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Gulf oil spill: Obama pledges justice and takes responsibility for cleanup

May 28, 2010 |  1:00 pm
President Obama on Friday vowed justice for workers who died in the April explosion of a BP-operated oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and to personally take responsibility for the spill in the days to come.

"I'm the president and the buck stops with me," Obama said.

"Justice will be done for those whose lives ended with this disaster," he said. "That is a pledge that I am making."

But first, the government and oil company executives have to stop the spill, now pumping untold barrels of oil into the gulf every day.

The catastrophe is still playing out, Obama said, suggesting there may be failures of judgment in the days to come.

"America has never experienced an event like this before," Obama said. "This means that, as we respond to it, not every judgment we make is going to be right the first time out...."

There are going to be a lot of "judgment calls," he said, not "silver bullets."

Still, he vowed to make sure state, local and federal officials are working in concert with one another toward a common goal.

Full recovery will be a long time coming, the president predicted.

"We're on your side and we're going to see this through," Obama said, "until your communities are made whole again."

"I give the people of this community and the entire gulf my word that we're going to hold ourselves accountable," he said.

--Christi Parsons, reporting from Washington