President Barack Obama said Friday that some members of Congress should share the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
In an exclusive one-on-one interview with POLITICO, the president said: “I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”
The president also implied that anti-big government types such as Tea Party activists were being hypocritical on the issue.
“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
Obama’s comments, during a 36-minute Oval Office interview, come as the public is giving the federal government low marks for its response to the BP oil spill, according to recent polls. Obama travels to the Gulf Monday and Tuesday and has invited top BP executives to the White House for a meeting Wednesday.
As to accusations that he is not showing enough passion in fighting the oil spill, the president blamed the media.
“You know, what I think I get frustrated with sometimes, as do, I suspect, other members of my team, is that the media specifically is demanding things that the public aren’t demanding,” the president said. “What the public wants to see is us solving this problem. And that may not make for good TV.”
The president also declined to say whether the United States was winning the war in Afghanistan. “I think it’s too early to tell whether the strategy that we put forward in September is meeting all the benchmarks that we set,” he said. (Source)
More of the interview will be available in Roger Simon’s column Sunday.