Today’s Q for O – 5/27/2010

By Matt Loffman

May 27, 2010 2:24pm

JAKE TAPPER: You say that everything that could be done is being done.  But there are those in the region and industry experts who say that's not true.  Governor Jindal obviously had this proposal for a barrier.  They say that, if that had been approved when they first asked for it, they would have 10 miles up already.  There are fishermen down there who want to work, who want to help, haven't been trained, haven't been told to go do so.  There are industry experts who say that they're surprised the tankers haven't been sent out there to vacuum, as was done in '93 outside Saudi Arabia.  And then, of course, there's the fact that there are 17 countries that have offered to help, and it's only been accepted from two countries, Norway and Mexico. How can you say that everything that can be done is being done with all these experts and all these officials saying that's not true?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, let me distinguish between — if the question is, are we doing everything perfectly out there, then the answer is absolutely not.  We can always do better. 

If the question is, are we, each time there is an idea, evaluating it and making a decision, is this the best option that we have right now, based on how quickly we can stop this leak and how much damage can we mitigate, then the answer is yes.
  
So let's take the example of Governor Jindal's barrier islands idea.  When I met with him when I was down there two weeks ago, I said, I will make sure that our team immediately reviews this idea, that the Army Corps of Engineers is looking at the feasibility of it, and if they think — if they tell me that this is the best approach to dealing with this problem, then we're going to move quickly to execute it; if they have a disagreement with Governor Jindal's experts as to whether this would be effective or not, whether it was going to be cost-effective, given the other things that need to be done, then we'll sit down and try to figure that out.

  

And that essentially is what's happened, which is why today you saw an announcement where, from the Army Corps's perspective there were some area where this might work but there are some areas where it would be counterproductive and not a good use of resources.
  
So the point is, on each of these points that you just mentioned, if the job of our response team is to say, OK, if 17 countries have offered equipment and help, let's evaluate what they've offered, how fast can it get here; is it actually going to be redundant or will it actually add to the overall effort?
  
Because, in some cases, more may not actually be better, and decisions have been made, based on the best information available, that says, here's what we need right now; it may be that, a week from now or two weeks from now or a month from now the offers from some of those countries might be more effectively utilized.
  
Now, it's going to be entirely possible, in an operation this large, that mistakes are made, judgments prove to be wrong, that people say in retrospect, you know, if we could have done that or we did that, this might have turned out differently, although in a lot of cases it may be speculation.
  
But the point that I was addressing from Jennifer was, does this administration maintain a constant sense of urgency about this, and are we examining every recommendation and every idea that's out there and making our best judgment as to whether these are the right steps to take, based on the best experts that we know of?  And on that answer, the answer is yes — or on that question, the answer is question.

-Jake Tapper

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