By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
The stink raised by President Obama’s get-tough pledge to find some “ass to kick” for the Gulf oil disaster simply isn’t blowing away. Joining CNBC Squawk Box co-host Becky Quick in expressing dismay at Obama’s language is Florida Republican Sen. George LeMieux, who called the administration’s response to the spill “pathetic.”
In a politically-charged address to the Republican Ripon Society this week, he hit the administration for studying and talking more about the spill instead of providing leadership and action. But he was especially critical of Obama’s Today Show interview this week where he said he wanted to find some “ass to kick” for the crisis.
Said LeMieux to the society that takes its name from the Wisconsin town the GOP started in: “I don’t think it’s an appropriate comment for the president of the United States to make. I don’t remember Roosevelt saying we were going to kick Hitler’s ass. He hasn’t even talked to Tony Hayward, who’s the CEO of BP, so I’m not sure whose ass he’s going to kick. We’ve seen the lack of an emotive gene in this president.”
His comment can be viewed at 7:54 in this YouTube clip.
Florida is the latest victim of the BP oil spill and some believe that the huge oil slick will eventually slap onto the shores of the Florida Keys and even its Atlantic Ocean beaches.
To get a handle on the situation, LeMieux suggested that the president take a page out of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s disaster playbook. “He was the kind of leader who inspired confidence,” said LeMieux. “When people came to him and said, ‘No, we can’t get that done,’ he would push and make them get it done. We need to see that out of the president. He can’t stay up here and get briefings in the Cabinet Room and expect that he’s going to push people.”
In his speech to Ripon, LeMieux also assailed the growth of the government under Presidents Bush and Obama. “The size of the federal government has doubled since 1999. The average federal government employee makes $70,000 a year, not including pension. The average private sector employee makes $50,000. One hundred thousand new federal employees [have been hired] since President Obama was elected. At the rate that we’re going, by 2020 we’ll have a $22 trillion national debt,” he said.