Obama Lashes Out at BP's PR Spin

In New Orleans Friday, President Obama lashed out at BP over reports that it plans to spend $50 million on an ad campaign to improve its image and $10 million on dividends for shareholders.

"What I don't wanna hear is when they're spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising that they're nickel and diming fisherman," Mr. Obama said.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

The president then headed for Grand Isle, La., where a thick ooze is washing ashore and residents are divided over who's to blame, CBS News Correspondent Chip Reid reports.

Herman Daigle said he's angry at BP but not angry at the president.

"The man's doin' all he can, I think," said Daigle. "His hands are tied behind his back to a certain extent."

Local businessman Jerry LaFont disagreed.

"I'm angry at the president," said LaFont. "I'm angry at the way they're handling things. I think it's taken too long to get things done."

LaFont said one thing that makes him even angrier than the slow response was the president's decision to impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater exploratory drilling.

"The oil spill was the nail and what the president just did he hammered the nail all the way through, he just killed our economy," LaFont said.

In an editorial at the top of Friday's front page, New Orleans' Times-Picayune complained that the moratorium could make "20,000 oil-services jobs vanish."

That could decimate the local economy, which is already in dire straits. Beaches in Grand Isle would normally be packed on a Friday in June. Just knowing what's in the water washing ashore has turned them into wastelands.

"Right now anyone who's wanting to go to the beach, they're comin to look at oil," Grand Isle resident Brandy Stanford said.

The absence of tourists has many feeling utter despair.

"It's completely shut it down," said resident Courtney Keller. "There's no more business, no more business here at all."

As for the moratorium on new deepwater drilling, the president said he's willing to try to shorten it, but he said he's not going to let it start again until he's sure it's safe.

The president arrived in Grand Isle late Friday afternoon and was only expected to spend about two hours there meeting with local businessmen and fishermen.

Mr. Obama had hoped to spend more time in Grand Isle, but bad weather forced him to cancel his helicopter ride and to take a two-hour motorcade from New Orleans. When is he coming back? That's not clear. The White House won't say, but he canceled a foreign trip next week, so he might come back then.

More Oil Spill Coverage

Poll: Majority Now Opposes More Offshore Drilling
No Apologies for Light-Hearted Events on Obama's Schedule During Oil Spill Crisis
Louisiana Looks to President Obama for Economic Relief
Obama: It's "Way Too Early to be Optimistic"
Obama to Larry King: "Furious" Over Gulf Oil Spill
Obama Cancels Foreign Trip Amid Oil Disaster

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.