GRAND ISLE, La., June 4, 2010 -- President Obama slammed BP today for spending money on a new television ad campaign and paying dividends to shareholders as Gulf Coast residents continue to clamor for action and progress toward containing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Showing frustration and a touch of irritation, Obama noted that BP has contracted for $50 million worth of television advertising in order to "manage their image during the course of this disaster" and cited reports that the oil company will pay $10.5 billion to shareholders this quarter.
"I don't have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations," Obama said. "But I want BP to be very clear: They've got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done.
"What I don't want to hear," he said, "is when they're spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising that they're nickel and diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time."
Obama said that federal officials would be looking over BP's shoulder and working with state and local officials to ensure the company was not "lawyering up" when it comes to claims from those hurt by this catastrophe.
"They say they want to make it right," Obama said. "That's part of their advertising campaign. Well, we want them to make it right."
Obama returned to the Louisiana Gulf Coast today for another firsthand look at efforts to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to hear directly from local residents.
This is the president's third visit to the region since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion April 20 and subsequent oil leak; his second trip in the past week.