Still, it has been lost on no one in political Washington that the public has grown increasingly impatient with the ongoing disaster and that it is taking a toll on the administration. A Gallup Poll released Thursday found that 53 percent of Americans rate Obama’s performance on the oil spill as “poor” or “very poor.” The federal government came out worse at 60 percent. And worse still was BP, at 73 percent “poor” or “very poor.”
Earlier this week, the White House announced that Obama will visit the Gulf region Friday, his second such visit since the spill began. But Obama continues to face criticism, including from within his own party, that he has seemed disengaged on the matter, even as photos and video of oil-soaked Louisiana marshland and wildlife horrify the public.
The early Republican criticism that this could become Obama’s “Katrina,” referring to the perception that President Bush was slow in responding to hurricane Katrina in 2005, has started to gain wider traction.
No less a Democratic ally than James Carville, now living in his native Louisiana, bashed Obama Wednesday for what he called the “political stupidity” of his response to the Gulf crisis. “I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here,” Mr. Carville said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Obama’s press conference – his first long, solo East Room appearance before the press corps since last July – seemed almost a direct response to Carville. In response to the 10th and final question of the afternoon, the president cast his reaction in personal terms, speaking of his native Hawaii.