NYT's Cooper: Obama Becomes Jimmy Carter If He Doesn't Get Control Of Oil Spill

Barack Obama's presidency goes the way of Jimmy Carter's if he doesn't get control of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

So said New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper on the most recent installment of "The Chris Matthews Show."

As the opening segment's discussion concerning the spill moved to a close, the host surprisingly asked his panel if  Obama can continue to "blame the previous administration, the oil patch guys, Bush and Cheney" for the disaster.

Readers will likely find the answers quite surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary): 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Bottom line politically, he can no longer, can he longer blame the previous administration, the oil patch guys, Bush and Cheney, or does he have to move on and take the heat?

JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I think he has to move on. He has to move on largely because forgetting about what caused the spill, there's now a disaster that's going to play out over months in terms of how do we keep the oil off our shores, how do we get it out of the mashes, keep it off the marshes, how do we limit the impact now. So that is his challenge. And this is not going to be Bush's or Cheney's challenge. That's on his front door.

MATTHEWS: Present danger. Let me ask you this, everybody, right around here. We're going to end with this: will he get on top of this whole oil mess in the Gulf, get on top of it?

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: I think they would argue that they are on top of it. I think his...

MATTHEWS: What would an objective observer say right now? Are they on top of this? Will they get on top of it?

GUTHRIE: Well, I don't think we can say until the leak is capped.

RICK STENGEL, TIME: I think they will use the crisis as an opportunity and he will build it into something that can be a national campaign.

MATTHEWS: And he will look better after this is over than he did before?

STENGEL: Well, he will look better than he did at the beginning.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Helene?

HELENE COOPER, NEW YORK TIMES: He has to. If he doesn't, I think his presidency is, will go the way of Jimmy Carter's.

HEILEMANN: I think, I think, I'm with Helene. I think he has to. And I think if he doesn't it will really cost him.

Are media after more than seven weeks of watching a pathetic response to this disaster finally turning on the President they helped get elected, or is this just a moment of frustration?

Stay tuned. 

Oil spill BP Gulf Oil Spill The Chris Matthews Show Rick Stengel Helene Cooper Savannah Guthrie John Heilemann
Noel Sheppard's picture

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