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The elements of Barack Obama's speech tonight that were specifically newsworthy were also broadly-expected: A liability fund that BP will pay into and that a third-party will distribute. A "long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan." Both ideas sound good. But their worth will be determined by, well, their worth. And Obama did not name any dollar amounts.

He also did not utter the words "climate change" or "global warming." The closest Obama got was to praise the House for "passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses." The section of his speech devoted to the issue avoided the politically-controversial problem in order to focus on the broadly-popular solution: Clean energy. "As we recover from this recession," Obama promised, "the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs."

Obama did not make any specific promises about the bill he would support, or even that he wanted. He did not say he would price carbon, or that we should get a certain percentage of our energy from renewables by a certain date.

But his language was a close echo of the language he used in the health-care fight. "There are costs associated with this transition," he said, using a formulation many will remember from health care. "And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy." Similarly familiar was his reminder that "I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party – as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels," and his promise that "the one approach I will not accept is inaction."

The optimistic take, at least for environmentalists, is that this is the language and approach Obama uses when he really means to legislate. The pessimistic take is that Obama shied away from clearly describing the problem, did not endorse specific legislation, did not set benchmarks, and chose poll-tested language rather than a sharper case that might persuade skeptics.

Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 15, 2010; 8:10 PM ET
 
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Next: Wonkbook: Few details in speech; Dems may cut unemployment benefits; Obey plays hardball

Comments

There is no problem in accepting 'poll tested' language and weaker case in the speech. Because by now we all know, President can give speeches until cows come home; what matters is how he makes Congress to write appropriate laws.

So we will see what he can achieve and what he is ready to fight in the election.

Posted by: umesh409 | June 15, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

i thought barack obama did an excellent job tonight.
the criticisms after the speech were that he didnt sound like a commander in chief.
i thought he did.
this catastrophe is beyond human proportions...i dont think there is a clearcut path to solving this.
i think that the pundits that moments ago, were calling for "tens of thousands of young environmentalists to come down and clean up, and rally the troops," is ridiculous.
this a highly toxic area. this is not like" clean up the beer cans at the beach on earth day."
i think barack obama doesnt tell people what they want to hear. he is courageous and honest. sometimes, there just are not clearcut answers for things.
i dont think he can speak with a lot of specificity right now, and i give him credit for not lying, or telling people what they want to hear, while the situation is still chaotic and out of human control.
americans like instant solutions. quick fixes.
there are none right now. we have to adjust to that.

Posted by: jkaren | June 15, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Just listened to the President of the Free World push his Cap and Tax program which would amount to the largest tax put on Americans ever! Obama had no answers tonight but to push his Socialistic yearnings to take over the energy industry and triple the cost of gas at the pump with increased taxation.

In the meantime, Obama admitted Salazar's organization was rift with corruption and promised us a new investigator.

Between Taxation, cleanup botches and corruption, "The People" (who are broke under this Administration) are fed up with this tax and spend idiot. The only thing Liberals should be thrilled about is that the Presidential election isn't tomorrow.

Posted by: 2009frank | June 15, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Tonight, President Obama brought us a new meaning to "A DAY LATE, AND A DOLLAR SHORT!"

Posted by: wheeljc | June 15, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what words he uses - only what he gets done. I like his MMS pick, but I remain skeptical about what will change. This is part of a long-known problem. The malaise speech was echoed in the right ways, actually, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Hey, here's a job for the intern - evaluate Gibbs live Q&A. Lots of tough questions here, and some unexpectedly meaningful answers (there are some talking point moments, don't get me wrong).

Basically, it seems a credible expansion on the speech itself. Maybe worth reviewing.

Posted by: roquelaure_79 | June 15, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

the speech was lackluster; it fell far short of the skillset we all know. It felt like someone had compelled him to do something that he didn't want to do. So he did his homework and wrote his essay and presented it in a way that would satisfy some expectations. Like you I wanted him to talk about specific programs, specific dollar amounts, dates and operational organizations. I didn't want to hear about an 'investigation' how this could happen - I could have told him that we just don't have the technology to drill there without substantial risks. This rhetoric and patronizing language (add to that the religious 'touch. at the end) and obvious pandering to his political adversaries was disheartening. Carter did a more hard-hitting speech forty years ago.

Posted by: rernst | June 15, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This speech was as much a response to rising public disapproval of Obama's handling of the Gulf disaster, fairly or unfairly, as showing he is in command of the crisis. Why did Obama wait more than fifty days to give such a speech?

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | June 15, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech would have been a pretty good speech in LBJ's or Eisenhower's time.

Now we know that the famous phrase about Oakland CA in a much earlier time (there is no there, there) will be engraved on Obama's legacy monument 100 years from now - there six foot monument that will be placed behind Jefferson's memorial way out on the tidal basin where noone can see it and be embarrassed in perpetuity for the cowardly leadership of hopeium.

Really, this is the worse thing to come out of this white house of right-centrist fear. Did BP and the other oil execs write this insulting piece of crap?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | June 15, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

" It felt like someone had compelled him to do something that he didn't want to do. So he did his homework and wrote his essay and presented it in a way that would satisfy some expectations."

This seems right to me. I can only assume that I wasn't the audience for this thing, but I honestly can't imagine who was. I mean, do I know those people? And are they really that bland?

Posted by: slag | June 15, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

A very overweight lady was reaching down to grab a HUGE milk chocolate bar at the supermarket. Grabbibf a smaller one with almonds in it, i said " Get the one with nuts in it, there's no calories". In disgust she said back: "I don't believe you". "Do I look like someone who would lie?" (I'm 60, slim and fit). Turning at the end of the aisle, i looked back and she was putting back the plain chocolate bar, and taking one with nuts"

Politicians get elected because they tell you what you want to hear, NOT the truth. This conman in the White House is the absolute epitome of a politician. Do you believe a word he says? Or do you want the truth. Barry (Soetoro - aka Obama) are counting on you being too lazy to want the truth. He's counting on you believing the nuts take away the calories. He's counting on you being STUPID.

There is an old saying - "games not over till the fat lady sings". She hasn't sung yet, but she has arrived at the game. If she sings in November, it'll be very, very loudly. If she doesn't - the game ends anyhow - it no longer is a game - it becomes real life. And life as we know it ends.

--------------------------------------------

QUOTE OF THE CENTURY……….MAYBE EVEN THE MILLENIUM

This quotation came from the Czech Republic . Someone over there has it figured out. We have a lot of work to do here.

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

Posted by: armagedon | June 15, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I think several things have been missed in the frenzy of the speech reviews. Additionally, MSNBC has almost lost me--the anchors (whom I find entertaining) are so certain that their own advice is the best they can't hear what is really being said. Yes, I too want to see a more central command, yet:
1) I believe youth will again be empowered by the call for new forms of energy.
2) Ray Mabus, if he does the job, is an inspired choice, from Mississippi. But his job description must be made public quickly, and he must go to work immediately.

And the oil is on the hands of every one of us as well.

Posted by: marjie01 | June 15, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The comparison to the health care reform discourse is good. Unfortunately, it looks like a carbon pricing scheme is the public option of climate/energy reform.

Posted by: slyc | June 15, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

President Obama once again showed why he is the "Wimp-in-Chief"
http://www.deciminyan.org/2010/06/squandered-opportinity.html

Posted by: deciminyan | June 15, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I find Obama's phrase "addiction to fossil fuel" to be utterly fatuous. The US produces the best jet airliners and heavy construction machinery in the world. Foreign corporations and countries buy it from us. Are they addicted to jet airplanes and heavy excavators?

Most of the foreign oil we buy comes from Canada and Mexico. The money we pay for that oil goes into their economies. It's how the world economy works. Do we want to destroy the Mexican oil industry by going wholesale into inferior technologies? How would that effect illegal immigration?

There is no such thing as "addiction to fossil fuels." The world is economically interdependent. The value of goods and services are dependent on their quality, their efficacy, and their price. If we are getting cheap oil from Mexico and Canada, it's not because we are addicted to it, it's because we use it and there is nothing more economical on the market to replace it, nor will there be in the coming decades.

Oil is important to the world's economy. In that sense, yes, everyone wants to purchase it as cheaply as possible, but to call it an addiction is inaccurate and overly simplistic.

There is no viable alternative to oil to run the world's advanced economies. It needs to extracted for societies to function. The proper role of government is to help corporations explore and extract oil economically so that all nations and people can have access to it at reasonable prices. The utopian idea that taxing it exorbitantly will somehow magically create viable alternative fuels is idiotic and will not pass muster in this Congress or the next one, which will, with a little luck, be controlled by Republicans.

Posted by: theduke89 | June 15, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen the speech yet - I had to work during it - but I am increasingly disappointed in Obama's unwillingness to lead publicly.

Maybe you're right, Ezra, that this mirrors his health care leadership...but that was a horrid, bloody, bruising fight that lasted 15 months and incorporated huge sops to the GOP even though the GOP almost to a man (and the few women) rarely negotiated or acted in good faith.

I think we got the centrist pragmatist that we elected. And that was OK, pre-Deepwater. Now, well, it's not enough.

Posted by: RalfW | June 15, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"The proper role of government is to help corporations explore and extract oil economically so that all nations and people can have access to it at reasonable prices."

Ahhh...dreams from a Banana republic.

Posted by: slag | June 15, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

The "problem" is that it's not up to the President to "push" Congress - it's up to us. We have allowed a narrow group of profiteers to bend perceptions away from the real goals of the American people: peace, prosperity, equality, and justice. Aside from these principle ideas which underlie American democracy, few things have much weight. Yet all the "news" buzz is about our rather petty differences, our polarization. If we cannot or will not drive our individual selves to see the right in certain directions and the selfish personal gain in others, how can we elect decent men and women to Congress? And if we cannot voice our urgent needs so that they will find the necessary will to form those needs into working law, shall we still point the guilty finger at this one or that and complain? We, the people, are not sufficiently doing our jobs. We do not demand clear understanding of young people on the real nature of democratic society. We do not accept real sacrifice, but rather sacrifices which we can put on the shoulders of soldiers and sailors or on the backs of those who are unable to shrug them off.

It is high time - beyond high time - for Americans one and all - to regain a sense of our responsibility. It is not for the President alone to find solutions, marshal them through Congress, and to execute such plans alone. In this time, we need people to step forward (and not merely to complain, but to move the existing members of Congress by petition or by persuasive numbers) to act in the interest of the country. Obstructing the President is not a help either to our needs or to democratic process. We need reason and all we get is suspicion and nonsense. Others are laughing at us even while we lose our grip on the character of personhood that made us strong for many, many years. It's time to take the blinders off, to get and stay clear. Our tasks are huge. If we intend to try to leave a structure for our descendants to build upon, we must begin today.

It should be clear by now who is working for us and our country by trying new ideas or trying to reforge the spirit with which old ideas were made reality. Similarly, it should be clear who is using division among us to gain power for the sake of power. If it is not, you need to do much more to understand the currents of the times in which we are living.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | June 15, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

This president is a big disappointment and this government is also the same. They were good at shoving the HEALTH CARE SCHEME down the unwilling THROATS of THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, but they're unable to shove something down the pipe to stop this HORRIFIC OIL GUSH. November can't come soon enough.

Posted by: barrysal | June 15, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

TheDuke: I'm with ya until that last part about it being lucky if the Republicans end up in charge of congress. Historically, they haven't been very good at advancing the conservative agenda.

I thought it was a carefully balanced speech, one for a situation with no easy answers, and the criticism boggles my mind. I used to think the attacks on bush were unrealistic and unfair, but the attacks from both the right and the left on Obama pass those right on by. I mean, wow. Attack the policies or use of cliched language ( "addiction to oil" is talking point mantra), but the stuff he's getting . . . I don't envy Obama.

Apparently,I missed the part during his campaign where he promised to seal any massive undersea oil leaks with his heat vision.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 15, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

curious that Obama shows emotion when he says he will not accept inaction, but we are all waiting for him to act on his campaign promises.

Posted by: VMzJxah | June 15, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

This president is a big disappointment and this government is also the same. They were good at shoving the HEALTH CARE SCHEME down the unwilling THROATS of THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, but they're unable to shove something down the pipe to stop this HORRIFIC OIL GUSH. November can't come soon enough.

Posted by: barrysal | June 15, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The New Gulf War - O'Bama has fired the first shot. It's not quite sure where it landed and there are no reports of any injuries or damage. BP execs are quoted as saying. "Are you talking to me?" Residents of the Gulf Coast are quoted as saying, "Are you talking to me?" The underwater residents of the Gulf Coast have not been heard from and are assumed to be dead.

Posted by: RonaldSpiegel | June 16, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

president obama's entire demeanor has changed since he has been in office.
i think that anyone who would call him wimpish, or emotionally disengaged, or not involved in all aspects of this catastrophe, and not losing sleep, pondering what to do about everything, is quite wrong.
i think it was sad when he was being mocked, for ending his talk with a prayer.
i dont think he is an unintelligent man, or someone who is reckless or doesnt realize the gravity of this.
i think he prays, because he is in great distress, and he knows that we are in the middle of a crisis that has not played itself out yet.
it is not clear how to clean up this spill, or if the solutions that are being implemented can work with the vast amounts that are spewing out each day.
i think it has been a balancing act, so as not to let british petroleum abdicate responsibiity.
i think he knows that we dont have real answers yet, and he probably feels deeply powerless. it is not like a bailout, or legislation can stop this well from gushing right now.
and he knows that most americans are preoccupied with many other concerns right now, and want quick solutions, not more complicated battles like health care reform.
since 911, we have never gotten back on our feet.
the days of easy living are gone.
if president obama is praying, i dont blame him.
there is only so much he can do right now.
he must feel terribly saddened and frustrated that he cant find a way to solve this, and that right now, it seems that no-one can.
to say that he is callous, or disengaged....one could look at him over these past weeks and see how troubled and upset he is.
i think it is courageous to be honest, to be troubled...i dont feel that it is his responsibility to inspire optimism and cheer at this time. i think he is deeply concerned, and he was conveying the sobriety of this moment with great honesty.
i trust that he is doing the best that he can under the worst of circumstances. people are angry, and of course, he will get the blame.
but i continue to have great confidence in him.
i support his leadership, and i am very glad that he is our president. he is my favorite president in 61 years, and even in these troubled times, when i see him, i truly believe that he is a wise human being, and he is doing the best that he can.
when i think about these past few years, since the struggles and cruelty of the presidential campaign, the economic crisis that befell him, the battle for health care reform, the racism and cruelty of the birthers and the teaparty signs, the intractable people that must be cajoled and persuaded to do the right thing, the difficulty in getting anything done, and now this oil spill....plus the daily, ongoing concerns of his own personal life....i wonder what these years have been like for him.
i wish him every blessing. may he stay strong and courageous.



Posted by: jkaren | June 16, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

too much suffering.
try this.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=hN8CKwdosjE

Posted by: jkaren | June 16, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Ken, definitely it is very true that major brands always give out free samples on health products get yours from http://bit.ly/bhhLUy tell your friends also

Posted by: tonymize | June 16, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

If Obama does propose an energy version of his health-care plan, then we can look forward to months of reading columns by you supporting it and hysterically trashing everyone who thinks it doesn't go far enough as left-wing radicals.

Posted by: pkey1 | June 16, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Always with "What I will not accept.." He talks like Mussolini, at times. Even his supporters are beginning to see the distinction between addressing problems and trying to solve them, on the one hand, and exploiting them to push a predetermined agenda, on the other.

Posted by: truck1 | June 16, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

truck1, he said the only thing he wouldn't accept in inaction. I don't know where you get "predetermined agenda" from that. And come on, Mussolini? Are you trying not to be taken seriously?

pkey1, Ezra's supported passing major energy legislation since I don't even know when. If President Obama proposed climate change legislation that actually addresses climate change in some positive way, even if it doesn't go far enough, and has some expectation of passing, I expect Ezra would probably support it. And why wouldn't he? It conforms to what he already wants done.

Posted by: MosBen | June 16, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama made an unspoken "deal" on climate change was that he would not talk about it, and in exchange, the right would not fight over the issue as well. He made a huge mistake. The right continued a relentless propaganda campaign on climate change denialism and Obama simply thought that the right could be bought off by offering them more offshore drilling. He got played by the Republicans by not building awareness of the need for climate change laws and letting the Republicans run roughshod over him on the issue, and now he's painted himself into a corner.

Posted by: constans | June 16, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

His predetermined agenda always appears under the heading of "comprehensive solution", "long term solution", "final solution", or "new foundation." What he never deals with is specifics for the problem at hand now, always instead using it as an excuse for some utopian "final" , for all time solution. He should be talking about the Gulf cleanup, instead of "carbon pricing" (hey, new name -- like it!).

Posted by: truck1 | June 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that Beck's description of what is going on radical or calls him paranoid - is uninformed. He's right on point.

The WH Freak deliberately and willfully said NO to help from twenty countries from day one of the spill, refuses to repeal the Jones Act, and has also deliberately drug his feet and acted irresponsibly and recklessly in addressing the spill.

Obama will sacrifice our Gulf Coast states and ecosystem to further his plan of government takeover of the oil industry...and to sacrifice capitalism...which he views as evil.

Americans will pay and pay and pay...unless we convince the corrupt Democrats that they are OUT OUT OUT.

Any vote for this sham of a bill - is a vote OUT.

Posted by: joesmithdefend | June 16, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It's true, he's obviously more comfortable talking to a crowd, or even a single TV interviewer, than to an isolated camera. The State of the Union address or, for that matter, in spite of its "kick ass" moment, the recent Matt Lauer interview, showed that he's still the brilliant and energetic guy I voted for. This address was a bit stilted, but given that everything he said was true, I hope people tuned in and listened to it.

For many years we've heard the cliche, "we know more about the surface of the moon than about the bottom of the sea." I think this crisis, perhaps, illustrates the hidden dangers of that ignorance. Rarely have the limits of our abilities been more painful. And while I don't expect Obama to put on a super-scuba suit and duct-tape the hole, it is kind of mysterious why the Navy doesn't have any abilities to carry out missions at this depth. Don't we have submarines that can do anything?

Posted by: jacobh | June 16, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"it is kind of mysterious why the Navy doesn't have any abilities to carry out missions at this depth. Don't we have submarines that can do anything?"

i am no expert, and i dont know a blessed thing about this, except i do remember reading that our naval submarines are not equipped to go to these depths, in the ocean.
they apparently dont have that capability.

Posted by: jkaren | June 16, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Even Olberman LAUGHED at OWE-bama last night.

It is over -- he's one-termer.

Posted by: russpoter | June 16, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you're right, Ezra, that this mirrors his health care leadership...but that was a horrid, bloody, bruising fight that lasted 15 months and incorporated huge sops to the GOP even though the GOP almost to a man (and the few women) rarely negotiated or acted in good faith.

Posted by: RalfW | June 15, 2010 10:25 PM |

==================================

What leadership? Obama stayed on the sidelines while Pelosi and Reid jammed a horrid bill through Congress that over 15% of Democrats couldn't stand. Where was the negotiation or good faith with those two with all the gimmicks to pass it?

We have the same lack of leadership here. Obama didn't tell people what they wanted to hear; he didn't tell people what they needed to hear either.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 16, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama = Carter

Posted by: art202 | June 16, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

If President Obama is inferring that our nation should embrace energy/climate changes such as the Cap and Trade bill otherwise known as the "Corrupt and Shady bill"...The majority of Americans don't want it...Exactly how and who would benefit from this disastrous bill? (1) This bill would strong arm the coal/natural gas industries with almost unattainable regulations (2) It would increase the utility costs of each household by $2000.00/year or more (3) Increase and create new emissions laws/taxes (4) Create more jobs overseas instead of our country....The list goes on and on...As you can see, the only individuals who would reap the benefits of these environmental changes are the liberal elitists and the environmentalists...Time for our nation to research and create ways to become energy independent not the other way around!!!

Posted by: Rhonda5 | June 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I like the post by jkaren. It made a lot of sense and put things in perspective, but most of all, I like the fact that it takes the focus off Mr. Obama and places it back on us, where it belongs. Yes, indeed, we have this oil spill and the clean up will take forever. But the larger problem is the change effort required to adopt a clean energy program. The reason being is that it will require sacrifices on the part of the American people and that is one thing that this country knows nothing about in the present moment or for the foreseeable future. Solutions in the form of sacrifice are not on the shelf at the local supermarket. These things have to be generated from within by creative and committed people in the form of alternative approaches to the same old, same old. For people who require a road map, like the NY Times Columnist DAVID BROOKS, who, during his comments last night following Obama's address, stated that the President did not provide enough specificity. Mr. Brooks then went on to recall fondly (though probably not alive at the time) how FDR got out the maps during his addresses and pointed to places and provided great detail in the process. It never occurred to Mr. Brooks (this guy needs a shave) that he was obligated to provide some specificity himself, as an example, but that would have been way beyond him. For the man who believes that we should "Gradually Move Away" from our dependence on oil, he provides no detail or direction in his article "The Larger Struggle." Rather he hangs in front of the reader a simplistic comparison between capitalism and "state capitalism" in a kind of way trying to say that we've got it good, and that companies like BP have it hard. This man is an apologist for the right and although I give my hat off to the NY Times for presenting all views, DAVID BROOKS is the epitome of a failed thought process, a living example of what not to do in a crisis. The bottom line here in this current situation is that we need some good news. As for the long term problem, we need a few good ideas. People need to buy in to a model that involves sacrifice but is self reinforcing and is its own reward. For example, "going green" we pay as much, or more, eat less and eat better. There are a thousand ways to reduce our carbon footprint but it will require some sacrifice and ingenuity. Ingenuity? Isn't that America? Not really! We are kind of in a sad place, right now. Hopefully, we will pick it up and stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

Posted by: rryder1 | June 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that while I normally agree with your perspective, I disagree with your take on this one, Ezra. I thought the President did a great job. More specifics would have been nice, but the reality is that we just don't have specifics right now. This is a type of spill that has never happened before. No one knows exactly what the impact will be or how long it will take to fix it. I think the best thing the President can do is present the facts to the people and assure the citizens that he will do whatever it takes to see that it is dealt with.

Also, as far as not mentioning the words "climate change" or "global warming," I think that was a smart idea. Those are contentious issues that many Americans are unsure of and tired of hearing about, and neither of which have a direct connection to what is happening in the Gulf. Global warming did not cause BP to use shoddy equipment, nor is it even responsible for American's unending need for cheap oil (the reverse is true, actually). By taking a fresh approach, and talking about the subject without mentioning words that would make viewers zone out, I think the President was more able to effectively deliver his message. You can't make your point to people who won't listen.

Finally, with all the criticism Obama has been getting for his so-called "breaking of campaign promises" (which I have decided people make up by the day), I thought it was smart for him to not promise anything in a situation where there are no guarentees and no easy answers....kind of like all the rest of the problems America faces that they expect him to just wave a magic wand over.

Posted by: luee | June 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

spelling: guarantees

Posted by: truck1 | June 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes I agree with your take on the speech. However, in evaluating what Obama says and then actually does, you should have watched Jon Stewart last night where he ripped Obama on saying one thing then doing quite another--it was well done.

The speech had the right words and emphasis, but I look to follow through and not rhetoric. Right now, rhetoric ain't helping people, birds, and other animals in the Gulf.

Posted by: RedRat | June 16, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Ezra Klein, an intelligent writer who knows better, wrote an article intented to join the pack of his journalistic colleagues to be one of the "guys".He encouraged the responses that he got-- a bunch of whiners who apparently think we would be better off electing the Republicans who know how to govern, by doing NOTHING. Next time elect Aquaman president and he can jump into the Gulf and "plug the d**m hole". Until then maybe we ought to behave like rational adults and recognize not every problem can be solved by having a tantrum.

Posted by: thamber | June 16, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Silly me. I read the Headline and automatically thought you were referring to jimma carter's "malaise" speech. Same speech, same kind of politician, same empty rhetoric, and (hopefully) same one term president.

Posted by: IQ168 | June 16, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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