Bill Clinton does lunch with Obama. BP on menu? Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the White House private dining room
With a USA Today poll showing that a majority of Americans now give Obama a failing grade for his handling of the catastrophe, White House aides say the president will announce new, more stringent standards to enhance drilling safety and impose a moratorium on plans for drilling in other environmentally sensitive ecosystems.
But before the presser, Obama will have lunch with someone who knows something about damage control.
Former President Clinton, whose affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky landed him in trouble with the law, Congress and his wife, might have a thing or two to tell Obama about how to handle a crisis.
Or maybe he'll talk to him about triangulation -- the strategy Clinton and consultant Dick Morris devised to cope with a Senate that had turned Republican -- work both sides toward the middle. Yes, that's the same Morris who's now a conservative talker.
It's possible, of course, that the topic at lunch has nothing to do with BP or the political fallout of what is becoming Obama's Katrina, the hurricane in the gulf that caught the federal government asleep and turned George W. Bush into a lame-duck president.
Maybe Obama wants to talk to Clinton about undertaking some private diplomatic mission. Maybe Clinton wants to talk to Obama about coordinating with his William J. Clinton Foundation on issues of climate change, HIV/AIDS or First Lady Michelle Obama's cause, childhood obesity.
But it's not likely. Obama is clearly frustrated -- telling aides to "plug the damn hole" -- and planning a trip to the Gulf Coast Friday.
But first, lunch beckons.
-- Johanna Neuman
Photo: President Obama in the Rose Garden on Jan. 16, 2010, naming former Presidents Clinton and Bush to lead an effort for American charitable aid to Haiti Credit: Getty Images