government scientists who now say between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day could be leaking into the Gulf. Just last week the estimate was 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day. In BP's Spill and Response Plan filed with the inadequate government agency, the Mineral Management Service, it said it could handle a spill of 250,000 barrels a day. Keeping Them Honest, that's obviously not true. They haven't even been able to handle what's now estimated to be up to a 60,000 barrels a day spill. We'll be digging deeper on all this tonight.

There's also the controversy over BP's plan to protect walruses in the Gulf of Mexico. You read that right: Walruses. The thing is there are no walruses in the region.

The whole thing just makes you wonder who has oversight over these oil companies? How can they even file such insane plans? Well, the Mineral Management Service is supposed to be doing that job. Tonight we're adding the agency to our list of "Culprits of the Catastrophe." David Mattingly reports on how the MMS has a history of misconduct. Even in his address to the nation tonight Pres. Obama said "this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves." Tonight Pres. Obama announced new leadership at the agency. We'll tell you who he's picked to act as "the oil industry's watchdog - not its partner."

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Emily Duxbury

    I wish the president had waited to make this significant address until he had more concrete results rather than mere hopes. What if BP can't capture 90% of the leaking oil? The battle analogy was unfortunate because we are at war in enough other military conflicts that are also not coming to quick resolution. The comparison bespeaks another embroilment that is so complex and difficult to resolve. I wonder if it wasn't suggested by James Carville's frequent references to being "under attack" by BP's and the government agencies' negligent, incompetent and insufficient response to the disaster. I suppose we can expect that from large corporations with such a reckless disregard for the safety of its employees and the idea of "defeating the evil enemy" may give some a satisfying feeling, What disturbs me the most is that it isn't difficult to trace the points of failure along the line. Shouldn't the Secretary of Agriculture pick up the phone and call the head of the Department of Fish and Game and direct them to invite the various organizations with members trained at recovering birds to accept the offers of assistance? Isn't that part of the purpose of allowing the president emergency powers and of having directors of these large agencies? It seems to me that these are the individual details that the president should have addressed specifically to reduce the already escalating magnitude of this catastrophe. I hope that one of your investigative journalists will make an effort to contact the Secretary of Agriculture to ask why there is this hold up on accepting trained volunteers to assist Fish and Game in Louisiana. I think we'd all go crazy right now if it weren't for CNN's full attention to exposing so many of these problems! A very heartfelt thanks from this viewer!

    June 16, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  2. Lois

    Hi Anderson,
    Love your show. I don't understand what the American people want from the President regarding the spill. Is to go into the water and plug it himself? Is he to go to the Gulf and organize the relief effort. Is he to beat up the CEO of BP to fix the problem? I think he has done all he could do.

    June 16, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  3. S.H. Tallent

    Has anyone zoned in on the "90% of the oil leaking out of the well" statement? To me, this "statement" covers a field of possible results. For instance, Kevin Kostner's (and co.) device as stated will filter the ocean water yielding 10% ocean water: 90 % oil (with a 9X%purity). Is the 90% estimate which is mentioned in both interviews, but in different context, a coincidence? I would like to see this 90% figure mentioned by the President, pinpointed to the oil as it emerges from the well.

    June 16, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  4. Diane

    Anderson thank you for staying here in New Orleans and your excellent coverage. Obama's speech was a promotional platform for his clean energy act, It shows his total lack of leadership for this country and his lack of concern for the citizens experiencing this castrophe. He should have made a speech to Americans at the beginning, not 2 months after the worst enviromental diaster in history occuring on America's own Gulf Coast!! Stop making the local people at "Gulf Coast Zero" who are trying to save wildlife and our way of life jump through hoops to help. Cut through the red tape, stop the blame game-we now who's @ fault. Enough talk Mr. President use the power your office has to STOP this oil leak or put someone in charge who can I suggest Billy Nungesser and Gen. Honore'!

    June 16, 2010 at 6:32 am |
  5. Michael Donovon

    We heard a lot of unreliable words from Obama, but they were just that, a bunch of prewritten words. Where's the real action. We've been lied to sooooo much by the politicians running this beautiful country into the ground. A ground that they have polluted with their behind closed doors deals. Now, the politicians want to throw even more control onto us. Where does the political control end? We don't need more control! We need honest, caring people that hear & listen to the common person's problems & actually does something to really help us. We don't need the govt. telling us when & how to live. Until we end all this govt. control we can't progress to the ultimate beings that we are. We need to stand up, put all of our petty indifferences aside & act as one & get rid of the greedy, power hungry politicians. We need to take our country back! We the people are the one's that suffer from their greed. Let's stand together & show them that we're not going to be treated this way any more! We have to put an end to their control and false livelihoods! They're profiting from our misery! We must stop them!

    June 16, 2010 at 6:30 am |
  6. Andrew

    BP needs to be relieved of their failing responsibility. Freeze their assests across the continent until cost for damage is assessed and dispersed.
    Pump cement down the Psyphoning tubing already in place until it seals the leak.
    Fish for Oil with Peat Moss, Hay, Hair Booms, Microbes, and Centrifrugal Force Water Purifiers.
    Hurricanes ca pick up oil in shallow waters. Corexit 9500 was used by BP as a failed dispersent. If a Hurricane comes through with oil and Corexit 9500 in shallow waters. It is said the mixture can cause toxic rain across the country. Fishing for Oil with the Technology and Oil Absorbent materials listed above, We Can keep the shallow waters clean.
    President Obama did not mention any of these options or threats. He may be getting bad information.

    June 16, 2010 at 5:38 am |
  7. PN

    Stanley made a good point. We need all available tankers that can take on the oil. This has gone on too long.

    Billy brought up a good point on your show saying that there could have been a was to conseal the leak around what is spilling now.

    Get the robots to go down the put an encasement around the leak and fill it with something that will seal it. Or at least encase it so a hose can come out the top sealed around that , and taken straight to the tankers . like a floating fueling station.

    The birds and the marine life are dying. This area is going to be a dead zone for years. Plus no one has considered that this oil will also possiblilty mirgrate out farther into the ocean and cause problems for years. Oil doesn't have to always come to shore.
    Think about that.
    We need to get the Ultra Microbes from Ultra Tech International . We need to let the EPA know that these microbes need to be approved now, The are already approved in Fl. These will help the coastal wetlands and marshes now.

    Obama has a plan but we need every company and everyone to come together and get this going. Red tape is the problem

    June 16, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  8. Michelle in Arizona

    I watch this every night, and it is just heartbreaking. Thank you to Anderson, Billy, James Carville, Mary Matlin, David and others, and my prayers are with you everyday. I am confused though by the new estimates of the leak. Over the last 8 weeks with all the numbers thrown out there, some refer to gallons and some refer to barrels, and sometimes I think commentators get the two mixed up in their shows. So the numbers now are at 35,000-60,000 barrels a day. Last week weren't the numbers usually in gallons per day? Can someone tell me how many gallons are in a barrel of oil? I was heartbroken when this President was elected, and on top of so many other decisions he's made since he has taken office, this is another example of his lack of leadership abilities.

    June 16, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  9. cochran

    Anderson, watching your program tonight and the commentary about the oil company's spill response plans (or lack thereof) and the walrus protection clauses...just declare the birds that are being affected by this spill as "birds of the walrus family" and they'll be covered in the BP spill response plan, right? 🙂

    -frustrated Florida panhandle land/homeowner w/ beach rental property

    June 16, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  10. Russel

    All this technology and money bp has, why don't they have the fixes in place before drilling???

    June 16, 2010 at 1:35 am |
  11. Richard Bridger

    Hi Anderson, you havn't mentioned the failiure of federal regulatory agenciies for a long time now and i'm not sure Obama mentioneed that. Don't you think the government is also partly responsible for the oil spill. Every industry needs regulation and had the US regulated these oil companies as other nations do the spill may not have happened. BP and the government should contribute half each to several funds managed byy federal and local agencies.

    June 16, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  12. Russel

    I bet if the deepwater horizion had sunk off of bp's coast....bp would of had the well capped before the rig sunk and hit the floor.
    Why doesnt bp have wharehouses filled with items that have orked in the past to cap wells????
    enough is enough bp--fix it already

    June 16, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  13. robin

    As I sit here listening all of the talk about the oil spill. I would like to make just one comment and that is in spite of all the talk could this just be one thing that No One knows right now how to stop the oil spill

    June 16, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  14. Frank Bences

    If BP was a country, we would have already declared WAR and taken over to eliminate any further damage to American Soil....This President hasnt a clue or doesnt care about this Nation.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  15. Kathy

    I become more enraged and frustrated as the days pass. We elected a President and endowed him all the resources he needs. Why has he allowed BP to call the shots and why does he not meet this disaster head on? I am so disappointed in my President.

    He is an empty suit.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  16. larry solomon

    stop BS'ing the public! it is absolutely impossible to clean up this mess. it will take 50 years or more for mother nature to heal this wound on america. president obama and the media might as well stop giving the american people false hope. the gulf is dead – thanks to BP. it doesn't matter how much money BP throws at the problem, the people who are directly affected will never be adequately compensated.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  17. Alan Sperling

    As usual nothing but blah blah blah, Obama never really addressed the issue. What to do with BP and all these oil companies. I laugh when the CEO's blame Walruses, WALRISES how stupid do they think we are. Well Mr President you just lost your 2nd term and this is your fault and everyone who has anything to do with oil. For years all the oil companies have telling the government what they are going to do regarding safety. Well what does it take for us as a country to learn something, how to treat these greedy companies the real way, or just turn around and pretend to this is going to all go away, meanwhile hundreds of animals are dead, fishermen are closing up, oil is inbedded in the marsh lands. Lets all close our eyes, let President Obama talk to Hayward, instead arrest him and lord John Brown for this mess and have them spend some time behind prison. Or let BP claim bankruptcy, not pay a penny, and still collect over 93 million dollars a day even with this mess. I am tired of being lied to by my country. What does it take for these CEO's , lobbyists and politicians to be accountable for their actions. Our country is hurting due to greedyness, now the CEO's of the 5 large oil companies blame Walruses, WALRUSES, what next toilet paper blocking up the oil pipe lines!!!!!. Writing about this dosn't mean a thing anymore, it is just words and we are lied to every day. Well thanks for poisoning our country air, water and wild life. President Obama and his family should start to pack up and move back to Chicago after this term.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  18. Vince

    speaking from Canada. There's more story here, larger than the USA. the situation in the Gulf states is a tragedy and I think the impact extends beyond those states and that region. there must be a story to tell about that. We're (Canada) now hosting the the G8 and in the next few weeks the G20 let the world know this is a problem that has potential global effects beyond the borders of the USA capture a global audience.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  19. Lars

    As a former Gulf Coast resident (and still an aficionado), I think the President should suggest to BP executives that he might declare this oil spill an attack on the United States using chemical weapons of mass destruction (hey, a better excuse than we had in Iraq). Don't send in the DOJ; send in the 75th regiment. Pony up or suffer the consequences.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  20. Renee Dodson, Peru, Indiana

    I have lost all HOPE that the President will deliver the CHANGE he promised. When he was elected, I truly felt as though Obama was going to take charge and lead this country in a "New Direction". All I have seen is more of the same of crap of bowing down to corporations and passing the buck.

    In this situation President Obama failed again to require the American people to sacrifice while the US implements a sweeping new energy policy immediately that ends our crack like addiction to oil and fossil fuels altogether,. This was a missed opportunity by the Obama team to begin the changeover from oil based energies to solar & wind.

    Is it blatantly obvious who is in charge of this country, the big corporations and not "We the People". Hell, the people are so clueless, they won't change unless it directly affects their wallets because we all know that is ALL Americans care about, money.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  21. karl b

    Natural gas must be implemented in fuels for vehicles ASAP

    Natural Gas infused diesel; It will stretch diesel volumes and mileage as well as jet fuel too and burn cleaner
    Gasoline powered vehicles need to be taxed to pay for infastructure upgrades for fueling stations to encourage new adoption of new cleaner domestic fuel resources by the auto maker s and truck makers and new fueling stations to be installed to enable fueling on interstate systems

    this will save billions of barrels of oil each year

    to eliminate or reduce imported fossil fuel dependence

    June 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  22. Valerie

    The speech left a lot to be desired. Where was the solution. Where is the declaration of a national disaster and calling in of the troops. If the nation isn't sure that BP will pay the government for the national guard, army, navy marines, coast guard etc. Why would private organizations bank on it. We have a lot of resources that are not being utilized. Lets get this under control and charge BP since they have failed to do so. We bailed out the banks and auto industries lets help our fellow middle class by helping the fishermen and small businesses that live off the gulf.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  23. ursula

    Michael Douglas' portrayal of what a President should be as in the movie American President is what is needed now more than ever. That was a President of action not a puppet as we have now. We have a Bush clone......when will all this madness end.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  24. Charles

    The Gulf Oil Spill is a symptom of a bigger problem. We need a 50 year Nation Rail Plan so we get out of our cars and get on the trains. The rest of the world uses trains.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  25. Joanne H., Hamilton, MS

    Anderson, When I watched the President's speech, the one thing that stood out to me was his speaking of "our neighbors to the south". That sounds like he's referring to Mexico, Central or South America. We in LA, MS, & AL are not our neighbors to the south! We are part of the United States. It bothers me that we seem to be separated from the rest of the country. This is the way it is with everything with the federal government. WE ARE AMERICANS. WE ARE STRONG, THRIVING AMERICANS.
    Thank you.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  26. Jojo

    The speech ended on PRAYER...yes, we have only PRAYERS since the plans are not that well defined...nobody to this day knows who is really in charge of clean up? national guards or BP or volunteers? I watch CNN and hear from progressive radio it could be handled much more forcefully if Obama or any president would not be so endeared to the corporations who bought them?

    2 weeks until it is 90% contained..only if you believe in fairies and Santa Claus...they think we are really stupid...they have tried everything they know starting with a huge topper (only a few tons) and then random efforts including mud and junk shots? they have no clue, is it not OBVIOUS to anyone, government or otherwise?

    It is nice to hear about a future in windmills and solar pannels but our oil consumption is based on cars ... and yes cars cause trouble like oil spills and wars and air pollution, global warming and maybe the destruction of our planet as we know it... small detail... what about alternative fuels right now....like a huge tax cut for everyone who buys an electric car or a biodiesel car? or fund a cheap alternative fuel car for every citizen... just a $100 monthly to afford a brand new electric car and get cash back on your clunker, (which is every car using oil).
    The air would be clean... and we do not need oil or wars...great savings. Get on it Obama.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  27. Megan from Florida

    Hello Anderson,

    I totally agree that LT. Gen. Russel L. Honoré should be put in place to get this job Done.. He is the only person (thus far) besides Carvelle and Billie who makes sense! He impresses me as a man who I could trust to get actual daily results. I'm on the east coast of Florida, but if hurricane season holds fast to any of the predictions, I'm afraid the oil will be on THIS coast by July.

    Please have LT Gen Honor/e on again to interview. Maybe some of his passion will spill over - and maybe the president could put him in charge.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  28. tommy grant

    Billy Nungesser for President !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  29. mark

    It's great that president Obama is thinking about restoration after the disaster. But what the hell is he doing about stopping it from reaching the beaches in the first place, Its like Iran, wait until they get nuclear weapons and then say oh well I guess now we just have to live with it.
    What a poor attitude. He doesn't want to do anything about the oil spill until it is all done then spend money for a huge cleanup. Maybe this is his new jobs bill.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  30. Pat Miller

    So disheartening...We need a leader, we've got a politician. When faced with 'an assault on our shores', he fails to detail steps to fight the battle (17,000 troops... to what, clean the shores? ). His chief agenda, to which he devoted most of his time in this speech, was future energy sources. If he wanted to show that he cared about the people of the Gulf, he failed miserably. Now, in addition to losing their livelihoods from fishing and tourism, the people see drilling jobs evaporate. Shutting down drilling for 6 months will cost thousands of jobs directly, and indirectly. Those rigs will leave and may never come back. This only compounds the tragedy. (I like James Carville's suggestions, here).

    A true leader would appoint someone with experience fighting a multi-faceted battle (General Honore has said that he would do it if asked. (CNN news report last week) My apologies to Thad Allen, but I've just been hearing him feed back the data BP has given him) to attack the clean-up on many fronts. Then, give him power to attain credible data, coordinate a battleplan, and use the resources offered by 17 nations (scrolling on CNN) in addition to our troops and citizens to clean up the oil and prevent further damage to the precious wetlands and Gulf.

    Being gruff with BP, a company, does no one good. Work together to establish a fund to cover costs (thank goodness they have said they will do this, because I wonder if our govt can force a private company to do this). Then, leave them alone to concentrate on killing this well. Investigate them later.

    Mr. Obama, you ARE the President. Now LEAD.

    A very concerned American,

    Pat Miller

    June 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  31. Marie, Burbank, Ca

    Jerry, I'm with you. What happened? Where's the leadership? I think that instead of vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, the president and all of his energy people and Nobel Prize winning group had better head to the gulf and then maybe they'll all get it. Thanks Anderson for the GREAT job reporting in the beautiful gulf.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  32. Kay

    The President doesn't seem to realize that all of these people in Louisiana also pay taxes and vote! The governor has asked for Help!
    And now he has resorted to wet vacs....pitiful...We can send our money overseas...yet we cannot help American citizens ....when they ask for help? Take care of Americans first!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  33. Dee Janssen

    While I can appreciate President Obama's thinking, controlled response, as an constituent who is absolutely outraged, infuriated and flummoxed by how this whole mess has happened, been responded to by bp, etc. I found his speech rather pathetic. What we want to hear is a more impassioned response to this huge bloody disaster brought on by a company's total lack of regard for ANYTHING but their bottom line of PROFITS! I – as well as friends and family – want to see stronger action taken. I also realize that there may be more going on behind the scenes between President Obama feels he can talk about BUT! HE needs to nail BP to the ground and force them to take care of the mess. He has the legal right after the Exxon Validize spill to force alot more actions than we are hearing.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  34. Grace from Louisiana

    I have been a staunch supporter of the president, but seems again just words; nobody seems to "get us" We are hurting so badly and we want to pull ourselves back up. Can we please be a part .of the" United" States ? Is our culture not worth saving?

    June 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  35. Stanley

    Stop wasting time and measure how much cruel oil gusting out. President should call all International oil tanker to pick up free oil.Line them up for fill up and you will see how fast the problem will be solved.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  36. Annie Kate

    Obama's speech was disappointing, flat, and really did not convey any firm strong leadership at all. He did warn us that it will take years to clean this mess up – some of the families don't have years and the wildlife doesn't either. I'm glad at least that some of the Gulf communities are taking matters into their own hands and doing what they can to clean up the wetlands and beaches. It's probably the only way it will get done or at least started.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  37. R. Baxter

    Epic fail!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  38. Sonia Howell

    Hi Anderson, That speach was 56 day's late. How lame. The flow is larger than 60,000 more like 160,000 bar.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  39. Glenn

    Good evening AC360

    New estimates of 60k bbl/day with over 143 mill gal leaked so far puts the EPA fine over 3 1/2 billion to date.
    So gushing at avg of 9-11 cubes per minute my estimates last week with a 40% cut of wet crude. I think its finally out there now.

    Tomorrow BP chairman may offer an escrow like commodity/futures maintenance account starting at 2 billion to be replenished when the third party gives notice of it falling below a billion to be treated as a margin notice to be replenished back to 2 billion asap. This way BP can work with its existing cash flows, dividends and debenture credit ratings. The billion dollar burn rate can be monitored for operations mutually until the size of actually costs come on stream.

    If not I guess an Pres. Executive order will have to be invoked on BP after tomorrow to get upwards of 20 billion escrowed all at once. Either way BP stock going for a ride alone on the new estimates overnight. Bad day for Government to announce new estimates. Should have waited until after meeting tomorrow. Funny eco-politics to play going into tomorrow's meeting looking for a big escrow IMHO

    June 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  40. Bob Marshall

    The President's first crisis that started in his watch and he delivers a flat speech. No leadership or conveying that he has a handle.


    Bob Marshall

    June 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  41. Jerry W

    Well!... aaahhhemmmm...cough.. That was a pathetic speech!!!!! I can only hope it was so soooo sooosooo bad because he made a backroom deal with the Oil Companies and the Right WIng Evangelicas to re-elect him for a second term. This is all I can hope...Amen,,OH! Wait...found some Holy Water...in a vile in my pocket..ok..gonna throw it in the Gulf...there! done...that should help...Amen

    June 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm |

    Now is the time for Congress to act! No waiting! Make BP put 25 billion dollars into a Federal Government escrow account now. Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to hold BP accountable. Read more internetfreepress.com

    June 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  43. Richard Norman

    Pres.: "has tested the limits of Human Technology" .. ?

    Look at the TV ... I see 5-8 "robots!!!!!!!!!!!" working a 5000 ft below sea level, in 2°C ... Remote Controlled Robots...!!! And you say that we can’t plug a Hole...?

    Mr. Pres., you are a Lawyer ... great for you... talk to a real Engineer.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm |