Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen issued the invitation in a letter Thursday to BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg.
The letter requests that Svanberg and "any appropriate officials from BP" meet next Wednesday with senior administration officials. Teh meeting will take place at the White House, reports CBS Radio New White House correspondent Mark Knoller.
Allen said Mr. Obama, who has yet to speak with any BP official since the explosion more than seven weeks ago, would participate in a portion of the meeting.
Gibbs earlier in the day did not rule out the possibility of a meeting next week between Mr. Obama and BP chief executive Tony Hayward. Hayward is scheduled to testify next Thursday at a House Energy subcommittee hearing into the spill.
Conservative commentators, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have been criticizing Mr. Obama for not having met face to face with BP executives. White House reporters repeatedly have asked Gibbs why Mr. Obama hasn't spoken with Hayward or any other top BP officials. Gibbs' answer was that administration officials are in daily contact with BP.
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