Allen: Oil will be out there for months to come; Crist praises administration's response; Israeli ambassador: No apologies
By Matt DeLong and Aaron Blake
Sunday Rundown: A quick wrap-up of the Sunday talk shows.
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Allen: Oil will be out there for months to come
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, commander of the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, described the "bottom kill" procedure that he said will ultimately stop the flow of oil after the relief wells are drilled. "This will only end when we intercept the well bore, pump mud down it to overcome the pressure of the oil coming up from the reservoir and put a cement plug in," Allen said. "That's what I would call bottom kill rather than top kill." Allen said the region will be dealing with the environmental impacts long after the leak is plugged. "There will be oil out there for months to come ... this will be well into the fall," Allen said. The admiral said it was "absolutely not the case" that the administration had placed limits on what he is allowed to say publicly.
Echoing statements made on "Fox News Sunday" by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)said that the oil washing up on Florida's shores "wasn't that bad" compared with the economic damage to the tourism industry. "The bad part is that people think that there's oil there and they're canceling their fishing trips," Nelson said. "They're canceling their hotels. They're not going into the restaurants because they're not coming. They are canceling orders of our fish houses because they're afraid that the seafood is tainted. And as a result, there is a huge economic impact that is beginning to be felt." Nelson lauded the Coast Guard for doing a "great job" but called for greater military involvement in the effort "if it continues for months."
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Crist praises administration's response
Allen distanced himself from BP Senior Vice President Bob Fryar, who said he was "very pleased" that the company has been able to divert some of the oil. "I don't think anybody should be pleased as long as there's oil in the water," Allen said. "I would say progress has been made, but nobody should be pleased until the" spill is capped. Allen repeatedly described the spill as an "insidious" foe. "It's like an insidious enemy that just keeps attacking. It's going to be there for a while."
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) praised Allen's responsiveness. "Whenever we have made an ask, it has been answered. And we hope and pray that will continue to be the case." Crist, who switched from Republican to independent earlier this year, also addressed allegations from his former close ally, ex-state GOP Chairman Jim Greer, that Crist had approved am an alleged fundraising scheme for which Greer was arrested recently. Crist said it was "absolutely untrue." "Sometimes desperate people say desperate things and it's very sad," he said.
Appearing on the show two days before he tries to upend Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in a runoff, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) was repeatedly challenged on the millions in support he has received from unions in a state that has little union presence. Despite that support, Halter has repeatedly declined to say where he stands on the unions' top priority, the Employee Free Choice Act. Halter did say he supports a secret ballot, which has been the main sticking point for opponents of the bill. But he said organizers have given up on seeking a vote. "The old card check provision is no longer on the table, and I have that directly from that people that are involved in the negotiations," Halter said.
Lincoln appeared after Halter. She acknowledged that she has suffered in an anti-establishment election year as someone who has served in Washington, but she emphasized her independence from her party and her moderate politics. "Yes, people are frustrated in Arkansas with Washington, and I certainly have admitted to them that I've gotten that message. And more importantly, I understand what they feel."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Israeli ambassador: No apologies
Allen, making the rounds on almost all of the Sunday talk shows, said "the final fix" to the oil spill in the Gulf "is the relief well in August," which he referred to as "the right time frame. He said the spill is not "monolithic" but is actually an "aggregation of smaller spills." While about 140 miles of coastline is currently being impacted, Allen said, the frontline has expanded to 300 to 400 miles. He added that there is a "low probability" that the oil will get into the Gulf's loop current and spread into the Atlantic Ocean.
On BP's performance in handling the spill, Allen said the oil company needs "to get much better at the retail side," which he said includes dealing with the public and processing claims from those affected by the disaster. Allen defended the administration's transparency in the immediate aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, saying that the Coast Guard immediately prepared for the "worst case scenario" after the blast. He also rejected criticism of the Coast Guard's handling of Louisiana's plan to build sand berms to prevent oil from entering delicate coastal ecosystems. He said the Army Corps of Engineers required time to assess the environmental impact of the berms, but Allen approved parts of the plan immediately after the Corps signed off.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said his state has seen "virtually no oil" wash up on its coast. He added that the "biggest negative impact for us has been the news coverage" which has driven away tourists. "The coast is clear," Barbour said. "Come on down." Barbour criticized the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on new drilling projects, which he said would cause oil companies to abandon the Gulf in favor of West Africa and other parts of the world.
Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren flatly asserted that "Israel will not apologize for taking the steps necessary to defend its citizens." Despite the Obama administration's claims that it had warned Israel to be cautious before its raid on an aid flotilla that left nine civilians dead, Oren said that Israel "did not receive messages of that nature. Oren said Israel would reject an international commission to investigate the raid, and would instead carry out its own probe. If Iran sends military ships to escort future flotillas, Oren said "Israel will do whatever it takes to defend itself from Hamas terror."
ABC: THIS WEEK - Cornyn: Flotilla activists provoked Israel
Allen said the oil-sucking tankers used to contain a 1993 Saudi oil spill weren't a manageable alternative for stopping this spill. "The tankers actually have to be modified; they're not ready to go right now. No. 2, we don't know what those modifications would do to the stability of the vessels. ... And No. 3, the area of operation is very different." Allen said BP has been forthcoming throughout the situation. "When I ask for something, I get it." He also stood firm that spill workers should provide media with "uninhibited access" and should not follow any orders to resist the media's queries.
Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) appeared next. Kerry defended the Obama Administration's response, which has been under growing criticism. "Everybody understands the government of the United States doesn't do the drilling," Kerry said. "The government of the United States doesn't have the technology. And they've been racing to try and make up for BP's mistakes and for the absence here of a sufficient level of emergency." Cornyn said the Democratic energy bill which Kerry has spearheaded would put too much of a burden on the economy during tough times: "A lot of people that make their livelihood in the oil and gas administration are going to be out of work."
Shifting to the recent killings by Israeli soldiers on a flotilla headed for Gaza, Cornyn blamed the flotilla activists for a "premeditated provocation" of Israel. "(Israelis) are entitled as a matter of their self-defense to look to see whether weapons or other items are being smuggled in," he said. Kerry said Israel has a right to defend itself, but said Gaza needs to be allowed a steadier stream of aid.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Off this week
June 6, 2010; 2:02 PM ET
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