Janet Napolitano made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows yesterday.

Naturally, she defended Obama and the administration’s response to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Video, from FOX News Sunday.


CHRIS WALLACE: A number of Louisiana officials are saying that the Obama administration was slow to respond to this crisis. And I want to review the timeline of what has happened here. On April 20th, the explosion of the drilling platform. For days, BP and the Coast Guard say there is no leak. On April 24th, we’re told it’s leaking 1,000 barrels a day. On April 28th, the estimate is raised to 5,000 barrels a day. It’s not until April 29th, nine days after the accident, that the president makes his first statement about what is now called an incident of national significance.

Secretary Napolitano, should the administration have responded faster?

JANET NAPOLITANO: Oh, the administration responded with all hands on deck from day one. What happened is the situation itself evolved. The situation evolved from an explosion and a search-and-rescue mission to several days later the actual sinking of the rig. At that point in time, the oil was being burned off on the surface. To the next phase, was that the oil began to spread, and could not all and was not all being burned off on the surface. And then we had assets in place, already pre-deployed, more than 70 vessels, hundreds of thousands of feet of boom. The command center, the integrated command center the commandant referred to was already stood up, with the states involved from day one, I might say.

WALLACE: You know some critics are saying this could be Obama’s Katrina.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, I think that is a total mischaracterization. I think we will be happy when all is said and done to be very transparent with all the activity that has happened really from the first hours of the explosion. And those questions will be asked and they’ll be answered. But the key fact of the matter is that this has been all hands on deck, across the federal government, with the states, with BP from the day of this incident.

Wallace clearly spelled out the timeline. Obama didn’t make a statement about the oil spill for NINE days.

Watch the White House press briefing, on April 29, 2010.

It’s the “BP oil spill” and BP’s problem. BP is the responsible party, the responding party.

Robert Gibbs and Napolitano did their best to spin their way out of the administration’s inexcusably slow response. But they failed. The timeline is what it is.


Q But some local officials are already complaining. It’s been nine days and they’re frustrated with the pace of the federal response. How do you respond to them?

SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: Well, BP is the responding party. We are overseeing them. We’re working very closely with all of the state and local partners. And, again, I think the key thing is that there has been the inability of BP to — through whatever methodologies they’re using to get this shut.

Q But you can’t just lay this on BP. I mean, the federal government certainly has a response to respond to a catastrophe like this —

SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: We understand that, but —

MR. GIBBS: But let’s understand, Chip, I think one of the things the Secretary is talking about, as per your example earlier on the Exxon Valdez, in 1990 the law was passed that didn’t allow an oil company to do what had been done and hand the bill to you and me. It was — it’s now the responsibility of the oil company, in this case BP, British Petroleum.

Understanding that — let’s understand over the course of the past many days the situation has changed several times. The well was initially recapped. Then it wasn’t capped. We found, as of yesterday, additional breaches. Our response has been commensurate with that each time.

Q But shouldn’t the federal response be to respond to the possible worst-case scenario right from the start?

MR. GIBBS: That’s exactly what we’re doing.

Later in the April 29th briefing, Gibbs said that he didn’t know if Obama would be going to the Gulf.

Q And also, is there any talk of the President going down to one of the command centers?

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know if — I can check scheduling on that. I know that we’ve got these guys going down there tomorrow, but I don’t know about the President’s trip down there.

As the criticism of the Obama government’s inadequate response grew louder, an about-face was in order. Obama put together a trip to the Gulf on Sunday.

Strange. Was it raining in DC? Was golf not an option so Obama decided he had time to appear like he’s doing more than blaming BP and watching from afar?

Obviously, the Obama White House determined that Obama needed to look engaged rather than out of touch. So, he did what he needed to do to serve his political interests.

It’s ridiculous for Napolitano to say that it “has been all hands on deck, across the federal government, with the states, with BP from the day of this incident.”

On Sunday, Obama used the same phrase, “all hands on deck.”



OBAMA: And that’s why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response to this crisis from day one. After the explosion on the drilling rig, it began with an aggressive search-and-rescue effort to evacuate 115 people, including three badly injured. And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the 11 workers who have not yet — who have not been found.

When the drill unit sank on Thursday, we immediately and intensely investigated by remotely operated vehicles the entire 5,000 feet of pipe that’s on the floor of the ocean. In that process, three leaks were identified, the most recent coming just last Wednesday evening. As Admiral Allen and Secretary Napolitano have made clear, we’ve made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worse-case scenario. We immediately set up command center operations here in the Gulf and coordinated with all state and local governments. And the third breach was discovered on Wednesday.

We already had by that time in position more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of boom. And I dispatched the Secretaries of the Interior and Homeland Security; the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, who is here; my Assistant for Energy and Climate Change Policy; and the Administrator of NOAA to the Gulf Coast to ensure that we are doing whatever is required to respond to this event.

So I want to emphasize, from day one we have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best. And while we have prepared and reacted aggressively, I’m not going to rest — and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest — or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.

…Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak; BP will be paying the bill. But as President of the United States, I’m going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues. And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused. And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf.

Now, Obama and his White House are doing whatever it takes to contain and stop the damage.

I don’t mean the damage from the oil spill to the Gulf of Mexico. I’m referring to the damage the oil spill has done to Obama politically speaking.