Sarah Palin Blames Obama-BP Connection for Slow Oil-Spill Response; BP to Attempt to Plug Well With Mud
On Fox News Sunday, the former Republican candidate for VP said, "I don't know why the question isn't asked by the mainstream media and by others if there's any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration."
"If there's any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico -- now, if this was President Bush or if this were a Republican in office who hadn't received as much support even as President Obama has from BP and other oil companies, you know the mainstream media would be all over his case," she continued.
Later, she tweeted that Obama had been the top recipient of BP money in the past 20 years.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded on CBS's Face the Nation,
"I'm almost sure that the oil companies don't consider the Obama administration a huge ally," he said. "My suggestion to Sarah Palin would be to get slightly more informed as to what's going on in and around oil drilling in this country. We proposed a windfall profits tax when they jacked their oil prices up to charge more for gasoline."
While the largest single donation by BP -- $77,051 -- did go to Obama, the oil and gas industry overall contributed $2.4 million to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
However, even if Obama had been the greatest recipient of BP money in all of history, it remains to be seen how a slow reaction to cleaning up the Gulf would help anyone, especially the company he is supposedly "in bed" with.
As for actually trying to stop the leak, which has expelled some 6 million gallons at this point, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa P. Jackson traveled to Louisiana on Sunday to monitor the response, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are to visit areas affected by the spill today.
Oil is now at least 12 miles into Louisiana's marshes and has reached 65 miles of shore. BP is planning to try the "top kill" technique, in which engineers shoot mud into the well to plug the leak (which has never been attempted 5,000 feet under water), as early as Tuesday.
Remember when the BP CEO was calling the leak "relatively tiny" back in mid-May?
All this while, as The New York Times points out, offshore drilling continues seemingly unabated. President Obama had announced a moratorium on granting drilling permits and environmental waivers on May 14, but since then at least seven new drilling permits and five environmental waivers have been granted.
Asked about the permits and waivers, officials at the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Service, which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, reiterating that the agency had no intention of stopping all new oil and gas production in the gulf.