August 5th, 2010
06:39 PM ET

Opinion: Obama played his cards right on BP

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/15/art.obama.sshepard.jpg caption="Outside the White House, President Obama makes comments on the developments in the Gulf oil spill."]
Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of CNN political contributor James Carville. Carville was chief strategist for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and is a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana.

James Carville
CNN Political Contributor

My mother, Ms. Nippy Carville, was a woman of many talents. Two in particular stand out. She was a superb cook (the author of a successful cookbook), and she was an excellent bridge player.

She always cautioned me that it was important that one "review the bidding" before the play. Now that it's becoming apparent that the efforts to cap the well at Deepwater Horizon are going to be successful, we should pause and pay homage to Ms. Nippy's advice by reviewing the bidding.

Any fair assessment would have to conclude that in spite of some people's criticism of the early response, (and by "some people" I mean Ms. Nippy's firstborn son James), one also must give credit to a much improved and vigorous response to the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf.

So, let's review the bidding: First, the decision to keep the unflappable retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen in place as national incident commander, in spite of considerable opposition from some local politicians, has proven to be wise.

Second, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation into the BP disaster, it was a demonstration that the Obama administration meant business in dealing with this catastrophe.

Third, the establishment of the $20 billion restitution fund administered by Ken Feinberg was the ultimate statement of the seriousness with which this situation was being addressed by the administration.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Gulf Oil Spill • James Carville • Opinion
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    James – making your statement that you were incorrect about Obama and his part in the oil spill response as public as your initial criticism is classy. Not many people would admit that they were incorrect especially publicly. I hope that Obama will be as effective in keeping BP's nose to the grindstone until the Gulf is cleaned up completely and the victims are compensated for what they have lost.

    August 6, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Basically agree with Carville here but three more key cards have to be played.
    1) Completing the sealing with the relief well. Allen is insisting
    2) The inshore clean up needs more effort and larger capture systems, and careful monitoring of fish and seafood catches.
    3) The experience is there now unfortunately, and new safety regulations properly imposed and enforceable not the silly MMS says X reg broken and then a huge court battle to decide if it must be fixed, a la coal mine disaster. Also the science needs to be investigated re dispersants and the ecological effects on the dispersed but still remaining oil. Is the bio degredation going to work and how long will it take to be fully resolved if ever, along with sea bed concentrations.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  3. Jim

    James- I for one applaud your self control during the events. I was waiting to hear you say we should stuff the B.P. executives into the well to stop the leak , Followed by the Inspectors & others who did not do their jobs in the first place that allowed these events to happen.
    I personally will not forget nor forgive until every drop of oil is cleaned up from every last inch of marsh,coastline, water.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  4. Augsbee

    I disagree 100%. I watched and listened to the pain, fear, desperation those families were and are still going through. The painful pictures of marine life soaked, dead in oil will stay with me forever. I hope Anderson will continue to bring us updates on the victims of Louisiana and his presence in Louisiana will guarantee us that these families will not be forgotten but everything possible will be done to ensure they will be taken care of, they will be okay.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm |