In response to President Obama's first-ever Oval Office address to the nation, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele has launched a video attack on the White House's handling of the Gulf oil spill - and he's hoping it will go viral.
Titled "What Took So Long?" the video highlights Mr. Obama's golf outings and White House events such as a concert honoring Paul McCartney while NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer and Democratic analyst James Carville question the administration's response to the disaster.
The Obama "administration has dithered while the worst ecological disaster in American history has unfolded, wreaking environmental and economic havoc up and down the Gulf Coast," Mr. Steele says in an e-mail that contains a link to the video, posted on YouTube.
In the e-mail, sent to RNC members and the media, Mr. Steele notes that since the April 20 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, Mr. Obama "has made the time to play six rounds of golf, take two vacations, attend two concerts, and go on cross-country fundraising junkets but not to pick up the phone and speak directly with the executives of BP."
In the video, Mr. Lauer is telling Mr. Obama that it's "curious" that he has not talked with the head of the oil company. Mr. Obama met with BP officials Wednesday at the White House.
The White House and Mr. Obama repeatedly have dismissed the growing discontent with the administration's handling of the matter, saying it was overseeing a massive response and vowing to hold BP responsible. BP on Wednesday agreed to establish a $20 billion fund to pay for the cleanup and claims by Gulf Coast businesses.
Until Mr. Obama's address Tuesday, the RNC - wisely, in the view of communications experts in both parties - mainly refrained from attacking the White House response, leaving it to the press, residents of the Gulf states and, increasingly, exasperated Democrats.
The video is the latest attack Mr. Steele's committee has mounted since the chairman hired Doug Heye as its communications director.
Mr. Steele has put himself more into the background and let Mr. Heye and other Republicans do the on-camera sparring with Democrats on TV talk and news shows.
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