Obama: I Would Have Sacked BP Boss Over Remarks

In this May 28, 2010 photo, BP CEO Tony Hayward stands aboard the Discover Enterprise drill ship during recovery operations in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Venice, La. (AP Photo/Sean Gardner, Pool) AP Photo

In this May 28, 2010 photo, BP CEO Tony Hayward stands aboard the Discover Enterprise drill ship during recovery operations in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo)
In this May 28, 2010 photo, BP CEO Tony Hayward stands aboard the Discover Enterprise drill ship during recovery operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
AP Photo
(CBS/AP)

President Obama says his talks with Gulf fishermen and oil spill experts are not an academic exercise. It's "so I know whose ass to kick."

One target for the presidential foot: Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive of BP PLC.

Special Section: Gulf Coast Oil Disaster

Obama was asked by NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer about Hayward's past comments that "I want my life back," that the Gulf was "a big ocean" and that "the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest."

"He wouldn't be working for me after any of those statements," Obama said, according to excerpts released by NBC.

The interview was to air Tuesday. NBC aired portions and put out some excerpts Monday night.

It was part of a stepped up White House effort to show that Obama is actively engaged in dealing with the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and to distance itself from the London-based oil giant, formerly known as British Petroleum. Polls have shown a majority of Americans believe Obama was handling the crisis poorly.

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