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Gulf oil spill could be 'Obama's Katrina,' says top Republican McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican chief deputy whip, says the president is in political danger because of his response to the Gulf oil spill.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican chief deputy whip, says the president is in political danger because of his response to the Gulf oil spill.
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Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy (R) of California says that the oil spill in the Gulf could “very well be” President Barack Obama’s Katrina, referring to the damage done to voters’ confidence in President Bush by his administration’s response to the hurricane that hit New Orleans in 2005.

Rep. McCarthy ,who is the Republicans' chief deputy whip and chief recruiter of GOP House candidates, spoke at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on Thursday. “I think [Obama] has a serious, long term problem here” given how long it takes to clean up the after effects of on oil spill of this magnitude, he said.

The GOP leader told of a conversation he recently had with Rep Steve Scalise, a Republican who represents Louisana’s First District which is bearing much of the brunt of the Gulf oil spill. Rep. Scalise called the White House last Thursday seeking to talk to the president about the crisis. An aide called back Friday and said the president was “too busy to talk to him.” Rep. McCarthy quoted Scalise as saying, “ I understood that until I turned on the TV and I saw that he was golfing and that he went out to California to do a fund raiser.”

The latest USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted May 24-25 underscores the political danger the president faces on this issue. They poll found a majority of Americans unhappy with Mr. Obama’s handling of the spill. Some 53 percent rate Obama's handling "poor" or "very poor"; 43 percent believe Obama is doing a good job on the crisis.

[Editor's note: The original version included an incorrect first name for Rep. McCarthy.]

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