President Obama's Oval Office oil spill disaster speech draws fire from Robert Reich, other allies

New York Daily News

by Richard Sisk

June 17, 2010

WASHINGTON - If the reviews of President Obama's Oval Office oil disaster speech were about a Broadway play, the scenery already would have been loaded into moving vans. The address was "vapid," "bloodless," "short on specifics," "inscrutable" or just plain "flat." And those verdicts were from Obama's pals and others who usually give him a thumbs up.

Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's labor secretary and a current White House favorite on the economy, was nearly in despair in musings to the Huffington Post.

The speech "was, to be frank, vapid," Reich said. "If you watched with the sound off, you might have thought he was giving a lecture on the history of the Interstate Highway System."

On MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow could only muster an Al Gore-like sigh as her analysis over what she viewed as an opportunity lost.

Commentator Keith Olbermann said of Obama, "I don't think he aimed low. I don't think he aimed at all."

At least Obama still has Nancy Pelosi in his corner. The House speaker pivoted off the speech to put out a fund-raising letter boasting that Obama had followed through on his threat to kick some big oil tail.

"Last night, President Obama spoke powerfully from the Oval Office about our government's determination to hold BP fully accountable," Pelosi said.

Other Dems were lukewarm at best and said that passing a climate bill to limit greenhouse emissions before the November elections - one of the main points of Obama's speech - is a nonstarter.

"The climate bill isn't going to stop the oil leak," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). "The first thing you have to do is stop the oil leak."