President Obama: Fed Gov't in Charge of Efforts to Contain Oil Spill, Not BP

More Questions for White House

As the presidential commission further studies how to prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again, the Obama administration's moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells will continue for six months, the official said.

The Obama administration continues to face tough questions about what even some supporters perceive as a lack of leadership in responding to the Gulf leak.

In California Wednesday, Obama called the oil spill "heartbreaking" even as he warned that the latest plan to plug the hole might not work.

"If it's successful, and there are no guarantees, it should greatly reduce or eliminate the flow of oil now streaming into the gulf from the sea floor," he said.

Although the president was out in California at least partly to raise money for the Democratic party, he was eager to show he is on the case.

"My administration is intensively engaged with scientists and engineers, to explore all alternative options," he said.

Obama will fly Friday to the Louisiana coast, where residents such as shrimper Henry Hutto want to know why his administration has yet to approve an emergency request from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to build barriers on outer islands.

"I don't know why our president has not had [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers let us put some sand barriers out here," Hutto told ABC News. "Let us do something to stop this mess from coming in."

On Capitol Hill, Salazar faced similar questions from frustrated members of Congress but he warned that the administration does not want to make a wrong move.

"The one thing that we don't want to do is to move forward and do something that ultimately will be environmentally worse than other measures that may be more thoughtful," Salazar said Wednesday.

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