Louisiana Sen. David Vitter said Wednesday that while he was pleased to hear that rhetoric, recovery efforts in his state hardly show the military conviction and force that the president's remarks suggested. (watch at left)
"I just know being on the ground that's not yet the reality on the ground," Vitter told CBS' "The Early Show Wednesday. "I certainly want to see that translated to the federal response on the ground. Unfortunately, there, there's not a clear military-like chain of command. There's not the absolute sense of urgency among many of the federal agencies that is clearly required."
He added, "If this is a war-like response, we need to see it on the coast in Louisiana."
The Republican senator said that the Obama administration seems to understand the scope of the disaster "but it hasn't translated into that sense of urgency and that response, like in war time." He backed Mr. Obama's efforts to expedite claims payments to out-of-work Gulf Coast residents by taking control of the process away from BP and handing it to a third party.
"Time is of the essence, obviously," Vitter said. "A fishermen completely out of work it's not good if he's made whole two years from now. He needs to get by week to week and month to month. Certainly, BP shouldn't be the final arbiter of the final claim."
So far, the accountability issue appears to be taking precedence, and Mr. Obama is set to meet with BP leaders today about setting up an escrow fund for claims payments and other issues.
Asked if the administration trusts BP, Axelrod replied, "It's not a matter of trust. ... It's a matter of holding them accountable."
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