CNN Senior Political Contributor
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/16/rollins.obama.speech/t1larg.obama.speech.pool.jpg caption="President Obama spoke to the nation about the oil disaster from the Oval Office on Tuesday night." width=300 height=169]
Editor's note: Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, is senior presidential fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. He is a principal with the Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations firm. He was White House political director for President Reagan and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
New York - President Obama has given a lot of speeches. He's given hundreds since he became president. He's given six in the last two days on his trip to the Gulf.
But last night's was the first speech he has given from the Oval Office. It will not be his last. But it was important, and he gave it well. It took him five paragraphs to say the serious words we have all known for weeks, but he needed to say: "This oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced."
He went on to say what every American and every victim of this disaster wanted to hear: "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."
The rest of the speech didn't matter nearly as much. There were other things he wanted to say, and some of them were important. But the reality is that those 44 words quoted above are action items: We will fight with everything; we will make BP pay; and we will help our citizens recover. Now the president has to make it happen. As our nation's leader, he made commitments and they must be kept.
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