"[It's] more like a war, more like an epidemic and so you need a long-term plan to deal with it. And that's what the president is offering," Axelrod said.
"He's going to have a lot of eyes glued to the television set tomorrow night," Democratic strategist and "Good Morning America" consultant James Carville said on "GMA." "I think he can hit this political reset button... I think he can eliminate the [political] damage.
"It's a complex problem, but he's got to show that he's on top of this thing, that there's a strategy in place and that there's a way to deal with this," Carville added.
BP says it is planning to increase containment capacity, from siphoning 15,000 to 28,000 barrels per day of oil to as much as 50,000 barrels a day by the end of the month.
The company deployed new sea sensors over the weekend to help government scientists figure out how much oil is still seeping out of the well.
Meanwhile, 23 more miles of the Gulf Coast were closed for fishing as tar balls washed ashore and threatened sea life.
In an opinion piece published in several Gulf Coast newspapers, Obama said an independent commission will investigate how such disasters can be prevented.
"Beyond the current disaster, we also have an obligation to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again," the president wrote. "Where the laws are insufficient to prevent another spill, we'll change them. Where oversight has been inadequate, we'll strengthen it."
Carville said the news from BP that it's capturing more oil is encouraging and that people in Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast are anxiously awaiting news on what further help is coming from the government.
"They definitely want to know what's the strategy for cleaning this up, how much oil has been put out there, how long do the experts think this is going to go on, what will be the long-term effects on our fishing industry. They're definitely concerned about this moratorium that's wrecking this economy down here, what has to be done to get this lifted, how soon can we expect that, and the big thing of course is ... what is going to happen to our wetlands," Carville said. "If this president seizes this initiative ... that's going to be a big part of his legacy, that's going to be an enormous thing."
A White House official said Obama's address is coming before the BP meeting because "he's going to tell the nation what he intends to tell BP that they have to do."
And why now?
"We know more now than we did," the official said, both in terms of how much oil is being released and in terms of "our capacity to contain the flow."
The official underlined that this spill is not an "event" like the Challenger disaster, but rather an "epidemic" that will continue for years, even after the hole is plugged.
ABC News' Ann Compton and Sam Champion contributed to this report.