By Kara Rowland, The Washington Times
President Obama traveled to Louisiana for a firsthand glimpse of efforts to contain the massive oil spill off the coast there and the administration deployed Cabinet secretaries for a Sunday media blitz as the White House sought to combat accusations of a slow response to the disaster.
Mr. Obama and other administration officials were vigorous in detailing federal assistance efforts to contain the spill, which was caused by an explosion of a BP-owned offshore oil rig that killed 11 people on April 20.
Although Mr. Obama did not make his first public statement on the situation until nine days later, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano dismissed comparisons to the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, saying Mr. Obama has been on top of the situation since “Day One.”
“I think that is a total mischaracterization,” Ms. Napolitano said on “Fox News Sunday” of any similarity to Katrina. “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.”
In a public statement from Venice, La. – just miles from the offshore explosion – Mr. Obama said it’s been “all hands on deck” at the White House and listed in exhaustive detail the federal government’s assistance efforts, which include the dispatching of Pentagon aircraft to spray the oil slick with dispersant chemicals and SWAT teams to inspect oil platforms.
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