Vitter to Obama: Don’t Leave Louisiana

Posted May 28, 2010 at 11:24am

Sen. David Vitter accused the Obama administration Friday of dragging its feet on its response to the Gulf oil spill and called on the president to cancel a planned Memorial Day vacation in Chicago to focus on the crisis.

President Barack Obama is touring the devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Friday, which the Louisiana Republican suggested was too little too late. Obama is making his second trip to the region.

“The federal response to protect our marshes is a failure. Just look at their response to our emergency dredging barrier island plan — weeks of foot-dragging before approving two percent of it so they can study it further over more precious weeks and months,” Vitter said in a statement.

Given the problems with the cleanup, Vitter argued Obama should cancel his plan to spend next week in Chicago and should instead stay close to the disaster.

“I don’t think President Obama should leave Louisiana to go on vacation until this failed federal response is clearly turned around,” Vitter said.

With the spill continuing into its second month and BP struggling to find a way to stem the leak, Republicans have jumped at the chance to use the crisis to criticize the administration, accusing Obama of not taking aggressive enough action in the early days of the disaster. Obama has been mounting a counteroffensive to the charges, using a rare East Room press conference on Thursday to defend his actions and insist that the spill is his top priority.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) also has suggested that Obama could be doing more and that he could pay a political price for his handling of the disaster.