John at Powerline debunks Obama's claim that the BP oil spill was a top priority from day one:
Obama's principal revisionism lay in his account of how his administration responded to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. To hear him tell it, the administration anticipated the worst from the beginning and reacted accordingly:
The day that the rig collapsed and fell to the bottom of the ocean, I had my team in the Oval Office that first day. Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts. This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred. ...
Q. On April 21st, Admiral Allen tells us, the government started dispatching equipment rapidly to the gulf. And you just said, on day one you recognized the enormity of the situation. Yet, here we are 39, 40 days later, you're still having to rush more equipment, more boom, there are still areas of the coast unprotected.
Why is it taking so long? And did you really act from day one for a worst case scenario?
OBAMA: We did.
The rebuttal is provided by the NY Times:
The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP, which was leasing the drilling rig that exploded in flames on April 20 and sank two days later. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.
The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was “a spill of national significance,” and then set up a second command center in Mobile. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.
The delay meant that the Homeland Security Department waited until late this week to formally request a more robust response from the Department of Defense, with Ms. Napolitano acknowledging even as late as Thursday afternoon that she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful.
Well, that was then - now the Times is more or less parroting uncritically Obama's resolute soundbite:
Mr. Obama brushed off the Katrina comparisons, arguing that the government has made “the largest effort of its kind in U.S. history” and was in charge of BP’s response. “Those who think we were either slow in our response or lacked urgency don’t know the facts,” he said. “This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred.”
Still, there were uncomfortable echoes of Katrina. Just as Mr. Bush cast aside Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Obama addressed reporters just hours after S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, his director of the Minerals Management Service, resigned under pressure.
Just as Mr. Bush was criticized for being on vacation in Texas when Katrina bore down on New Orleans, Mr. Obama has been criticized for golfing, fund-raising and, on Thursday night, heading to Chicago for a holiday weekend while oil laps up in the marshes and beaches of Louisiana.
Hmm, if they really want to make the Katrina comparison they could simply cite their own reporting - the spill was not declared an event of national significance for days.
Nor did the Times laugh out loud or provide appropriate context in their coverage of Obama's resolute Gulf visit:
At a news conference in Washington on Thursday, Mr. Obama said he was angry and frustrated about the catastrophe, and he shouldered much of the responsibility for the continuing crisis.
“Those who think we were either slow on the response or lacked urgency, don’t know the facts,” Mr. Obama said. “This has been our highest priority.”