The Obama administration has been so negligent in managing the BP oil spill cleanup that it has become part of the problem, says U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
The Texas Republican’s allegations, during a CNN interview Monday night, came as tar balls that some said were from the oil spill washed ashore in Galveston.
“They have done a lot to interfere,” Paul said on “John King USA.”
Paul took particular aim at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service, saying residents and state officials in Louisiana and Mississippi have complained that these agencies have not acted quickly enough to relax federal regulations and expedite the cleanup.
In addition, the former presidential candidate suggested, the troop deployments in the “wars we don’t need to fight” in Iraq and Afghanistan also have hampered the cleanup effort.
“If our states had their Guard units back here, maybe they would have the manpower to do more to clean up the beaches and prevent the oil from coming in, but no, our Guard units are all over the world fighting wars we don’t need,” Paul said.
The administration says 17,500 National Guard troops from the Gulf states have been authorized to respond to the crisis, and 1,577 are active.
Paul’s opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also came across in his defense of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment at a fundraiser last week that Afghanistan is “a war of Obama’s choosing.”
The comment evoked widespread criticism, including denunciations from Republicans such as Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina that the comment was inaccurate, especially since the Afghan war began in 2001 under President George W. Bush.
But Paul defended Steele’s remark, saying, “Yes, I think it is Obama’s war because he has called this the ‘good war,’ and he fought for more troops over there, and the war is going badly.”
Some in the media are stirring controversy about the comment to portray the GOP as divided, Paul said.
“I wonder how many grass-roots Americans believe that an individual who blurted out the truth that he sort of backtracked on should be kicked out of office because of that,” Paul said. “The majority of the American people agree with what he said.”
But a USA Today/Gallup poll last week showed that 66 percent of Republicans support the war, compared with only 27 percent of Democrats.
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