ThinkProgress filed this report from the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, DC.
A year ago, millions of barrels of oil were still flowing into the Gulf of Mexico following an explosion at the BP-run Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The resulting three-month ordeal was the worst oil spill that has ever occurred.
Despite the region’s vast devastation following the BP oil spill, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) pinpointed a different scapegoat in an interview with ThinkProgress: President Obama.
We asked the Barbour about the gravity of the economic harm caused by BP. Barbour avoided criticizing BP, arguing instead that “there’s no question” that President Obama has caused more harm to the Gulf Coast economy than the worst oil spill in history:
KEYES: Governor, you testified before Congress yesterday on the Gulf Coast. Who do you think has done more harm to the Gulf Coast economy, BP or President Obama?
BARBOUR: President Obama. There’s no question about that. The news media played their part by the way by giving the American people the impression that the whole Gulf Coast was knee-deep in oil and it wasn’t a good place to go for tourism. But the moratorium, $4 gasoline, 9.1 percent unemployment, record deficits, increasing public debt by $3 trillion in two years. Obama’s done more damage to the economy of the country than any private company could possibly do.
Barbour is not alone in his refusal to condemn BP while embracing criticism of President Obama. Last year, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), then-ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, famously apologized to BP for what he deemed a “$20 billion shakedown” by the Obama administration.
In 2010, Barbour praised the government’s response, saying, “As I’ve said before, and said to the president, I think the federal government’s done more right than wrong.”