On CNN’s State of the Union today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) labeled the oil spill in the Gulf Barack Obama’s fault due to incompetence. McConnell said, “This is mainly a failure of the administration… my point is, you can’t legislate competence.” McConnell supported his point with claims that were flat out untrue.
CNN’s Candy Crowley asked McConnell about the possibility of passing an energy bill this year, and he answered by blaming Obama for the oil spill in the Gulf, “Well, it could well be possible that we would do something with regards to the oil spill. Although I must say, this is mainly a failure of the administration. BP caused the spill. It is BP’s responsibility to plug the leak. The federal government is in charge of trying to keep that oil off of the shores of the United States. It took the administration 70 days to order skimmers down to the Gulf.”
He then called the Obama administration incompetent, “You can’t — my point is, you can’t legislate competence. I think it’s — you know, we are happy to look at oil spill legislation, for example. Do we have the right kind of commission in place to look at what happened? There are aspects of that that might require legislation. But this has mainly been a competence problem on the part of the administration in keeping the oil off of our shores.”
McConnell is flat out lying about Obama waiting 70 days to deploy the skimmers. The truth is that dozens of skimmers among 75 Coast Guard vessels were deployed, not 70 days after the explosion, but 8 days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. It turns out that it wasn’t Obama who was rejecting skimmers, but BP. McClatchy reported that in an effort to cut costs BP has been rejecting skimmers. Contrary to what many on the right believe, it is BP that has been obstructing the deployment of foreign skimmers.
McConnell is also lying about the federal government being responsible for the clean up of the shores. BP has taken responsibility for cleaning up every drop of oil. Contrary to what McConnell may believe, there is no jurisdictional line between on and off shore oil. BP caused the spill, and they, not Obama are responsible for all of the clean up.
Republicans like McConnell don’t have a single fact at their disposal to back up their claims about the Obama administration’s incompetence in handling the oil spill. The reality is that no president would have done well when faced with such a huge man made disaster. Obama did about as well as could be expected, and by spreading lies and distortions, McConnell is looking to smear Obama and use the oil spill against the president in both 2010 and 2012. McConnell’s comments were nothing more than an attempt to paint Obama with the brush of Republican incompetence.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association