"President Barack Obama Thursday rejected charges he was slow to respond to the Gulf of Mexico "tragedy" and clamped down on the oil industry, as he tried to contain political blowback from the crisis.
In a measured White House news conference, Obama admitted the federal government's response was not perfect, but dismissed a growing media narrative that he had been disengaged from the nightmare BP oil spill.
"Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts," Obama said, more than a month after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig triggered what he called a "disaster" and "catastrophe."
"This notion that somehow, the federal government is sitting on the sidelines and for the last three or four or five weeks, we've just been letting BP make a whole bunch of decisions is simply not true."
Obama said his government was in charge of every aspect of the mitigation effort, including BP's effort to cap the gushing oil well, and had several times ordered the British energy giant to do more."
AFP had the story May 27, 2010.
Obama: Government in Charge of Oil Disaster Response (Huffington Post)
"After Delay, BP Restarts 'Top Kill' Effort" (CNN)
"Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History" (New York Times)
"MMS Director Resigns" (Wall St. Journal)