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Obama quicker to claim credit for BP oil well-sealing

September 20, 2010 |  3:42 am

Democrat president Barack Obama crouches to look at sand on a gulf beach during the BP oil spill

President Obama, who was widely criticized for a slow response to the environmentally disastrous gulf oil spill last spring, was quick to respond Sunday and claim credit for the final sealing of the troublesome well.

"Today," the Democrat announced, "we achieved an important milestone in our response to the BP oil spill."

After an April 20 fire and explosion that killed 11 oil platform workers, the deep-sea well spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude oil into the gulf during the next 87 days. BP engineers capped the mile-deep well July 15. This weekend BP crews using the relief well, mud and cement succeeded in sealing the well.

But in a two-paragraph special White House statement issued Sunday morning before some more golf, the president could find no words to praise or even acknowledge by name the BP drillers and relief crews who did the actual capping and sealing work.

Instead Obama praised -- actually he commended -- several members of his own cabinet and administration including Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security, Stephen Chu of Energy and Ken Salazar of Interior; also Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, White House climate czar Carol Browner, Jane Lubchenco, administrator of his National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and federal scientists and engineers.

(Quick reminder in case anyone has forgotten: Chu, like Obama, is a Nobel Prize winner. See photo below.)

Obama also found words to cite the 7,000 vessels, "thousands" of people and "dozens of....

...federal, state and local agencies" for their massive response. The president did mention some unidentified "other partners," which could possibly include the BP workers who actually did the work and now face unemployment due to the administration's offshore drilling moratorium.

The commander-in-chief vowed:

"My administration will see our communities, our businesses and our fragile ecosystems through this difficult time." 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Statement by President Obama on Final Termination of BP's Blown Out Well in the Gulf of Mexico

Today, we achieved an important milestone in our response to the BP oil spill – the final termination of the damaged well that sat deep under the Gulf of Mexico. I commend Admiral Thad Allen, Secretaries Salazar, Chu, Napolitano, Administrators Jackson and Lubchenco, Carol Browner, the federal science and engineering teams, and the thoBarack Obama admires his Nobel Prize 12-10-09usands of men and women who worked around the clock to respond to this crisis and ultimately complete this challenging but critical step to ensure that the well has stopped leaking forever.

However, while we have seen a diminished need for our massive response that encompassed more than 40,000 people, 7,000 vessels and the coordination of dozens of federal, state and local agencies and other partners, we also remain committed to doing everything possible to make sure the Gulf Coast recovers fully from this disaster. This road will not be easy, but we will continue to work closely with the people of the Gulf to rebuild their livelihoods and restore the environment that supports them. My administration will see our communities, our businesses and our fragile ecosystems through this difficult time.      ####

Photos: Associated Press