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Katie Couric's Notebook: Obama's Speech

The disaster in the Gulf may or may not be President Obama's Katrina, but, tonight, it will be his Challenger explosion, his Cuban missile crisis, his Sept. 11.

Unlike those events, this is a long simmering disaster, getting darker by the day. Perhaps that's why the White House hasn't projected the sense of urgency many people have been waiting for. But on day 57 this catastrophe demands a bully pulpit that represents the gravity of the situation, so the president chose this moment for his first oval office address.

He'll discuss one crisis, while confronting a crisis of confidence. Just 38 percent approve of his administration's response to the disaster, and Gulf residents say there's a lack of organization on the ground.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today BP has badly mismanaged this effort. The question on everyone's mind is: Why are they still managing it?

The president spent two days in the Gulf making promises. Tonight, the nation needs to hear a plan.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.