Others said the president needs to do more on the ground.
"What I would have liked to have heard from him? That he actually had a plan," said Pensacola, Fla., resident Shelley Aspery.
"If we're at war as he says we are, then why aren't we bringing everybody into the picture that offered their help?" asked Charlie Brown.
Even before the president spoke, frustration had already given way to anger.
"I think it's lacking," one New Orleans resident said of the president's response. "I don't think he's responded to what we're going to do about the cleanup issues."
Before the president addressed the nation Tuesday night, most Americans said they were unhappy with the federal government's response to the oil spill. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week, 69 percent rated the federal response negatively and 64 percent said the government should pursue criminal charges against BP. An AP/GfK poll released Tuesday found similar results, with 52 percent saying they don't approve of Obama's handling of the spill.
Yet some Gulf coast residents say the responsibility doesn't lie solely in the hands of the president.
"I don't really think that's totally our president's job," said Alan Priest. "I think it's our responsibility as citizens to do that if we care about this place."
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf contributed to this report.