After spending two days in Gulf Coast states moving from one White House choreographed event to the next, President Obama returns to Washington for his first Oval Office address to the nation. During his prime-time remarks to Americans, Mr. Obama says he will talk about how BP needs to respond to claims by oil spill affected businesses "quickly and fairly." The President is also expected to talk about reforms being undertaken at the Department of Interior as a direct result of the spill as well as the need for cleaner energy.
Earlier in the day after walking on the sand in Pensacola, President Obama said Florida beaches are ready for summer tourism. "This is still a place that's open for business and welcoming so vacationers and people can have a wonderful holiday here," the President said as he sat down with the Pensacola mayor and other federal, state and local officials. Reports of a two mile wide and forty mile long oil plume moving towards the Pensacola shore prompted Florida Republican Senator George LeMieux, who was with Mr. Obama Tuesday, to question the President about the need for more oil skimmers and why the White House has declined to waive the Jones Act so foreign countries can contribute to clean up efforts. "The President's response is that they didn't need to waive it and...we are getting help from other countries," Senator LeMieux said in an interview with Fox Business Channel. "But the key here is that thirty-two skimmers off this coast is not enough." One Pensacola beachgoer echoed the Senator's sentiments asking why the federal government wasn't doing more. "There's no reason why we don't have more tankers out here doing more skimming," Jan Wilson told Fox News while relaxing on the beach. "There's all kinds of technology available that's not being used. We've had offers from every country around the world...and we're not using the help that's available."
The White House is close to sealing a deal with BP for a multi-billion dollar escrow fund to assist Gulf Coast residents and businesses that are out of work or losing money every day the spill continues. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Fox News anchor Shepard Smith that this fund needs be independent of BP. "They're gonna have to put money up and into a fund that legally should be administered independently of BP to compensate the people of the Gulf for the economic damages that BP has caused." Gibbs concluded in the Tuesday afternoon interview, "I don't think anybody in this country believes BP is best situated to do that. I know the President doesn't believe that" Click here to watch Shepard Smith's interview with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Check your local listings for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel which will broadcast the President's address live. Also, please tune into Row 2, Seat 4 to watch the President's remarks. [foxlivestream]