WASHINGTON -- In assuring Americans on Tuesday that BP won't control the compensation fund for Gulf oil spill recovery, President Barack Obama failed to mention that the government won't control it, either.
That means it's anyone's guess whether the government can, in fact, make BP pay all costs related to the spill.
Obama aimed high in his prime-time Oval Office address -- perhaps higher than the facts support and history teaches -- as he vowed to restore livelihoods and nature from the still-unfolding calamity in the Gulf of Mexico.
A look at some of his statements and how they compare with those facts:
OBAMA: "We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused and we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy. ... Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate cs that caused the original well to blow out. It potentially could create a worse spill if engineers were to accidentally damage the existing well or tear a hole in the undersea oil reservoir.
OBAMA: "From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation's history."
THE FACTS: Early on, the government established a command center and put Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen in charge of coordinating the overall spill response. But officials also repeatedly have emphasized that BP was "responsible" and they have relied heavily on BP in making decisions from hiring cleanup workers to what oil dispersing chemicals to use. Local officials in the Gulf region have complained that often they don't know who's in charge -- the government or BP.
OBAMA: "We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore."
THE FACTS: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and local officials pleaded for weeks with the Army Corps of Engineers and the spill response command for permission to build about 40 miles of sand berms along the barrier islands.
State officials applied for an emergency permit to build the berms May 11, but as days went by Jindal became increasingly angry at federal inaction. The White House finally agreed to a portion of the berm plan on June 2. BP then agreed to pay for the project.
The corps was worried that in some cases such a move would alter tides and drive oil into new areas and produce more harm than good.
OBAMA: "Already, I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue."
THE FACTS: Obama issued a six-month moratorium on new permits for deepwater drilling but production continues from existing deepwater wells.