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Missteps in the Gulf: Yachting, Golfing and Politics

June 20th, 2010
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06.20.2010
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Photo of the Deepwater Horizon rig was taken on Wed. Apr 21, 2010 12:39:42 AM EDT. Photo by: U.S. Coast Guard

Missteps in the Gulf: Yachting, Golfing and Politics

original article written by Net Advisor™

Part 1: BP CEO Blunder?

BP’s CEO Tony Hayward had reportedly taken a day off Saturday June 19, 2010 to watch his 52-foot yacht “Bob” compete in a race off England’s shore. News of the trip angered residents in the Gulf region (Source: Washington Post).

However what was left out in some media reports is that Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman of BP’s board of directors announced on Friday, June 18, 2010 that he is taking change of the PB mess, and sending CEO Hayward back to just running the business aspects of BP (Source: New York Times). Basically, Tony Hayward is out of the picture, and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg is taking charge of the PB oil spill problems.

CEO Tony Hayward, BP, PLC.

Despite the fact that Hayward has been sent home, White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel called Tony Hayward’s attendance at the yacht race as “part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes” that he (Hayward) has made (Source: Seattle Times).

If I was advising Hayward, I would be better to be down in the Gulf helping to oversee the mess or at least help clean some of it up, or order more resources there. That would have sent a better message to the public.

Part 2: USA Presidential Blunder?

Prior to Hayward’s PR debacle, President Obama also made a Gulf-related misstep.

President Obama did not attend the May 25, 2010 funeral held in Jackson, Mississippi. Eleven people were killed from the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010 that went down in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, the President attended a campaign fund raiser for Barbara Boxer (D) in San Francisco, CA.

According to AP,

“After the fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel, Obama attended a private fund-raising dinner at the home of billionaire philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty. Tuesday’s fundraisers were expected to raise $1.7 million for Boxer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

—Sources: The Associated Press/Boston.com and MS-NBC

AP also reported that the day after the Boxer campaign fundraiser, the President would, “tour a solar facility and make remarks on the economy.”

Participants leave a memorial service, organized by Transocean Ltd., for the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010. (Photo/Data Source: Rogelio V. Solis/ The Associated Press)

Given the public anger over the Gulf mess and the fact that the President was not there to pay tribute to the 11 persons killed in the Gulf rig explosion, and instead chose to spend his time campaigning for what is expected to be a close California Senate seat this November 2010. Obama’s decision sent a message of what is really most important: Politics, or acting Presidential on behalf of all Americans showing compassion for the family of the fallen. Apparently politics won out.

President Barack Obama waves after speaking at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. (pictured left), in San Francisco, Tuesday, May 25, 2010. (Photo/Data Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Separately, President Obama was to attend the funeral for Poland’s President Kaczynski, the first lady, and many high level civilian and military leaders who were all killed in a tragic plane crash.. (Sources: ABC/CBS).

The trip was canceled allegedly due to “hazardous flying conditions caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe.” (Source: Fox News) This could have been a legitimate reason not to attend, assuming there was only one way to fly there?

Instead, the President and reportedly “three golfing companions went to Andrews Air Force Base to play 18 holes of golf.” According to CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller, this was the 32nd time The President has played golf since taking office Jan. 20, 2009 (Source: Washington Times).

Thinking if I was invited to a funeral to pay tribute to key leaders who were killed in an accident, and I could not make it, playing golf would be the last thing I would be thinking about doing.

President Obama did meet with the families of the killed oil workers on June 10, 2010, sixteen days later on a Thursday (Source: CNN). Separately, BP’s CEO Tony Hayward did tour the Gulf at an earlier point (Source: Reuters).

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