Obama to Larry King: "Furious" Over Gulf Oil Spill

President Obama spoke with CNN talk show host Larry King Thursday.
CNN

President Obama sat down with CNN talk show host Larry King Thursday, where topics ranged from the Gulf oil spill crisis, his meeting with Arizona Governer Jan Brewer and the recent raid by Israel on Gaza activists. Here are some excerpts of the interview which airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursday:

Gulf Oil Spill

KING: I know you appear so calm. Are you angry at BP?

OBAMA: You know, I am furious at this entire situation because this is an example where somebody didn't think through the consequences of their actions. It's imperiling not just a handful of people. This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years.

KING: Has the company felt your anger?

OBAMA: Well, they have felt the anger. But what I haven't seen as much as I'd like is the kind of rapid response. Now they want to solve the problem, too, because this is costing them a lot of money. And the one thing that I think is important to underscore is that I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people. But that's not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem and ultimately this isn't about me and how angry I am. Ultimately this is about the people down in the Gulf who are being impacted and what am I doing to make sure that they're able to salvage their way of life. And that's going to be the main focus that I've got in the weeks and months ahead

Arizona Immigration Law

KING: You met with the Arizona governor today. Will the administration bring a legal challenge to that law?

OBAMA: I'm not going to comment on that, Larry, because that's really the job of the Justice Department and I made a commitment early on that I wouldn't be putting my thumb on the scales when these kinds of decisions are made. I've expressed a personal opinion which is that, although I understand the frustration of the people of Arizona when it comes to the inflow of illegal immigrants, I don't think this is the right way to do it. I think this puts American citizens, who are look Hispanic, are Hispanic, potentially in an unfair situation.

OBAMA: And more importantly, it also creates the prospects of 50 different laws in 50 different states when it comes to immigration. This is a federal job. What we have to do is take on that federal responsibility by working with border states on border security. I've told Governor Brewer that we've already put more resources into border security than we ever have. We have got more border guards in Arizona that we ever have. We just made decisions to put in additional National Guards. But without comprehensive immigration reform -- that is Congress' responsibility -- we are not going to solve this problem and that's what we have to do.

Israel Raid on Gaza Activists

KING: Former President Carter has condemned the Israeli raid against those ships in the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Where do you stand in that? A former American president has condemned it.

OBAMA: I think what's important right now is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity so that we figure out, how can we meet Israel's security concerns, but at the same time start opening up opportunity for Palestinians, work with all parties concerned -- the Palestinian authority, the Israelis, the Egyptians and others -- and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we've worked through this tragedy. And bring everybody together to figure out how can we get a two-state solution where the Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security.

KING: Premature then, to condemn Israel?

OBAMA: I think that we need to know what all the facts are. But it's not premature to say to the Israelis and to say to the Palestinians, and to say to all the parties in the region that the status quo is unsustainable. We have been trying to do this piecemeal for decades now. It just doesn't work. You've got to have a situation in which the Palestinians have real opportunity and Israel's neighbors recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns and are committed to peace

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.

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