The Campaign Spot

White House Successfully Puts Cap on Gusher of Unflattering Oil-Spill Stories

In today’s Jolt, there’s a roundup of Arizona immigration law and Kentucky Senate race news, but also an update on that huge story that I try to feature at least one item on in every edition . . .

The Oil Spill Won’t Disappear, but Discussion of Obama’s Response Might

You thought I was being silly with this one-item-on-oil-every-morning rule, huh? ‘Oh, Jim, the oil spill is one of the biggest news stories in years. There’s no way it will disappear from the front page.’ Well, there was nothing about the spill on the front page of the New York Times on Tuesday. (There was a bottom of the page story on Wednesday.)

About three weeks ago, Obama offered a speech that was widely panned, but that declared, “in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well.” How’s that coming? USA Today: “The renegade well is gushing between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day, and current containment systems are catching around 25,000 barrels a day, [Thad] Allen said.” That’s a chunk, but that’s less than half of the high end number.

The president also declared, “make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes. . . . we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.” Well, a search of Obama’s speeches on the Washington Post website reveals he has not said “BP”, “gulf” or “spill” since June 30. I realize there’s a national holiday in the past week, but it certainly is hard to believe this is still the top priority if he can go a week without even mentioning it. Back on May 27, he was insisting it was his top priority.

It’s as if the entire country decided that the president had bombed in his speech, that the federal response was an immense disappointment, and that the coast was doomed . . . and then moved on to more interesting topics.

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