Bachmann: Obama Oil Spill Response 'Dereliction of Leadership'; Media Lowered President's 'Level of Accountability'
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't exactly known for her reticence on the news of the day. And when it comes to the White House's handling of the BP oil spill disaster, Bachmann had some harsh words for President Barack Obama.
Speaking at the June 25 Bloggers Briefing at the Heritage Foundation, Bachmann pointed out how she thought it was peculiar that all the comments coming out of the White House were geared toward the president specifically and not to the victims of this crisis.
"The thing that we're all focusing on today will be the president's remarks that he'll be giving tonight and it looks like an absolute opportunism moment for the president to try and advance the next stage of his legislative agenda," Bachmann said. "And I think the curious feature in all of this has been: this is a major disaster and yet it seems like every response that has been coming out of the White House has been about the president rather than about the disaster. That is odd to me. That seems extremely odd."
The Minnesota Republican said the hapless reaction to the oil spill event and the administration's mishandling of the Nashville flood in April that went largely ignored by the President and the media raised questions about the administration's leadership.
"It seems like a dereliction of leadership, especially when you consider what happened in Nashville was also a disaster - an unmitigated disaster for the people down in Nashville," she said. "Not only has the president not yet visited to highlight the devastation that has happened to businesses and people's lives there, but he also hasn't even mentioned Nashville as a disaster. That's interesting to me, how the White House seems to be picking and choosing between disasters - for whatever reason and I can't speculate what that reason may be, but for some reason Nashville didn't make the cut for a presidential visit or a presidential mention."
When asked, Bachmann didn't sound too hopeful that Congress would exercise its oversight role and hold hearing looking into what she suggested was the federal government's mishandling of the oil spill response efforts.
"I am sure Nancy Pelosi will get on that tomorrow morning and Harry Reid," she said, to laughter.
She characterized the ongoing Gulf disaster as a missed opportunity for the president to untie the country, something that "candidate Obama" seemingly could have done, as opposed to President Obama.
"I give the President a lot of credit as candidate Obama," she continued. "He really did have kind of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be that transformational president, which I wish he could have been. But unfortunately the last 18 months I think we have seen the ground shake underneath our country because of a lot of policy decisions he's made but also from a stylistic point of view - the way that he has handled various crises in his presidency - and I don't think that has engendered confidence."
She also mentioned the White House's handling of last month's flotilla disaster, and she took a shot at the media for not holding Obama as accountable as they held the Bush administration for similar responses.
"Look at the blockade situation with Turkey and with Israel," Bachmann said. "All the wrong signals were sent out of that event in my opinion. And it's made Israel even more vulnerable than they were before. So for that and a lot of other reasons, I think we really need to give - the White House needs to be held at least to the same level of accountability the previous administration was held to. And I don't see that media, present company excluded, has necessarily done that."